Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

Xiaomi, the so called Apple of China is a very popular brand in Asia now thanks to the quick launches they’ve been doing of premium quality phones in all price ranges. It’s also popular with Android fans all over the world who’ve been lucky to get their hands on one of their devices. Xiaomi recently launched the Redmi Note 3 after the success of the earlier two Note variants. Let’s have a quick look at why this phone also promises to be a hit with the masses.


Design, Display & Hardware


Take it out of the box and the design feels top quality in premium Gold, matte finish and a full metal body. The 5.5” full IPS HD display has a 401 ppi with a Sunlight Display feature that does adjust the contrast along with the brightness in bright Sunlight. It’s a scratch resistant display but not Gorilla perhaps, since it’s nowhere mentioned on the company’s website. The front 5MP camera is besides the notification LED on the top right. The 3 capacitive buttons below the screen are backlit. The left side has the hybrid (dual SIM 4G or SD card) slot and the right has the volume rocker and the power button. The Micro USB charging port is left of centre at the bottom while the top has the 3.5mm audio port and the IR blaster.


At the rear centre is the 16MP camera with the dual tone LED flash below and below that is the fingerprint scanner. The speaker grill sits below the MI logo at the bottom.
The Redmi Note 3 weighs in at 165 gms which is a tad heavy but then it’s 5.5” and not small hands friendly! Thickness stands at 8.7mm , so it’s slim and weight is evenly distributed thanks mainly to the light weight battery which is a behemoth at 4050 mAh.

In terms of performance hardware , the phone packs a punch with the hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 SoC on the lines of the Snapdragon 808 & Adreno 510 GPU.Expandable memory is limited to 32GB for some reason and could be a put off for some. The phone is currently available in Gold, Silver & Dark Grey color options and 2 variants. 16GB ROM with 2GB RAM or 32GB ROM with 3GB RAM. The one I’ve got is a gold 32GB one that has 26GB user accessible. Finally ,the fingerprint scanner is as accurate as they come and can record up to 5 separate fingerprints.

Software


MiUI 7 is Xiaomi’s proprietary UI running over Android Lollipop and looks and feels great. The design has undergone a makeover and feels smoother than the MiUI 6.They’ve again ditched the app drawer which personally I don’t like since all apps are always in separate folders on the screen.If there’s any other UI that’s customisable after the Cyanogen ROM perhaps , it’s the MiUI with a great Theme store of free and premium themes.

There’s a Child Mode now like the Easy / Clean modes of Asus which basically gives access to only a few custom selected apps.The there’s there’s the One Handed mode where the usable screen size reduces to a corner of the display to become like a 4” screen, which again can be customised.
The Reading and Night mode change the screen brightness like an ambient light sensor so it’s easy on your eyes. The Mi Remote uses the IR sensor to control your TV , AC , Blu Ray player & even your camera! via the phone.

And finally the Mi Mover is like Lenovo Share It ,let’s you move data from your phone to any other Android device while the Mi Drop let’s you share music with any other Xiaomi device. Also, if you need some cloud storage space, sign up for the Mi Account and get 5GB free to store all your data.

Camera


The front camera at 5MP and f/2.0 clicks great selfies and you don’t have too many modes to use here. The rear 16MP f/2.0 camera is captures well and has good colour reproduction.It’s surprisingly good in low light as well and the flash is decent only for objects close by. Full HD videos are shot well but no 4K shooting. You can still play 4k videos but the phone does heat up a bit when doing that ! You get the typical camera filters in a clean camera app UI like the fish eye, HDR, Burst etc. OIS is missing , which could’ve definitely provided better quality photos. 

Gaming & Multimedia


FIFA 15, Call of Duty, Real Boxing all open at once and toggled does not cause any noticeable lag. Graphics look good and you won’t have any issues with crashing , freezing UI etc. Scoring a 73450 in AnTuTu is not something every flagship phone could do , let alone a budget one.It’s amazing if you really trust AnTuTu figures ;) The battery is one reason why the phone lasts over 12 hours in heavy usage.Quick charge takes it only to 20% in 30 mins but that’s since the battery is not your typical 3000 mAh.

The audio setting options lets you enhance the overall quality when headphones are plugged in & can change based on the type of earphones / headphones you use! Loudspeaker is good but Stereo effect is missing. There are some reports of people having no network coverage using the 2nd SIM but I’ve not encountered any such hassles.



Conclusion


In this price bracket, the Note 3 basically has no competition and you can buy it with your eyes closed. If the camera could’ve been improved and if expandable memory goes beyond 32GB , this is a flagship of budget phones.

I’d rate this 4/5.

★★★★☆

Pritesh Khilnani


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