5G has yet to live up to its hype, but there's no doubt that it will eventually be everywhere. For one, client devices like 5G smartphones are increasingly affordable. Take the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G. At S$329, it is one of the cheapest 5G phones in the market, and rivalled only by the Realme 8 5G (S$399). The common feature among these two entry-level 5G smartphones is the MediaTek Dimensity 700, a mid-range 7nm chip with an integrated 5G modem.
- 6.5-inch LCD (2,400 x 1,080 pixels), 90Hz
- MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chip with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage
- Triple cameras: 48MP (main), 2MP (macro), 2MP (depth)
In normal use, the Redmi Note 10 felt relatively snappy. Yes, it's a tad slower than flagship phones to open apps, but I'm not complaining. The smartphone also unlocks promptly via a side-mounted fingerprint reader or the less-secure facial unlock. Benchmark-wise, the Redmi Note 10's Dimensity 700 chip produced a single core score of 562 and a multi-core score of 1,746. This result is slightly behind, but in the same ballpark, as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, a popular mid-range 5G chip used by the Vivo X50e 5G and the OnePlus Nord. Its 5,000mAh battery is good enough for almost two days of usage with the refresh rate set at 90Hz, and has 18W fast-charging. The Redmi Note 10 lasted 12.5hrs in a video-loop battery test at 100% screen brightness.
The Redmi Note 10 has a bit of a heft at around 190g. Its matte plastic black is smooth but grippy. It has a large 6.5-inch LCD display with a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. This cutout is bigger than the ones in more expensive phones, and is hence harder to ignore. The screen bezels are also on the thicker side. The display itself is decent, but with that reflective sheen, and inferior viewing angles typical of the displays in this price range. At least the refresh rate is 90Hz — up from the standard 60Hz — for a slightly smoother feel. The screen is adequately bright for indoor use at around 400 nits, and is just about legible outdoors in the sun. There's no Always-On Display option here, which is unsurprising given the LCD. I was still disappointed, though.
While the Redmi Note 10 has a “triple camera” system on paper, it might as well be a single camera. The secondary ones are for depth and macro, which are not at all comparable to having ultra-wide or telephoto cameras. But the main 48MP camera is decent enough. Even for indoor shots, colours looked balanced and noise levels were acceptable. Needless to say, photos looked even sharper in well-lit outdoor shots. For low-light, the phone has the usual long-exposure mode. However, they turn out rather noisy, with that smudged look resembling art paintings rather than photos.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G also has features like NFC, microSD card support, headphone jack and even an IR blaster. In short, it is a typical Xiaomi smartphone, offering good value for money. If you're looking for a 5G smartphone for cheap, you can't go wrong with the Redmi Note 10 5G. You'll get mid-tier performance, a decent camera (in good lighting), and long-lasting battery life for just S$329. Get it now at the official Xiaomi stores at Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Xiaomi.
Any purchase you make through our links may generate a commission. It supports our work, but does not dictate our editorial reviews. See our FAQ here.