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After being shelved for a while, the Redmi Prime series resurfaced from the dead last year with the Redmi Prime 9. Once considered the bridge between the number series and the Note series, the smartphone came in the sub Rs. 10,000 category device as the Notes crossed that mark.

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Another year has brought another Note and this year the Redmi Note’s price so(a)red even higher (and keeps increasing even as we write), and well, this time the new Prime crosses the Rs 10,000 barrier to once again try to be the option for those still wanting a classic Note phone, but short of the bucks for the new ones. The Redmi 10 Prime comes with a starting price tag of Rs 12,499 which is a major step up for the Prime series but considering how phone prices, in general, are going up of late, this does not quite come as a surprise. But can this premium-er Prime define its price tag? More importantly, can it remain a Note-able alternative?

Another Gen Z smartphone

When it comes to design, the Redmi 10 Prime follows what’s trending in the market. The phone is everything you would expect a smartphone of today’s day and age to look like. It comes with a tall display with really thin bezels around three sides and with a slightly thicker chin. The display is also home to a punch hole notch that holds the front-facing camera.

Flip the phone and the bling is likely to blind you. At least that is the case with the silver and blue color variant. The back of the phone is polycarbonate and is a blend of the two colors; the shiny metallic silver color blends into shiny blue color as it flows down. Because the back has a reflective finish, it gets smudgy very easily and catches fingerprints in a jiffy.

There is a slightly raised, massive rectangular camera unit on the top left side of the back that houses four cameras. The one on the top covers the most space while the other three and flash sit together in size harmony. The camera comes with AI CAM branding while the Redmi branding sits vertically on the bottom left corner of the back.

A little slippery, not a show stopper, but as trendy as you like

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The texture of the back does not add too much grip to the phone but does give it a smooth feel in hand. The back of the Redmi 10 Prime also curves on the outside and meets the rounded plastic frame that sits between the polycarbonate back and glass front. The curvy right side of the frame is home to a flat physical fingerprint scanner that doubles up as a lock/ power button. On the same side, you will find the volume rockers while the opposite side holds the dual SIM card and dedicated microSD card tray. The top and the base of the device are flat. The top carries a 3.5 mm audio jack and a Redmi staple, an IR blaster along with a speaker grille and mic. The base also carries a mic and speaker grille accompanied by a USB Type-C port.

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The Redmi 10 Prime measures 161.95 x 75.57 x 9.56 mm and weighs 192 grams. While the rest of the numbers are routine, the weight of the 10 Prime is a little impressive considering it comes with a 6,000 mAh battery which is almost 1,000 mAh more than its predecessor and yet it is lighter by a 6-gram margin.

All in all, the Redmi Prime 10 has the looks and feel of a trendy device. Put the phone down on the table and it will fit right in with Gen Z of smartphones that are being launched these days. We do not think the phone has the ability to drop jaws or turn heads but it can still be identified as a trendy device which we think is good enough at this price point.

The routine task master

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The Redmi 10 Prime is the first phone in India to be powered by a MediaTek Helio G88 processor. Launched a couple of months ago alongside the MediaTek Helio G96, the Helio G88 comes focused on smartphone photography. The new processor was paired with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage in our unit. There is also a 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage variant. The storage on the device can be expanded up to 512 GB by using a microSD card. Along with the storage, the Redmi 10 Prime also allows you to extend your RAM in case you need a little extra push. You can expand 1 GB RAM on the 4 GB RAM variant while you can expand the RAM up to 2 GB on the 6 GB RAM variant.

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With that configuration, the Redmi 10 Prime is more than capable of handling your daily tasks, the phone allows you to jump from one app to another without any hesitation. Multitasking is also a breeze on the device. You can have multiple apps running in the background but the phone would not show any signs of slowing whilst going through daily chores.

Casual gaming is another hit factor on the smartphone. We went through rounds after rounds of Subway Surfers and Alto’s Odyssey and the experience did not disappoint us. That said, trying high-end games like PUBG and Asphalt 9 on the device might not be as much fun. You can run them at low settings but they just do not deliver the same oomph.

Scoring on sight, sound and security

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Gaming also brings to the fore two key features of the phone – its display and sound. The Redmi 10 Prime comes with a 6.5 inch tall full HD+ display with a 90 Hz adaptive refresh rate, a rarity at this price. This means the phone automatically switches between 45 Hz, 60 Hz and 90 Hz depending on the need of the task at hand, saving you from having to manually change the refresh rate, saving battery in the process. The display of the phone is bright and punchy and while it is not AMOLED (which is now making its way into the segment), it is definitely a very good display for watching content.

The Redmi 10 Prime also brings dual speakers to the table, with one speaker on the top of the phone while the other is present on the base. This adds a surround-sound-like effect to its audio output. The audio in general is loud on both speakers and over earphones but does not have too much body to it. But still combined with the display, it makes this a very good device for anyone who loves to watch a lot of content on their devices.

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The physical fingerprint scanner on the side works like a charm (we love its location, we would like to stress once again), unlocking the phone almost at the instant you rest your finger on it. Call connectivity was pretty good as well. The phone does not come with support for 5G networks which might make it less future-proof than others in the eyes of some folks (although we still have no details of 5G availability), but at this price point, we do not think 5G makes a difference.

Redmi goes into 50 MP camera land…and does well!

The Redmi 10 Prime comes with a quad-camera setup on the back and a single front-facing camera. The primary camera arrangement consists of a 50-megapixel main sensor, an 8-megapixel ultrawide sensor, a 2-megapixel macro sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.

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It is the main sensor that is the star of the Redi 10 Prime camera show. It delivers some stunning images in well-lit conditions and is one of the few phones in the category that manages to reproduce colors very close to how they actually are. Most smartphones under Rs 15,000 tend to butcher the balance and oversaturate colors. We were also impressed by the amount of detail the main sensor managed to capture (again, in well-lit conditions). Even the shots we took out of moving vehicles turned out packed with details which were quite impressive.

The main sensor is also quick to focus and also handles shadows well and creates a distinct depth between shadows and subject. The phone brings HDR and AI mode that can spruce things up for those who like their photos to have that extra color kick.

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[Click here for full resolution images + additional samples]

That said, dimming the lights even a little does not sit well with the Redmi 10 Prime’s camera. The output takes a major hit in terms of detail and to compensate for the lack of light, the camera often tries to spruce up colors which do not help its cause at the end. Not if you zoom into the shots.

A macro surprise (good), a selfie surprise too (not so good)

The 8-megapixel ultrawide sensor on the phone is unfortunately not as impressive as the main sensor. Even after color calibration claims between the main sensor and the ultrawide sensor from Redmi, there was a visible difference between the color output of the main and ultrawide cameras, which is disappointing.

The 2-megapixel macro sensor on the phone is however a pleasant surprise. While these “2-megapixel” snappers are usually just shown ponies that are not capable of doing much on most phone cameras, the macro lens on the Redmi 10 Prime actually delivered some stunning results with great depth of field that highlighted the subject really well. What’s more, we did not have to go back and forth trying to get the subject in focus – just pointing from a close enough distance did the job.

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The other 2-megapixel sensor is your average joe. It sometimes gets the portraits right with perfectly blurred background and defined edges while other times it would blur the edges of the subject along with the background. Videos on the 10 Prime are pretty decent as well. The results offer ample detail although the color gets a tad saturated sometimes. Good enough for social networks.

Saying “good enough for social networks” is not that easy for the 8-megapixel camera on the front of the phone, which is a bit of a letdown. It delivers washed-out and grainy selfies. Some can just about pass for social media but we really expected better in this day and age.

A battery mammoth that charges others too

One of the most impressive numbers on the Redmi 10 Prime is the 6,000 mAh battery. That is about 1,000 mAh more than what the phone’s predecessor was offering, which itself was quite a big number. And it is not really about numbers. The Redmi 10 Prime can last you for more than a day and a half on a single charge on normal usage (we are assuming you won’t go crazy playing games and snapping pics). You can even push it to two days if you are careful enough.

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The phone comes packed with a 22.5W fast charger in the box but supports 18W fast charging, which actually is not too impressive considering the soaring Watt numbers that we are seeing nowadays. The phone takes about 2.5 hours to go from zero to 100 which is actually a bit much by modern standards, but the phone does offer you long battery life to compensate for the long charging time. The phone also offers 9W reverse charging which means you can actually charge another gadget with it and use it as a power bank. And that can be actually very handy.

A simpler, fluent, cleaner MIUI

The Redmi 10 Prime runs on MIUI 12.5 and comes with Android 11 out of the box.

In the past, Xiaomi has been heavily criticized for having ads in its UI. The brand has worked towards changing that in the recent updates and MIUI 12.5 has been another step in the same direction. With the MIUI 12.5, Xiaomi has cut back on bloatware and has even minimized the number of system apps that come bundled with a Xiaomi phone.

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While we have always liked the neat functions and features that MIUI brings, the random ads were a problem. That problem seemed to have been solved on the 10 Prime. You get the handy features, minus the annoying ads, and those that do pop up can be easily disabled too. The skin also feels much simpler, fluent and light which is again a big plus.

A Prime option for those missing the “old” Note

Priced at Rs 12,499 for the 4 GB/ 64 GB variant and Rs 14,499 for the 6 GB/ 128 GB variant, the Redmi 10 Prime actually comes across as a very promising device that delivers on more than one front. It delivers on traditional Prime fronts like battery life and a good display and this time adds a very impressive (if inconsistent) camera to the mix. And of course, it again comes with a price tag that puts it in a zone of its own (even though it is more expensive than in the past).

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The Realme Narzo 30 at Rs 13,499 might pose a slight challenge with its Helio G95 chip but it has a smaller battery (although it does charge faster) and its camera is a level below this one. The Moto G30 does bring a comparable camera, stock Android and Snapdragon 662 chip to the fight at Rs 10,999, but its display in spite of having a 90 Hz refresh rate too, is only an HD+ one and its battery is 5000 mAh.

Ironically, the biggest challenge posed to the Redmi 10 Prime might come from its brother from the same other, the Poco M3, which brings a large display (with a normal refresh rate though), decent cameras, a Snapdragon 662 processor and a 6000 mAh battery at Rs 11,999 for a 6 GB/ 64 GB variant. Honestly, we do not know whether there would be too many takers for the 6 GB/ 128 GB variant of the Redmi 10 Prime, as one can get a Redmi Note 10 at a lower price. The Realme 8 also comes into the striking distance at that price. But at its starting price of Rs 12,499, the Redmi 10 Prime is in a very good place with very few real contenders.

Redmi has been very smart with the 10 Prime pricing. As it moves the Note ahead in the price game, it has brought in the 10 Prime to fill in that gap, leaving no price bracket under its stronghold vulnerable. The brand is smoothly making this transition where it is moving the Note series closer to Rs.15,000 and moving it away from the Rs 10K Note price which had been its trademark. It is perfect for everyday use and while it does not smash benchmarks, it is a solid, reliable performer, whether it comes to watching content, social networking, shooting images and even playing some basic titles. This is exactly what the base Redmi Note used to be all about. That makes the Redmi Prime the new base Redmi Note in the market, in all but name – it is your everyday phone.

And if that does not tell you how good the Redmi 10 Prime is, nothing will.

Pros

  • Good display with an adaptive refresh rate
  • Long battery life
  • Good camera performance in well-lit conditions
  • The macro camera performs well
  • Smooth performer for everyday use
Cons

  • Inconsistent camera output
  • Poor selfie camera
  • Takes a long time to charge
  • Is not apt for high-end gaming

Review Overview
Build & Design
Performance
Camera
Software
Price
SUMMARY

The Redmi 10 Prime comes as a successor of the Redmi 9 Prime which was launched last year. While the Redmi 9 Prime had focused mainly on battery performance and a tall display, the new Prime has also added some camera muscle to the mix as it is the first Redmi device in India to come with a 50-megapixel main sensor.

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