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Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: packed to the hilt

When Xiaomi announced the new Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, I was intrigued by the combination of top-class specs and affordable price. This year, the company has literally thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the Pro Max model for buyers looking for a loaded device in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment.

Also read: 5 new features the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max brings to the Redmi Note series

While the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max comes with serious upgrades over its predecessor, the lack of 5G stands out considering most competing devices from Realme, OnePlus and even Motorola are offering affordable 5G phones. So, can the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max make up for the lack of 5G with the premium features it offers? Read our review to find out.

Design and display

  • 165.4 x 76.2 x 8.1, 192 grams
  • 6.67-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD+, 120Hz refresh rate, 1200nits brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Xiaomi has adopted a new design language called EVOL for the Redmi Note 10 series. With the Pro Max you get a frosted glass finish, which is a first for the Redmi Note phones. And the difference is noticeable from the moment you hold the phone in the hand. The rounded edges give you a comfortable feel and it is safe to say this is the best looking Redmi Note phone we have used.

This is the first Redmi Note phone to feature the new EVOL design

But the use of glass finishing, especially on the Dark Night variant means you have a glossy panel that is a fingerprint magnet. So, you will probably have to rely on the transparent case that comes in the box. In terms of functionality, the power button sits on the right side and above that you have the volume controls. The headphone jack is placed at the top, while the USB Type-C ports sits at bottom-centre. The fingerprint sensor is built into the power button and gets the job done every time.

The fingerprint sensor on the phone is built into the power button

The premium quotient has been passed on to the screen on the front. The 6.67-inch display gets a Super AMOLED panel, as well as support for a 120Hz refresh rate. This combo is unheard of in this price range, and it is good to see Xiaomi passing on these features to the affordable bracket.

The Super AMOLED display with support for 120Hz refresh rate delivers impressive results

Having these two together makes the screen buttery smooth, and you will find that navigating around different apps, along with gaming feels fluid and glitch-free.

The phone sports a punch hole cut out at the top-center

The punch hole cut out that houses the front camera sits in the middle at the top. Special mention for the in-display notification light on the edge. This is a neat touch for people to know when they get a message, call or mail.

The overall screen quality left us impressed. The colours are bright, text looks crisp and watching videos on this display will be a pleasant experience. The addition of HDR 10 and a 1200nits brightness level makes the screen easily usable in outdoor conditions under bright sunlight. Suffice to say, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max gets full marks on the display front for us.

Cameras

  • Rear: 108-megapixel primary sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, 5-megapixel macro sensor, 2-megapixel depth sensor
  • Front: 16-megapixel wide sensor

Xiaomi has advertised extensively for its 108-megapixel primary camera on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. So we have been waiting to get our hands on the shooters to see if it merits the same adulation. And as it turns out, we were highly impressed with what is on paper as well as the results that you get with the photos.

It features a quad rear camera setup that is neatly tucked in a module that accommodates all the shooters without looking shabby. This includes a 108-megapixel sensor, 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor, 5-megapixel macro sensor and 2-megapixel depth sensor. The main sensor offers advanced features like 108MP mode, Slow motion, Long exposure, Dual Video and Night modes.

The new camera module design accommodates quad rear cameras

As you can see in the samples below, photos clicked in bright outdoor conditions are rich in details, the colours are accurately captured and there is very little to complain about here. You have the option to shoot images in the 108MP mode, but the size of the resulting files will take up a lot of space on the device.

Where the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max really scores for us is its low-light capability. The amount of light offered by the built-in sensor compensates for the lack of light in the surroundings. The macro camera also gets a special mention and is probably the best we have come across in this segment till date. When it comes to selfies, the quality of the 16-megapixel shooter is same as every other Xiaomi phone we have used recently. You get detailed photos in normal light, and even when the light is dim in the vicinity. The beauty mode tones down the smoothened facial texture to give it a natural look.

Performance, software and battery

  • Android 11 with MIUI 12
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G
  • 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB
  • 5020mAh battery, 33W fast charge

If there is one thing that comes across as a middling feature of the Note 10 Pro Max, it is the Snapdragon 732G chipset powering the device. Make no mistake, this is capable hardware that will easily meet your daily needs, and heavy multi-tasking should pose no hiccups. However, unlike the Snapdragon 750G or Snapdragon 765G, this chipset doesn’t come with 5G support.

The reasoning for using a 4G chipset, as per Xiaomi India MD Manu Kumar Jain, is that 5G networks are unlikely to be commercially available in India until 2022 or even 2023, by which time many users will be looking to upgrade their devices. By using a non-5G chipset, and therefore eliminating the need to use 5G antennas, Xiaomi has been able to keep the overall cost of the phone down, while packing it to the hilt with other features.

You can play COD Mobile at high graphics settings with ease

Coming back to the Snapdragon 732G, the processor is no slouch. You can play Call of Duty: Mobile at high graphics settings and with 120Hz, the experience is much smoother than you’d get with other devices in this range. Whether you choose to get the 6GB or 8GB RAM variants, either of those will match most of your performance needs.

The overall setup works absolutely fine, and there was no overheating or lags to report. For storage, you have 128GB internal space that is further expandable using the dedicated microSD card slot. This way, you are able to use two SIM cards and add the memory card to expand the storage further.

The phone uses the tried-and-tested MIUI 12 version that is built over Android 11 operating system. Finally, we are seeing more devices use the version that was introduced last year. The software still comes with plenty of apps preloaded, including the Google suite of apps like YouTube, YouTube Music, Google Pay and more. Unfortunately, some of these apps cannot be uninstalled. The good news is that the phone will get the MIUI 12.5 update soon, which should solve some of these issues.

Xiaomi has packed the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max with a 5,020mAh battery which is impressive for its dimensions. The overall performance, with the 120Hz refresh rate switched on is quite decent. You can easily use the phone for over a day without heading to the charger.

We managed to get screen on time for over 6-7 hours on a daily basis during our time with the device. Even the video loop tests showed us the effectiveness of the battery in tow. We played full duration videos for two hours at full brightness. The battery went down from 70 to 63 percent during that period. The 33W fast charger in the box is an added boon.

Bottomline

At a starting price of just Rs 18,999, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is the ideal mid-range phone packed with premium ingredients. You have a top-notch Super AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate support. The hardware under the hood will prove adequate enough for most of your tasks, especially if you choose the 8GB RAM variant.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max delivers value without 5G

The 108MP lives up to the hype. Not only does it fare admirably in bright conditions but its low-light performance is also quite good.

The main drawbacks for us is the back panel which tends to pick up fingerprints, and the software that still needs a bit of cleanup. If you’re looking for a phone that offers the best value in the sub-Rs 20k price segment, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is our go-to recommendation at the moment. However, if you prefer to buy a phone with 5G support, you can consider the Realme Narzo 30 Pro (review), Xiaomi Mi 10i (review) or the Moto G 5G (review) in this price range.

What works:

  • Super AMOLED display
  • 120Hz refresh rate support
  • Good performance
  • Android 11
  • Impressive cameras
  • Long-lasting battery life

What doesn’t:

  • No 5G support
  • MIUI 12 needs a bit of a cleanup
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