Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S review: no 5G, no agreement


Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S review: no 5G, no agreement

“Temptingly cheap, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S has the basics, but for a little more money you can buy a phone that will last you longer.”


  • Long battery life

  • Durable construction

The inconvenients

  • No 5G for sustainability

the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S is a good smartphone, but it also shows how important it is to take longevity into account when deciding which model to buy, regardless of the price. While this is great value for money, as it was when this review was written, at full price you can get a better, more durable 5G phone for not that much more money.

5G might not be for you today, but it might be tomorrow, and you’ll have to upgrade from the Redmi Note 10S to get it. I spent some quality time with the phone to find out if it’s worth the risk.


The Redmi Note 10S has a plastic frame and a plastic back panel, with Gorilla Glass on the screen, as well as an IP53 splash and dust resistance rating. The 6.43-inch AMOLED display is flat while the back is slightly curved, and the whole thing weighs 178 grams and is 8.3mm thick. There is a fingerprint reader in the power key on the side of the phone, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, and four cameras in the module on the back.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S seen from the back.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It’s not a noticeable looking smartphone, but it is far from unappealing with a few noticeable design touches that I like a lot, like the use of clear plastic for the camera module which makes it look bigger. thin. The plastic body provides grip and adds lightness, and it’s comfortable to hold for long periods of time, but it’s covered in messy fingerprints – on the front and back – and the back panel has unpleasant bending when in a hurry.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S seen from the front.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

This is why the Redmi Note 10S is so price sensitive. It’s obviously not a high-end smartphone, but it comes very close to being a bit too cheap. No one really wants to pay a lot for a phone that sounds hollow when typed, and the Redmi Note 10S does. It’s a low-cost smartphone built on a budget, but it won’t matter too much if you can get one for a low price.


The main camera has 64 megapixels and an f / 1.8 aperture, plus phase detection autofocus, and it comes with an 8MP wide-angle camera, f / 2.2, plus 2MP depth and a macro camera. 2MP. It’s not bad. In good outdoor conditions, it takes well-balanced photos with a nice touch of color, as long as you pay attention to the “AI” mode. Sometimes this can really enhance an image, but in other situations it can dramatically increase the color, increase contrast, and process the image where it doesn’t look natural. It’s a bet you get, unfortunately.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S camera module.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

In more difficult lighting, the camera’s white balance suffers and storm clouds turn more blue than gray or black. Outdoor shots also lose some visual excitement and detail in low ambient light. Portrait mode is efficient and edge recognition is good. The selfie camera has an active beautification degree by default, it brightens and smoothes your skin, but it can be turned off easily.

If you can get the Redmi Note 10S for the right price, the camera won’t disappoint, but just spend a little more and you can get phones with much better cameras.


Xiaomi chose MediaTek as a partner on the Redmi Note 10S, but it didn’t go for a Dimensity chip to add 5G. Instead, the phone uses an octa-core MediaTek Helio G95 chip with 6GB or 8GB of RAM. My review model has 6 GB of RAM. Using the phone for general purposes like Twitter and Instagram, browsing the web, some YouTube, and casual gaming is fine and does not heat up or suffer from slowdown.

Game in progress on Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

i played a lot of Asphalt 9: Legends during my time with the phone. I didn’t change the default graphics settings and only saw a very occasional pause during the action. It never got in the way and the phone never got too hot. It’s a great little phone for casual gaming.

It’s a great little phone for casual gaming

I like the 2400 x 1080 AMOLED screen and the video experience too. It’s bright enough that I didn’t have a problem seeing it outside in the sun, although I miss a high refresh rate. There are stereo speakers on the phone as well, which makes watching videos a lot more fun than what you often find on phones at this price point, but they don’t deliver much bass.

The fingerprint sensor of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There’s no 5G on board, which affects the longevity of the phone, because while you might not want the fast data connection now, you might do so next year. It supports NFC for Google Pay and dual SIM, as well as a microSD card slot. I also like the fingerprint sensor, which sits nicely in the power key and responds quickly.


The phone has Android 11 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 12.5.2 interface on top. It comes with Google Play and all the usual Google services, as well as a variety of Xiaomi-specific apps such as a calculator, QR code scanner, file manager and the Mi Store app store. Its appearance is the same as the version on Xiaomi’s more expensive phones like the Mi 11 Ultra, and it runs smoothly and stably here. It’s customizable, notifications can be interacted with in the shadow of notifications, and I’ve found it to be reliable.

There are still some inconveniences. The Always-on screen isn’t always on at all, regardless of the settings I’m using, and instead lights up when a notification comes in or when you double-tap the screen. Dark mode is hit and miss with app support causing some apps not to display properly, and I don’t like how it dims the default wallpaper as well, as that makes the dull phone to look at.

The Always-on screen is not always on at all, regardless of the settings I use

None of these things are really unique to the Redmi Note 10S and affect all MIUI phones. The version 12.5 installed on the Redmi Note 10S, however, appears to have improved energy efficiency, and many preinstalled apps can be hidden or uninstalled, which is not always available in previous versions of MIUI. I don’t mind using MIUI as I would expect these peculiarities, but Xiaomi’s Android software is still less enjoyable to use than Samsung’s One UI and OnePlus’ OxygenOS.


By turning off the Redmi Note 10S overnight, the 5,000mAh battery lasted for three days with general use, which includes using the camera, social media, video calling, and a few voice calls, as well. than other basic telephone tasks. Use the phone more and it will last two more days without a problem. Battery life is a real highlight, but high-intensity tasks can drain it quickly. An hour of high-resolution YouTube video takes at least 15% of battery life, for example.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S from below.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Included in the box is a 33W fast charger, which Xiaomi says provides 54% charge in 30 minutes.

Pricing and availability

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S is not officially sold in the United States but can be imported. It is available now via Xiaomi’s official UK online store, where at full price, it costs £ 229, or about $ 320. However, at the time of writing, it is reduced to 179 pounds, or around $ 250.

Our opinion

If you can get the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S for the cheapest price, it’s a good value smartphone for people who won’t ask for too much or expect to use 5G. It delivers high performance for your money, with a good screen and long battery life. The MediaTek Helio G95 processor isn’t the newest, but it’s powerful enough for everyday use and casual gaming. Even the camera is acceptable under the right conditions.

It offers high performance for your money, with a good screen and long battery life.

However, the lack of 5G is a problem. Cheap 5G phones are plentiful today and not all of them cost much more than the Redmi Note 10S. You may not be able to get 5G in your area today, but you may be able to do so next month or next year, and upgrading your phone to get it then won’t. is not necessary if you choose wisely today. If you can afford (or have the time to save a little more) a 5G phone now, it will be absolutely worth it in the long run, and that puts the Redmi Note 10S out of the race.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. If you’re in the US but don’t want to import the Redmi Note 10S and have around $ 250 to spend, we recommend the Motorola Moto G Power (2021) at $ 200 if 5G isn’t your thing. stuff, or take a look at the $ 300 OnePlus Nord N10 5G or $ 280 Samsung Galaxy A32 5G if that’s the case. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but two have 5G, offering some sustainability.

In the UK, we recommend spending a bit more to get the OnePlus Nord CE 5G, which costs £ 299. The software is better, it comes with 5G for the future, has IP67 water resistance, and is equal to or better than Redmi Note 10S in most other areas as well. Also take a look at the Realme 8 5G, which also has the 5G of MediaTek’s Dimensity 700 chip, and costs 200 pounds.

How long will it last?

The plastic body and the splash and dust resistance rating of IP53 should give the Redmi Note 10S a high chance of surviving moderately rough treatment. This is a 4G LTE phone and does not come with a 5G modem, which means that if you want to try the fast data connection in the future, you will have to change the phone.

Should you buy one?

No. You can get a phone with better software, and it will last longer, by spending a little more money.

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