India

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: When great becomes greater

A balanced phone that’s made for everyone

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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.

India

Samsung Galaxy F22 goes official with 48MP camera, 6000mAh battery

Also gets an AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate

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Galaxy F22

The affordable segment has been a very competitive price segment for the last few years, and its demand is never-ending in the developing markets. Samsung has launched the Galaxy F22 in India, and its unique selling point is a massive battery, quad cameras, and an AMOLED display.

It has a signature Samsung design that we’ve seen on a lot of other F-branded phones. While the looks are conventional, it aims to cover up by offering as many features as possible. Despite intense competition from players like Xiaomi, realme, and vivo, Samsung has managed to hold onto its fort, unbudged.

On the front is a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with HD+ resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate, and a waterdrop notch. The Galaxy F22 is powered by a MediaTek Helio G80 SoC with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. There’s a microSD card slot for storage expansion.

The rear sports a 48-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front features a 13-megapixel selfie camera.

Backing these internals is a 6000mAh battery with 25W fast charging. Although the charging brick included with the phone is rated for 15W only, so you’ll have to buy a faster charger adapter separately. The fingerprint scanner is located on the side for authentication. It ships with Android 11-based One UI 3.1 out-of-the-box.

The Samsung Galaxy F22 is priced at INR 12,499 (US$ 167) for the 64GB+4GB storage and INR 14,499 (US$ 195) for the 128GB+6GB option. It’ll be available in Denim Blue and Denim Black color options, and sales start from July 13. Online sale partner includes Flipkart and Samsung’s in-house online website.

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India

Mi Watch Revolve Active is a premium fitness tracker with 14 days battery

Has more than 100 workout modes

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Mi Watch Revolve Active A

The Mi Watch Revolve was launched last year, and it sits in a comfortable spot — not too expensive, but loaded. Now, the brand’s expanding its offering and bringing in a much more fitness-oriented product dubbed the Mi Watch Revolve Active.

As the name suggests, the watch is designed to keep you outdoors as much as possible. Or in the new normal, as active and fit as possible. It has a far more sturdy build and continues the premium design language.

It has a 1.4-inch AMOLED display with an always-on display, eliminating the need to touch the screen just to view the time or other essential details. In addition, the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and weighs just 32 grams.

The fitness front comes equipped with LifeQ Health algorithm, which analyzes more than 30 key data points like blood oxygen, stress, heart rate, sleep quality, energy levels, calories burned, and more. All these data points are leveraged to process your lifestyle, fitness regime, and overall performance.

Together, these data points deliver more accurate blood oxygen levels (SpO2), sleep cycles, real-time heart rate, stress levels, body’s oxygen consumption (Vo2 Max), and calories burned. In addition, more than 117 workout modes are supported, including triathlons, swimming, HIIT, Boxing, Water sports, and Yoga.

GPS tracking features an Airoha GPS chip that supports GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BDS navigation systems.  Simple operations will be far simpler when you summon Alexa, as the watch supports the voice assistant for reminders, alarms, and other instructions.

The Mi Watch Revolve Active is water-resistant up to 50 meters and comes pre-installed with basic apps like alarm, timer, stopwatch, weather, find my phone, flashlight. It connects to the phone via Xiaomi’s Wear App and has a mini-store for watch faces, which has more than 100 options right now.

Lastly, Xiaomi says the watch can deliver up to 14 days of battery life on a single charge. If you toggle the long battery mode, it can stretch up to 22 days. While these numbers may seem inflated, Xiaomi has an irrefutable history of delivering solid numbers in the real world.

Price and availability:

The Mi Watch Revolve Active is priced at INR 9,999, and sales start from June 25. It’ll be up for purchase via Amazon, Mi.com, and other partner stores. It comes in Beige, Black, and Navy Blue watch case options, with six strap color options, including Black, Blue, Green, White, and Purple.

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India

Mi 11 Lite launches with Snapdragon 732G, triple-rear cameras

The lightest phone to launch in 2021 so far

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The second wave of Coronavirus has eased in India, and the country is gradually opening up. A few brands decided to avoid any new launches amid the raging pandemic, creating a vacuum in an otherwise fast-paced industry. Thankfully, Xiaomi has returned with a new offering, and it’s called the Mi 11 Lite.

The Mi 11 series is designed to offer a more premium experience without making a huge dent in your pocket. It follows the same design language as the Mi 11X but is far more thinner and light. At just 6.8mm thickness and 157g weight, it’s touted to be the lightest phone of 2021 so far.

On the front, its got a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD+ resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate, and Gorilla Glass 5 protection. In addition, to make the phone lighter, Xiaomi incorporated a “flat flexible OLED” and a redesigned circuit board that is 35 percent smaller than conventional ones.

Powering the Mi 11 Lite is a Snapdragon 732G processor with up to 8GB RAM and expandable storage. A side-mounted physical fingerprint scanner is included for authentication, and there are dual speakers with Hi-Res Audio support.

The rear sports a triple camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 5-megapixel telephoto sensor. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera that is housed in a punch-hole cut-out. The software supports AI Beautify, Night mode, Time burst, and much more.

Backing these internals is a 4250mAh battery with 33W fast charging. The brand claims the battery has an endurance rating of more than 100 hours, and the compatible fast charger is bundled along. The Mi 11 Lite is IP53-certified for minor dust and water splashes.

The Mi 11 Lite is priced at INR 21,999 (US$ 300) for the 6GB+128GB option and INR 23,999 (US$ 325) for 8GB+256GB. It’s available in three color options — Jazz Blue, Tuscany Coral, and Vinyl Black. Pre-orders start from June 25, and the sale starts from June 28 via Flipkart, Mi.com, and partner physical stores.

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