Xiaomi has been known to make flagship like devices in every price segment. This time they've targeted the sub £100 segment.Let's see if their newest Made In India device , the successor to the Redmi 2 holds good against the competition.
Design & Hardware
The phone comes in 2 variants, the cheaper 3S with 2GB RAM paired with 16GB ROM and there's a 3GB RAM & 32GB ROM Prime version also boasting of a fingerprint scanner.It's available in 3 colors, silver, dark grey & gold. The box contains just the cable and a 2A charger , no earphones which has now become a standard practice for keeping costs low .
In terms of look and feel, this device is similar to the earlier launched Redmi Note 3 which had a 5.5” screen. The 3S Prime has a 5” screen and 3 capacitive (non backlit) buttons on the front for Back, Home & Recents. Above the screen you find the speaker with light sensor on the left and front camera on the right.
The rear panel has the 13MP Primary camera with flash on the top left while the fingerprint scanner just below in the centre. At the bottom is the speaker grill which is not the perfect placement in most phones since you can hardly hear your phone ring when it's kept on it's back esp on the bed.
The back feels premium and has a matt finish which goes well with the metal body look.
On the left you have the dual sim slot , nano and hybrid micro to accept SD cards upto 128GB while on the right are the volume and power buttons.The 3.5mm jack is at the top alongside the infrared scanner while the micro USB charging port is at the bottom.
The phone weighs 144gms & 8.5mm thick which by no means is light but you get used to it and it could be because of the monster battery of 4100 mAh ( love it!).
The 3S Prime sports an Octa core Snapdragon 430 Processor and integrated Adreno 505 GPU with 24GB of user available memory.The 5” HD IPS screen is less than 300 ppi but not mentioned anywhere on the official site. It functions well in sunlight and has adjustable brightness and good colour saturation.The phne supports 4G with VoLTE and ahs dual band Wi-Fi. Only one Sim can support 4G while the other only does 3G. The fingerprint scanner works with 100% efficiency, hope the UI update allows some other usage for it and integrates with notification toggle etc.
The phone runs MiUi 7.5 over Android 6.0 Marshmallow and will soon get the MiUI 8 update. One of the best and most customisable , user friendly interfaces on any device the MiUI doesn't disappoint.Pulling down the notification tab presents a hosts of shortcuts which can be customised .Two finger pull gives the option to reply to SMS , whatsapp etc. directly from the notification screen.
Other fancy s/w include Mi-Drop to transfer files over Wi-Fi only for Mi devices. Child mode for limited apps and options when kids handle your phone. And my fav, the Mi Remote app to set up your TV, Set top box, AC etc. By using the infrared scanner .
The front cam on the Redmi 3S Prime is 5MP f/2.0 and clicks smart selfies with various beautufication options. The UI like previous versions supports face recognition and also predicts your age . It can also record videos at 1080p. The rear camera is a 13MP single tone flash camera works well in outdoor bright conditions. Indoor pics struggle when lights are dim. Some pictures came out grainy and over saturated. It also supports 1080p videos and has Manual , panaroma , HDR modes etc.
Gaming & Multimedia
The challenge for the Redmi 3S Prime would always have been to show it's multimedia skills considering the hardware.With the 4100 mAh battery, all day heavy usage would never be a problem and surprisingly the gaming performance was not bad at all. Dead Trigger, Asphalt 8 all worked smoothly with negligible frame drops.
AnTuTu scores of 39450 is obviously too low but as I've been always saying they're not worth paying attention to. Until the difference is clear in real world usage, they are just numbers. Music is decent via the earphone jack while speaker is sufficiently powerful and could've been louder.
The battery lasts over a day and even on heavy usage with 4G & Wi-FI I had 15% battery left at the end of the day.
At this price, this is by far the best phone in this price segment. There are other devices like Lenovo K5 Plus, Le Eco 1 but they can't match the H/W or S/W of the Prime 3S. If The Hybrid slot or average camera is an issue , look elsewhere. Otherwise, shut up & take my money!
Rating - 5/5.
Xiaomi Redmi Prime 3S at CeX
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