Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: When great becomes greater

A balanced phone that’s made for everyone



Xiaomi launched the most-awaited Redmi Note 10 Pro Max a few weeks ago in India and it’s now available in many other markets across the world.

The Redmi Note series has been a best-seller for the last couple of years. It has played a pivotal role in getting Xiaomi to the number one position in a competitive market like India. It has also cultivated a solid reputation as a brand, and despite numerous anti-China waves, Xiaomi has remained unaffected.

India is a very price-sensitive market that genuinely testes a company’s supply chain. In fact, phone makers started including a case and screen guard with their phones because the buyer saw immense value in a pre-boxed accessories. This practice was largely unheard of in the West and has only recently gained prominence thanks to Chinese phone makers.

My point is, even a hundred rupee difference, which translates to US$ 1.38, is enough to change the buyers’ minds. The Redmi Note 9 Pro series was a near-perfect phone that quenched our thirst for new phones amid the pandemic. Now, Xiaomi is expected to out-do itself. A cycle it has been through many times, always coming out more powerful than ever.

Does the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max continue the legacy? The phone is INR 2,500 (US$ 35) pricier than the predecessor, slightly venturing out in the midrange segment. Is the base price hike worth it? And Xiaomi’s Mi 10i isn’t far away either. Can the new gadget match its expectations? Let’s find out.

It has a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate

The camera bump is massive due to the bigger sensor

But the phone is thinner and has a very premium aesthetic

The attention to detail is closer than usual. And, you can feel the difference in your hands.

The Note series has never looked so beautiful

The new design language is called Evol, and the first thing you’ll notice about the phone is its weight. Despite a massive battery, Xiaomi has managed to cut down the phone’s weight by a whopping 17 grams. And, the phone is also thinner, coming in at 8.1mm instead of 8.8mm. We don’t usually consider numbers in our reviews because they can’t convey the real experience. I’ll make an exception here because the compactness really does change the experience.

When the Note series made its debut, the phones were larger than the usual norm. Now, we’re going slightly in the opposite direction, but in a good way. I got the Vintage Bronze variant, and it has a matte finish on the rear. The Dark Night option is the only one to get a glossy back. I personally prefer the black variant, but there’s no doubt that the golden phone looks very enticing.

The camera bump tries to be the main focal point of the phone, and Xiaomi wants you to fall in love with it. And we don’t blame them. The cameras are one of the phone’s prime features and easily attract attention.

One of my favorite phone elements is the subtle cavity that the back offers to the volume rockers and the fingerprint scanner. It looks very pleasing and adds a touch that’s rarely found in this price segment.

The front and back of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max are protected by Gorilla Glass 5 but the phone isn’t made of metal. The chassis is plastic, and it does an excellent job of trying to be aluminum. Considering the price, I’m not going to crib about a polycarbonate construction. It’s one of the best ways to cut costs, and the end experience remains unhindered.

Streaming, gaming, or reading on an AMOLED display

No matter how good an LCD panel is, you’ll always want an AMOLED. The blacks created by the latter are far more superior and feel natural. The color production is on point, and looking into the screen is always a feast. The best part is, it has a 120Hz refresh rate.

The phone is kept on 60Hz by default, and you can change this from the settings menu. Most importantly, the peak brightness is excellent, and you can see the tiniest of details under direct sunlight. This is a crucial requirement in a hot and sunny country like India, where summers can cross 40 degrees. The phone also gets an IP52 rating for water and dust resistance. So, you’re sorted for the monsoon season as well.

Along with support for HDR10, the display’s color can also be customized as per your liking, ranging from very natural tones to richer, more saturated hues. The punch-hole cut-out is tiny and never distracts you. My key takeaway is, there’s nothing to complain about in the display department, and it’ll be perfect for all types of use.

But… can it game?

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 732G processor, a top mid-range 4G processor from Qualcomm. Made on the 8nm process, it also powers the POCO X3. It’s more than enough to handle day-to-day tasks, multiple apps, and intensive work.

However, it starts lagging when you throw heavy games like Call of Duty: Mobile. You can feel the phone is struggling to keep up. Genshin Impact was an underwhelming experience, and frame drops are often too common. Considering the on-paper specifications of the phone, I’m confident there’s a lot of space for software-based optimization.

My unit had 8GB RAM, which is supposed to be sufficient. But I did notice something weird — RAM management is unpredictable.

Some heavy apps are loaded without any effort, but basic apps like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter would often require a fresh start. This can get annoying when you’re in the middle of a workday, and the phone struggles to keep up with basic tasks.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a fairly isolated phenomenon, but it does happen at least a handful of times during the day. Again, I’m sure future OTA updates can fix this, and I hope Xiaomi’s working on it at full throttle.

In a nutshell, I wouldn’t recommend this phone to a hardcore gamer. It can game, but you shouldn’t push it to its limits. Smaller games like Pokemon Go, Zombie Gunship, Alto’s Adventure, and Subway Surfers are extremely smooth and never-ending.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max runs on MIUI 12 based on Android 11 out-of-the-box and is filled to the brim with customizations. A lot has been said about the skin and whether you like it or not is a very subjective choice. Although, I did notice lesser notifications from adware like GetApps. The overall experience is far cleaner than before but not as clean as stock Android.

I know this is a flawed comparison, but my point is, Xiaomi is consistently trying to improve the overall experience, and they’re succeeding at it in a way. Bloatware is extremely common now, and instead of marking it as a con, I’d just wish it’s in a controlled manner that doesn’t entirely damage the end-experience.

Is the 108-megapixel camera a gimmick?

Phone makers are in a race to achieve the highest number. Whether it’s the processor benchmarks, camera megapixels, screen-to-body ratio, or even the number of cameras a phone has. In this ongoing race, it’s natural to feel cheated or manipulated. So, how does the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max perform?

Before we proceed, it’s worth pointing out that this phone has a Samsung ISOCELL HM2 sensor, which isn’t the same as the ones found on flagship phones. However, this barely stops the camera from taking stunning images that feel as if they’re indeed from a flagship phone. Thanks to 9-to-1 pixel binning, each pixel is significantly large at 2.1µm.

Pictures during the day are detailed, well saturated, and the auto-exposure is accurate. You may lose some details in varied lighting situations, but this is rarely visible. It tends to struggle slightly in a low-light environment, but that’s expected and isn’t too severe. You can easily zoom up to 2x without any considerable loss, and anything further isn’t recommended. Though, you can just shift to the 108MP mode and collect a lot more information. Honestly, I wouldn’t say the massive megapixels are a gimmick here because it does offer something that nobody else does at this price point.

The wide-angle lens is pretty standard and gets the job done, but it could’ve been better.

Primarily, the pictures often look faded and lack saturation.

And, there’s no dedicated night mode option. So, you’ll be able to use it only during the day.

Surprisingly, the 5-megapixel macro lens gets the most attention on this phone. Xiaomi has finally added a decent sensor that genuinely clicks good pictures and isn’t just sitting there to be a brochure feature. It even offers 2x zoom, and the results are gratifying.

Xiaomi has packed a lot of soft-features like AI Sky Replacement, Clone, and Pro Video modes for casual users. And for the pro-user, there’s the ultimate pro mode. Overall, I can say this phone is Pro Max about photography.

Lastly, can it last a full day on a single charge?

Yes, it can. The AMOLED display really helps push battery life, and you can get even more if you switch to 60Hz. At 120Hz, I’d regularly get a screen-on-time of at least six hours with moderate or usual usage. Go hard on it, and it’ll still last five and a half hours. It managed to get me through the weekdays without having to worry about an electric socket.

The 5020mAh battery takes a little more than an hour to charge fully. 33W fast charging is supported, and the phone ships along with the charging brick. There are better options available, but practically, this is sufficient for pretty much most users.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The answer is simple. Yes. If you’re looking for a phone that can click excellent pictures, work non-stop during the weekdays, entertain you on-the-go, and have a sleek and elegant design, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is for you. The Note series was always about making balanced phones that can do anything, and this phone continues that legacy.

It’s actually a crazy phone because who else is providing a 120Hz AMOLED display, a 108-megapixel camera, and top-notch design for a starting price of INR 19,999 (US$ 275)? Nobody. I don’t suggest this phone to gamers because it has a slightly inferior processor, which may constrain you in the future. But that shouldn’t be an issue for most because if you’re looking for gaming specifically, the market is filled with options. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max was designed for a wider audience.


Airtel starts 5G trials in India, shows off 1Gbps speed

Commercial availability still a year away, though



India is yet to roll out 5G services, but there’s finally some good news. Airtel has kicked off its 5G trial network in Gurugram, Delhi’s neighboring city,  just a little over a month after the government gave its go-ahead to carry out trial runs.

Airtel is testing its 5G network at a speed of over 1Gbps, and the site where the trial is running is operating in the 3500MHz band. According to a report by ET Telecom, Airtel has been allotted the 5G trial spectrum in 3500 MHz, 28 GHz, and 700 MHz.

Rival telcos Jio and VIL (Vodafone-Idea) have been allotted spectrums in the 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz, and 26 GHz bands. State-backed telco MTNL has also received permission to start trials. The runs are being carried out in compliance with the guidelines of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Airtel is currently working with Ericson on the equipment, while other providers include Nokia, Samsung, etc. Jio has announced will be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology. The trails shall go on for six months. Chinese companies like Huawei have long been sidelined.

5G in India

The Indian government is yet to auction the 5G spectrum; hence a commercial roll-out is at least a year away. Earlier in January this year, Airtel claimed that they had become the first telco in India to demonstrate 5G services over a commercial network in Hyderabad. However, these are internal runs.

It noted that in Hyderabad, users were able to download a full-length movie in a matter of seconds on a 5G phone, a demonstration that has underlined the company’s technology capabilities.

The plans to unveil 5G in the country took a backseat due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The industry couldn’t adopt the latest technology quickly as the market was devastated by low tariff wars, pending tax issues, and reducing capex. VIL was barely able to survive bankruptcy, but the debt continues to haunt it.

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Nord CE 5G goes official with Snapdragon 750G, 64MP camera

Enough to take on Xiaomi and realme?



OnePlus has now transformed into a giant itself and aggressively expanding its Nord-branded offering. Designed for the affordable segment, the Nord CE aims to offer a premium experience while maintaining a pocket-friendly price tag.

The Nord CE follows its predecessor’s design language and the Blue Void color option screams OnePlus. It looks quite similar to the Xiaomi Mi A3 but has an elongated vertical camera array on the rear. The phone will be going up against the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, Mi 10i 5G, and realme X7.

It sports a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, Full HD+ resolution, and a punch-hole cut-out. The body is made of polycarbonate, and there’s an in-display fingerprint scanner for authentication. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 750G processor with up to 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. Unfortunately, there’s no SD card slot for memory expansion.

On the rear is a triple camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. For selfies, there is a 16-megapixel shooter located within the cut-out. Further, it comes preloaded with Nightscape, UltraShot HDR, Portrait, Panorama, Pro mode, and Smart Scene recognition. Backing these internals is a 4500mAh battery with 30W fast charging.

The Nord CE 5G costs INR 22,999 (US$ 315) for the 6GB + 128GB option, INR 24,999 (US$ 340) for 8GB + 128GB, and INR 27,999 (US$ 382) for 8GB + 256GB. The phone goes on sale on June 16, and color options include Blue Void, Charcoal Ink, and Silver Ray. OnePlus has also listed an offer on its website where buyers will get INR 500 off on OnePlus Buds Z and INR 500 off on the OnePlus Band. The coupons will be added to the buyer’s account after product delivery.

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WhatsApp is suing India’s government over rules that endanger privacy

It’s serious when WhatsApp starts talking about privacy…



It’s hard to imagine a Facebook-backed service talk about defending privacy. The company has a nasty reputation for handling users’ data, and it’s often considered a dystopian internet giant. But Facebook-owned WhatsApp is now suing the Indian government over new rules that endanger user privacy.

In February, the Indian government introduced new guidelines to regulate content on social media and streaming platforms. The new rules give greater power to monitor online activity, including encrypted apps like Signal and Telegram.

To be more precise, the government wants apps like WhatsApp to identify the originator of a message. The content of the message can remain encrypted, but the user should be traceable. The new rules supersede the existing law — the IT Act. Hence, it becomes impossible for the government to enforce traceability without a law.

And, even if the rule is modeled within the existing law, it’ll pose a massive challenge for encrypted apps. Giving up traceability potentially compromises all its users. WhatsApp says traceability of texts would force companies to collect and store billions of messages sent each day for the sole purpose of turning them over to law enforcement.

WhatsApp’s petition asks the High Court to declare that one of the new rules is a violation of privacy under the constitution of India since it requires social media sites to identify the “first originator of information” when asked for it.

The instant messaging app has over 400 million users in India. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Whatsapp were given three months to comply with these rules. Although it’s suing the government, WhatsApp itself has received a lot of criticism due to its recently updated privacy policy.

“Some governments are seeking to force technology companies to find out who sent a particular message on private messaging services. This concept is called ‘traceability’,” said WhatsApp in an online statement. “WhatsApp is committed to doing all we can to protect the privacy of people’s personal messages, which is why we join others in opposing traceability.”

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