In classic Xiaomi fashion, the Redmi Note 10S offers an outstanding price-to-performance ratio, but doubles the battery life and graphics performance. It has lower camera quality and a subpar display compared to other Redmi Note 10 devices.
The Redmi Note 10S is positioned between the entry-level Redmi Note 10 and the Redmi Note 10 Pro. It was introduced after the successful debut of the Redmi Note 10 series. It is an odd phone by Xiaomi that clutters its portfolio, however its gaming concentration may appeal to Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG enthusiasts.
The Redmi Note 10S reuses the design language of the Redmi Note 10 series, which was introduced earlier this year. It has a normal appearance, but a gradient of cool blue (ocean blue) and a matte surface that makes it comfortable to hold in the hand.
In addition to not being a smudge magnet, it also has IP53 splash and dust protection, like most Xiaomi smartphones. It also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR blaster, which are hallmark features of Xiaomi’s smartphones.
The rear of the phone contains the camera array, which offers a bit of a bump but also a unique appearance reminiscent of an old-fashioned camera. This bulge, however, also ensures that the phone never rests flat on a table, which is unpleasant. There are also stereo speakers that are rather loud but mediocre in clarity, but should suffice for those on the move.
Surprisingly, at 178g, it is lighter than the Redmi Note 10 Pro; nevertheless, at 8.3mm, it is somewhat thicker. It remains a rather easy-to-hold phone by modern standards, albeit its 6.43-inch screen size makes it unquestionably enormous.
Xiaomi has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that makes unlocking the phone extremely simple, as it is incorporated in the power button; it is also incredibly efficient.
In general, it is a well-designed phone with a distinct hue that is not too unlike from its Redmi relatives from 2021. It also helps that the phone’s build quality is commensurate with its price.
The Redmi Note 10S is no exception to Xiaomi’s trend of equipping its Redmi smartphones with excellent displays. Unfortunately, it lacks the smoothness provided by the 120Hz refresh rate of its contemporaries. As a compromise, it doesn’t even feature 90Hz like the Note 10 5G.
It presents beautiful and vibrant colors, strong viewing angles, and respectable levels of brightness, which is somewhat disappointing given the gaming credentials of the MediaTek CPU. It has a peak brightness of 1100 nits, which is sufficient even in bright outside conditions, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
It is an excellent screen for viewing Netflix videos and reading text. In general, it meets expectations, but when you consider that you can purchase a Redmi Note 10 Pro with a fast refresh rate screen, things become a little unclear. Undeniably, the “pro” model has the superior display.
In terms of aesthetics, though, the phone is outstanding; there is almost no bezel and almost no space between the screen and the lip of the phone. The hole punch camera is located in the upper left corner and is just a glorified dot, so it does not obstruct the view.
Maybe the most peculiar aspect of the Redmi Note 10S is that it has the same MediaTek Helio G95 chipset as the Redmi Note 8 Pro. It is a 12nm CPU with an octa-core architecture and a Mali G76 MC4 graphics processing unit (GPU), along with up to 128GB of UFS 2.2 storage and microSD card memory extension capability.
This is a peculiar feature because Xiaomi has used Qualcomm Snapdragon chips in the majority of its previous models. MediaTek has made a great lot of noise about the gaming capabilities of this CPU, which is supported with reasonably quick memory and massive amounts of DDR4x RAM.
The day-to-day performance was fluid, and it handled multitasking adequately. Even with twenty applications running simultaneously and constant tab hopping in Chrome, multitasking remained effortless.
Even while playing graphically intense games such as Call of Duty Mobile, I was able to run the game at medium settings without seeing any frame rate reductions, which was impressive.
GFXBench failed to run, although benchmark results were also fairly respectable. The single-core Geekbench results averaged about 500, with scores above 500 twice and getting stuck at 499 the first time I ran the benchmark. The multi-core result has a minimum score of 1625.
Xiaomi will tell you that it has a quad-camera system, but in reality, this is a dual-camera phone that is obviously mediocre and does not compete with the Redmi Note 10 Pro. It has an official primary 64-megapixel camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and two 2-megapixel macro and depth sensors. A 13-megapixel front-facing camera is concealed under the screen’s cutout.
The primary 64-megapixel camera performs admirably when capturing close-ups or portraits, but while capturing expansive vistas, the image quality degrades significantly due to a lack of information. The photographs are little oversaturated, a Xiaomi trademark, which is not a major issue for me, but the excessive sharpening irritates me.
Portrait photographs are the highlight of this phone, as they have excellent edge recognition in decent lighting, but given the price of the device, one should not expect the moon.
Low-light photography is not the 10S’s strong strength. Even when using the night mode, images are extremely blurry and require a very steady hand to be useable due to the absence of OIS (optical image stabilistaion).
This is the first Redmi Note smartphone that is adequate. There are superior Redmi Note 10 variants that can give the same functionality in a more competent package, prompting one to question the necessity of this phone’s existence.
But, it has its own set of strengths: its battery life is unquestionably higher to that of its other Redmi Note 10 relatives, and its new blue color is highly appealing.