Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: The Redmi Note series has evolved considerably over the past few years. With the Redmi Note 5, the company introduced a Pro variant for the first time, and with the 9 series, it added a Pro Max. The 10th iteration of the Redmi Note series continues with this evolution, but the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max gets some substantial upgrades.
The primary reason why you would want to read this review is the camera. Yes, it has a 108MP camera, which is the main highlight. The display too has now upgraded to an AMOLED type, the macro sensor is also much improved and the phone packs stereo speakers and an improved rating for water and dust resistance. But how does all of this translate into daily performance? Here’s my review.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max camera review: What’s good, what’s bad?
Since the focus is on the camera, let me start with that aspect. The 108MP camera is excellent, there’s no doubt that it performs well, even in tricky light situations. Do you really need to shoot every picture in 108MP mode? Probably not, unless you want to zoom into every aspect of the picture and see the details.
For instance, I took a picture of this painting in my house, and in 108MP mode, I could really zoom in and see each person depicted in it in clear detail. This was not possible when shooting in the default mode, where the camera relies on 9-to-1 pixel binning. Still, the photos shot in both modes look good and have sufficient details. The colours are more saturated, but pleasing for most parts.
As I noted in my first impressions, the macro camera is another winner out here. It does the job well and I found I could really zoom into a leaf or flower and capture the texture. Given the price of this phone, I would say the Macro’s performance is exceptional. I also used the Macro camera at night and some of the results were not half bad at all. Even with indoor lighting, the macro does well. One can also record videos in the SuperMacro Mode, and the major issue I had would be with the saturation levels.
In Night Mode, the camera is capable of capturing good details and delivering more than adequate performance. But make sure there is some light source when shooting in night mode and your hand really needs to remain steady. I did see some focusing issues when shooting at night on my roof, but I expected those, given the light wind at the time. Yes, at times the Night Mode does make colours look unnatural, but then that’s the curse of most phones.
The Portrait mode on the phone though it still struggles with edges at times. For instance with my 10-month-old, even when I did manage to get him to sit still, the Portrait shots were not so great.
Coming to the video recording on the phone, I would say this aspect of the phone still needs improvement, especially when recording video indoors. Videos shot outside have an excellent quality and look crisp.
The main issue I had on the video front would be for videos shot indoors, which are so saturated, the colours look very obviously wrong. Again, in the few videos, I shot of my son, his skin tone was off. Even in the videos of his toys, the colours are too rich, and some of the playmats appear red in colour, when they are in fact orange.
This indoor colour saturation issue is also there when I take photos inside and get too close to the subject. This aspect might need some software fixes. And no, the AI mode or HDR was not on when shooting these videos.
The selfie camera is 16MP and it delivers quite good photos. Yes, the skin appears a little too smooth, and my hair has never looked so rich and black, but it should keep most selfie buffs happy.
Overall, my main feedback on the camera is that yes, it is quite good and that the 108MP camera might prove useful in many situations. The macro is more than adequate and there are plenty of features to get the most out of the camera. But colours, especially in the videos are too saturated at times and need to be toned down.
Check out all the photos, and video in this Flickr album. These are un-cropped, unlike the ones uploaded in this article. Click on the photo below
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: Design, Display
The phone has what Xiaomi calls the ‘Evol’ design. While it looks premium and I like the minimal Redmi branding at the back, one major flaw is the camera and how much it juts out. The end result is the device never sits flat on its back. Once or twice, it almost slipped from my tiny work-from-home table. What adds to the slipperiness is the glossy finish all around. Yes, the device looks premium, but get a case on this immediately to protect it from any possible harm.
The device does maintain a slim profile, despite the 5020 mAh battery. The display is 6.67-inch full HD+ resolution and this is now an AMOLED screen with a 120 Hz refresh rate. Unless you are one of those who are obsessed with specifications, the 60 Hz refresh rate should be good enough. In fact, I only switched to the higher refresh rate later on. The display works well, no matter the lighting conditions. Even in bright sunlight, it is legible and you should have no trouble using it.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: Performance, battery
The phone now runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G processor coupled with 6GB or 8GB RAM and 64GB or 128GB storage. I have the 6+128 version for review. It has two dedicated SIM slots and a dedicated microSD slot as well. In my week-long use, the performance of the phone was not an issue at all. I played games like Dead Effect, Asphalt 9: Legends, Mars, Alto’s Adventure and the phone handled all of these smoothly. For Asphalt and Dead Effect, I switched to the highest display settings, and the games ran fine.
Other daily usage is not a problem either. There were no issues when switching between apps, browsing through WhatsApp messages or doing video calls on the app or keeping multiple tabs open on Chrome. In my daily usage, I didn’t see any lag or stuttering, which was not even expected given Redmi has managed to perfect the performance of its Note devices for quite some time now. But the device got warm on the top part, near the camera when I was gaming for a longer period.
The phone runs Android 11 based on MIUI 12. The good news is that with MIUI 12.5 users will have the option of uninstalling all pre-loaded apps, even the ones from Xiaomi, which some users will appreciate. It certainly will put more choice in the hands of users, which is good to see.
The audio quality on the device is also impressive for most parts. Whether you are watching shows on Netflix or just put the Spotify playlist on, the phone’s audio is loud and pleasing enough, even with the volume levels at the half.
The battery on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is 5020 mAh, and it will last more than a day with heavy-duty to moderate usage. I found it went from under 20 to 100 per cent in just over an hour with the in-box 33W charger.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: Who should buy it?
If you think it is time to throw your Redmi Note 9 Pro Max or even the more humble-specced Redmi Note 9 into a dustbin, I’d say hold on. In fact, someone is using a Redmi Note 9 in my house, and it still performs very well with that 48MP camera. For those using the Note 9 Pro Max, that phone is still an excellent device.
If you are on an older device, such as the Note 8 or Note 7 series or even older, it might well be time to upgrade. For those who have been in the market for a new phone and want the top of line specifications under Rs 20,000, this phone is certainly an option that will not disappoint.
If your budget is around Rs 16,000, it might be more prudent to get the Pro version, which has a 64MP camera, and the same processor and battery, and display. There’s no need to stretch your budget just to get the higher camera. But for those with a flexible budget, this is certainly one of the best phones to get at this price.