Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 10 lineup seemed pretty straightforward when it was released in March of this year. None of the announced Redmi Note 10 series smartphones featured 5G, which made sense, as the news about 5G networks going on air wasn’t conclusive. Six months later, things haven’t changed much. We are still waiting for an operator to confirm when the first 5G network will be operational. However, we are starting to see more affordable 5G smartphones, such as Realme’s Narzo 30 5G, Narzo 30 Pro 5G (Review) and Poco’s M3 Pro 5G, enter the market.
Now Xiaomi has decided to launch its own low-cost 5G smartphone. Although the new Redmi Note 10T is a bit late for gaming, a closer look at the specs also reveals that there is little difference in it when compared to the existing competition. Another important detail for Note here is that the starting price of Rs 13,999 no longer applies, and the device now costs from Rs. 14,499.
After using it for a week, I found the Redmi Note 10T to be a decent entry-level 5G smartphone, but as with all the budget 5G devices we’ve seen so far, it falls short in some areas.
Redmi Note 10T 5G price and variants
The Redmi Note 10T 5G is available in two variants of RAM and storage. The first one has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage and costs Rs. 14,499. The second variant offers 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and costs Rs. 16,499. Both variants are available in four finishes: Chrome White, Graphite Black, Metallic Blue and Mint Green.
Redmi Note 10T 5G Design
My review unit came in Mint Green, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and was good at resisting fingerprints and smudges. The frame of the Redmi Note 10T 5G is made of plastic, while the back panel is made of polycarbonate. The design looks elegant and feels like it fits in with the rest of the Redmi Note 10 lineup.
However, it doesn’t have the premium weight and feel of a glass back like the rest of the Note 10 series. The polycarbonate back panel picks up smudges and dust within minutes of using it. Stains cannot be removed easily due to the matte finish.
The 3.5mm headphone jack, infrared emitter and secondary microphone are located on top. The main microphone, USB Type-C port and single speaker are at the bottom. The left side is practically clean with just the SIM tray, while the right side has the volume control and the on/off button, which has a built-in fingerprint reader.
Redmi Note 10T 5G Specifications and Software
The Redmi Note 10T 5G uses the MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor, which has an integrated 5G modem. This seems to be the preferred processor for cheap 5G smartphones in this price range, because competitors like the Realme Narzo 30 5G and the Poco M3 Pro 5G also use it. The Redmi Note 10T offers up to 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM and up to 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage. Communication standards include dual-band Wi-Fi ac, FM Radio, Bluetooth 5.1, support for multiple 5G bands (SA: N1, N3, N40, N77, N78 | NSA: N78) and 5G dual standby. The dual-SIM hybrid tray can support a microSD card of up to 1TB at the cost of a second SIM. The phone has a 5000mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging.
Xiaomi’s MIUI 12.0.3 runs the show with Android 11 as the base. The software ran perfectly on my review unit, despite having only 4GB of RAM, but some of the transparency effects, such as the suspended notifications tray, seemed to have been turned off. Apps opened and closed instantly, and multitasking was a breeze, with no sign of lag or intermittent animation.
MIUI 12.0.3 has many preloaded Xiaomi-branded apps, as well as third-party apps like Amazon, Facebook, Prime Video and LinkedIn. They can be uninstalled if not needed. The notifications from the Wallpaper Carousel, Themes app, and GetApps bothered me a little, until I turned them off in the settings.
Redmi Note 10T 5G performance and battery life
The 6.5-inch full-HD + LCD was sharp and had good viewing angles. It was bright enough to be visible in direct sunlight. I missed stereo speakers, which would have contributed to a more immersive gaming and video streaming experience.
In terms of benchmarks, the Redmi Note 10T 5G achieved an AnTuTu score below the average of 2.39964. However, with the rest of the benchmark tests, performance was on par with other phones powered by the same SoC. The Redmi Note 10T scored 555 and 1698 in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests, respectively.
My user experience was very fluid and the game performance remained high, but with some hiccups. The phone did not warm up during game sessions. Call of Duty: Mobile ran smoothly with medium graphics and high frame rate. Touch response was also accurate. On the other hand, Asphalt 9: Legends did not work perfectly in the default graphics configuration (named Default). I found noticeable stuttering during gameplay and some lag when there was a lot of action in the scene. Changing graphics quality to Performance reduced stuttering by a large margin.
With a 5,000mAh battery and a 7nm processor I didnt expect any battery issues, and the Redmi Note 10T 5G lived up to those expectations. With an hour of gaming and streaming video, a few calls, lots of WhatsApp messages, Slack, and two active email accounts, I was left with 60 percent power at the end of a day at work. This phone has solid performance when it comes to battery life. Our HD video battery loop test didn’t disappoint either, with the phone lasting 17 hours and 8 minutes.
Loading was a little slow. A 22.5W charger is provided in the box, but this phone has an 18W limit. At this rate, the Redmi Note 10T 5G has managed to get up to 25 percent in 30 minutes and 50 percent in an hour. It was fully charged in 2 hours and 21 minutes. Although it is on the same level as the competition, it is quite slow compared to 4G smartphones at the same price level, many of which support 30 or 33W charging.
Redmi Note 10T 5G Cameras
The Redmi Note 10T 5G has a triple rear camera configuration, which is very similar to what competing smartphones offer. There is a 48 megapixel primary camera, a 2 megapixel macro camera and a 2 megapixel depth sensor that is only used when portrait mode is activated. Selfie tasks are done by an 8 megapixel camera.
In comparison, Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 10, which has a lower price, offers more variety with an additional 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and the Realme Narzo 30 5G offers a slightly better 16-megapixel selfie camera. The camera’s interface is intuitive and easy to use, with all the important controls just a touch away.
Photos taken in daylight were clear and saturated, but also overexposed. The level of detail fell short of expectations, with the primary camera showing flat textures even in well-lit scenes. The sharpness has decreased towards the edges of each frame. The dynamic range was decent at best, but the sheer lack of detail meant that the darkest areas of the scenes looked blurry.
Portrait photos taken with the rear camera are much sharper, with better colors, good detail and good edge detection. The selfie camera produced mixed results. In unfavorable lighting, such as when shooting against a window, there was some abnormal noise in darker areas of the frame. Outdoor selfies were brighter but looked almost entirely flat. Switching to Portrait mode took care of the noise and produced slightly better results with better contrast, but the backgrounds were overexposed.
Macro shots were saturated with abnormal color tones when compared to the real scene. Even a photo of the same subject taken with the main camera looked much sharper and was more usable when cropped.
The camera’s performance in low light was also very poor. The detail level dropped in Auto mode and got even worse in Night mode. Selfies in low light came out quite flat with below average detail. Portrait mode has improved contrast and the software has added a sense of depth to your photos.
Just like the competition, video recording on the Redmi Note 10T 5G peaks at 1080p 30fps. Although the videos came out well stabilized with good dynamic range, they lacked sharpness. Videos shot in low light looked blurry and the noise level increased the second I pointed the camera at an object with limited lighting.
As many cheap smartphones fall short in some areas, your decision to invest in an affordable 5G smartphone will depend primarily on the brand you choose and the software you prefer. The Redmi Note 10T 5G, Realme Narzo 30 5G (review) and Poco M3 Pro 5G (review) feature similar hardware at similar prices.
If 5G is essential for your smartphone’s next update, choose one of these three. Remember that Redmi 10T 5G camera performance is slightly below average and its price is slightly higher, Rs. 14,499. The Realme Narzo 30 5G, for additional Rs. 1,500, you get a slightly better 16-megapixel selfie camera, as well as 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The Poco M3 Pro 5G sells for a slightly lower price of Rs 13,999 for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant.
If you’re okay with a 4G smartphone then there are plenty of options with much better hardware and features like Super AMOLED screens, stereo speakers, better build quality, dust and water protection and faster charging, especially from the 4G stable itself from Xiaomi Devices Redmi Note 10.