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Redmi Note 10S review: solid, but the competition is too strong

Redmi Note 10S review header
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

The Note 10 series from the Chinese manufacturer now consists of four devices, all of which want to offer as much as possible for a fair price. In this article we want to take a close look at the Redmi Note 10S.

For currently around 220 euros, the Note 10S offers, among other things, a high-quality OLED display, a 64 megapixel quad camera, 33 watt fast charge and much more. So on paper, the smartphone is definitely convincing, but you can find out in the following lines whether this is also the case in everyday life and whether this smartphone among the many other devices from the company would have been needed at all.

Haptics, design and processing

Although the Redmi Note 10S is anything but compact with dimensions of 160,5 mm in height and 74,5 mm in width, it can still be operated reasonably well with one hand and is also very comfortable to hold. One reason for the appealing handling is on the one hand the rounded edges on the back, which flow smoothly into the frame, and on the other hand the appealing thickness of 8,3 mm. The weight of just under 179 grams is absolutely okay and overall I'm a big fan of the Note 10S form factor.

I am rather less impressed with the choice of material. In the meantime, it is unfortunately common in the entry-level to mid-range to build both the frame and the back made of plastic with a high-gloss finish. It is the same with the Redmi Note 10S. It doesn't feel particularly high quality, but it definitely doesn't feel cheap either. For the current price of 220 euros, I don't want to complain too much here, because as I said, other smartphones don't do it better either.

Due to the high-gloss optics, fingerprints are almost magically attracted, especially with the gray color I tested. This color is quite subtle, even if it shimmers slightly silver and bluish depending on the incidence of light. Otherwise, customers still have white to choose from and those who like it a little more colorful can also choose the blue color, which even has a slight color gradient. In addition to the color, the camera hill in the left corner is immediately noticeable, which protrudes a little from the housing, causing the smartphone to wobble slightly when it is on the table when operated. Xiaomi installs a total of four sensors, the quality of which we will take a closer look at in a moment.

The front is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and looks little different from many other devices in this price range. Here, too, a huge display dominates, which is only interrupted by a centrally located punch hole. Similar to the current A-series from Samsung, the recess for the front camera is unfortunately not black but gray / silver, which does not bother us at any time, but it looks a bit getting used to. The edges around the screen are pleasantly thin on three out of four sides, only the lower edge of the screen could be a bit thinner, but similar to the choice of material, I don't want to complain too much here either.

The power button bothered me a bit during processing. It is easy to reach and has a solid pressure point, but for my taste the key wobbles a little too much when used. Fortunately, this is not the case with the volume button. Otherwise, the Note 10S makes a well-made impression.

Display - solid OLED panel

Xiaomi relies on a 6,43-inch OLED display, which has a resolution of 2.400 x 1.080 pixels that is sharp enough and supports a refresh rate of 60 Hertz. Many competitors in this price range offer 90 or even 120 Hertz, but then unfortunately it is only an LCD, which is visibly worse in terms of viewing angle stability, color reproduction and contrast values. So I'm glad that the manufacturer opted for an OLED with 60 Hertz instead of an LCD with a higher refresh rate.

Both the color reproduction and the maximum brightness are convincing across the board. I didn't have any major ones even on sunny days ProProblems with the readability and the colors are reproduced beautifully and naturally in the "Standard" mode. If you want it to be significantly more saturated - and I mean really clearly - you can select the "Saturated" color mode in the settings. The viewing angle stability is rather average. Even when tilted slightly, the display turns reddish and a rainbow is formed at extreme viewing angles, which is particularly noticeable on white backgrounds. A OPPO A74 and Realm 8 Pro are a little better here.

Redmi Note 10S viewing angle stability

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G (right) is slightly ahead in terms of viewing angle stability. (Picture: TechnikNews)

The sharpness is actually more than sufficient, no individual pixels can be seen in everyday life, but as soon as you open YouTube and play a video, the panel appears artificially over-sharpened. It may be a software bug, but I really wanted to mention it as I've never seen anything like it before.

Software - MIUI 12.5.6

The in-house user interface MIUI version 12.5.6, based on Android 11, is used as software. The security patch was at the state of May at the time of the test report. MIUI is a heavily customized user interface that has relatively little to do with stock Android. It is quite colorful and in some places much too confusing in my opinion.

There are a number of additional functions, such as "Floating windows": When notifications arrive, they can be pulled down and the app then opens in a small window. You can move this window and make it smaller. There is also an always-on display and a one-hand mode, which is definitely an advantage with such large displays. Unfortunately, some bloatware was initially pre-installed with Netflix, TikTok, eBay, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Booking.com and a number of games. Fortunately, all apps prouninstall without problems.

Software bugs

Unfortunately, I noticed two software bugs in everyday life that still bother me extremely:

  • In the settings, I chose the "Standard" color mode, which reproduces colors much more naturally than the "Saturated" mode. After a few minutes I noticed a bug here. As soon as I put the smartphone into standby and then pressed the power button to activate the screen, the panel often appears completely oversaturated, as if the "Saturated" color mode was activated. However, when I go into the settings, the "Standard" mode is still activated, although the colors are much more saturated than they should be. Fortunately, the colors are reproduced much more naturally as soon as I put the smartphone back into standby and then activate the display using the power button. This ProThe problem bothered me enormously in everyday life, because on the one hand it happened several times a day and on the other hand because I had to switch off the smartphone briefly each time so that the colors corresponded to the "Standard" mode again. On the pictures below you can see the lock screen of the Redmi Note 10S. On the left image the color reproduction is normal, as it should be, and on the right image it is way too oversaturated after going into standby mode:
  • In addition, light gray stripes can be seen every now and then on the lock screen, but they disappear again after about a second. Stripes can also be seen in the so-called "notification effect", which can be selected in the settings (right picture):

Unfortunately, I cannot say whether these bugs are isolated cases or whether other devices are also affected. If other devices are also affected, I hope that Xiaomi will Proproblem will be fixed with future updates.

Performance - (almost) very good

Under the hood is the Helio G95 from MediaTek, which is supported by 6 GB of RAM and either 64 or 128 GB of flash memory. The internal memory can proeasily expanded via a microSD card.

The everyday performance even surprised me positively. Apps start and close quite quickly and larger stutters and delays only rarely occurred during my entire test period. Games also run reasonably well, as long as they are not too complex Protrouble. Here it is most obvious that it is just one Proprocessor for the middle class.

I would have expected a little more from the RAM management, however. Despite the decent 6 GB of RAM, apps in the background close too quickly in my opinion. Xiaomi could possibly improve this with future updates.

Battery - very satisfactory

The battery measures 5.000 mAh and can be fully charged in just under an hour using the 33 watt power supply provided, which is a pretty good value for a smartphone in this price range.

With the battery life, even heavy users should not Prohave problems. I always got through 1,5 days easily and even 2 days were possible every now and then. At the end of the day, with a screen-on-time of 5 to 6,5 hours, I usually still had 40 to 55 Procent battery left.

Camera - too little despite natural color rendering

The manufacturer installs a total of four sensors on the back, which are located at the top left. The camera setup includes a 64 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera and two additional sensors, each with 2 megapixels, which are responsible for macro shots and depth effects. The front camera has a resolution of 16 megapixels.

Redmi Note 10S camera

The quad camera of the Redmi Note 10S. (Picture: TechnikNews)

The Redmi tends to have a very natural, sometimes rather pale color reproduction, which will certainly not appeal to everyone. Personally, I really like the color rendering, even if at first glance images compare to a Realme 8 Pro or Samsung Galaxy A52 seem a bit lifeless. Otherwise, the camera is not really convincing. The sharpness is okay, but every photo taken in my gallery is conspicuous by an artificial sharpening, which no longer looks good, especially on a larger monitor. Furthermore, the Note 10S has some Proproblem with dynamic range. Bright areas, such as the sky or clouds, are often overexposed. I was most disappointed, however, in poorer light conditions. The night mode brings virtually no improvements, which is why the pictures are too dark and especially too blurry. For an RRP of 249 euros I don't expect miracles here, but even for this price the results in low light are very disappointing. The much cheaper Little X3 NFC (for currently around 190 euros) is a step further here.

The ultra wide-angle camera is the usual entry-level to mid-range. In good lighting conditions, it is definitely usable and can also convince with a decent sharpness, although it is also artificially sharpened here. Overall, I find it even slightly better than the ultra wide-angle camera of the Realme 8 Pro, because it is visibly sharper at the edges. But she has to admit defeat to the Poco X3 NFC.

In order to be able to market the camera as a "quad camera", there is space on the back for two inexpensive sensors for macro shots and depth effects that are not useful in everyday life. For macro shots, I recommend using the main camera and then cropping into the image. I liked the front camera a lot better. It takes color-accurate images, the sharpness is impressive and the dynamic range is okay. For the price, it's perfectly satisfactory.

Test photos

Let's take a look at a few test photos. The following images are absolutely unprocessed, but compressed without loss in order to keep loading times and memory consumption of the website low.

Comparison with the Realme 8 Pro and Poco X3 NFC

Last but not least, we want to use the camera in different situations with the Realme 8 Pro and the Poco X3 NFC. You can get the latter for 190 euros and the Realme currently costs 260 euros.

The consistently natural, sometimes somewhat restrained color rendering of the Redmi Note 10S is particularly noticeable. In terms of sharpness, however, the Poco X3 NFC has to admit defeat, even if the Redmi tries to keep up with artificial sharpening. The other smartphones are also a step further in terms of dynamic range, as well as in poorer lighting conditions. The recordings get too dark with the Redmi and quickly start to rustle.

Others - good fingerprint sensor, solid speakers, etc.

I would like to positively highlight the built-in fingerprint sensor on the side, which unlocks the smartphone extremely quickly and reliably. Some smartphones in this price range with a fingerprint sensor in the display cannot quite keep up.

Xiaomi has given the Redmi Note 10S stereo speakers that are loud enough and also sound relatively good up to a certain volume.

Last but not least, I would like to mention the vibration motor. It gives a sufficiently high-quality feeling, at least for currently 220 euros, but sounds a bit annoying, especially when the device is on a table. An OPPO A74 or OnePlus Nord N10 5G are still noticeably worse here, so I am quite satisfied with the vibration motor in the Note 10S.

Summary

The Redmi Note 10S is currently a successful smartphone for 220 euros, which can boast strengths in the display, the performance and the battery life. The rather disappointing camera and the annoying software bugs overshadow the actually solid overall package. If you would like to take photos with your smartphone, you should definitely not use the Note 10S.

Too strong competition

Added to this is the strong competition, which mainly comes from Xiaomi. On the one hand there is a Poco X3 NFC, which has to admit defeat to the Redmi in terms of display and performance, but delivers noticeably better results with the camera and is at least 30 euros cheaper. the Provariant also provides the significantly stronger and future-proof one Proprocessor. There is also the normal Redmi Note 10 and the newly introduced Poco M3 Pro, which cannot keep up in terms of performance, but are definitely worth considering due to the lower prices (currently between 160 and 180 euros). Last but not least, I also want the Realme 8 Pro mention, which is currently offered for about 260 euros. Here, customers get an even better display, 50 watt fast charge, an even better main camera, at least the same good performance and a battery life that is also very satisfactory.

So I don't see any reason to use the Redmi Note 10S at the moment. Xiaomi could have saved itself this device due to the extremely strong competition or could have set the recommended retail price even lower. If it is offered for 190 euros in a few days and you place particular emphasis on battery life, charging time and performance, you can use the Redmi Note 10S. You still have to be aware that there are some other smartphones for this price that are ahead of the curve when it comes to cameras.

We would like to thank Xiaomi Germany for providing the Redmi Note 10S!

Buy Redmi Note 10S

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Fabian Menzel

Fabian has been part of since mid-September 2020 TechnikNews and regularly provides the site with various news, but also with some test reports on smartphones. It's a lot of fun for him and he's extremely grateful to have such a great team at his side. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music and occasionally taking photos with his Huawei P50 Pro.

Fabian has already written 249 articles and left 22 comments.

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Pedro Paiva

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