Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: The utility player
Xiaomi has been facing stiff competition in the segment which practically was pioneered by the company. Smartphone brands like Realme, Nokia, Samsung have been launching products in the price range with the latest possible feature in the price range which was once dominated by Xiaomi.
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note series is always a strong contender in this space and now the series has three new smartphones — Redmi Note 10, Redmi Note 10 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max.
Talking about the Pros, they are more or less the same in terms of features, performance and battery. The major difference between the two is in terms of display size and the camera.
The smartphone in question here is the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. It is the cheapest smartphone in the market to feature a 108MP primary sensor and is also the third smartphone from Xiaomi to rock this lens.
We have been using this smartphone for a while and here’s how it performs in the real world.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max: Design and display
Xiaomi has been pushing the limits when it comes to design with their smartphones. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is a simple-looking smartphone, yet it feels fresh and elegant. The 108MP quad-camera housing at the back is slightly protruding, however, the stacked two-layer design makes it look premium.
The camera housing has two segments. A bigger rectangular housing that has another small rectangular housing carries all four sensors. The bigger housing also has a LED flash and laser autofocus sensor.
Though the entire smartphone is made out of plastic, the drift from the dual-tone paints and gradients feels like a step in the right direction.
At the top, there’s an IR sensor, a secondary microphone for noise cancellation, a speaker grille and a headphone jack. The bottom has another speaker grille, USB Type-C port and primary microphone.
It is surprising to see a dual speaker setup on a smartphone of this price. Kudos to Xiaomi for retaining the headphone jack and adding a second speaker.
Xiaomi has cut some corners as well. For instance, there’s no in-display fingerprint scanner. Instead, the company has gone with a side-mounted physical fingerprint scanner which also doubles up as the power button. Just above the power button, the volume rocker is placed. We found the button placements to be good and within reach even while using the smartphone single-handedly.
The side-mounted fingerprint scanner works well. It’s fast and responsive and worked most of the time for us.
On the left, there’s a triple-card slot. Two for SIM cards and a dedicated microSD card slot.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max comes with a 6.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED DotDisplay. It has a 120Hz refresh rate and it also supports HDR10.
In our perspective, it is among the best displays available in the price segment. Also, the addition of a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10 is a brilliant move by the company. This is something that we do not often see in a smartphone of this price.
The display quality is good, it produces punchy and vibrant colours. Sunlight legibility and viewing angles are good too. Auto brightness of the smartphone is quick and responsive.
Overall, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max scores well in the design and display segment.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max: Performance
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max packs some decent amount of punch within the modern-looking chassis. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G processor.
The SD732G is a capable mid-range processor which packs a good level of performance in it. We tested the smartphone based on different usages conditions.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max was quick to set up including the data transfer from another Android smartphone. Also, it didn’t take much time to bring us the home screen after completing the setup.
Next, we started opening a couple of apps including Instagram, Facebook, Phone app, Skype, Chrome, etc. The smartphone handled everything without any lag or delay. In fact, the multitasking on the phone is good, thanks to 8GB of RAM.
Gaming performance is also acceptable. We played a couple of titles like COD Mobile, Free Fire, Subway surfer, Asphalt, Shadow Fight 3, etc. All the games managed to run at decent to good frame rates. Given it is a mid-range processor, there is some noticeable loading time. But it can be given a pass here. No big deal.
Coming to the operating system, it runs MIUI based on Android 11. Now, we have never been a fan of Xiaomi’s user interface. It is clunky, feels unpolished at times, plus it comes with tons of bloatware.
But things are a little different and improved this time. The Android 11 based MIUI feels refined. The number of preloaded apps is also very less. But, ads are there and they are annoying.
The call quality is good and crisp. Our caller never complained about the call quality. Audio quality is also good and loud enough to fill up a medium-sized room.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max comes with a 5020mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging. The phone lasted for a day and a half before we reached out for the 33W fast charger. The charger though is fast enough and charges the smartphone in about 90 minutes.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max: Camera
Xiaomi has once again pushed the limit of putting a 108MP primary sensor in Note 10 Pro Max. But, as we have been saying that only megapixel count does not guarantee you the best image quality. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is the best example of that.
A smartphone camera is a combination of software and hardware. Often good hardware is let down by average software. It requires a good camera processing unit and algorithm to bring out the true calibre of the sensor.
Apart from the 108MP primary sensor, there’s a 5MP Super Macro sensor which also doubles up as the 2X telephoto, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP depth sensor.
The image quality from the primary sensor is acceptable, it appears to be a little on the softer side with missing details and sharpness. But this is when taking photos in the pixel-binning mode. Switching to a full 108MP resolution, things change dramatically. The dynamic range gets better, plenty of details noticed in the image. Also, contrast and saturation levels also got much better.
The low light shots have lots of noise and it is once again on the softer side. Switching to the dedicated night mode improves things but just by a margin. In the shot below, noise can be clearly seen. Also, the top corners on either side have some dark spots. We initially thought, there is some issue with the photo then we took multiple shots and each one of them has this dark spot.
Consistency is another big issue with the camera. Sometimes, the colour appears to be good and near to natural. Sometimes it completely misses out. There’s something weird going with the phone’s colour science.
The other sensors, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP 2X and Macro sensor also does a decent job and has an almost a similar story to tell.
The quality from the front camera sensor is acceptable and is good enough for taking selfies and making video calls.
Xiaomi has also added some cool features like Night Mode 2.0, Portrait mode, Dual video recording mode, Clone mode, Long exposure, etc. We test a couple of modes like Clone mode. It is a cool feature to have on a phone. Also, it does what it says.
Overall, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is an average shooter even with a massive 108MP sensor.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max: Verdict
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is the first smartphone to bring a 108MP camera at an affordable price segment. For the asking price of Rs 18,999, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max has a lot to offer. It comes with features that are nowhere to be found in this price segment, but at the same time, it has to cut some corners as well. Opting for a physical fingerprint scanner is one of them.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is not a bad phone, it is actually a pretty good phone with an AMOLED display, 120Hz refresh rate, bigger battery, solid build quality. We just wish that the camera should have shown a little more potential.
But, should you buy it and is it any better than the competition? Realme 8 Pro is practically the only competition available for Redmi Note 10 Pro in the market which offers a 108MP sensor in the segment. It is around Rs 1,000 cheaper than this Xiaomi handset. But, for that extra 1000 bucks, Redmi Note 10 Pro Max has a lot to offer. Features like 120Hz refresh rate, bigger display, dual speakers, etc. So, if you are looking for a mid-range phone that offers a mix of everything, then you should consider the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max.
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