Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: Xiaomi delivers the perfect package

For Xiaomi, the Redmi Note series has been the company’s marquee lineup that has defined the affordable smartphone segment in India.

The company has sold 200 million units in the five years since the bestselling series debuted.

With the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, the company is going where no Redmi Note has gone before, democratizing high-end smartphone features along the way. I used the smartphone for over a week, and here is my comprehensive review of the same.

Specifications

Software: MIUI 12 based on Android 11
Display: 6.67-inch (2400x1080) | 120Hz AMOLED
Processor: 2.30GHz Snapdragon 732G
Memory: 6GB + 64GB | 6GB + 128 GB | 8GB + 128GB
Rear Camera: 108MP ƒ/1.9 (primary) | 8MP ƒ/2.2 (wide-angle) | 5MP ƒ/2.4 (macro) | 2MP ƒ/2.4 (portrait)
Front Camera: 16MP ƒ/2.2
Connectivity: Wi-Fi ac | Bluetooth 5.1
Battery: 5020mAh | 33W charging
Dimensions: 164.5 x 76.1 x 8.1mm
Weight: 192g

The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max will be sold as the Redmi Note 10 Pro in global markets. In India, Xiaomi is selling three variants of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max – the base variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage at ₹18,999, the one with 128GB storage at ₹19,999, and the top-of-the-line variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage at ₹21,999. It's available on mi.com or on Amazon.in.

Such Wow. Much Amaze.

Design: The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is beautiful. The frosted glass back with a subtle gradient makes for a gorgeous phone (but fingerprint smudges, sigh!) – and thankfully, it’s thinner and lighter than its predecessor with curves in the right place for an ideal hand feel. This Vintage Bronze variant is sexy, but even the less flashy ones – Glacial Blue and Dark Night – look quite good. The best-looking chassis in the segment, really.

Display: One of the highlights of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is its AMOLED display. Even though there was much hullabaloo over Xiaomi opting for a LCD panel in some of its recent devices, it was one of the best LCD panels in the market, and I had no complaints. However, Xiaomi has decided to move on and now offers a gorgeous 6.67-inch (it’s large, yes) AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate. It’s smooth, and quite delightful, really. The colors are brilliant and it’s quite bright—works well in harsh sunlight, too.

The Little Things

Stereo Speakers: The addition of identical speakers at the top and bottom for a true stereo configuration is a total win for a smartphone in this price segment. It’s loud, and it’s nice.

Haptics: With an upgraded vibration motor, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max offers delightful haptic feedback that, honestly, I wasn’t even expecting in a smartphone at this price.

Splash, Water, and Dust Resistance: I was particularly impressed with the IP53 rating on the phone implying a decent level of protection against dust and water ingress. Not many brands bother about IP rating, or water resistance in general, in their budget and mid-range smartphone line-up. Big props to Xiaomi on this disruption.

Par for Course

Processor: The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is powered by Qualcomm’s 8nm Snapdragon 732G chipset. It isn’t the fastest one in the segment, and specs sheet nerds might be disappointed, but in everyday usage, the phone doesn’t break a sweat. There wasn’t any apparent slowness or janky behavior no matter what I threw at it. Good work on the optimization, Xiaomi!

Software: One of the less talked about features of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is that it ships with Android 11 out of the box, unlike the recent Mi and POCO smartphones. It comes with MIUI 12 which is considerably cleaner and less frustrating than the previous versions. Except GetApps, Xiaomi’s app store, which continues to spam you with annoying app recommendations. Xiaomi is committing to get rid of most of the bloatware and spammy notifications with MIUI 12.5, but that’s a few months away. Good things come to those who wait, I guess. MIUI 12 meanwhile, with a slew of nifty features, should be just fine.

Battery Life: As is expected from a Redmi Note smartphone, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max too offers a solid battery life. A massive 5020mAh battery, despite the trimmed down chassis, will carry a power user through an entire day easily. Some people opt for 60Hz display refresh rate to extend the battery life, but the impact isn’t much. I wouldn’t recommend missing out on a premium experience on your smartphone, something you paid money for. The phone comes bundled with a 33W fast charger that would charge your phone from zero to 50% in just half an hour. There are some even faster charging phones, but really, let’s all take a deep breath.

Camera Shenanigans

The camera setup on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is a considerable upgrade over its predecessors. There’s a 108MP primary camera, yes, but there’s also a 5MP macro lens that’s actually quite usable, unlike what’s found on most smartphones – essentially to fill up the specs sheet. The camera app is richly loaded with several useful modes and features, with a very competent Pro mode.

In daylight conditions, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max shines. The photos offer excellent level of details with vibrant, yet true to life colors. The wide dynamic range is impressive. It also does a great job in low-light conditions, but indoors, it’s often hit-and-a-miss in terms of details. I often had shots where the vibrancy was missing or some noise creeped. However, once it’s dark, the dedicated night mode does quite a decent job in delivering more details.

The wide-angle lens offers a lot of details but the warmer colors aren’t to my preference. Often, I’d just go with the primary lens instead of the ultra-wide for good looking shots, even if I missed out on a lot of landscape.

These small niggles aside, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max has one of the best cameras in this segment. For most instant, point-and-click shots—like most people use cameras on their smartphones—the results are impressive. You can find the camera samples, in their original resolution, here.

It's Not Perfect

The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max doesn’t offer an adaptive refresh rate like it does on some Mi smartphones, mind you. You’d manually have to switch between 60Hz or 120Hz depending on the content you’re consuming or the game you’re playing, else frame drops or a little jerkiness creeps in.

While the design aesthetics of the phone deserve all the praise, my only crib is about that camera housing at the back. The considerable protrusion of the camera setup makes it hard to use the phone on a flat surface because of constant wobbling.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max misses out on 5G connectivity. Xiaomi made a prudent decision to skip 5G support to offer an otherwise solid value-for-money package. I think that’s a neat move. India is still at least a year away from affordable 5G with widespread availability. By the time we'll see mainstream 5G adoption in 2-3 years, it will be time for your next smartphone purchase anyway.

Should You Buy It?

The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max offers a package where the sum of the whole is greater than its quite brilliant parts. There’s a beautiful display, stunning new design, and a stellar camera – all that with robust and reliable hardware under the hood. The software experience too has gone better, with the potential to get even more refined soon.

You cannot go wrong with the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, really. It’s sublime, and probably the best smartphone in this price segment. And I rarely state it like that.

That said, the Pro Max variants of the Redmi Note 10 series have also shot off the budget smartphone category and now tread closer to mid-range smartphones. That's where the Redmi Note 10 Pro comes in. The Pro variant comes with identical hardware but offers a 64MP camera setup instead of the 108MP one on the Pro Max one. Unless you want a standout camera, the more affordable Redmi Note 10 Pro makes for a much better deal for most users.


IF YOU'D LIKE TO SUPPORT MY WORK, BUY ME A COFFEE?

I write columns, talk on my podcast, publish a newsletter, and run a publication about podcasting.