Sometimes you're not looking for the biggest or best phone out there. Let's face it, most of us work on computers for most of the day, and there are plenty of people out there who have consoles or PCs for gaming, or - gasp - simply play smaller, less intensive games on mobile. There's definitely a space in the market for something like that, and that's exactly where Xiaomi has inserted the Redmi 10; an affordable phone with more than a few surprising features.
Xiaomi has an amazing broad product library, with their Poco, Mi and Redmi lines, as well as the various variations within each of those. Some of their phones really punch above their weight, but there always seems to have been a deep amount of respect for the consumer's wallet. That's definitely the case here, the Redmi 10 comes in at just over £100, which is a really respectable price for a phone of this calibre.
It's a very clean design though. The whole phone is incredibly flat and has a simple form-factor with the exception of a lip on the bottom of the front and the rounded-rectangle camera piece on the back. I'm still not sure why the current camera design is focused on making the cameras look like they've been glued on afterwards, but it is a trend that doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. That said, I really like how the back of the Redmi 10 looks, the slightly rounded shape and the positioning and size of the camera assembly reminds me of old cameras, and that nu-retro design (deliberate or not) has grown on me a lot over my time reviewing the phone.
If you fancy mobile gaming:
Carrying on with the exterior of the phone, I had the Sea Blue version, which did quite quickly pick up a few fingerprints. I was a little confused by this because I know somebody who has a Redmi 10 and they said it was quite the opposite, I guess that's down to the colour phone you get. The fingerprint unlock on the power button is a great feature, and while I don't normally use such things, it's great to see this extra feature slipped into the design. Another standout is the fact that it's a dual sim phone, and there's a MicroSD slot. The last few phones I have reviewed haven't had memory expansion options, which can really be a negative if you photograph a lot, or download a lot of games onto your phone.
Another feature (and I can't believe that I'm celebrating this in 2021, but I am) is the 3.5mm audio jack. The audio quality is pretty great through the jack, and it's great that somebody out there is still making phones which take that fitting. If you're not using headphones though, the speakers come into play. The Redmi 10 has two speakers, one on the underside and another on the top left of the phone. That's stereo rather than mono and means that if you're using your phone to watch a video in landscape view then you're going to have a good time, perhaps even a better time than you would have with some top-range phones which tend to have mono speakers.
The screen quality isn't bad at all, and there's no suspicious dark spots or shadows around the frame of the phone, I also like the UI that was used, especially the split swipes from the top. Similar to iOS devices, you can pull down on one side for notifications and the other for a settings menu. It's very modern, and if you've got a busy phone then it'll be more than welcome.
The main camera does leave something to be desired when it comes to general brightness and light adjustment, however, the ultrawide camera works really well in both low-light and daylight settings. The night mode is pretty great, if you use that feature, however the moment I started using zoom in night mode I started getting a lot of false darkness in the photos. I also started to experience some slowdown when I had multiple apps running on the phone, and that really affected playing some of the more graphically intense games.
Overall, the Redmi 10 is a bit of a surprise. It's a really affordable phone, and so the expectation (and delivery in some areas) is that it would be a standard phone, however, it has quite a few modern conveniences that would normally only be found in high-end phones and so it really ends up punching well above its weight.