The Redmi Note 10T is Xiaomi’s first ‘budget’ 5G phone in India, but there’s a catch

The fifth Redmi Note 10 phone in India is a bit of an oddball.

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This is now the fifth Redmi Note 10 phone to launch in India.

Xiaomi has been shy of launching too many 5G phones in India so far. Almost all its 5G phones have come from under the Mi banner which means technically, these phones have been reserved for the price range above 20k. The only affordable 5G option from the house of Xiaomi has been the Poco M3 Pro. Today, Redmi is finally joining this bandwagon with the launch of the Redmi Note 10T, a budget 5G phone with a starting price of Rs 13,999. There’s a catch however.

The Redmi Note 10T is a rebranded Poco M3 Pro, or rather, it’s the other way round. The Redmi Note 10T first broke cover as the Redmi Note 10 5G in global markets and was quickly relaunched as the Poco M3 Pro with a rehashed design. But while the Redmi Note 10 5G never came to India, the Poco M3 Pro did. In June of all things. Xiaomi is known for its meticulous “rebranding” but this is the first time, it’s launching the same product twice in India. The fact that it is also diluting the excellent Redmi Note 10 lineup further in the process, can’t be stressed enough either. This is now the fifth Redmi Note 10 phone to launch in India, hot on the heels of the Redmi Note 10S (review).

Also Read | Redmi Note 10 Pro Max review: Setting a new benchmark for value for money

That’s not to say there are no differences at all. The biggest difference will be advertisements. The Redmi Note 10T, like all Redmi phones, will show you ads. That’s not the case with the Poco M3 Pro, which is based on a slightly tweaked version of MIUI. Speaking of MIUI, in addition to the ad situation, it’s disappointing that the Redmi Note 10T is launching with MIUI 12, not MIUI 12.5. This means the Redmi Note 10S still remains to be the first and only Xiaomi phone to ship with MIUI 12.5 right out of the gate. To be fair, the Poco M3 Pro also comes with MIUI 12 out-of-the-box. MIUI 12.5 should be coming to both these phones in due time, just not right now.

As for hardware, both phones share the same spec-sheet. This includes:

  • An all-plastic body with a side-mounted fingerprint reader,
  • a 6.5-inch 1080p LCD display with a 90Hz refresh rate, centrally aligned hole punch cut-out and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection,
  • octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 700 system-on-chip,
  • up to 6GB RAM and 128GB UFS2.2 storage (hybrid expansion),
  • a triple rear camera setup with 48MP main and two 2MP cameras, one for depth and another for macros (video recording tops out at 1080p@30fps),
  • 8MP front camera,
  • and a 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging.

Also Read | Mi 11 Ultra review: It’s settled, a new star has entered the galaxy

There’s no doubt that the Redmi Note 10T and Poco M3 Pro are Xiaomi’s answer to the growing influx of affordable 5G phones from Realme. More specifically, the Realme 8 5G, Narzo 30 5G and Narzo 30 Pro 5G. That said, the Redmi Note 10T is a bit of an oddball because of the phone’s pricing. Xiaomi has launched it in India at an “introductory” price of Rs 13,999 for a version with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The 6GB/128GB version of the phone will set you back by Rs 15,999. The Poco M3 Pro costs the same in India.

Then there’s competition. Phones like the Realme 8, Narzo 30 5G and Narzo 30 Pro 5G get you similar or even better specs at around the same price making them more value for money. The Narzo 30 Pro 5G in particular gets you more powerful hardware as well as support for more 5G bands — if you’re into that sort of thing. The Redmi Note 10T’s entry-level pricing may seem too good to be true but if you’re really going for future-proofing (which is the whole point of a 5G phone like this after all), you should ideally stay clear of buying the 4GB/64GB model. Moreover, these are introductory prices meaning, they are subject to change later.

On the flip side, if 5G is not on top of your radar, Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 10S and Redmi Note 10 Pro (and even the Redmi Note 10) offer more value than the Redmi Note 10T. Like the Redmi Note 10S before it, the existence of the Redmi Note 10T is also very questionable and the presence of a Poco M3 Pro only amplifies its identity crisis further.

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