Redmi Note 10T 5G review: A decent perfomer, but better in-house alternatives available
Redmi Note 10T 5G offers a bright display, decent audio quality, and good battery backup, but the phone falls short in a few key areas that brings the question of whether to buy this affordable 5G phone. Here's our extensive review.
Updated:Tue, September 14, 2021 11:48am
By Meghna Dutta
Xiaomi is well known for releasing phones on a regular basis. The Chinese brand tends to shuffle devices under different brand names like Mi, Redmi, Poco, etc. The budget-range brand Redmi is popular among users in India, the underlying reason being the affordable price tags. But with Realme entering the game, the competition has become fierce and, it has gone beyond smartphones.
While both the brands cater to their diverse group of users, Realme has been chasing Xiaomi's monopoly at a steady pace. The former managed to level up, bringing budget 5G phones way before Xiaomi's sub-brand entered the race. But Redmi finally brought its very own budget 5G phone, the Redmi Note 10T with decent features at once a decent price (the phone now sells at Rs 14,999 against the introductory price of Rs 13,999). But unlike the niche offering- Redmi Note 10, its younger sibling is good with the basics. Confused with the jargon? Here is our comprehensive review of the Redmi Note 10T 5G.
Redmi Note 10T borrows design aesthetics from Redmi Note 10 (except for it has a slightly wide platform), evident from the rear side and front too. The camera island at the top left is slightly different from the one seen on the Redmi Note 10. Unlike the other siblings that were treated with glassy encase, Redmi Note 10T gets a polycarbonate sheath. The tapered back offers a comfortable grip on the phone, but the matte finish is prone to smudges and catches dust easily.
The charging port and speaker grill are at the bottom edge, while the audio jack is placed in a sensible spot at the top. Over the right, the power key and volume keys sit, while the other side is left undisturbed except for the SIM tray. The phone has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that is integrated into the power key. The scanner is responsive and quick enough to unlock the device within seconds. While the design looks no different than any other phone in the Redmi Note 10 series, the only distinctive element you would find is the Mint Green colour shade.
Flip over, you will find a tall display with a centered punch-hole notch that assists the front camera. The phone's FHD+ display is vibrant and viewing angles are quite decent. The LCD panel is bright enough to read content under direct sunlight.
The widescreen is ideal for content consumption and playing casual games in portrait mode. The display comes with a variable refresh rate mode that switches refresh rate depending on what you are streaming on the device. You can manually swap between the 60Hz and 90Hz options via settings. The contrast and saturation levels are pretty good, and the panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 for scratch resistance.
In terms of benchmarks, the Redmi Note 10T 5G managed a multi-core of 1,502 points and a single-core of 519 points in the Geekbench test. In the 3D Mark Wild Life Stress test, the phone scored 1108 in the best loop and 1101 in the lowest loop score test. In the Wild Life Extreme test, it obtained an overall score of 318 points.
Speaking of real-world performance, with day-to-day tasks, the usage experience was smooth. But if gaming is your big bet, then Redmi Note 10T might not be the best pick for you. The phone no doubt can run the heavy titles- Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends. But the games ran just fine at medium graphics. During extended gaming sessions the phone warmed up noticeably, especially near the camera module. Switching the graphics to its low settings can minimalise the problem.
Moving on, the Redmi Note 10T 5G runs MIUI 12.0.3 based Android 11 OS. The interface is somewhat clean if we are to compare it with the previous iteration, but it has the usual bloatware and unnecessary ads. The tweaked Control Center follows iOS-esque style. The notification cards can be adjusted under this setting. There is Game Turbo mode as well that helps to concentrate on games without any distraction.
As usual, the MIUI includes plenty of preloaded bloatware which you can uninstall. However, the custom ROM skin has some useful third-party apps pre-installed as well like LinkedIn, Amazon, Netflix, etc. Speaking of the performance, the software ran smoothly with multiple tabs opened on Chrome, and few apps in the background there was no sign of stutter.
Redmi Note 10T 5G offers triple rear cameras with a configuration that you would most likely find in this price range. There is a 48-megapixel primary sensor assisted by a 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The cameras on the Redmi phone are a mixed bag. The primary sensor manages to render decent output in daylight. However, the images appear to be oversaturated with soft edges and little to no detail (even in good lighting conditions). Surprisingly, the Redmi Note 10 had a quite different story with the variation clearly visible with the 48MP primary camera. Although portrait shots turned out better with decent detail and edge detection. Macro shots, however, don't yield the same result. The colour tones are washed out and lack details.
The cameras fall short in detail in low lighting conditions as well. There is barely any sharpness and the photos rather had that smudginess and oil painting-like appearance. Even the Night mode couldn't do any justice to the photographs. The videos shot on Redmi Note 10T had decent dynamic range, but similar to stills it missed out on sharpness. The 8-megapixel selfie camera managed to pull out some decent shots outdoor but a closer look on a widescreen showed no detail but rather flat images.
Redmi Note 10T 5G camera samples
The Redmi phone bags a mammoth-sized 5,000mAh battery, big enough to keep the device running the whole day. With 45 minutes of gaming, streaming content on OTT platforms, replying to emails and texts on WhatsApp, and taking few calls in between, I could easily get more than half a day's worth of juice on a single charge. In our video loop test, the phone lasted for about 16 hours and 21 minutes.
While battery backup is one of the solid factors in the Redmi Note 10T, the charging capped at 18W boils down the experience. The phone, no doubt bundles a 22.5W fast charge adapter, but due to chipset limitations, one would have to adjust with slow charge speed. During our test, it took more than two hours for the device to charge up fully which is way too much of a waste I feel if one is to consider using it as a primary device.
Verdict: Should you buy the Redmi Note 10T 5G?
Extensive usage of the device for over a month showed pitfalls in some areas. For starters, the Redmi Note 10T 5G is not the fastest phone in the market if one is to compare the gaming performance. The cameras are a bit of a downer too, as a mixed bag of results rather make you think twice before clicking photos in questionable lighting conditions. While brands are making an attempt to bring as many 5G-ready phones in India as possible, rushing to get a 5G phone still makes little to no sense, as 5G installments in the country are yet to take concrete shape.
That said, the Redmi Note 10T 5G offers a good display, decent audio quality, and good battery backup. But if you can't compromise on performance, camera and 5G is not much of a concern, there are plenty of other good options with better hardware and optics that you can look at. Surprisingly some of the alternatives available are from Xiaomi's inventory itself. Redmi Note 9T, Poco M3 Pro 5G, are some of the viable options that you can pick as they are closely priced to the Redmi Note 10T 5G.