Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S Review: A negligible upgrade
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S is the fourth smartphone in the Redmi Note 10 lineup that already includes the Redmi Note 10, Redmi Note 10 Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. With the Redmi Note 10S, Xiaomi wants to further narrow the gap between the Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 price segment. Starting at Rs 14,999, it sits comfortably between the standard Redmi Note 10 and Note 10 Pro, but costs Rs 2,500 more than the standard version. The Redmi Note 10S is a slight upgrade over the Redmi Note 10 (review) because it brings a mix of MediaTek Helio G95 processor and a new primary camera. Otherwise, it is the same phone as the Redmi Note 10 and the two cannot be visually separated from each other. So, what exactly you will get by spending extra money for Note 10S, here is what we found.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S Performance Review
The Redmi Note 10S is powered by a MediaTek Helio G95 processor with an octa-core CPU and Mali-G76 graphics. The CPU has two performance cores running at 2.05GHz and six power-efficient cores running at 2.0GHz. It comes with 6GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB UFS 2.2 storage options to choose from. The Helio G95 first debuted with Realme 7 and has since driven phones like the Narzo 20 Pro and many more. We got the 6GB + 128GB variant for review and it runs on MIUI 12.5, which is based on Android 11. The phone also has a microSD card for storage expansion.
In our daily use, the Redmi Note 10S offers a stable performance and we did not experience any lag or slow-down due to stress on the system. We’ve been able to easily browse online, check our social media handles, play games and much more but have seen little signs of stress on the phone.
The Redmi Note 10S scored 327,219 points on the AnTuTu benchmark, beating the Narzo 30A and even the Redmi Note 10. However, the Note 10S got some of the lowest scores in the GeekBench test which gave it single-core and multi-core 200 and 991 points. The main criterion. For some reason, our Redmi Note 10S units did not run 3DMark, GFXBench and Gamebench.
Having said that, games like Call of Duty: Mobile, Asphalt 9 and Free Fire run smoothly on the Redmi Note 10S with high graphics. We played multiple rounds of COD mobile on the phone and it ran smoothly without any major interruptions. It offers consistently between 50-60FPS when playing COD mobile. However, you should not expect anything more from the phone as it will start to put pressure under the intensive work. On COD mobiles, for example, we had to go back to our default graphics settings because it really taxed the phone’s performance when it was maxed out for one round. During our gaming sessions, the phone warmed up a bit but under such graphics-intensive work it is completely normal.
Running MIUI 12.5 on Redmi Note 10S is quick and easy to navigate around. It offers lots of personalization options like theme, always-on display, gesture support and a game turbo mode. The Redmi Note 10S has dual stereo speakers that are fairly loud but nothing out of the ordinary. The phone’s power button doubles as a fingerprint reader which allows you to unlock the phone in a matter of moments.
We think the Redmi Note 10S performs best in a balanced workload that ensures sustainable performance over time. It also offers daily activities such as listening to music, watching videos, browsing the internet, checking feeds on social media and a smooth gaming performance.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S Battery Review
The Redmi Note 10S is equipped with a 5,000mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging. With regular use without too much gaming, the Redmi Note 10S could easily last for more than a day and a half. If you are someone who is into mobile gaming, you should reasonably expect a day’s worth of juice or less if you want to play for an extended hour. The 33W charging adapter in the box can fully charge the phone in 75 minutes.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S Camera Review
The Redmi Note 10S has a quad-camera setup on the back, much like the standard Redmi Note 10. However, the initial camera has been upgraded from 48MP on Note 10 to 64MP on Note 10S. The Redmi Note 10S has a 64MP primary camera that uses an OmniVision OV64B sensor and an f / 1.8 aperture. The other three cameras are similar to the regular Note 10, with an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera with 118-degree field-of-view, a 2MP macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor.
On the front, there is a 13MP selfie camera with a punch-hole notch cutout in the center. The rear cameras can record 4K UHD at 30FPS and 1080p at 60FPS, with features like macro video mode and pro-time-lapse mode.
The Redmi Note 10S produces decent images in daylight that have natural colors but if you look closely at the images it is unable to give too much clarity. Some images looked overexposed and slightly oversaturated but overall, the primary camera produces good and usable images in daylight. The phone also takes good close-up pictures with details, textures and natural bokeh.
The 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera produces images that are less detailed and distorted around the edges. The ultra-wide-angle camera, however, could not take sharp pictures with the right color, and only the center of the frame was visibly clear when zoomed in.
At night or in low-light environments, the camera produces noisy and low-detail images. With night mode the images weren’t as sharp which is an uncomfortable one, although 64MP mode gives slightly better results at night. That being said, the low-light performance of the Note 10S camera is outstanding and it is best used for taking pictures during the day or in well-lit conditions.
The Redmi Note 10S has a fixed-focus macro camera that produces average images and has a lot of hits and misses. For any chance of getting a decent macro picture you need to go very close to your subject in the frame. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person.
One of the pain points that keeps us awake is the lazy camera app that takes forever to take a picture. We’ve experienced an apparent delay in shots since the camera app lagged when the shutter button was pressed, and overall. However, when it comes to photography, we like the daylight performance of the camera on the Note 10S even though we think it’s a small upgrade to the larger scheme of things.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S Design and Display Review
Being an affordable phone, the Redmi Note 10S has a plastic build and is offered in three colors: Shadow Black, Frost White and Deep Sea Blue to choose from. It is 8.3 mm thick and weighs 178 grams.
If you go for the blue color, the phone looks tough on the hands with its curved back design and gradient finish. It is not a fingerprint magnet but holds the smoke mark. The volume rocker and power button are fairly clickable with a flat design for the power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. The Redmi Note 10S has an IP53 rating which protects it from regular water splashes and dust ingress.
The Redmi Note 10S has a 6.43-inch Super AMOLED display that offers a full HD + (2400 x 1080 pixels) resolution. It has a punch-hole groove cutout in the upper center with a narrow bezel on three sides and a slightly wider chin. The screen does not support high refresh rates but is topped with a layer of Gorilla Glass 3.
The display of Redmi Note 10S can be bright and create good colors. The display menu has a built-in option that lets you change the color scheme of the display to your liking. In our display tests, the screen was able to offer 416 nits of brightness and 3 nits of minimum brightness. The curtains provide decent sunlight clarity and have good viewing angles. Overall, the AMOLED display is quite good and can be easily used to watch videos on YouTube or Netflix as it supports Widevine L1.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S Review Judgment
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S is a must-buy phone in the Rs 15,000 sub-segment. It offers better performance than the Redmi Note 10, but the camera performance makes us ask for more. Then again, if you are looking for a decent daily driver and you can’t increase your budget too much then this is a tough phone to buy. It can run apps, games without sweat, and MIUI 12.5 offers more personalization options than ever before.
That being said, if you are specifically looking for a phone that can deliver great gaming performance and go through demanding tasks, you might want to check out the Big Brother Redmi Note 10 Pro. The Redmi Note 10S is suitable for those who are at the crossroads of general use and casual gaming. That’s where it really shines and one shouldn’t expect anything out of it.