Xiaomi has a track record of releasing good phones over the past few years and to name a few, we have phones like the Redmi Note 8 Pro, Mi 8 and one of my personal favorite lineup, the Mi Mix Series. But Xiaomi’s behavior in releasing phones have been destructive to a certain extent in the past year and this 2021 – in fact, if at all, coming from an avid Xiaomi User, it reminds me of Xiaomi’s destructive pattern when Mi 4 happened and the god-knows-how-many-variants we saw, exist in China, India and Malaysia. Fun fact, my first Xiaomi phone was the Mi 4i.
Anyways, fast forward to what we have today in our hands – well, for a month and so – it’s the Redmi Note 10. I took my sweet time with this phone to see if the brand does something destructive and guess what? They sure did.
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The God-knows-how-many-variant behavior returns
One of the noticeable behaviors from the smartphone manufacturers is how they focus on “quantity” over quality, but Xiaomi was an exception for a while because the brand emphasized really well – both on the software department pairing up with good hardware. In fact, my household still uses Xiaomi predominantly as compared to other brands as they are familiar with the phones and their software. This safety bubble created by Xiaomi with their “consumer matter” thought around their product is what won consumers hearts. The right amount of choices for consumers to pick from, the distinctive difference between variants and most of all, a smartphone made right for the right demographic.
When that gets torn and ripped apart, what do you get? Consumers being confused on which one to get and what’s right. This happened when the Mi 4 came in tons of variant – Mi 4i, Mi 4C and so on. Its happening again with the Redmi lineup. In March 2021, Xiaomi announced two new Redmi Note for the year – that is the Redmi Note 10 and the 10 Pro: which showed good amount of difference and shows on paper that the 10 is for those who need a phone for basic everyday needs and the Pro is for those who want a little more.
This is where it gets more complicated. In May 2021, Xiaomi announced another two new Redmi Note 10 to go along with the existing Redmi Note 10 and 10 Pro: the all-new Redmi Note 10 S and Redmi Note 10 5G. So, where does the initially announced Redmi Note 10 stand? Where does these 10 S, 10 5G stand in the lineup – a question I got from my friends and readers. So, we did a chart comparing ALL the variants above.
The Contradicting Lineup
Putting to a certain sense, if Xiaomi were to organize these phones in order based on its specification – from entry to high end, it should be: Redmi Note 10, 10 5G, 10 S and 10 Pro. But that doesn’t make sense when you look at how 10 5G is inferior in so many ways than the Redmi Note 10: It gets a measly 18W Fast Charging, No Ultra-wide-angle camera, a non-AMOLED display but gets 90Hz refresh rate instead. Compare the 10 S with the 10, everything else is essentially the same except for the choice of ram which matches with the Note 10 Pro.
In the whole lineup, you’ll notice there is one phone to have a 5G and you might wonder if there is a Pro variant with 5G – Xiaomi announced the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G which uses a different processor for the sake of 5G, this is a whole another topic we will get into real soon.
Back to our issue, Xiaomi is also bringing back the Redmi 8 which is an old smartphone with a better processor – unnecessary given that their existing lineup has too many going on. It still isn’t over yet. This problem goes beyond the Redmi branding into their other sister brand, re-releasing phones under their POCO brand which has the exact same specification sans the looks. the Redmi Note 10 5G is the Poco M3 Pro 5G and the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G is rumored to be the Poco F3 GT. There’s another one – Redmi Note 10T 5G, a rebadge of the Redmi Note 10 5G. Pretty wtf.
All this for what?
Frankly speaking, that unnecessary ton of models above is only causing issues in ways the brand seem to turn its eye away pretend that they are blind. Recently few friends texted asking me for mid-tier smartphones and to which when I immediately say the Redmi Note 10, their next question is: which one? There are too many of them and how would I know the phone would even last longer than a year?
They aren’t wrong – in fact, MIUI Groups on so many platform has been asking for updates over and over again for not the 10 series but the previous generation which is a year old, some even less. This is driving the quality down and only goes to prove that the brand would much rather make new phones than focus on improving the experience.
It’s Not All about Hardware
You can have the best 1” sensor or a 108MP camera or a Sony sensor – anything you want but to make a hardware work, you need good software and that isnt looking good for Xiaomi. I mentioned this in my Redmi Note 10 Review about how the camera image composition has not changed in a long time and it still has the same issues as its predecessors.
Let’s say we look at the Redmi Note 10 as it is
It’s a pretty decent phone for what it is – it has a nice display, an alright camera, battery that can last you through the whole day and a processor that’s acceptable for its price-to-performance value. But when you pit it against their other phones in the very lineup, you’d come to question why it exists.
Thing is: the Redmi Note 10 could have been a good phone but they made it obsolete in just a month – this cannibalizing strategy isn’t just affecting their smartphone lineup but the consumers who spent their hard-earned money on a phone only to know there’s a new one now. That trust consumer had – is lost. This review sample aside, I purchased one for my dad and I felt it. Not everyone has the money to spend so much, let alone in this pandemic – money is really a need. Consumers buy a certain product because they trust, and if brands like these let consumers down, where would they turn to?
Before I come down to any kind of conclusion, there is one thing I want to make it clear in this review – I am not trying to take jab on Xiaomi, nor I have any ill intentions of making things bad between the brand and myself. If not, I wouldn’t have bought a Redmi Note 10 when my dad wanted a new phone from a store, I personally trust the most, C&C2U.
Xiaomi’s strategy in flooding one too many phones in the same lineup, does not make much sense and isn’t helping. Not only this is a destructive pattern, but it also cannibalizes their own lineup of phones, making it harder to even pick their phones from the shelves, not to forget aren’t going to make the brand look any better either.
Now on to where the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 stands. If you want to purchase any one the phones above, get the 10S if your use case is going to be simple and nothing demanding but if you want a good one, go for the 10 Pro. There is no reason for us to recommend the 10 5G or the 10 when it looks out of place and has the same thing as the other two. If your idea is to get a 5G smartphone, honestly, wait till 5G is made available in Malaysia.