comscore Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: Questioning existence of premium phones
Review

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: Questioning the existence of premium phones

The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max with its 108-megapixel camera and the 120Hz AMOLED display questions the existence of premium phones. Here’s our full review.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max Battery

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max 4.0 5
BGR Rating :
4.0/5

Last year, Xiaomi introduced the Pro Max variant to the Redmi Note lineup to mark the ultimate evolution of its bestselling smartphone series. It was, however, lame in many aspects; most buyers were better off buying the Redmi Note 9 Pro instead as a better value proposition. There was barely any noticeable upgrade over the standard model.  This year too, things seem to remain the same with the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. Also Read - Redmi 9 Activ budget phone silently launched in India: First sale date, specs and other details

Last year’s Note 9 Pro Max had three differentiating factors over the regular Note 9 Pro – two new cameras and a faster charging solution. This year, the only difference between the Pro and Pro Max is the 108-megapixel camera on the latter. The Note 10 Pro Max is pricier too than its predecessor, starting at Rs 18,999. That’s quite a premium, especially for a phone that has the “Redmi Note” nametag. Also Read - Redmi Smart TV 32-inch, 43-inch with Android 11 launched in India, price starts at Rs 15,999

That starting price of Rs 18,999 also puts it dangerously close to the Mi 10i – another Xiaomi mid-ranger that’s our current favourite. Don’t forget the Realme 7 Pro and Realme X7 too! Intriguing choices for the demanding Indian consumer! Also Read - Best smartphone deals on Amazon, Flipkart today: Xiaomi Mi 11X, Poco X3 Pro, Moto G40 Fusion, more

How does the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max fare in this crowded space of “wannabe premium” smartphones?

Features Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Price Starts at Rs 18,999
Chipset Snapdragon 732G
OS MIUI 12 with Android 11
Display  AMOLED-6.67 inch FHD+ 120Hz refresh rate
Internal Memory 64GB, 128GB
Rear Camera 108MP+5MP+8MP+2MP
Front Camera 16MP
Battery 5020mAh

Design, Build

I talked at length about the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max’s design as well as build quality in our first impressions piece; feel free to refer it for a detailed insight. If you haven’t got the mood to read it, here’s a summary – the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max elevates the benchmark in smartphone design and build quality in its category.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

The Mi 10T-inspired design is fresh for the segment. With its chrome-ring-laced main camera and floating glass surfaces covering the entire hump, the Note 10 Pro Max looks plush. Pair that to the new “Evol” design (which is basically a fancy term for subtle gradient shades), the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is a beautiful phone to behold. The Dark Night colour variant I had gets a glossy finish but you get matte finishes on other colour variants.

The build quality is the best I have seen in any phone at this price. Despite having a plastic frame, Xiaomi’s designers have done a good job in masking that “plasticky” feel. The power key cleverly hides the fingerprint sensor while the buttons themselves are tactile. The front looks no different from the Mi 10i – you see the same thick chin and slim bezels around the 6.7-inch display. Oh yes, the stereo speaker setup has got a dedicated second speaker, not an earpiece-integrated unit.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

I appreciate Xiaomi’s efforts for pre-applying a screen protector on the display despite a Gorilla Glass 5 protection rating. The rear though, is prone to scuffs and scratches. In the last ten days, the Note 10 Pro Max has got signs of ageing all across its edges. Using the in-box case is highly recommended!

Display

The biggest upgrade to the Redmi Note 10 series this year is the AMOLED display technology. For the Pro variants, Xiaomi turns the refresh rate up to 120Hz. AMOLED and 120Hz – these two terms alone can get the potential Redmi Note crowd excited. Do these work? To a larger extent, yes.

The AMOLED display makes for the biggest upgrade over the Note 9 Pro Max. Xiaomi hasn’t gone for the over-the-top colour tuning and instead aimed at getting a rather pleasant profile. The traditional “AMOLED blacks” are here but the saturation levels are contained. It also benefits from higher brightness levels, which helps with sunlight legibility. The rated peak brightness of 1200 nits seems legitimate; I was able to read the contents and figure out colours on this display easily under noon sun – something that most phones at this price struggle with.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

The high refresh rate also helps with the scrolling and gaming experiences. There’s no variable refresh rate here and the display either sticks to 120Hz or 60Hz. My unit of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max came with an early build of MIUI 12 and that tagged along some bugs as well as stability issues, which eventually resulted in lags and stutters, thereby cancelling the benefit of the high refresh rate display. Maybe a future software update could fix this.

The AMOLED display also allows for an Always On Display feature making it to the Redmi Note series for the first time. This option, however, only keeps the minimalist AOD interface for 10 seconds before turning it off. This then isn’t an Always On Display. It is more akin to the Moto Peek display on Motorola smartphones.

Performance

With a Snapdragon 732G at the helm, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is on par with some of the most capable smartphones under the Rs 20,000 segment. We have seen this chip earlier in the Poco X3; it has adequate muscles to pamper demanding users. On the Note 10 Pro Max, this chip is at home too, even if you are pushing an extra hour in Call of Duty: Mobile.

On a daily basis, the Note 10 Pro Max works as advertised, i.e. it opens up menus fast and can manage 4-5 apps simultaneously without issues. My unit of the Note 10 Pro Max did throw up occasional stutters and delays, which can be attributed to the bugs in the early release version of this Android 11-based MIUI 12. On most days though, this phone works like a charm and I never felt the lack of a high-performance chip on this Redmi Note.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

I also tried my hands at gaming and the Pro Max did not disappoint. I was able to get a consistently smooth gameplay experience on this phone at “High” graphics in “Ultra” frame rate. Even after 2.5 hours of constant battling in the Deathmatch mode, I did not find the Pro Max heating up uncomfortably or dropping frames. Genshin Impact, however, was playable at best and I had to reduce the quality to get good frame rates.

The gaming experience is also helped by the dedicated stereo speaker setup that delivers a fulfilling audio experience. The stereo effect is effective but the setup isn’t loud though; I had to cup the speakers with my palms often to hear the footsteps over my brother’s towering stereo speakers on his ROG Phone 2. The output from the headphone jack is great and those owning high-performance headphones will certainly enjoy it. Plus, MIUI lets you tune the audio output via headphones in umpteen ways.

Then there’s MIUI; you either love it or loathe it. I belong to the former crowd and in its latest guise, MIUI 12 is one of the fanciest Android experiences I have had. The iOS 14 inspirations do make for an interesting smartphone experience, especially with all the animations. There’s so much to play with and so much to make your life easier on the go. The bloatware still exists but Xiaomi has now reduced it to the “absolutely necessary” apps.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

In its current state though, MIUI 12 is weird. On one hand, it tries to bring more of Xiaomi’s apps and services on board. For example, there’s a GetApps app store alongside the Google Play Store that consistently bugs with useless notifications. The Control Center (Xiaomi’s idea of Quick Settings) holds shortcuts to all the smart home devices, just like Android 11. However, Xiaomi pre-loads it with a dozen Google apps that most of you may not use. It replaces its more useful MIUI dialler app with the Google Phone app. Same is the case for the Contacts. There’s Google Photos alongside the MIUI Gallery app as well. There is no visible trace of Android 11 here but Xiaomi is throwing the entire suite of Google apps at your face.

For a new user, MIUI is overwhelming with the abundance of apps and options thrown at the user directly. Maybe Xiaomi could make this easier for users and give them options to try out the other features at their own pace. Additionally, it would be fine if Xiaomi stops desperately marrying the stock Android feels with its MIUI experience.

Throughout my time with the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, I did not face issues with connectivity as well as speeds. My Jio connection latched on to the network even in basements and kept the internet speeds intact. I did face call drop issues occasionally; something for Xiaomi to look into, maybe fix with a software update.

Cameras

The primary reason you opt for the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max over the vanilla Pro variant is the 108-megapixel camera. To pull you out of suspense, it makes for a genuinely good camera experience, especially in this sub-Rs 20,000 segment. In fact, the main camera performance is more akin to what I experienced with the Mi 10i.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

Having a large 108-megapixel camera with a 1/1.52-inch sensor and 0.7µm pixels makes for slightly more detailed photos in comparison to the bunch of phones using a 64-megapixel camera sensor. The default output from this Samsung HM2 sensor is rated at 12-megapixels, with 9-in-1 pixel binning at work. In daylight, I was able to see the gains in shadow areas as well as slightly better details.

Switch over to the 108MP mode and you are getting a full resolution output with more details. In fact, this mode negates the need for a dedicated zoom camera in good lighting. As light levels start dropping, the 108MP mode struggles with detail retention and noise starts creeping up. It is wiser to switch to the regular mode, turn on the HDR and AI to churn out good-looking photos in challenging low light conditions. A Night Mode is there for getting long-exposure shots and that helps to a large extent.

However, there are drawbacks to this 108-megapixel camera too. Having such a large sensor makes for a very limited focal plane, which often blurs out edges while taking close-ups and portraits. Xiaomi’s camera tuning bumps up the saturation and contrast unnecessarily even when you turn off the AI intervention. Human figures have a reddish cast on skins while other colours are boosted, often making the photo look artificial. The lack of an OIS system also makes for shaky photos, if you have unstable hands like mine.

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

Xiaomi makes up for all this with a nice macro camera. It has an output of just 5-megapixel but the new image sensor returns more useable macro photos than older Redmi Note devices – even under artificial lighting! I was astonished to see the details and colour reproduction in all the macro photos I took during my time with the phone. This led me to use the macro camera more than ever on any smartphone I have ever used.

The 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera is decent but it lacks the vibrant colour profile of the main camera. Pixel peeping in ultra-wide shots won’t please you, even under good lighting. The lens distortion is extreme towards edges and photos are often underexposed. As light levels fall, the ultra-wide camera is best left untouched.

Portrait mode photos are good with a clear distinction between the subject and background. Even for selfies from the single 16-megapixel front camera, the subject separation is fine. Normal selfies themselves look vibrant and bright, but the boosted saturation is present here too. All in all, selfie lovers will be happy with this kit.

Video performance is good for a phone of its price. 4K videos at 30 fps look sharp with ample details and decent colours. It struggles with exposures though and under artificial lighting, it fails to keep the colour accuracy in check. The lack of OIS also makes for shaky videos, especially if you shoot on the move. 1080p videos lose the resolution but offer better stability with Xiaomi’s decent EIS system.

Battery

With a 120Hz AMOLED display, I assumed that the 5020mAh battery would at best last a full day under rigorous usage. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The strong software optimization in MIUI 12 made the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max last up to a day and a half, with the 120Hz option switched on. This 1.5 day of battery life included 30 minutes of gaming, making calls, texting, watching YouTube videos, streaming music via wireless earphones, and occasional use of the cameras.

On my Call of Duty: Mobile marathon weekends, it took me an entire day to bring down the battery to sub-30 percent levels. The bundled 33W charging adapter filled up the battery from sub-30 percent levels in around an hour. This is genuinely the second-best option to Realme’s 65W charging solution.

Verdict

Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is the kind of smartphone that could make you question the need to spend more on anything else. It has genuinely got everything that a smartphone enthusiast can ask for. It performs well, has a great display, can run some of the demanding mobile games with ease, takes good photos, and tops it all with a reliable battery life. It also looks good while doing all of that.

Starting at Rs 18,999, it is tough to find faults with the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. With no arrival of 5G in the foreseeable future, it makes the Mi 10i seem unnecessary at the moment. It outsmarts the Realme 7 Pro and Realme X7 with its cameras and battery life. It has the best display too in its segment and the upcoming Realme 8 Pro is likely to offer a similar experience.

The only drawbacks I see (if I have to nitpick) are a cluttered (and buggy) MIUI experience and an oversaturated camera output in general. Plus, it is expensive at Rs 18,999 for a phone that carries the Redmi Note nametag. I feel you can save Rs 3,000 by opting for a comparatively saner 64-megapixel camera on the Redmi Note 10 Pro, which is no different from the Pro Max in other aspects. One truly requires figuring out the need for spending extra on the 108-megapixel camera.

With the Redmi Note 10 Pro in existence, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max isn’t taking the “value-king” crown today. It is, however, the phone that makes you question the need for spending on phones that demand a premium worth north of Rs 20,000 (unless you have healthy cash reserves). If you genuinely want to buy into the “108-megapixel camera”  hype without spending truckloads, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is your best bet in the market right now.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: March 13, 2021 11:27 AM IST
  • Updated Date: March 13, 2021 11:31 AM IST



new arrivals in india

Realme 8i
Realme 8i

13,999

Realme 8s 5G
Realme 8s 5G

17,999

Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime
Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime

12,499

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

35,999

Samsung Galaxy M32 5G
Samsung Galaxy M32 5G

20,999

Vivo Y33s
Vivo Y33s

17,990

Realme C21Y
Realme C21Y

8,999

Vivo Y21
Vivo Y21

15,490

Realme GT Master Edition
Realme GT Master Edition

25,999

Realme GT 5G
Realme GT 5G

37,999

Itel A48
Itel A48

6,399

Motorola Edge 20
Motorola Edge 20

29,999

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion
Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

21,499

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

84,999

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

1,49,999

Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)
Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)

13,999

Nokia C20 Plus
Nokia C20 Plus

8,999

Vivo Y53s
Vivo Y53s

19,490

Tecno Pova 2
Tecno Pova 2

10,999

Infinix Smart 5A
Infinix Smart 5A

6,499

Micromax In 2b
Micromax In 2b

8,999

Vivo Y72 5G
Vivo Y72 5G

20,990

Tecno Camon 17
Tecno Camon 17

12,999

Tecno Camon 17 Pro
Tecno Camon 17 Pro

16,999

Realme C11 2021
Realme C11 2021

6,999

Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G

39,990

Oppo Reno6 5G
Oppo Reno6 5G

29,990

Samsung Galaxy M21 2021
Samsung Galaxy M21 2021

12,499

OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus Nord 2

27,999

Poco F3 GT
Poco F3 GT

27,999

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

19,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F22
Samsung Galaxy F22

12,499

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

21,999

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Best Sellers