We are Seven: The Redmi Note Buying Guide
From the 10 to the 11T 5G, which Note works for whom
- Initially, Xiaomi used to launch a single Redmi Note device every year. This year it has already launched seven.
- The Redmi Note devices launched this year range from the Redmi Note 10 Lite to the Redmi 10 Pro Max to the recently launched Redmi Note 11T 5G.
- Each Redmi Note has its own core strengths. We attempt to figure out which one works best for whom.
It has been raining Redmi Notes in India in 2021. From being a single device in 2016, the phone had diverged into Pro and Pro Max variants in later years. But this year has seen a variety of Notes with different suffixes attached to them.
The latest to join the Note gang, the Redmi Note 11T 5G, is actually the SEVENTH Redmi Note phone to be launched in India this year, making it perhaps one of the most well-populated phone series in the market.
This Note-able population explosion could, however, confuse consumers. A few years ago, choosing a Note was as simple as opting for a Pro or a plain version. Today, it is a lot more complicated than that, with seven Notes to choose from, spanning a price range of Rs 13,999 to Rs 21,999. Which is the Redmi Note for you? Let us try to figure out: (we have stuck to the models released in 2021 and have stuck to the roughly chronological order in terms of release in India)
Redmi Note 10: The “Most Note-ish Note”
Rs 13,999 onwards
We had called the Redmi Note 10 “the most Note-ish Note of the lot” when we had reviewed it, and the passage of time has given us no reason to change our minds.
The Redmi Note 10 is all about performance rather than spec bells and whistles. It might have a plastic back, but it is so well-designed that you might think it is glass. It comes with a very bright 6.4-inch super AMOLED full HD+ display and was the first phone in the country to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 processor. It is no gaming beast but flies through most routine tasks, with a 48-megapixel main sensor in a quad-camera set-up delivering great snaps in good light conditions and a 13-megapixel shooter who can easily take selfies that are “good enough for the Gram.”
The stereo speakers add a lot to both music and videos, while a large 5000 mAh battery gets you through more than a day of heavy use easily and can be recharged briskly enough, courtesy of a 33W charger in the box. It has no big refresh rate or megapixel numbers, or even the fastest processor, but what the Redmi Note 10 does have is the quiet assurance of steady, reliable performance. This is why we call it the “Most Note-ish Note.”
Perfect for: Those who just want a steady, well-designed phone that works smoothly and are not obsessed with gaming and camera performance.
Redmi Note 10 Pro: The boss note!
Rs 17,999 onwards
If it is the best Note you are seeking, it is a fair chance that the Redmi Note 10 Pro is the one for you.
Xiaomi pretty much threw the kitchen sink at this one, with a very eye-catching glass front and back design, the best display in its class (a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh rate), and a very good set of four cameras (well, three of them were very good a least), spearheaded by a very capable 64-megapixel main sensor.
There were also stereo speakers and a 5020 mAh battery with a 33W charger that could easily see a day and a half of use and get charged very fast. Perhaps the only fly in the ointment was perhaps the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G processor, which was a little on the older side, and the absence of 5G (more keenly felt at this price point). However, the processor is still doing well, and 5G has yet to come to India, so this remains the best, most balanced Redmi Note that money can get today.
Perfect for: Those who want the best Note out there, in terms of the best blend of price and performance.
Redmi Note 10 Pro Max: Maxed out megapixels for camera lovers
Rs 19,999 onwards
Take the excellent display, design, and battery of the Redmi Note 10 Pro, the phone we called, the best, most balanced Redmi Note that money can get today. Now replace the very good 64-megapixel sensor on that phone with a best-in-its-class 108-megapixel main sensor, and voila, you have the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max.
The phone is the Redmi Note 10 Pro with a terrific camera. Yes, the Snapdragon 732G processor can sometimes take a little time with the massive 108-megapixel snaps, but that is a small price to pay when considering the photography quality this phone delivers. We called it the sub-Rs 20,000 boss in our review. And we see no reason to change that opinion. Yes, we still think that the Redmi Note 10 Pro is the best Note out there given the fact that it is basically the same specs and frame for a slightly lower price tag, but if you love photography, then this is the Note for you.
Perfect for: Those wanting a great camera phone under Rs 20,000. It being a Note is a massive bonus, of course!
Redmi Note 10 Lite: The Note for those on a budget
Rs 12,999 onwards
If you are on a tight budget and still want a Redmi Note device, the Redmi Note 10 Lite is perhaps the phone for you. Do not be taken in by that “Lite” tag, though – this Note can perform very well. It comes with an old-ish but still very able Snapdragon 720G processor and while its 6.67-inch display is not AMOLED, it is still full HD+ and is great for consuming content.
The main camera is a quad-camera set up at the back, is a competent 48-megapixel sensor, and it can take some very good pictures, light permitting, while the 16-megapixel selfie camera is actually better than the one on the Note 10! The large 5020 mAh battery will easily see off two days of usage, but the 18W charger means it takes a fairly long time to charge by modern standards. The design is more Redmi Note 9 than Redmi Note 10 with its square camera unit in the center, but this remains a good option for those who cannot get the Note 10.
Perfect for: Those wanting a new-ish Redmi Note but are short of the bucks needed for the Redmi Note 10.
Redmi Note 10S: Game on for those who want a Note to game on!
Rs 14,999 onwards
Gaming might not have been the forte of the Redmi Note 10, but what if you put a gaming chip inside it? Well, that is exactly what Xiaomi did with the Redmi Note 10S, which is basically the body of the Redmi Note 10, but with a more powerful heart – the MediaTek Helio G95 processor.
You get a similar 6.4-inch Super AMOLED full HD+ display and stereo speakers, and while some might quibble about the refresh rate, which is a normal 60 Hz, they will have no complaints about the gaming performance of the phone, which actually matches and sometimes even betters that of its Pro and Pro Max siblings, playing even high-end games at reasonably high settings.
The main camera of the phone is a 64-megapixel one (there are three others on the back), but we did not find it to be the greatest, although the 13-megapixel selfie camera is decent enough. Battery life is not the best of the series – the 5000 mAh battery will see off a day (perhaps the gaming-friendly processor guzzles more battery), but a 33W charger will get you back up and running in a little more than an hour.
Perfect for: Gamers looking for a Note-worthy phone.
Redmi Note 10T 5G: The OG Redmi 5G
Rs 14,999 onwards
None of the Redmi Note devices released in 2021 came with 5G support. The Redmi Note 10T 5G changed that. It was the first Redmi phone in India to come with 5G, although the network itself has yet to arrive in India at the time of writing. But with 5G support comes with some spec compromises. Not only is the phone powered by the relatively less powerful Dimensity 700 (which is a notch below the Snapdragon 732G and Helio G95) but unlike most of its siblings, it also comes with a LCD rather than an AMOLED display, albeit with a 90 Hz refresh rate.
Its main camera sensor is a 48-megapixel one (along with two very nominal 2 megapixel snappers), while the selfie shooter was the weakest of the Note series – a rather so-so 8-megapixel camera. Battery life is good thanks to a 5000 mAh battery, but while there is a 22.5W charger in the box, it charges only at 18W, thanks to the restrictions imposed by the Dimensity 700 processor. 5G is the biggest reason for getting this Note – it is the most affordable 5G Redmi device around. Small wonder we referred to it as “a 5G-forward, specs-backward Note 10.
Perfect for: Those on a tight budget who want a Redmi Note with 5G support.
Redmi Note 11T 5G: The Note 10T 5G Plus?
Rs 16,999 onwards
It might come with a Note 11 tag, but make no mistake, the Redmi Note 11T 5G is actually the spiritual successor of the Redmi Note 10T 5G.
While it has a bigger display, it too is LCD, but where it scores markedly over that phone is in terms of its processor, a MediaTek Dimensity 810 and in cameras, where it sports a very good 50 megapixel camera on the back (alongside an 8 megapixel ultrawide one) and a good 16-megapixel front facing camera too. Top that off with a 5000 mAh that sees off more than two days of usage and charges in an hour thanks to a 33W charger in the box, and the Redmi Note 10T Plu…we mean the Redmi Note 11T 5G becomes perhaps the most value for money mid-segment 5G smartphone in the Indian market today.
Perfect for: Those who want a good 5G smartphone for less than Rs 20,000. Not much of a Note factor here!