[UPDATED] Our Redmi Note 10 5G review has been updated to include the price and storage configuration for the version that will be sold in Malaysia and which represents surprisingly good value.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G is a variant of the Redmi Note 10 that features 5G connectivity while keeping the price tag as low as possible to the point that it’s arguably one of the cheapest 5G-capable phones that money can currently buy in Malaysia.
At the time of writing, we don’t have the official Malaysia price as yet but our version retails for US$199 which is about RM821. It’s likely the local price in Malaysia will likely be hovering around this mark.
Now that we’re basking in the aftermath of Xiaomi’s launch of the Redmi Note 10 5G in Malaysia where they announced the price and specifications of the exact unit coming to Malaysia, it’s safe to say that what they’re bringing in is exceptionally value packed. Xiaomi Malaysia will be bringing in the phone at a price point of RM799 for the 8GB RAM/ 128GB version.
Here’s our Redmi Note 10 5G review where we put it to the test…
What differences are there between the Redmi Note 10 5G and Redmi Note 10?
Compared to the standard Redmi Note 10 with LTE-only connectivity, the 5G capable version is heavier by 12g at 190g which is approaching the weight of premium flagship phones while also being slightly taller, wider and thicker all around compared to its conventional sibling.
The most immediate difference to casual observers is the rear camera housing which has a different design as it only has a triple camera array versus the standard variant’s quad camera which adds an 8MP ultra wide angle camera.
Bar the additional ultra wide angle camera in the Redmi Note 10, both phones have an otherwise similar setup with a typical 48MP F/1.8 main camera with PDAF, no OIS and have a 2MP macro camera and 2MP depth sensor.
The Redmi Note 10 5G also has a more conventional if larger 6.5-inch IPS FHD+ LCD though it has a far higher and smoother 90Hz refresh rate whereas the Redmi Note 10 uses a smaller 6.43-inch and more vibrant and brighter Super AMOLED display with a conventional 60Hz refresh rate.
Both phones also feature different processors with the Redmi Note 10 5G featuring a MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 5G processor while the Redmi Note 10 features a Snapdragon SDM678 processor.
Both the Redmi Note 10 and Redmi Note 10 5G retain a 5,000mAh battery but the Redmi Note 10 has fast 33W charging while the Redmi Note 10 5G has slower 18W fast charging.
Storage and RAM vary by region but both phones max out at up to 6GB RAM and 128GB storage expandable via a dedicated microSD card slot. The Redmi Note 10 5G also ditches the IP53 water and splash protection of the standard Redmi Note 10 and has no water resistance.
What’s in the Redmi Note 10 5G Box
Our Redmi Note 10 5G review sample has a variety of extras thrown into the box to offer quite a bit of value, here’s what it has to offer:
1 x Redmi Note 10 5G
1 x Soft TPU casing
1 x SIM eject pin
1 x USB-C to USB-A cable
1 x USB 22.5W charger (2-pin)
1 x Quick start guide
Our review unit is the international version with a two-pin charger though local units will also feature this as well. Alternatively, you can opt for UGREEN’s 65W GaN charger which has a 3-pin UK-style plug and supports power delivery and a host of other charging options. Though the phone features a 3.5mm audio jack, the box lacks wired headphones to go with it.
While it’s not listed in the box contents, the phone does have a screen protector pre-applied onto the display which offers a modicum of protection. Bar the omission of the headphones, it’s a pretty fair array of free gear bundled with the phone seeing as getting a charger these days is increasingly becoming a rarity.
Redmi Note 10 5G Review – Design and Specifications
The Redmi Note 10 5G has the following specifications:
|Price||US$199 (about RM821) 4GB RAM/64GB | 4GB RAM/128GB US#299 (about RM944)|
|Display||6.5-inch AdaptiveSync Dot IPS LCD Display , 1,000 x 2,400 pixels, 90Hz, 400 nits, 405ppi|
|Processor||MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 5G|
|OS||Android 11 w/ MIUI 12|
|Memory||4GB RAM/ 128GB + microSD card|
|Camera||48MP F/1.8 w/ PDAF + 2MP macro + 2MP depth [rear] 8MP F/2.0 [front]|
|Battery||5,000mAh 18W fast charging|
|Size/Weight||161.8 x 75.3 x 8.9mm / 190g|
Notable features with the phone are its 6.5-inch Full HD+ resolution LCD display which has a fast 90Hz refresh rate with a tiny punch hole in the upper centre quadrant for an 8MP selfie camera while a tiny grille up top hides an earpiece..
Another notable feature on the phone is the rear camera array that primarily relies on phase detection autofocus and lacks optical image stabilisation with video capture maxing out at 1080p@30fps on both the front and rear cameras.
Externally, the Redmi Note 10 5G ticks all the checkmarks for contemporary design with a flat IPS LCD display up front that has thin side bezels with a slight top and bottom chin.
The rear backplate is done up in plastic with rounded edges to offer better tactility and comes in a shade of slightly reflective gray with a huge camera bump in the upper left corner. Fortunately, the matte finish does repel fingerprints to some degree.
The right side of the phone features a recessed power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader along with a volume rocker.
The left side of the phone is bare save for a triple card slot that lets you put in two 5G nano SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time. Up top, the phone features an IR blaster and a 3.5mm audio jack. The IR blaster lets you control other household appliances like air conditioners, TVs and the like which is a pleasant bonus.
At the bottom, the phone has a grille for the mono speaker and a USB-C port for charging.
On the bright side, the phone has a fairly good heft, no creaking when held and can be comfortably held one-handed though the plasticky buttons and backplate does reduce its prestige somewhat. It’s fairly well built for what you pay for.
Redmi Note 10 5G Review – Performance and Software
The Redmi Note 10 5g crams in a MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 octacore processor with 5G connectivity. Built on a 7nm process, the Dimensity 700 processor features a pair of Arm Cortex A76 2.22GHz cores and six Cortex A55 2.2GHz cores with Mali-G57 MC2 graphics.
On paper, the integrated 5G modem supports FDD/TDD aggregation. WiFi is capped at WiFi 5 so the phone misses the boat on the faster WiFi 6.
This processor is paired up with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM which is the borderline minimum of usability for a workhorse phone with 128GB of expandable storage. In terms of synthetic benchmarks, we got the following:
|Geekbench 5 Single core score||551|
|Geekbench 5 Multi core score||1694|
|PCMark Work 3.0 Score||8492|
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use 3DMark as the firmware itself prevented us from installing it for benchmarking so we have to extrapolate based on actual performance. Also, seeing as 5G connectivity isn’t available in Malaysia just yet, we are unable to test this particular feature as well at the time of writing.
Under actual field conditions, the Redmi Note 10 5G is a serviceable workhorse phone with enough power for daily use and gaming. It’ll handle web browsing, videos, social media and the like and supports Widevine L1 DRM so it’ll play nicely with Netflix HD streaming.
It managed to handle Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact at medium settings, PUBG on HD settings and Asphalt 9 on default settings. Frame rates are acceptable and it doesn’t cook off even with extended play which is a bonus.
The phone also features a Game Turbo mode that ostensibly enhances gaming performance but we didn’t discover any discernible difference beyond muting notifications for uninterrupted gaming and prioritising RAM for gaming. The provided mono speaker doesn’t break new ground and does the job with fair volume and clarity for general usage.
The Redmi Note 10 5G runs Android 11 overlaid by their own MIUI 12 user interface and it seems they’re back to their old approach of cramming it chock full of bloatware.
On a fresh install, you’re looking at not one but three browsers shoved into the phone with Chrome taking up place with their own Mi Browser and Opera too. It gets worse as they also shove in random bits like Lazada, Linkedin, the iQIYI movie streaming app for Chinese and Korean dramas, an Amazon Shopping link, a shortcut to Agoda, Booking.com and worse.
It gets worse from there as they’ve also thrown in an eclectic list of simplistic pre-downloaded minigames like Block Puzzle Guardian, Bubble Shooter, Dust Settle and more.
While there are three browsers available, we think the Google Chrome suffice your needs. Alongside that, perhaps uninstall certain apps that you may not need to free up precious space in the phone.
Battery life was excellent on account of the massive 5,000mAh battery and this was borne out in PCMark’s battery life test where it score a whopping 17 hours and 30 minutes of battery life and even with the display set at 90Hz with normal usage including some light gaming and movie watching with a combination of 4G LTE and WiFi on, it’s easily able to last well over a day and a half.
How is the Redmi Note 10 5G display
The provided LCD display swaps between a 60Hz to 90Hz refresh rate depending on what’s happening onscreen and is mostly 90Hz when you are navigating menus and web browsing though it slows down to 60Hz when gaming for the most part and when using Netflix or YouTube. It works as advertising, running at 90Hz on some games like Call of Duty Mobile and Alto’s Odyssey.
Other games like Asphalt 9, Genshin Impact and Player Unknown Battlegrounds ran at 60Hz. It’s set on auto refresh by default but you can dial it down to a 60Hz refresh rate cap to save more on battery life.
Screen brightness is serviceable but it’s on the dim side under daylight conditions though it’s otherwise good for indoors use. Colour rendition and clarity are on par with other IPS LCD panels with good blacks and vibrant hues though it pales before the colour rendition displayed by a Super AMOLED panel like the one that the Redmi Note 10 has.
How are the cameras on the Redmi Note 10 5G
The Redmi Note 10 5G features a rear 64MP F/1.8 camera with PDAF and a secondary 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro camera. As you’d expect, most of the grunt work is handled by the primary 64MP camera which produces pixel-binned 16MP shots and up to 1080P@30fps video.
There’s no optical zoom and zoom is purely digital by cropping from the main sensor up to 10x digital zoom for snaps and 6x zoom for video. The front features an 8MP F/2.0 camera that’s also capable of 1080p@30fps video.
In daylight, the cameras are able to deliver some pretty good shots for what you pay for. There’s no ultra wide camera and shots are taken in 4:3 ratio by default with pretty good dynamic range and fairly good details and colour in good light. Though it lacks OIS, the EIS does a fair job compensating for hand jitter and you’re able to get some decent, if understandably grainy shots at 10x digital zoom.
Results in low light from the rear cameras are somewhat soft with poor dynamic range with dark areas generally one swath of black. While the camera is serviceable under daylight conditions, it struggles to capture shots at night. At the minimum, you’ll need street lights for usable shots. They do their best work with Night mode on where it saves some level of dynamic range but don’t expect miracles.
The front selfie camera is able to serve up some good mugshots with decent bokeh and a fairly restrained level of skin smoothing. Low light shots with it are grainy affairs though it does compensate by using the display as an ad hoc flash.
1080p videos on the rear camera are pleasantly steady in daylight as the offered EIS compensates for the typical judder from walking. Digitally zoomed in shots aren’t fantastic by any means with 6x zoom an unviable prospect without a tripod. Videos in low light are soft with poor dynamic range. As budget phones go, overall performance is on par for its price category.
Should you buy the Redmi Note 10 5G?
From a performance standpoint, the Redmi Note 10 5G is a serviceable workhorse phone with 5G, a 90Hz refresh LCD display and long battery life. If you’re looking for a budget phone with 5G connectivity, the Redmi Note 10 5G is possibly one of the most affordable options that you can buy that’s under RM1,000.
Our Redmi Note 10 5G review unit has 4GB less RAM than the retail unit that will be sold in Malaysia and thus is slightly less nimble at switching apps and getting about. Add in the official RM799 price and the specifications of the Malaysia version with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage and it suddenly looks like a value-packed prospect indeed. While 5G is somewhat distant on the horizon for now, this represents a good, somewhat future-proof budget phone indeed.
Redmi Note 10 5G Review unit courtesy of Xiaomi Malaysia.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G
Redmi Note 10 5G
A serviceable budget phone that offers a 90Hz display, long battery life and 5G connectivity without costing an arm and a leg.
Has a microSD card slot
Good battery life
Has an IR blaster
Has a 3.5mm audio jack
One of the cheapest 5G capable phones available
No wireless charging
Mind-boggling amounts of bloatware