Redmi Note 10S First Impressions: An Improved Redmi Note 10?
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 10 series has been quite popular in India, and the three different models that were launched initially in March this year cater to three different price points. Xiaomi has now launched a slightly upgraded version of its entry-level smartphone, the Redmi Note 10. Called the Redmi Note 10S, this new model sports a different processor, more RAM, and a higher resolution primary camera sensor. The Redmi Note 10S is available at slightly higher prices, but are these upgrades worth the premium? I got to spend some time with the Redmi Note 10S and here are my first impressions.
Redmi Note 10S price in India
The Redmi Note 10S is available in two variants starting with the base variant that has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage priced at Rs. 14,999. The other variant has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and is priced at Rs. 15,999.
The Redmi Note 10 is a good value-for-money smartphone and it managed a high score in our review. This makes me question the need for an “S” model a mere two months after its launch. Xiaomi hasn’t changed a lot of things about the Note 10S. The Redmi Note 10 (Review) featured the new “Evol” design language which is retained on the Redmi Note 10S. Visually, it isn’t easy to distinguish between these two models.
You get the same 6.43-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display on the Note 10S with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. It has a hole at the top-centre which houses a 13-megapixel selfie camera. The body of the Note 10S is made out of polycarbonate and feels well built. It measures 8.29mm in thickness and weighs 179g.
Xiaomi has gone with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner which sits on the right of the frame along with the volume buttons. My thumb rested on the scanner naturally which makes it convenient to unlock the smartphone. I found the phone to be well balanced and comfortable to hold. The curved back also helps with grip.
The Redmi Note 10S is a dual-SIM device and has two Nano-SIM slots. It also has a dedicated microSD card slot for storage expansion. The smartphone is IP53 rated for dust and water resistance, and there is a thin rubber seal around the SIM tray to help prevent water intrusion.
You get stereo speakers on the Note 10S which is a good feature at this price. There’s also an IR emitter on the top, with the USB Type-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom.
The back only has the camera module in the top left corner. This consists of a quad-camera system with the highlight being its 64-megapixel wide-angle primary camera which is an upgrade over the 48-megapixel primary camera on the Redmi Note 10. The module also houses an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro camera which seems just the same as on the Redmi Note 10.
Xiaomi offers the Redmi Note 10S in three colour options: Frost White, Shadow Black, and Deep Sea Blue. I had the latter; a new gradient finish that helps distinguish the Note 10S. The phone packs in a 5,000mAh battery and is capable of 33W fast charging. It also comes with a 33W fast charger in the box.
Apart from the camera, the other big change in the Note 10S is the processor. This smartphone is powered by the MediaTek Helio G95 SoC. The Redmi Note 10 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 SoC. It’ll be interesting to see the kind of performance lead the Redmi Note 10S has over the Redmi Note 10. My review unit was the top-spec variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
At launch time, the Redmi Note 10S will ship running an interim version of MIUI 12.5, and is the first smartphone from Xiaomi in India to run this latest version. This is based on Android 11 and my unit had the April Android security patch. The Note 10S comes with a fair number of apps pre-installed, including an alternative to the Play Store called GetApps. During setup, I was asked about enabling Glance For MI, a wallpaper carousel service which I declined because it usually shows promotional content.
Given that the Redmi Note 10 series has made a mark in the sub Rs. 20,000 segment, I think the introduction of the Note 10S could be is a bit too early. Considering the price, the Note 10S not only has to compete with Realme, Poco, and Motorola, but also its own siblings, the Redmi Note 10 and the Redmi Note 10 Pro. So should the Redmi Note 10S be your pick? I’ll answer that in the full review, coming up soon.