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In 2021, Xiaomi brought the Redmi Note 10 series to South Africa — with the Note 10 Pro serving as the flagship premium device in the range.
But in a market that is sometimes saturated with mid-range devices, how does the Note 10 Pro stand up to real-life testing?
We spent some time with the device and this is what we found…
A sturdy but pleasing design
While the Redmi Note 10 Pro features larger bezels and a wider screen than most premium smartphones, it is surprisingly lightweight and slim for a device in its price category.
Coupled with the slightly glossy finish of the Glacier Blue back of the device, it’s a stylish smartphone that you wouldn’t be shy about showing off.
The distinct camera housing also gives it a distinguishing feature that adds a bit of extra flair to the device.
The “Invisible Arc” side fingerprint sensor blends into the side of the device while still being in the perfect position for easy unlocking, with great responsiveness and accuracy.
Setup is easy, the display is bright and responsive, and the software is easily customizable for your preferences.
Redmi Note 10 Pro camera
So what about its camera? The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a ridiculously high-resolution 108MP lens as part of its quad main camera setup.
The other lenses are 8MP, 5MP, and 2MP. On paper, this could raise concerns that in auto mode the camera doesn’t perform all that well.
But surprisingly, we found the camera provided high-quality images and hardware that is adaptable to a range of lighting environments.
Saturation was well balanced and even challenging conditions resulted in great photos.
Occasionally, using the high res mode resulted in compression artifacts when sharing images to social media. But loading the images onto a computer and uploading them via a web browser worked better.
For portrait shots, the camera was able to smooth blemishes without making an image seem over-processed and filtered.
Usually, the camera on a mid-range device will have a weakness somewhere, but the Note 10 Pro camera proved well-rounded in all categories.
The phone comes equipped with a 5020mAh battery and 33W fast charging. While this isn’t the fastest charging available on smartphones today, it does outperform many mid-range devices and even some more premium devices.
When running the phone through a PCMark for Android battery life benchmark, it lasted for 11 hours and 32 minutes.
This means that at 50% brightness, with the phone running constantly through tasks like web browsing, video playing, and word processing, it drained 80% battery over 11.5 hours. When the refresh rate of the screen is reduced from 120Hz to 60Hz, the battery lasted 15 hours and 28 minutes in the benchmark.
This is exceptional battery performance and when using the smartphone, we found that it could go a day or two between charges.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro review verdict: Punching far above its price range
When using the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro, you keep having to remind yourself how much the phone costs. It feels like you’re using a significantly more expensive device.
From the camera to the overall performance and feel of the device, as well as the long battery life and 120Hz display, it does not feel like a smartphone that has a recommended price of R5 499.
When it comes to drawbacks, there are very few. You sacrifice some of the sleeker design features of ultra-premium smartphones. This means going without an in-display fingerprint sensors or curved edges, as well as 5G support.
But at the price, it’s more than a decent trade-off.
It is also only IP53 rated in terms of water and dust resistance. But again, it offers so much more than its price tag would suggest.
Overall, the phone offers exceptional value for money, which made it our favourite device of 2021.
Image credits: Megan Ellis