Released in Malaysia in one configuration, the Redmi Note 10S is the 4G-only sibling of the Redmi Note 10 5G but adds in a slew of other perks to compensate. Here’s our Redmi Note 10S review where we put it through its paces.
What is the Redmi Note 10S
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S was launched in Malaysia sometime in May alongside the Redmi Note 10 5G. The latter was tested by us a few weeks ago and primarily brings 5G connectivity and a 90Hz refresh rate LCD display to the table.
The Redmi Note 10S trades these two perks in, relegating itself to 4G LTE but features a more immediately practical set of features that include a vibrant AMOLED display, robust IP53 water resistance, stereo speakers and a host of other subtle but desirable traits.
Externally, both phones bear similarly sized silhouettes and form factors, differentiated primarily the rear camera housings with the Red Note 10 5G feature a more squarish setup while the Redmi Note 10S has a narrower, rectangular camera housing.
Redmi Note 10S Review – What’s in the Box and Build
The Redmi Note 10S for Malaysia comes with a modest assortment of accessories to get you started. On top of the box itself, you are issued a soft translucent protective case for the phone, a 33W fast charger, a USB-C cable, the obligatory SIM eject pin and the usual warranty card and quick start manual. This time around, the Redmi Note 10S lacks a pre-applied screen protector so you’ll need to acquire your own.
Up front, the Redmi Note 10S features a 6.42-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 60Hz refresh rate. In general, AMOLED touchscreens offer more vibrant colour rendition than the usual LCD panels. A small centre-mounted punch hole up top offers space for a 13MP selfie camera. Just above the selfie camera is a tiny grille for one of a matching set of stereo speakers in the phone.
The rear of our Redmi Note 10S review unit is primarily done up in a shade of what they call Onyx Gray and proves to be a mirror-finish reflective gray paint job with a rectangular quad camera housingin the typical Xiaomi style. While it does look fetching, it’s also a fingerprint magnet and will need frequent wipedowns to avoid it looking like a smudged mess.
The right of the phone features a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader and volume rocker while the left features a triple card slot that lets you use two nano SIM cards and a microSD card all at the same time. Up top, the phone features an IR blaster that lets you use the phone as a remote control; a feature that is somewhat of a rarity in other brands.
On the base of the Redmi Note 10S, you get the second of a matching pair of stereo speakers, a USB-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Overall build quality is on par with other midrange phones without it feeling overly plasticky or cheap and the Redmi Note 10S manages to have an even heft and feel while maintaining a relatively robust IP53 splash resistance rating. It will survive a splash or two of water or rain but it’s not intended for a dip in the water.
What elevates it over the norm though is that it manages to include stereo speakers, a triple card slot, a 3.5mm audio jack and the aforementioned IP53 rating too, all of which are desirable features typically doled out piecemeal but which are, in this case, all surprisingly present in one phone that’s also decently priced at that.
Redmi Note 10S Specifications and Performance
Our Redmi Note 10S review unit for Malaysia is the same as the global version and there is only one variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB of expandable storage. Here’s what it has under the hood –
|Display||6.42-inch AMOLED, 1080 x 2,400 pixels|
|Processor||Mediatek Helio G95 2.05GHz|
|OS||Android 11 with MIUI 12.5|
|Memory||8GB LPDDR4X RAM/ 128GB UFS2.2 + microSD card|
|Camera||64MP F/1.8 w/ PDAF, 8MP F/2.2 ultra wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth [rear] / 13MP F/2.5 [front]|
|Battery||5,000mAh Li-Po w/ 33W fast charging|
|Size Weight||160.5 x 74.5 x 8.3mm / 178.8g|
Under the hood, the Redmi Note 10S runs the latest Android 11 on their MIUI 12.5.9 user interface on a Mediatek Helio G95 octacore processor launched last year that is built on a 12nm process and is functionally an upper midrange chip.It features a 2-6 configuration processor that has a pair of Arm Cortex A76 2.05GHz cores doing the heavy lifting and six power-efficient Cortex A55 2.0GHz cores for otherwise general duties. This is paired with Arm Mali G76 MC4 graphics.
MIUI 12.5.9 is relatively clean and straightforward to get about but, like its predecessors, is replete with a ton of bloatware. There has been some attempt to clean things up with the inclusion of only Chrome as the sole browser but they still install a random array of apps. On a fresh install, you get the Agoda app, Amazon shopping, the Lazada shopping all Booking.com and Trip shoved in. That’s not all, they also throw in a random bunch of games of dubious entertainment value like Tile Fun, Jewels Blast 2020 and Dust Settle thrown in for good measure.
On the bright side, you’re also able to delete all this claptrap and only need to do it once unless you do a fresh reset of the phone. MIUI also allows for a significant level of customisation with a ton of potential themes both free and not to change the look of your phone user interface on demand. random
In general use, the phone is otherwise zippy for day to day use and switches swiftly between apps without issue. It’s also able to game in a reasonably competent fashion with PUBG on HD settings and the likes of Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact on medium settings.
Unfortunately, our Redmi Note 10S review unit was not able to be benchmarked as it refused to install most benchmarking software; presumably due to it being a review sample or through some other lockout.
It did manage to install PCMark Work 3.0 where it scored a modest 8,292 and GeekBench 5 where it garnered a single-core score of 509 and a multi-core score of 1,671. This is slightly worse than the Mediatek MT6833 Dimensity 700 SoC installed in the Redmi Note 10 5G.
The provided AMOLED is certainly a good deal more vibrant with better colour saturation than the LCD panel issued to the Redmi Note 10 5G though the modest 60Hz refresh rate is a bit of a blow for hardcore gaming.
Even so, it’s not a huge downside and a more vibrant, brighter AMOLED panel is a better tradeoff versus a higher refresh rate. Brightness in daylight is decent and the display is viewable under sunlight though you have to dial the brightness up to compensate. If the existing colour temperature doesn’t quite appeal, you can still tweak it to taste in the settings.
Of particular note that the Redmi Note 10 S features a stereo speaker setup which is rarer than hen’s teeth in this price range. Granted, it’s not the most stellar in terms of acoustics but it serves up a good approximation of stereo sound, and is loud enough for casual movie watching and gaming. In lieu of that, you can still opt for wired headphones.
Overall battery life for our Redmi Note 10S review sample was excellent, easily averaging over a day and a half with average use involving either WiFi and a modicum of data all day, web browsing, a few minutes worth of calls, light gaming and social media. In PCMark’s battery life test, it average 14 hours and 20 minutes.
Xiaomi has also been nice enough to bundle in a fast 33W MiTurbo Charge charger which is a rarity in this price range. From dead zero, the provided charger was surprisingly able to charge it up to about 52% in just 30 minutes.
Redmi Note 10S Cameras
The Redmi Note 10S features a fairly standard quad camera setup with most of the grunt work taken up by the main 64MP F/1.8 camera which also has phase detection autofocus. This is complemented by an 8MP F.2,2 ultra wide angle camera rounded up by a 2MP macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor. Combined, the primary setup is able to capture up to 4K@30fps video.
The front-facing 13MP camera is capable of up to 1080p@30fps video. In keeping with its entry-level price range, the phone lacks optical image stabilisation for any of its front or rear cameras.
The provided camera interface is fuller featured than that of the Redmi Note 10 5G and features a Pro mode on top of a manual slider to enable the wide angle camera and 2x digital zoom though you can go all the way to 10x digital zoom if you pinch zoom on the display.
In terms of image quality, it works best under daylight conditions using the ultra wide and standard magnification with fairly good colour accuracy and fair detail though it looks soft under close scrutiny. There’s also a bit of overly aggressive software correction as can be seen in the halo around the upper treeline in the above shot taken at a nearby pond.
Zoomed in shots beyond 2x lack detail and at 10x exhibit significant grain. Shots from the super macro camera are also a hit and miss affair with unremarkable results and you need good lighting for best effect with poor outcomes if shot in low light.
In dim light on auto mode, rear camera shots lack dynamic range with huge swathes of black lacking detail. The provided Night mode salvages some amount of detail but aren’t the best examples on test.
To be fair, the cameras are adequate for its intended price range with sufficient quality for social media use and the odd ad hoc TikTok video but those who prioritise camera quality should consider other options.
Should you buy the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S in Malaysia stands out from the entry level crowd on account of a slew of quality features that would typically be doled out piecemeal.
For your money, you’re getting fast 33W charging, IP53 water resistance, stereo speakers, a triple card storage slot, a vibrant AMOLED display and a 3.5mm audio jack which makes it all the more enticing.
If you can live with the average cameras and unremarkable 60Hz screen refresh rate, the Redmi Note 10S is a well-rounded and affordable choice of a phone with plenty of value and deserving of a Value Buy award.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 review unit courtesy of Xiaomi Malaysia. For more details check out https://www.mi.com/my/product/redmi-note-10s/overview
Redmi Note 10S Review
Redmi Note 10S
The Redmi Note 10S proves to be a surprisingly value-packed workhorse phone with an AMOLED display, expandable storage, a huge battery and a solid set of specifications for its weight class. Save for the lack of 5G, the Redmi Note 10S is a solid bargain for what you pay for.
Has expandable memory
Retains a 3.5mm audio jack
Vibrant AMOLED display
Fast 33W charging
Display capped at 60Hz refresh rate
Finish is a fingerprint magnet