Xiaomi Redmi 10 Review: Cheap & Mostly Charming
Xiaomi has quietly become a force to be reckoned with in every price bracket, and the Redmi 10 sees the company offering a solid mid-range phone at an impressively budget price.
It’s a good-looking phone, too, offering a glossy finish that feels more premium than most phones costing under £180/US$250. It’s got a fingerprint sensor in the wake button, an almost all-screen front, and it performs admirably given its components.
Sadly, though, its 90Hz screen uses LCD technology, making it feel more than a little hamstrung compared to phones that are using more modern OLED technology. Still, for the price, it’s hard to argue.
Our review sample was supplied by Box.co.uk.
Design & Build
- No waterproofing
Despite that low asking price, there’s no denying that the Xiaomi Redmi 10 looks, and feels, great.
Thanks to a matte finish on the rear (my review unit comes in Sea Blue and there are also Pebble White and Carbon Gray options), and it looks great as it catches the light, looking every part a premium device. Unlike the Redmi Note 10 5G, though, its rear panel is glossy – meaning it attracts plenty of fingerprints and isn’t quite as easy to grip as its stablemate.
On the front, it’s all business – and almost all-screen. There are bezels here, and perhaps they’re more noticeable with the LCD screen (onto that shortly), but it forgoes the notch in favour of a “hole-punch” selfie camera.
The phone charges via USB-C at the bottom, and there’s a volume rocker on the right-hand side above a sleep/wake button that also summons the Google Assistant. The button also incorporates a fingerprint sensor, though the Redmi 10 can also be unlocked with a passcode or pattern if you prefer.
Finally, there’s an IR blaster on the top of the device, which Xiaomi has been incorporating for a while – although I’m still yet to find a use for it in day-to-day life. I’d rather have some form of water resistance or proofing but there is none.
- 6.5in LCD
- Full HD+
- 90Hz with AdaptiveSync
The LCD display on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G is 6.5in, meaning it’s pretty mighty. That canvas gives users plenty of room to play around in apps, but it does lack the vibrancy of an OLED panel.
While I appreciate the decision was made to hit the required price bracket, the Full HD+ 1080×2400 display caps out at 90Hz whereas many of its stablemates hit 120Hz. In truth, it’s nice to be over 60Hz – as seen on the Honor 50 Lite – as a new standard, though, providing a smoother experience.
When static, the phone’s AdaptiveSync sits at 45Hz, while videos stream at 60Hz. Scrolling through social media or playing games will up the refresh rate to 90Hz. It’s a smart way of ensuring the screen doesn’t pull too much power when it doesn’t need to and helps keep the battery life to a decent level.
More noticeable, though, is the LCD panel’s lack of contrast. Photos rarely pop, and I constantly found myself wanting a little more vibrancy – even the icons on the home screen just feel very dull.
Out in daylight, legibility suffers, and viewing angles aren’t great unless you’re staring straight at it. That’s a shame given the size of the display because that’s a sizeable chunk of real estate just begging for movies, TV, or even just your best camera snaps to be thrown onto it.
Specs & Performance
- MediaTek Helio G88
- 4GB RAM
- 64 or 128GB storage.
The Redmi 10 comes packing the MediaTek Helio G88, and aside from the display quality, it’s the biggest indicator of compromises made to reach such a low price point.
Running Geekbench 5 and other benchmarks, you can see the average scores below. It comes out similar to the more expensive Poco M4 Pro and in the battery test almost matches the Moto G9 Power.
In real-world terms, that’s about enough grunt to power a match of PUBG Mobile (at mid settings at best), or multitasking between a few of Google’s suite of apps like docs or sheets while checking email, but anything more than that feels like it’d be a bridge too far.
That’s due, in part, to a meagre 4GB of RAM which means you’ll need to close demanding apps before you open any others. There is a 6GB model available but in few markets. For storage, you get 64- or 128GB but there is a microSD card slot.
If you are looking for more power, it’s hard to look past Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 10 Pro at a similar price, which comes with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and a much more powerful processor.
- 50Mp main camera
- 8Mp ultrawide
- 2Mp depth and macro
- 8Mp selfie
Camera-wise, the Xiaomi Redmi 10 is packing a 50Mp rear snapper and an 8Mp front sensor housed within the display.
On the rear, it’s a little no-thrills and a bit too functional for my taste. Images are clear, but lacking in vibrancy, not helped when viewing them back on the basic LCD screen. Contrast is minimal across the board, something which, when paired with the screen, make all images appear washed out.
In the daytime, though, colours are fairly accurate, but if you’re looking to get a phone for photography then this isn’t it. A quad array on the back might sound impressive but the dual 2Mp sensors, as we’ve seen countless times, are really just there to up the count.
Shots offer plenty of detail in the foreground, but as you’ll see from the image of toys on the shelf, a bokeh effect means backgrounds aren’t as sharp. Night mode performance is nothing to write home about either, with the Redmi 10 capturing the moment but not offering a huge lot to work with when viewed back.
Selfies are clear, although the “beautify” option is on by default. Without it, there’s a sort of blurriness to facial detail that makes it hard to discern if the front camera is just not cutting the mustard, or if there are additional filters being applied.
Videos lack OIS (optical image stabilisation), and caps out at 1080p at 30fps, with 720p resolution also an option.
Battery Life & Charging
- 18W charging
- Adapter included
The Redmi 10 has a large 5000mAh battery that’ll easily last a day and a half. Less active social media scrollers or gamers will likely hit two days before needing to plug it in.
I ran our usual Work 3.0 test and the results showed a very impressive 15 hours and 48 minutes of screen-on time while the phone completed simulated tasks.
A fast-charger included, too, with 18W fast-charging as standard and a 22.5W charger. That, by today’s standards, is not very fast at all. In our usual 30-minute test from dead, the Redmi 10 only reached 29% charge.
The Xiaomi Redmi 10 runs MIUI 12.5, Xiaomi’s own particular flavour of Android, over the top of Android 11 – not the current Android 12. An update is likely at some point.
For now, though, MIUI 12 is pleasant. It’s nicely customizable, has a quick and easy setup assistant, and doesn’t feel hugely different from the stock version of Android.
One thing I would note, though, is that there’s a hefty amount of bloatware included – upon initial boot, I was welcomed with an assortment of utility apps, as well as space-hungry games like PUBG Mobile. Be prepared to uninstall a fair amount of unwanted content.
Price & Availability
The Xiaomi Redmi 10 is available globally, and at £179 for the 64GB. There’s also a 128GB that retails at around £199 (although a microSD slot means you’re not stuck with either).
Our sample was supplied by Box which is offering a free Mi Band 5 with some models. You can also buy the phone from the Mi store, Amazon, Argos, eBuyer and Laptops Direct.
The phone isn’t widely available in the US but Amazon has it starting at US$249.99.
Check our chart of the best budget phones to see what other options there are.
The Xiaomi Redmi 10 is a dependable phone that won’t blow your mind, but it won’t hit the wallet too hard, either.
Its camera and display tech are fairly basic, but it does offer a sizeable screen with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 90Hz, solid battery life, and it looks great, too.
Understandably for the price, there’s no 5G and performance is limited, charging is slow and there’s no waterproofing. Still, this is one of the best options at under £200 right now if you don’t need a phone to be all singing and all dancing.
Xiaomi Redmi 10: Specs
- Processor – MediaTek Helio G88
- RAM – 4GB
- Storage – 64GB/128GB
- Battery – 5,000mAh
- Operating System – MIUI 12 (based on Android 11)
- Display – 6.5-inch FHD+ Display (90Hz), 1080P
- Network – 4G/3G supported
- Cameras Rear – 50Mp, 8Mp ultrawide, 2Mp depth, 2Mp macro
- Cameras Front – 8Mp
- Dimensions – 162 x 75.5 x 8.9mm
- Weight – 181g