Xiaomi's smartphone including the Redmi and Mi series are widely popular in the Indian market. The Chinese smartphone maker knows and understands the India as an important smartphone market for them.
With the low price and good features, the Redmi series smartphones have really set themselves apart from its Chinese competitors such as OnePlus, Huawei, LeEco, and among other. The latest smartphone in the Redmi series is the Redmi Note 3, which is the company's first device to feature a fingerprint sensor and an all-metal body.
Earlier this month, Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 3 in the Indian market at a starting price of Rs. 9,999. Back in December, the company launched this device in China running on a MediaTek processor. However, the one launched in India runs on Qualcomm chipset and will also be made in India.
The smartphone is available in two variants differentiated by internal storage capacity and RAM. One with 2GB RAM with 16GB internal storage is priced for Rs. 9,999 while the 3GB RAM with 32GB of internal memory is priced at Rs. 11,999.
At budget price point this smartphone will be a direct competition for the latest smartphones by its Chinese rival such as Lenovo K4 Note and LeEco Le 1s. We got the review unit of 3GB RAM and here's what we think about it.
Look and feel
The Redmi Note 3 is the first smartphone by the company in few things, one it comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner and another to have a unibody alloy body design.
The Redmi Note 3 looks and feel premium, especially the gold color variant. This phablet-sized device weights at 164 grams, which is lightweight for a phablet size and easy to hold and use with one handed. The full-metal body has a smooth matte finish. The curvy edges and finish with slim design give the device a stylish look. However, at a very first glance, the Redmi Note 3 appears to look similar to the most recent Meizu smartphones.
On the front, you can see a 5.5-inch full-HD IPS display that comes with very narrow side bezels and a glossy rim running along the edge on the front side. The rim on the edges is slightly elevated above the rest of the display to protect if from scratches when the phone is placed upside down. There is a 5-megapixel selfie shooter just above the screen with earpiece and LED for notification alerts.
On the right-hand side, you can see a power button placed in the middle making it easy to reach. The volume rockers sit about the power button on the right side. While the SIM tray is on the upper left side. The Micro-USB port is placed on the left side at a bottom, while the 3.5mm audio jack, along with an infrared emitter on the top edge.
You will see a 16-megapixel primary camera, a dual-tone dual-LED flash, the fingerprint scanner are placed on the upper part of the back. The speaker grill at the bottom just below the Mi logo. Xiaomi has done a great job with the design language of the Redmi Note 3. The handset feels sturdy in hands, offering just enough grip to prevent it from slipping from hands.
The Redmi Note 3 sports a 5.5-inch full-HD with a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels, which is the same as its predecessor. The display comes with an impressive pixel density of 403ppi. With its phablet sized form factor reaching all four corners of the display with a thumb cab be difficult, but thanks to one-handed typing, which helps to access the screen in one hand.
The display comes with fully laminated, looks bright and vibrant, but the screen is quite reflective and is difficult to use under direct sunlight. Thanks to Sunlight Display that dynamically adjusts the contrast of pixels to make content more visible in bright daylight. The viewing angles indoors looked decent with good color reproduction.
Well, the display lacks the Gorilla Glass-like protection, but Xiaomi says that the Redmi Note 3 has the equivalent of the protection that Corning Gorilla Glass provides.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is a budget smartphone and falls under Rs. 10,000 price tag, but there is nothing low-end about the hardware it packs.
It is powered by Snapdragon 650 processor, the first Qualcomm Technologies' chipset equipped with ARM's top-end Cortex-A72 performance cores. It features the latest Qualcomm Adreno 510 GPU, which provides impressive graphics performance for an unparalleled gaming experience.
In benchmarks, the Redmi Note 3 easily takes on smartphones like Nexus 6 and Moto X Style, which are powered by a Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 808 respectively.
The hardware combination efficiently manages all day-to-day tasks like listening to music, clicking pictures, editing images, browsing, video streaming and more without any problem. Our review unit had 3GB RAM and while testing we found there was no delay in opening apps as well as no switching between apps.
While, playing Asphalt 8: Airborne for about 30 minutes that phone did not heat up, and interestingly the game didn't shutter or any frame drops either.
On the storage front, the device comes in two different models: one with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage and the another one with 3GB with 32GB of RAM. There is also a microSD card support to expand storage.
As mentioned above, the Redmi Note 3 is the company's first smartphone to be equipped with a fingerprint sensor. It is placed just below the camera unit on the back of the device. Setting it up is hassle-free and is quick to recognize which finger has been used and unlocks the device in under half a second.
There are number of useful features fingerprint sensor incorporated into MIUI 7, including the ability to lock apps, access hidden folders, and even take a front or rear camera selfie using just your fingerprint.
Software And Interface
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 runs on the latest MIUI 7.0. The UI is very colorful and comes with some bloatware. The new Wallpaper Carousel feature in MIUI 7 delivers stunning wallpaper images daily, so your lock screen looks refreshingly different every day.
The MIUI also brings battery improvement, themes, faster response time and battery life. There is also a Child mode to make sure your kids do not access any of your personal and important data. There is also a reading mode, that turns the display in a yellow hue for night time to help a user.
The MIUI allows you to create hidden folders, set child lock and select which apps would be visible. Similar to the individual apps lock, which can be opened by a pattern now the Redmi Note 3 can unlock apps using a registered finger via fingerprint scanner.
The Redmi Note 3 features a 16-megapixel camera on the back with PDAF Autofocus and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The camera performance is very impressive with its overall image quality, compared to other smartphones of its range.
The camera app is neat and simple. The camera app shows several options to share image after taking a picture like add to an album, show on a map or to add it as a contact photo.
The user interface of the camera app is simplistic, you can swipe on the screen to choose filter options including fisheye, blur, dawn, mono, mirror, vivid and more. There are several modes such as manual, gradient, HDR, timer, panorama among others.
While, our testing, the camera samples were not sharp and lacked depth under artificial lighting. The dual-tone flash is decent for nearby objects. The focusing speed is good, even in the low-lighting condition.
You can shoot videos in 1080p 720p and full-HD. Lack of software video stabilization, video recording in 1080p and 720p are very unstable. Meanwhile, the front-facing camera that is equipped with wide f/2.0 aperture captures great selfies in daylight.
The Redmi Note 3 is packed with a 4,050mAh battery, which is pretty big capacity compared to other smartphones in this price category. The bigger battery managed to go more than a day of casual usage, without activating any battery saving modes.
It also supports 5V/2A Qualcomm Quick Charge technology, charging up to 50 percent in one hour and taking only three hours for a full charge.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 has a great look, stylish with its metal construction and could be a very exciting smartphone in the budget price segment. At budget price point this smartphone will be a direct competition for the latest smartphones by its Chinese rival such as Lenovo K4 Note and LeEco Le 1s.
Xiaomi has meticulously designed and built the Redmi Note 3 and its hard to find any fault with the device. Well, we think Redmi Note 3 is a worthy upgrade over its predecessor - the Redmi Note 2. It comes with improvements such as a metal-cad design and a fingerprint scanner, which has become a standard feature in every smartphone.
The handset comes with a great display, a very solid battery life, a power-packed CPU. We think the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is one of the best smartphone available under the price tag of Rs. 10,000 and the best option for the first time smartphone users, who don't want to spend much and wish to have a great device.
As mentioned earlier, the Redmi Note 3 is priced at Rs. 9,999 for 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM, while Rs. 11,999 for 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. Xiaomi has also partnered with Hungama to offer free streaming subscription service for first two months.