The new Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is Xiaomi's most ambitious Redmi phone yet. It boasts of quite a few features that you might expect to see in today's so-called “flagship killer” phones. The Redmi Note series has always offered specifications and features that push boundaries, and now the brand new Redmi Note 10 Pro Max seems to be trying to jump into a more premium category, where you'll currently find the OnePlus Nord, Samsung Galaxy F62, Realme X7 Pro, and even the Mi 10i.
Of course, certain choices have been made to keep costs under control, such as the lack of 5G. Interestingly, this phone is identical to the Redmi Note 10 Pro, except for its higher-resolution primary rear camera. Should you pay extra for this one feature, or has Xiaomi miscalculated what people actually want? We'll soon answer that question in our full review, but for now, here are some first impressions of the new Redmi Note 10 Pro Max.
Given its 108-megapixel camera and other features, the starting price of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is Rs. 18,999, which gets you 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. That goes up to Rs. 19,999 for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or Rs. 21,999 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The nearly identical Redmi Note 10 Pro will cost Rs. 15,999, Rs. 16,999 and Rs. 18,999 for the same three configurations respectively, which means it costs Rs. 3,000 less across the board.
Starting with design, Xiaomi has introduced a new “Evol” language. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max has a reinforced glass back with curved sides. There are three colours – Vintage Bronze and Glacial Blue, which have frosted finishes and slight gradients going from light to dark down the back, and Dark Night, which is pretty much solid black. Xiaomi says the back is smudge-proof, but that isn't exactly the case on my Dark Night review unit.
The camera module on the back is pretty elaborate, with a two-stepped design that accommodates the thickness of the 108-megapixel primary sensor but makes the rest of the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max look slim. The main camera is highlighted within a large silver patch and the rest are also arranged rather decoratively.
The frame running around the phone is flat at the top and bottom, and bulges a bit where the power and volume buttons are. The power button has an integrated fingerprint sensor but isn't recessed or oversized so you might not even realise it's there. You can assign a double-tap on the sensor to launch the camera or Google Assistant, pull down the notifications shade, turn on the torch, take a screenshot, or a few other things.
You'll probably be pleased to see a 3.5mm audio socket on the top, along with a second speaker grille, which means you get stereo sound. There's a USB Type-C port on the bottom, and you get a 33W fast charger in the box with this phone. The tray on the left has two Nano-SIM slots and a separate microSD card slot. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max and its siblings all have IP53 ratings for water and dust resistance.
On the front, we have a 6.67-inch full-HD+ super AMOLED screen with a 120Hz maximum refresh rate. This is an HDR-capable panel with a 1200nits peak brightness and 100 percent DCI-P3 wide colour gamut support, plus TÜV Rheinland certification for low blue light emission. There's no in-display fingerprint sensor but you do get a relatively tiny embedded front camera right in the top-centre. Xiaomi touts how small the hole is, but has surrounded the camera with a highly reflective silver ring, which makes it somewhat distracting. The panel is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and Xiaomi has pre-applied a plastic screen protector.
As for power, Xiaomi has gone with the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G processor. The integrated Adreno 618 graphics should make for a high-quality gaming experience but we'll test performance in detail in our full review. This does mean that there's no 5G support, which some other manufacturers are touting as an advantage at this price level. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max has a 5,020mAh battery and support for 33W fast charging. Xiaomi has used LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.2 storage. You also get dual-band Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth.
Of course, you want to know all about the cameras. The 108-megapixel primary sensor is what sets the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max apart from its sibling, the Redmi Note 10 Pro, which has a 64-megapixel primary camera. Not many phones in India have such a high sensor resolution, and it should allow you to crop and magnify photos to get high-quality closeups of distant objects in some situations.
The rest of the cameras are common between the two models. There's a standard 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor, but what's interesting is the 5-megapixel “super macro” camera. Xiaomi says it has used a macro lens with 2X zoom which means you can get macro shots even from a distance. That sounds like it has some practical applications, and I'll be testing that in the full review. The front camera has a 16-megapixel resolution.
While all of this sounds premium, Redmi phones have often been let down by aggressive and annoying advertising in the software. While the Redmi Note 10 series phones will ship with the current MIUI 12 on Android 11, in which that is still the case, Xiaomi promises a dramatic overhaul is coming soon with MIUI 12.5. You should be able to remove nearly all default apps, and all promos and ads will disappear. We'll see how this pans out, but it's a promising development.
The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max has a lot of features, and the main tradeoff seems to be the lack of 5G. It's slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, at 8.1mm and 192g. It's still a handful thanks to the large screen, and we'll discuss what it's like to live with this phone in the full review, which is coming up very soon, so stay tuned to Gadgets 360.