Xiaomi just dropped the annual upgrade to its Redmi Note series and there are some massive upgrades drawing eyeballs. The entire lineup gets the AMOLED display treatment, with the Pro variants featuring a 120Hz refresh rate display. There are dual stereo speakers on all the models. The Max even gets the 108-megapixel main camera. Seems like Xiaomi got it all covered in the sub-Rs 20,000 smartphone space. Also Read - Poco F3 GT review: Good, but still not a true Poco F1 successor
So, what about the Xiaomi Mi 10i? If you can’t recall, the Mi 10i was launched in early January as its most affordable 5G smartphone. The features are mostly similar to the Pro Max but one has to pay a premium for the 5G-enabled Snapdragon 750G chip. If you have to choose between these two Xiaomi phones, which is a better choice? Also Read - Realme Band 2 fitness band launched in India to take on Mi Band 6, price set at Rs 2,999
We are yet to review the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max but an on-paper specs comparison can help to a larger extent. Also Read - Redmi 9 Activ budget phone silently launched in India: First sale date, specs and other details
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max vs Xiaomi Mi 10i
The Note 10 Pro Max and Mi 10i are neck-to-neck when it comes to basic features and specifications. Both of them have got a 108-megapixel main camera, a similarly sized 6.67-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, the same 33W charging system, and a similar MIUI 12 experience.
However, dive deeper and the differences start appearing. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max used an AMOLED display while the Mi 10i relies on an IPS LCD display. We have tried out the Mi 10i and its display mostly seems decent. AMOLED by its natural properties looks better and theoretically, it should offer a superior viewing experience. The 120Hz refresh rate and 1200 nits of brightness tips the scales in the Note 10 Pro’s favour.
It’s the same for batteries. The Mi 10i has to make do with a 4820mAh battery while the Note 10 Pro Max gets a slightly bigger 5020mAh battery. The difference is negligible but those “mAhs” matter when you are stretching the last few percentages.
However, despite the negligible difference in the battery capacity, it is the Mi 10i that charges up faster with the same 33W system. Based on Xiaomi’s advertised figures, the Mi 10i fills up to 100 percent 17 minutes faster. That’s a considerable time, especially if you hate waiting.
The Mi 10i again loses out to the Note 10 Pro Max in the camera section. Leaving apart the 108-megapixel main camera, both phones have an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 2-megapixel depth camera. The Note 10 Pro Max comes gets a better 5-megapixel macro camera while the Mi 10i has to make do with a 2-megapixel sensor.
The Note 10 Pro Max also gets the advantage of relying on the newer Android 11 instead of the Mi 10i’s Android 10. Both have MIUI 12 but the newer Android version is certainly helpful with its improved security and privacy features, and better performance.
This depends largely on the chipset. Both the phones are running Xiaomi’s extensively modified MIUI 12 system, and that is taxing on the resources. Xiaomi is relying on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 700 series chips for both the Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Mi 10i.
Do note that the Snapdragon 732G and Snapdragon 750G differ in terms of raw performance. Based on generic AnTuTu scores, the Snapdragon 750G’s achievement of 332,611 trumps the Snapdragon 732G’s 280,795 score. The GPU differs too and if you are into mobile gaming, the difference, albeit slightly, is noticeable.
We do give the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max a benefit of doubt owing to its newer and more efficient Android 11-based OS, as well as Xiaomi’s tuning of MIUI 12. That said, the Mi 10i has a clear advantage if you believe the numbers only.
Nobody beats Xiaomi in terms of value and when you compare two Xiaomi products, the decision-making process becomes difficult. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is appealing on paper, especially when you look at the spec sheet and its lower prices. A 108-megapixel main camera, a 120Hz AMOLED display, 6GB RAM, a feature-rich MIUI 12 interface, and a strong performing Snapdragon 732G chip – all starting at Rs 18,999 is a hard-to-believe package.
The Mi 10i, however, offers more theoretical performance and support for 5G networks, starting at Rs 20,999. 5G isn’t relevant now but if you want a future-proof phone (for at least 2 years), it is the Mi 10i that will let you utilize the faster network speeds once 5G airwaves start coming.
We reserve our judgement until our review of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max comes out. If you can’t wait until then, the Mi 10i seems like the obvious choice for performance seekers. The Redmi Note 10 Pro is for those who seek a complete package.