If you’re a Snapdragon fan, this could be your year. The Redmi Note 10 Pro is the first device in the Redmi Note series to use Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 675 processor, and that extra power actually makes the Note 10 Pro a great choice for many people. The phone comes equipped with a 5.99-inch screen, a dual-lens camera, 64GB of storage and a 3,600mAh battery. There’s also a version with a 6.01-inch screen, more storage and a bigger battery.
In the past two years, Xiaomi’s Redmi series has become one of the most popular budget smartphones in the world, thanks to its excellent specs, affordable pricing, and superb build quality. But now, it appears that the once reliable device has turned into a hot mess, and it’s unclear how much longer the series will last.
Xiaomi has released a number of good phones in recent years, including models like the Redmi Note 8 Pro, Mi 8 and one of my favorite lines, the Mi Mix series. But Xiaomi’s behavior in releasing phones has been somewhat disruptive over the past year and this 2021 – if anything, coming from an avid Xiaomi user, it reminds me of Xiaomi’s disruptive pattern when the Mi 4 arrived and God knows how many variants we’ve seen exist in China, India and Malaysia. Fun fact: My first Xiaomi phone was a Mi 4i.
Anyway, let’s move on to what we have in our hands today – well, in about a month – the Redmi Note 10. I took my time with this phone to see if the brand would do anything disruptive, and guess what? Of course they did.
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Behaviour God knows how many variants give
One of the striking behaviors of smartphone manufacturers is that they tend to focus on quantity over quality, but Xiaomi was an exception for a while because the brand was really good at focusing on both software and good hardware. In fact, my housemates always prefer Xiaomi over other brands because they are familiar with the phones and their software. This safety bubble that Xiaomi has created through its attitude towards its product has captured the hearts of consumers. The right number of options for the consumer to choose from, a noticeable difference between the options and, most importantly, a smartphone designed for the right audience.
If it cracks, what do you get? Consumers no longer know which device to choose and which is the right one. This happened when the Mi 4 came in different variants – Mi 4i, Mi 4C, etc. It’s happening again with the Redmi series. In March 2021, Xiaomi announced two new Redmi Notes – the Redmi Note 10 and 10 Pro: these showed a good difference, showing on paper that the 10 is meant for those who need a phone for basic daily needs, while the Pro is meant for those who want something more.
This is where things get complicated. In May 2021, Xiaomi announced two new Redmi Note 10s in addition to the existing Redmi Note 10 and 10 Pro: the all-new Redmi Note 10 S and Redmi Note 10 5G. So, what about the originally announced Redmi Note 10? Where are those 10 S and 10 5G in the series? That’s the question my friends and readers ask me. So we created a table comparing ALL of the above options.
Looking at the above specifications, we can say that all the phones are identical in many ways. The specifications are taken from Xiaomi’s global website: 10 10S 10 5G 10 Pro
In a way, this should be the case if Xiaomi had ranked these phones in order of specs, from entry-level to high-end: Redmi Note 10, 10 5G, 10 S and 10 Pro. But that doesn’t make sense when you see how inferior the 10 5G is in many ways to the Redmi Note 10 : It has only 18 watts of fast charging, an ultra-wide-angle camera, a non-AMOLED screen and a 90Hz refresh rate. Comparing the 10 S to the 10, everything else is pretty much the same except for the RAM selection, which is the same as the Note 10 Pro.
You’ll notice that there’s only one phone with 5G in the entire lineup, and you may wonder if there’s a Pro variant with 5G – Xiaomi has announced the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G, which uses a different processor in favor of 5G, which is a whole other topic we’ll cover very soon.
Going back to our question, Xiaomi is also bringing back the Redmi 8, an older smartphone with a better processor – useless considering there’s too much going on in their existing lineup. It’s not over yet. This problem is not limited to the Redmi brand, but also to re-releases of POCO branded phones that, apart from appearance, have exactly the same features. The Redmi Note 10 5G is the Poco M3 Pro 5G and the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G would be the Poco F3 GT. There’s another one, the Redmi Note 10T 5G, a rebadge of the Redmi Note 10 5G. Kind of weird.
What is the point?
Frankly, this unnecessary amount of models above only causes problems because the brand seems to turn a blind eye. A few friends recently sent me a text message asking about mid-range smartphones, and when I immediately answered the Redmi Note 10, their next question was: which one? There are too many, and how do you know if the phone will last longer than a year?
You’re not wrong – in fact the MIUI group is still asking for updates on many platforms, not for the 10 series, but for the previous generation, which is a year old and some even less. This leads to a drop in quality and only proves that the brand would rather release new phones than focus on improving the experience.
It’s not just the hardware that matters
You can have a better 1-inch sensor, a 108MP camera, or a Sony sensor, whatever, but you need good software to make the hardware work, and that’s not good for Xiaomi. In my review of the Redmi Note 10, I mentioned that the camera images haven’t changed in a long time and still have the same issues as its predecessors.
Suppose we look at the Redmi Note 10 in its current form
It’s a pretty good phone for what it is – it has a good screen, a great camera, a battery that lasts all day and a processor that is acceptable for the price/performance ratio. But when you compare it to other phones in the same series, you wonder why you need it.
Here’s the thing: The Redmi Note 10 could have been a good phone, but they made it obsolete within a month – this cannibalization strategy not only affects their smartphone lineup, but also consumers who spent their hard-earned money on a phone only to find out that there’s now a new one. Consumer confidence has been lost. Not to mention this sample, I bought it for my dad and I could smell it. Not everyone can afford that much, especially during a pandemic – then the money is really needed. Consumers buy a certain product because they have confidence in it. If these brands disappoint consumers, where will they turn?
Before I close, I want to make it clear in this review that I am not trying to bash Xiaomi and I have no ill intentions of damaging the relationship between the brand and me. If not, I wouldn’t have bought the Redmi Note 10 when my dad wanted to buy a new phone from the store I personally trust the most: C&C2U.
Xiaomi’s strategy of flooding a lineup with too many phones doesn’t make much sense and isn’t helpful. Not only is it a disruptive model, but it cannibalizes their product line and makes it difficult to choose their phones on store shelves, not to mention it doesn’t improve the brand’s image.
Now let’s move on to what makes the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 so special. If you want any of the above phones, buy the 10S if your use case is simple and not demanding, but if you want a good phone, go for the 10 Pro. We have no reason to recommend 10 5G or 10 if it doesn’t look and have the same features as the other two. If you want to buy a smartphone with 5G support, you should honestly wait until 5G is available in Malaysia.
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