The ultimate budget smartphone?
The Xiaomi Redmi looks like the typical Android smartphone with a rectangular design and rounded corners. Like the Motorola Moto G, the Redmi is built using two different plastic finishing – glossy and matte. The glossy material is used for the edges of the phone while the matte finish is actually on the removable back cover.
Removing the back cover is fairly easy; there is a slit at the bottom right corner of the device that requires little effort to pry open. Once removed, you will see three slots above a 2,000mAh battery.
The first slot on the left is the microSD memory card slot that supports memory cards up to 32GB. The next two slots are normal-sized SIM card slots. While both slots accept SIM cards with data connectivity, only the left slot supports 3G mobile data while the right slot supports 2G data connectivity. This is designed for power efficiency since it’s unlikely that anyone will require both SIM cards with high-speed data concurrently.
The dual-SIM Redmi supports dual-standby, which means both SIM cards can receive calls and messages at the same time. Weighing at 158g, the Redmi is heavier than most phones of its class; the 4.5inch Moto G weighs 143g while the 4.7-inch Nokia Lumia 625 weighs 159g. Depending on how you see it, the Redmi can come across as being solid or a little too dense for its size.
The Redmi has a 4.7-inch 720p display that is quite splendid. Colors are bright with images and text appears sharp.
The Redmi ships with MIUI V5 based on Google Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. There are currently more than 200 features or functions in MIUI, and the list grows according to user feedback. If you like to personalize the interface and control every aspect of the phone, MIUI will be a perfect fit for you.
Running under the hood though is a MediaTek MT6589T quad-core 1.5GHz processor with 1GB RAM. User experience is decidedly average as interface navigation isn’t quite smooth.
An 8-megapixel rear camera, f/2.2 aperture and 28mm wide angle lens deliver surprisingly good image quality with punchy colors and low noise levels.
The 2,000mAh battery lasted slightly over 5 hours in our video test, which is considered quite decent. Under typical usage conditions, the Redmi could last 16 hours.
Considering its retail price of just $169, performance and software capabilities, the Redmi has no equal in its category.