Subscribe to Radio Times
Try 10 issues for £10!
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of the best budget Android phones on the market - here's why.
You can’t do much better than the Redmi Note 10 Pro if you want as much for your money as possible.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of the best Android phone buys of the year so far. It offers an almost obscene amount of hardware for your money and lasts longer off a charge than many top-end phones.
It also has some of the surface-level gloss usually associated with more expensive Androids. This levels up the Redmi Note 10 Pro from simply a solid deal to something many of you should consider buying.
It has a glass back, a touch of class now quite rare at the Redmi Note 10 Pro’s £250 cost. And a high refresh rate screen makes the Android software feel more responsive. This phone looks and feels slick in person, not just on a retailer’s product page.
5G is the one missing feature, and it’s an important one. However, 4G should keep most happy, particularly those who tend to upgrade their mobile every couple of years rather than waiting for it to fall apart.
Tech aside, size is one aspect to give some thought to. The Redmi Note 10 Pro is not a petite phone, so it is best suited to those who value a large Netflix-loving screen rather than something that slips happily into smaller pockets.
For our expert verdict on another leading smartphone from the same brand, don't miss our Xiaomi Poco M3 Pro 5G review.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of the best budget buys for people who actually like phones and what you can do with them. It’s probably overkill for someone who mainly just chats to friends and family on WhatsApp. But its large 120Hz screen, stereo speakers and solid Snapdragon processor are significant wins for gamers, Netflix fans and explorers of YouTube rabbit holes. Check out our Realme 8 Pro review if you’d prefer something smaller, but the Note 10 Pro has clear benefits for those who all but live through their phone’s screen.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is an affordable Android phone and an enthusiast one. Buying a Redmi often nets you more tech for your money than, say, a Samsung. And it trades the accessibility of a smaller frame for a larger screen, which is a bonus for playing games and streaming video. It’s terrific value and highly recommended as long as you don’t have your heart set on 5G mobile internet.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is £249.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro represents superb value for money. It’s a bit of a techy tour de force, considering the very reasonable cost. And while its relatively large size means it will probably appeal most to the real phone fans out there, plenty of the highlights will benefit just about everyone. Loud stereo speakers are handy for podcasts while you cook, and the glass back makes the phone feel that bit nicer than most at this price.
Xiaomi’s Redmi phones are made for demanding buyers who do quite a lot of research before purchasing. And that means you get a lot for your money.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s screen is a particular highlight. It’s a large 6.67-inch OLED display of 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. This makes it the highest-spec screen you can get for the money in mid-2021.
That 120Hz refresh rate means the screen image changes at twice the usual pace. It makes Android scroll with a smooth fluidity you can’t help but notice and admire when switching from a standard 60Hz phone. If your phone is a couple of years old or more, it has a 60Hz screen.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s OLED panel also provides the sort of colour and contrast you might not expect from a phone this affordable.
It’s a hit for all sorts of content, particularly streamed video and games. And while the Redmi Note 10 Pro predictably can’t handle the most demanding games as well as a £1,000 phone, it does run Fortnite well at 30fps. Fortnite is one of the most demanding mobile games there is.
There are some unusual side dishes too. The Redmi Note 10 Pro has an IR blaster. It lets you use the phone as a universal remote for your TV and other home equipment: not a must-have, but an IR blaster can solve the occasional headache when you lose a remote under a sofa.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is one of just a few phones that lasts for full two days of light to middling use. It has a large 5020mAh battery, and careful behind-the-scenes power management helps to increase the run time between charges.
However, as this is not really a phone made for the basics, it’s best to think of the Redmi Note 10 Pro as an Android you can use a lot and see if reliably last until bedtime.
Battery life can be improved further by changing the screen refresh from 120Hz to 60Hz. You can do this in a few seconds in the Settings menu, and this might be a good idea for holidays or big days out when you’ll use the Redmi Note 10 Pro for GPS navigation and might be in trouble if it conks out.
It takes the phone from a flat battery to 55% in a half-hour. And that number would be higher if the Redmi Note 10 Pro’s battery were not so big in the first place.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a surprisingly good and fun set of rear cameras. You get a good 108MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, a 5MP macro and a 2MP depth sensor for background blur images.
Its macro is the most unusual. Plenty of phones around this price have very poor macro cameras, ones barely worth using. The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s can dig out the sort of ultra-fine detail you might see in a nature photography exhibition because it has a much better sensor and lens.
Most of us would probably prefer a dedicated zoom camera, which you don’t get, but these are very rare in cheaper phones.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s 108MP camera produces powerful images during the day, with good dynamic range and detail. It won’t match a Pixel 5 at night, for example, but holds its own against just about every other sub-£300 phone.
And while the ultra-wide camera’s 8-megapixel resolution doesn’t sound like much, its images are perfectly pleasant. They are significantly clearer than those of the Realme 8 Pro, for example.
Want to capture video as well? The Redmi Note 10 Pro can shoot at up to 4K resolution, but it’s best to stick to 1080p if you move around as you don’t get motion stabilisation in the top mode.
The 2MP depth sensor is a lower quality piece of camera hardware, but getting three out of four totally respectable rear cameras is a great result. Selfie quality is fine, too, although skin tones aren’t always the most flattering.
If you already own an Android phone, getting a Redmi Note 10 Pro setup should only take a few minutes. The initial steps let you transfer the most important data from your old phone by logging into your Google account.
However, you might find that the Xiaomi software skin on this phone benefits from a tweak or two. It is not the prettiest Android front-end around, and the more technically savvy may want to, for example, make the app drawer background black rather than white or increase the number of icons that are crammed into each screen.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s hardware design is great, though. It has a toughened glass back, not the plastic usually seen at this price. This gives the phone a harder, more expensive feel. It’s a treat for the fingers, even if the sides are still plastic rather than aluminium,
There’s even IP53 water resistance, enough to keep it safe in heavy rain.
The look of the Redmi Note 10 Pro is relatively subdued, apart from the gadgety raised camera platform on the back. It comes in three finishes, and two of them are fairly plain: grey and white with a mild light-reactive layer that makes the rear shine when it catches the light.
Hunt down the Lake Green version for something a bit punchier. It’s a white-to-green gradient with a little more pizazz.
We’re fans of the Redmi Note 10 Pro’s outer style. However, it is a fairly large phone, particularly if you will use the bundled silicone case to keep the rear glass safe. If you’re after a smaller phone, consider the Pixel 4a or Realme 8 Pro instead. Neither has the Redmi’s charming glass back, mind.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro is almost certainly one of the best value phones of 2021. If you are a demanding phone buyer who wants as much for your cash as possible, you can’t do much better. Battery life is great, the cameras are solid, the screen is excellent for the money, and it has enough power for all but the most demanding gamers. The only reason to hold off is if you want a smaller phone. One with a 6.67-inch screen is never going to be tiny.
Overall rating: 4.5/5