Reviews

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro review: By two different Pro users

Two different nations, one phone

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2020 has been flooded by smartphones of all kinds — budget, midrange, premium flagships, flagship killers, you name ’em. But what makes the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro a new breed of its own? Well, aside from the fact that it packs the flagship-tier Snapdragon 865 chipset and a great amount of fast internals, it costs less than both a flagship and a “flagship killer”.

Some (or most) might know that GadgetMatch has writers from different parts of the globe. In this review, Vincenz, our Creative Producer from the Philippines, and Shivam, our India Correspondent, went all out in testing and making the Mi 10T Pro their daily smartphone for more than two months. It’s safe to say that both users maximized the usage of this phone.

To make this experience more reliable, both users also tried last year’s predecessors: Vincenz with his Xiaomi Mi 9T and Mi 9T Pro reviews, while Shivam with the Indian variant Redmi K20 and K20 Pro.

Without further a do, let’s hear what they have to say about Xiaomi’s latest Mi-T series phone.

How does the Mi 10T Pro feel in hand?

Shivam: The first thing you’ll notice about the phone is its weight, and at 218gms, it does feel like you’re holding a brick. The 108-megapixel sensor requires a lot of space and it’s evident with the massive bump. You’d often get tired while playing intensive games like PUBG Mobile, but thankfully the rounded corners and slightly curved edges provide some grip.

It’s also quite obvious that Xiaomi has tried to cut corners in the design department. The back of the phone does feel a little flimsy, but that’s visible only if you try to find the spot. As a flagship, in-hand feel is the only department where the phone feels underwhelming.

Vincenz: My first time holding it reminded me of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite I reviewed months ago because of its thickness and heft. With all the 2020 smartphones I reviewed, this one is just a tad heavier and thicker for my liking.

The comfortable “hand-feeling” isn’t as great as when I held the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the vivo V20 Pro, but this is better than the super slim and lightweight form of the Galaxy S20+ which felt so fragile as it might slip out of my hand any time.

However, in a country where you have to remain vigilant about pickpockets, that added heft is a good factor to know that you have your phone safe in your pocket.

Any rants about its design?

Vincenz: Two things: First, I don’t like how they added another circle just to make it “symmetrical” — which can fool a lot of consumers into thinking it has four cameras and a flash module.  Second, I’m not a fan of that glass back.

Again, based from my review experience, vivo’s V20 Pro has a matte glass back which looks and feels nice. It also lessens those icky fingerprint smears whenever you use it with bare hands. Not good when little kids (cousins, niece, or nephews) are around and they want to play with your phone.

Slapping on a good case would be handy but it would make the phone even thicker. Other than those two concerns, the Mi 10T Pro is still  good-looking.

Shivam: When I saw the phone for the first time, it reminded me of the Mi A3. It was a classic Android One phone that focused on software and incorporated decent hardware. The back of the Mi 10T Pro looks very similar to the two-year-old phone. A simple glass slab on a greyish metal surface. We’re habituated with new designs from Xiaomi, so this one seemed monotonous.

And like all glass phones, this one is prone to fingerprints and smudges. No matter how much you try, the back will always remain blemished. The sides of the camera module also attract a lot of dirt and gunk that can get difficult to remove. Lastly, the weight and glass back make the phone very slippery, in turn, also delicate. As Vincenz said, you can always opt for a case, but that’ll just add more weight and thickness.

Would you rather: Pick last year’s AMOLED display vs IPS-LCD as long as you keep that fast refresh rate?

Shivam: I feel Xiaomi did the perfect thing by ditching an AMOLED display. The phone has a massive edge in terms of pricing and that’s achievable due to these changes. And, the step-back doesn’t hinder the day-to-day experience.

While there’s no doubt that an LCD display can never produce the blacks or contrast like an AMOLED one, the Mi 10T Pro’s panel has very bright and saturated colors, excellent contrast, and decent viewing angles. I’ve always preferred an AMOLED display personally, but I shifted to this phone for two months without feeling unsatisfied.

Once you use a 144Hz phone, going back to a standard 60Hz display is going to be challenging. The smoothness is very easily evident and you’ll notice it more if you read long PDFs or multitask too often. As a work partner, the refresh rate does bring a consistent flow that’s certainly addictive. In a nutshell, yes, I’m totally fine with an LCD display as long as it’s top-notch and brings higher refresh rates!

Vincenz: Kind of a tough question for me. I’m a creative so I want the best possible display in most (if not all) of the devices I use. I’d still pick the Mi 9T Pro’s AMOLED display because I want those deep blacks plus better colors and contrast for my viewing pleasure. In this country where sun rays and air pollution are harsh, going outside means your screen should be visible enough for use. I kind of suffered with the Mi 10T Pro’s IPS-LCD while trying to use this phone in direct sunlight.

Although it has a 144Hz refresh rate, I’ll simply ditch it over a 60Hz AMOLED one because that buttery-smooth experience is only seen when navigating and scrolling but can’t be maximized yet due to limitations of most smartphone games.

Is it great for multimedia use?

Jeon Heejin is a gift from all Gods

Vincenz: Despite not having an AMOLED display, I still enjoy watching on this smartphone. Whether I use Netflix or YouTube, I still love that fullscreen experience with a small hindrance of the punch-hole cutout. If there wasn’t a pandemic, I’m pretty sure most jeepney and bus commuters in Metro Manila would glare and stare at your phone because of how immersive and borderless it looks.

Although I use my AirPods and Galaxy Buds+ more often when watching and listening, that stereo speaker is still commendable and loud enough for those ultra-loud sessions inside your house.

Shivam: This is where you won’t even realize it’s an LCD display (unless you’re in pitch black darkness). Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and all other streaming services look like a treat, and thanks to the massive battery, you never have to worry about juice. The screen is almost bezel-less and even the chin is quite small.

The onboard speaker is loud enough and perfect for conference calls. The microphone is sensitive enough, so if you’re too tired of earbuds after a long day, just shift to the phone. To be honest, I miss the headphone jack. I prefer wired headphones while I’m home and it’s a feature that’s available on all Xiaomi phones in the mid and budget segment, so why not the Mi 10T Pro?

Are you an in-display fingerprint reader-type of guy or are you satisfied with its side-mounted scanner?

Shivam: I was about to say that thanks to an LCD display, they were forced to go for a physical sensor. And, it’s a very good thing. The in-display sensors are slower than traditional ones and I usually can’t operate them due to humid weather (sweaty hands) or greasy hands (DIY projects). The location of the fingerprint scanner is on the right side and you automatically get used to it within a few minutes. Much faster and convenient.

In-display fingerprint scanners were a fantasy for the longest of time. But they’re here now, we’ve used them for well over two years, and none of them are close to replacing an ordinary physical companion. Some things, like the 3.5mm headphone jack, are immortal.

Vincenz: I’m definitely the side-mounted-type of guy. Other than the fact that it’s fast for unlocking (trust me, my experience with In-Display FPs are just that slow), I just like how its ergonomically-placed on the side of the phone. You can even unlock it with wet fingers 💦  (not advisable for super wet conditions since this isn’t IP-rated).

Will the spec-obsessed enjoy its real-world performance? Thoughts on MIUI 12?

Vincenz: I already said in my previous reviews that I’m both an Apple and an Android user. MIUI is loveable for me as it has some of the goodies I love from iOS such as the lack of a separate app drawer and the overall response and feel. MIUI 12 felt more familiar with its new Control Center, yet still flexible and intuitive with its host of UI features, gestures, and other easter eggs hidden in the basket.

I know the pandemic has turned a lot of Filipinos into gamers and streamers. If you’re one of them, consider this phone as a great recommendation. Can you imagine a flagship-grade performance with this beast? Let’s scrap out those pesky spec sheet and benchmarks. I was able to play graphics-intensive games like Asphalt 9, Call of Duty: Mobile (CoDM), PUBG and do multitasking with socials on the side without any slouch.

Shivam: MIUI has come a long way in the last few years and the skin works for everyone. It’s loaded to the brim with day-to-day features and it has found a balance. Unlike Samsung’s Note series, it isn’t very complicated to use, and feature discoverability has improved leaps and bounds. The settings menu has a plethora of micro options that customize your experience at each step. Once you get the phone, just take an hour to browse the settings menu and you’ll be fine.

The flagship processor stands true to its words and works like a charm. The one thing I appreciate the most is, the processor and display work together without a glitch, delivering a pleasing 144Hz experience. Whether it’s basic UI graphics or intensive gaming, the phone can handle anything. The RAM optimization is spot-on and it can store multiple apps for hours in the background seamlessly. While the phone looks boring from the outside, it’s equally interesting and assuring from the inside.

Also, I’d like to point out that India is a very specification-obsessed market and the flagship processor makes it very easy to recommend this phone. Even though you’ll barely see a difference in terms of day-to-day performance between the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765, the psychological satisfaction is enormous.

Did the 5,000mAh battery last you that long?

Shivam: It always lasted more than a day. On a very intense day, it’ll provide screen time of more than nine hours on a single charge. That’s a LOT! And you shouldn’t even be using your phone that much in a day. The phone showed its true capability when I was traveling for a day in low network areas and it still managed to retain 40 percent at 5PM with Google Maps and Spotify switched on.

Vincenz: Hell yeah! Speaking as a hardcore pro user, I was able to last ’til the end of the day with socials, gaming, listening, watching, and even photo-taking. If you’re thinking about buying this phone because of its large battery size, you will not regret your purchase because of its great battery endurance.

What about charging speeds? Are they as fast as advertised?

Charged with the bundled charger and cable

Vincenz: Quick charge is another feature I like with the Mi 10T Pro. Other than the blessing of being equipped with USB-C (I mean new smartphones like this SHOULD be equipped with it), it was able to fill up that monstrous battery for about an hour.

Considering how enormous 5,000mAh is, it’s fast enough to fill up the phone especially if you forgot to charge it and have errands to do outside amid the heaps of crowds in malls and supermarkets hoarding masks, face shields, and grocery items.

Shivam: Due to the pandemic, I almost stopped charging my phone to full. If I’m going out, just a quick 15-minute charge is sufficient for hours of usage. It can fully charge the phone within 75 minutes, which is a very short period. This phone will never keep you hooked to a wall.

How are the 5G speeds? Were you able to use it in your country?

5G Speeds tested in BGC, Taguig

Shivam: India hasn’t rolled out 5G yet, so I couldn’t test one of its prime offerings. We expect a spectrum sale in 2021 and telcos like Jio are optimistic about a 2022 launch. But the country is still far away from commercial-grade roll-out. So, should you be investing in 5G right now? Is this phone slightly future proof?

If you use a phone for three or more years, then this may be future proof for you. That’s assuming 5G rolls out in your circle in the initial phases. Otherwise, there’s no use in particularly buying a 5G phone right now. Oh yes, it’s a completely different scenario if you travel frequently and can leverage 5G in other countries temporarily. 5G connectivity is gradually becoming mainstream and will it hit its peak when the world’s second-largest smartphone market joins in.

Vincenz: There are only a few 5G hotspots in the Philippines. I live in a province near the Metro but we still don’t have any 5G towers around here. But because of the ease in lockdown measures, I was able to go out and test it in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, which is around an hour away from my home. Alabang might be a nearer stop as it only takes 30-minutes to go there but I’m quite unsure with the specifics of the 5G cellsites around the area.

Local 5G speeds may not reach those ultra-fast gbps speeds as other 5G-equipped countries like South Korea and USA, but considering the Philippines has one of the slowest internet connections in the world, this is already an ultimate gift for internet-savvy users especially when you’re outside and you don’t have a fast Wi-Fi connection near you.

Are the rear cameras among the best for its price?

Vincenz: I’ll be direct with this — it’s not THAT bad. It’s just not the best.

Disclaimer: Although being a creative means processing your photos every now and then, the photos below were taken straight out of the camera without any color correction, touch-ups, whatsoever.

To be fair, the cameras taken in the right amount of sunlight look excellent.

Whether that may be a wide, zoomed, or even an ultra-wide shot — they all look great!

But coming from someone who was astounded with the Mi 9T Pro’s excellent cameras, the Mi 10T Pro was kind of a step back. There were inconsistencies here and there. White Balance might not be accurate at times especially in all three sensors as the main sensor produces the best-looking shots and something that’s closer to reality. Of course, that can easily be corrected through post-processing.

But there are other factors that are not fixable through post.

One is the Dynamic Range with blown-out highlights and shadows altogether that can be seen below.

 

Sometimes, AI and HDR don’t even agree with each other.

The first photo of those little munchkins looked delicious but the chicken cheese bomb I captured after looked so bland and less appetizing.

I also have trouble every time I try to focus or zoom on a subject.

Speaking of macro, I just don’t like how the radial blur tries to fake that depth segmentation against the subject. The Mi 9T Pro wasn’t like this when taking zoomed and macro shots. Surprisingly, I experienced the same issue with the V20 Pro and even the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

 

 

For night shots, it gets the job done thanks to AI and the wide aperture in its sensors. Then again, there was a White Balance inconsistency that’s fixable through post.

Considering its price range, don’t really expect it’ll produce stunning night shots since cameras are what sets less expensive phones apart from flagships.

For something you would just post on social media, it wouldn’t really matter. It’s just me being nit-picky about this — and I know some phone users might be like me, too. This also makes room for improvements for a lot of smartphone manufacturers in their future releases.

Shivam: I’d say the cameras do an excellent job during the day but slightly disappoint during low-light or immediate circumstances. The iPhone is often jokingly called the best selfie phone when you’re drunk and that’s because of reliable and quick hardware-software integration. The Mi 10T Pro does click pictures like a flagship, but the experience is slightly different.

The pictures look stunning with accurate colors, balanced contrasts, and precise sharpness.

Don’t get me wrong, the result is very satisfying and if you’re not a photography enthusiast, the drawbacks aren’t glaringly visible. But after using Xiaomi phones for years across different price bands, we’ve come to expect above-average performance from pretty much all of them. So, seeing average results from a flagship is underwhelming.

When clicked in low-light environments, the sensor struggles to capture the shadows, details are missing, and the noise removal algorithm seems to be too aggressive. Although, the night mode works seamlessly and does a much better job of refining the binned image.

One thing that annoyed me the most was the camera app’s capture button. Clicking a picture single-handedly is a herculean task because the heavy phone rests on two fingers and the button would fail to register a click most of the time. Initially, I thought I’m doing something wrong, but with more than two months of usage, it has always been a repeat offender.

What makes this phone so special? It has a 108-megapixel primary camera that can capture a lot of details. If you’re looking for stunning landscapes that have practically unlimited zoom, this phone is for you. I clicked a 108-megapixel image while taking off from Mumbai and the results are quite impressive. The sensor is quick and the stabilization is on-point.

How’s the selfie quality of that single punch-hole camera?

Shivam: This has actually become a very straightforward answer for pretty much all modern phones — it’s good and gets the job done. There’s a 20-megapixel sensor in the punch-hole cut-out and it clicks satisfying images during the day. The software is able to accurately pick up your skin tone and add a smoothening layer that isn’t too aggressive. Obviously, the beauty additions are optional.

Vincenz: I always say I’m not the biggest selfie user but after trying it out, I’m really happy with how my selfies turned out. The smearing or face smoothing isn’t as bad as other phones as I like how there are still full details that can be seen on my face. The depth in portrait mode also produced a clean cutout of my hair.

Portrait Mode OFF | Portrait Mode ON

Other than that, I also like the inclusion of the ultra-wide mode for those groufies with social distancing (in which a National chief police officer and his constituents failed to do so).

Is the Mi 10T Pro Your GadgetMatch?

Vincenz: Michael Josh did not give the GadgetMatch Seal of Approval in his Mi 10T Pro review for no reason. At just PhP 24,990, it’s a no-brainer to recommend the Mi 10T Pro for most users.

If you’re into a great all-around smartphone without breaking the bank, this is a sure recommendation. Equipped with the best specs, a good display with a fast refresh rate, and hosts of features, what more could you ask for? But if you value cameras the most out of those aforementioned factors, look elsewhere.

If you don’t mind the notch and the less-powerful Snapdragon 765G chipset and you prefer a better look and feel, the vivo V20 Pro is also worth considering. It even has great cameras for its price.

Shivam: Yes, the phone is surely recommendable. It tries to cut corners in a lot of places, but that doesn’t end up hampering the end-experience. For a very aggressive price of INR 39,999 (US$ 550), the Mi 10T Pro gets a flagship processor, 144Hz display, a 108-megapixel camera, and a slightly more premium experience. If you’re looking for an all-rounder that can get anything done, this phone is made for you. But, if you’re looking for the most cutting-edge flagship, you’ve come to the wrong place.

The OnePlus 8T is a slightly expensive option but lacks a lot of crucial features that make the Mi 10T Pro special. And, like Vincenz suggested, if you’re fine with a Snapdragon 765G chipset, the vivo V20 Pro is an excellent choice along with the OPPO Reno 4 Pro.

Reviews

realme GT Master Edition: Not a ‘disruptor’

But it’s still a damn good smartphone

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realme GT Master Edition

The realme GT Master Edition is a fine piece of tech. Spending roughly around 10 days with it, I can say it’s a pretty good midranger overall. So, this review is gonna be short and… I was tempted to say sweet, but I don’t think that’s the taste I’ll leave you with.

I’m going to jump right ahead to pricing. It’s always been one of realme’s strengths; offering great value products. That means you get a little more than what you pay for.

I’m gonna slap on the specs here once more so you can reference it as I babble about my time with the phone.

  • Display — 6.43″ AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G
  • RAM — 8GB + up to 5GB DRE (Dynamic RAM Extension)
  • Storage — 128GB and 256GB
  • Battery — 4,300mAh, Dual-cell design, 65W SuperDart charging
  • Rear Cameras — 64MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.3 119° ultra-wide lens, 2MP f/2.4 macro lens
  • Selfie Camera — 32MP
  • OS — Android 11, realme UI 2.0
  • Color Options — Voyager Grey, Daybreak Blue

Price and availability

The realme GT Master Edition comes in two colors — Voyager Grey and Daybreak Blue. And two variants: one in 8GB+128GB and another in 8GB+256GB. Here are the pricing and pre-order details:

Lazada Exclusive 

  • 8+128GB — PhP 18,990
    • September 24 (Whole day flash sale) — PhP 17,490 (PhP 1,500 discount)
  • 8+256 GB — PhP 21,990
    • September 24 (Whole day flash sale) — PhP 19,990 (PhP 2,000 discount)

Offline Pre-Order details:

  • September 24 – October 1 (with free realme Smart Scale)
    • 8+256GB — PhP 21,990
    • Claiming: October 2 & October 3

It’s right around the ballpark of my personal favorite midranger/sub-flagship — the OnePlus Nord 2 — a phone I was generally happy with.

Build quality and design 

I had already expressed my opinion on the realme GT Master Edition’s design in the Unboxing and First Impressions article. TLDR:

  • The concave vegan leather feels great
  • I appreciate the travel/suitcase theme
  • Not particularly fond of the the designer’s signature (I even mulled over slapping TWICE stickers on it but decided otherwise)

I thought the size was perfect at first. Phones like this that have a 6.43” display are typically the ones I feel are in the sweet spot of not too big and not too small. However, after further use, I felt it could have used a little more chunk.

Without the included silicone-ish case, the phone gradually felt tiny in my hands. But I refused to use it with the case because it takes away from that fantastic leather feel. Perhaps they could have added another component or two to add some chunk and heft. Although, that may have pushed the price up which would betray realme’s whole “disrupt” approach.

That said, it’s not entirely unsatisfactory. And how it feels in your hand will vary differently from mine. One thing’s for sure, most people will love the concave vegan leather back. It’s a material rarely seen in this category and realme deserves props for having the balls to include it here.

Bloaty much

One thing I thoroughly disliked about the version of realme UI on the realme GT Master Edition is the incredible amount of bloat on the thing. You know how pre-installed apps take up some of the first home screen and maybe a little bit of the second page of the home screen. Well, this one took over half of the second page. That’s too much.

realme GT Master Edition

Sure, you have staples like Facebook, Messenger, and Netflix installed. But for every single one of those you get crap folders like Hey Fun, Hot Games, and Hot Apps. Yes, you can remove them, but it’s just inconvenient.

Speaking of inconvenient, that’s the only word I can think of to describe the App Market. Yes, it’s the same one found on some OPPO phones. It’s a hassle to have to go to the Google Play Store to install an app, but then have that same app go through the App Market for some security check before you can launch it.

I tried to figure out how to remove that extra App Market layer but eventually lost patience. This might be a minor inconvenience for some, but it is an inconvenience, nevertheless.

realme GT Master Edition

What sucks most is that these weren’t present in previous realme devices we reviewed. The realme UI is relatively clean, so this amount of bloat was a bit of a shock to my system.

Smooth despite the annoyance

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I hated my time with the realme GT Master Edition. Despite the largely annoying additions when you fire up the device, it remains pretty smooth for whatever you want to do with it.

For me, that’s some casual browsing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as mindlessly scrolling on TikTok before bedtime. I didn’t really do any work tasks on it other than using chat apps for coordinating with teammates and external partners.

realme GT Master Edition

STAYC’s “Stereotype” is stuck in my head

Of course, I also snuck in some Netflix time in there for good measure.

realme GT Master Edition

I’ve been busy so I haven’t caught up to Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

Most of my game time was also spent playing Marvel Future Revolution — which is the only other game on mobile I can tolerate other than Call of Duty: Mobile.

realme GT Master Edition

Glad to find another mobile game I can somewhat enjoy

I usually play after having lunch or breakfast to finish a mission plus a few sidequests. That takes about 20-30 minutes. The phone performed admirably while displaying fantastic graphics. It did heat up but nowhere near an alarming point.

It can go up as high as 120Hz for the refresh rate, but my personal recommendation is to stick with the default adaptive setting. This way, the phone will identify the best refresh rate for each app and will help conserve battery life.

realme GT Master Edition

realme UI looks just like ColorOS mildly reskinned

Speaking of battery life, this one’s right around what you would expect as well. It can last up to a day and a half for light to moderate usage, and one day for moderate to heavy usage.

Cameras, image processing is fantastic

Most realme midrangers have pretty good cameras. In fact, I even convinced one of my friends to buy a realme phone simply by showing a few sample photos. The realme GT Master Edition is no different. So I’m gonna do the same thing and just drop some samples here.

Food photos

Portrait

Filters 

Night

Indoors

Zoom 

Daylight

I don’t really have much to say in this section. I’m not the type who over analyzes the photo output. What I do know is that you’ll have a generally pleasant time snapping with the realme GT Master Edition.

It captures a good amount of detail, the image processing isn’t too aggressive, and the zoom performed so much better than I expected. Just be wary about using certain features in low light situations. For example, Portrait mode, that’s best when you have plenty of natural light.

If realme is selling you on this phone’s sheer photography prowess, it has every right to do so. It delivers as advertised.

Is this your GadgetMatch? 

realme GT Master Edition

I wouldn’t call the realme GT Master Edition a disruptor, but it’s certainly one of the best devices in this category. My only real gripe is the bloatware but other than that, it’s pretty excellent considering price and performance.

realme could have taken a few steps to make sure this is a 100 percent easy recommendation. But even as it is now, it’s still a product worth your consideration if you’re in the market for a capable smartphone.

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Reviews

Apple 2021 iPad mini Unboxing and Review

Is this the iPad for you?

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After two years, Apple has finally changed the look of the iPad mini!

Gone are the thick bezels and home button in favor of a trendy fullscreen look a la iPad Pro and iPad Air.

Having a smaller form factor doesn’t mean it’s less powerful. While not as powerful as the M1 iPad Pro, the new iPad mini still has an A15 Bionic that’s similar to the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro series. It surely is a step ahead over last year’s iPad Air.

It may not have the most advanced Face ID system, but Touch ID still lives on — now found on its power button.

But are these features enough to make you buy one? Or do you still want the bigger screen of the iPad Air?

Head over to our 2021 iPad mini review to know which iPad is your GadgetMatch.

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Reviews

Redmi 10 review: Page out of a premium playbook

That 50-megapixel shooter is the saving grace

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Budget phones used to be just budget phones. They used to lack groundbreaking features to make your experience seamless. And you’ll need to shell out a lot of cash just to get a decent phone that actually works. But I was speaking about budget phones from around five years ago.

In 2021, smartphone companies are reinventing what it means to have an entry-level handset. Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi, which has been leading the segment for a few years now, seems to set the course again on a new range of affordable smartphones.

Meet the Redmi 10 — the successor to its popular Redmi 9 — offering premium-like design and smart features but with a price tag that you can easily reach.

Finally looking like its siblings

The Redmi 10 rehashed its looks, looking differently than its predecessor. It employed the same design language found on other Redmi and Xiaomi smartphones, which was a trend started by Samsung — trickling down from its flagship to the more affordable Galaxy A series.

Somehow, it’s working since the Redmi 10 looks sleeker and it can be quite difficult to tell the difference compared to the Redmi Note 10 Pro. And even the Xiaomi 10T Pro. Unless, of course, you’re a tech junkie and a Xiaomi fan. But that’s probably the case when you have the Carbon Gray color option.

Nonetheless, the Redmi 10 in Carbon Gray looks neutral yet sleek with its frosted glass-looking back which is just actually plastic. But it makes up for being lightweight so it doesn’t put a strain on your hands for endless scrolling on TikTok. Just a heads-up, though. Carbon Gray is a smudge-magnet so you need to slap a clear case on — which comes in the box.

Moving to its frame and details, it’s also made of plastic but it comes with sweet, round edges and flat sides. Which I appreciate because the era of curved phones is now in my past.

SIM tray

The left side houses the SIM tray while the volume rockers and the power button doubling as a fingerprint scanner are found on the right.

Power button/fingerprint scanner and volume rockers

Speaking of which, gliding your fingers across the scanner will prompt it to read your fingerprint easily — but it takes a second to boot the phone.

On the top side of the frame, you can find a stereo speaker, IR blaster, and the well-loved 3.5mm audio jack.

On the bottom side are the other loudspeaker and a USB-C port.

Performing quite well for your needs

Let’s talk about the design again, but on the front panel of the phone. The Redmi 10 sports a 6.5-inch IPS LCD panel with 2400×1800 resolution. It’s adorned with thinner bezels equal on all sides except the chin. The punch-hole cutout seems bigger than other smartphones employing the same approach, too.

Despite the front design that clearly indicates it’s still a budget phone, the magic lies behind it. The Redmi 10 comes with the latest MIUI 12.5 based on Android 11. Having said that, you can expect that even if you have an entry-level device, Xiaomi will still supply you with core Android updates.

It also has a 90Hz refresh rate — which seems to be a staple to most smartphones. People are always clamoring about higher refresh rates for their gaming needs, and to be “in”. It also comes with AdaptiveSync, which adjusts the refresh rate depending on the content being viewed.

When you watch on Netflix, or if you play online games, AdaptiveSync will adjust accordingly. So you don’t have to worry about the battery life that easily drains when using a higher refresh rate. But then again, the Redmi 10 sports a 5,000mAh battery. It lasted me a day of heavy use and lasted up to three days when I put it on standby.

Although, my only problem would be its max 18W capacity when it comes to “fast” charging. So the 22.5W charging brick included won’t be of any help. It takes more than an hour to fill the juice, making it your cue to detach from your phone for a little while.

The dealbreakers

I only played Mobile Legends: Bang Bang on the Redmi 10 since it’s the only mobile game I play right now. I put it into the highest settings possible, in which case it performed decently.

However, I experienced the same type of drag I had when I used the Infinix Note 10 Pro. There was a noticeable delay — which lasts for one to two seconds — when toggling buttons and switching scenes inside the game. The delay still occurs even if you change to the lowest setting possible.

I’m starting to think that it’s a similar theme for budget phones, but it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker especially when you consistently play in the budget segment.

And even with a Helio G88 processor, the phone heats up a little while you’re playing mid-game. Nonetheless, it still performs decently as expected out of an entry-level handset. To expect more from it is just asking too much — there’s a Redmi Note 10 Pro if you want better performance at an easily reachable price tag.

The Redmi 10 comes in various configurations depending on your country: 4GB/64GB, 4GB/128GB, and 6GB/128GB. It has expandable storage through a dedicated microSD card slot.

What worries me is that the internal storage uses an eMMC 5.1 chip, not the UFS. So the reading and writing of data is slower and might wear out over time. Translation: slowed down performance after considerable updates.

So if you’re thinking of multitasking and using this phone for work, I’d advise you not to. Use it casually so you can make it last longer.

Specs

Processor

MediaTek Helio G88

Configuration

4GB/64GB, 4GB/128GB, and 6GB/128GB

Battery

5000mAh + 18W charging

OS

Android 11, MIUI 12.5

Front camera

8MP

Rear camera

50MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP

Display

6.5” FHD+ IPS LCD

90Hz refresh rate

2460×1080 resolution

Dimension

162 x 75.5 x 8.9 mm

50-megapixel goodness?

It’s rare for an entry-level smartphone to have a high megapixel count. In a way, the Redmi 10 is raising the bar for smartphones in the budget segment. After all, it delivers a quad-camera system: a 50-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro shooter, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front, it has an 8-megapixel selfie shooter.

For most people, this kind of camera setup works. So we took a few samples to see if the Redmi 10 can cover the bases.

For regular shots, the Redmi 10 takes decent captures both indoors and outdoors. As long as it comes with sufficient lighting. When taking backlit shots, the Redmi 10 doesn’t post-process and keeps shadows dark.

When using the ultra wide-angle lens, the Redmi 10 struggles with exposure and highlights both day and night.

Food photos aren’t tasty-looking due to their lack of vibrance, even if you use the AI Cam. To make it look even more appetizing, I used the 2X optical zoom to capture more details and take better flat lays.

Cutouts are okay whether auto shots at night or even the portrait mode. Except photos don’t look as detailed as they should.

The same goes for shots taken at night using auto mode and night mode.

Of course, we took samples using the 50-megapixel shooter. It did well during daytime shots, retaining as many details as it can but compromises when it comes to color accuracy. At night, on the other hand, still struggles with exposure and highlights — a noticeable flaw for a supposedly great quad-camera system.

Moving on to selfies, its 8-megapixel front shooter pads a slight beautification to its photos even if you turn off its beauty mode. Color balance also varies depending on the lighting condition.

In a way, it delivers how it’s supposed to. If anything, a filter wouldn’t hurt if you want to correct the color balance of the photos. There are built-in presets, but you can never go wrong with Instagram filters!

Is this your BudgetMatch?

There are things to love about the Redmi 10, and there are things that might raise some red flags. Depending on your needs, the Redmi 10 can cover the base and perform decently as expected of an entry-level smartphone. It’s got a sleeker look, a 50-megapixel shooter that you can show off, a 90Hz refresh rate — all at an affordable price tag.

But if you’re asking for it to do more, then you’re way better off choosing something else. For nearly the same price, there’s the POCO M3. For those who need better performance for all-around use, add a few more bucks and you can get the Redmi Note 10 Pro.

On another note, the realme 8 5G is also a good alternative granted you can increase your budget by a tad. It has similar features — a 90Hz refresh rate, same display and panel, same battery, and charging capability. But more importantly, it has 5G connectivity which helps for future-proofing.

Frankly, the Redmi 9T appears so much better it feels like this one’s a downgrade. The only salvation for the Redmi 10 is that it’s got a better look, smarter features, and it has a 50-megapixel shooter compared to the alternatives mentioned.

If all your needs are covered, then this could be your BudgetMatch. But to most people, the Redmi 10 falls short especially when it comes to that eMMC 5.1 storage — when most smartphones are using UFS already.

The Redmi 10 retails for PhP 7,590 for the 4GB+64GB variant, and PhP 8,590 for the 6GB+128GB variant. It comes in three colors: Carbon Gray, Pebble White, Sea Blue. It’s available for purchase at Xiaomi’s official stores and authorized retailers.

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