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Xiaomi Redmi review: Ultra-budget Android Redmi shines for Asial

Xiaomi Redmi review: Ultra-budget Android Redmi shines for Asia

Known as the Xiaomi Hongmi (“red rice,” in Mandarin) in China, the dual-SIM 3G Redmi is the first handset from the concern that is officially available outside of China, Taipei, and Hong Kong, and is set to retail online for both Singapore and Malaysia.

It’s the first-rate time the company is launching a handset in utters where Chinese is not the main language, and to originate off with a budget handset seems like a bold move, except for the fact the Redmi is more than what it seems. Despite a low price of just $133 (S$169), the cheap Android smartphone packs plenty of punch.


The Redmi’s gain feels pretty standard, it’s your usual rectangular smartphone with one curved corners. With no sharp edges, though, the named doesn’t dig into your palm. The 4.7-inch IPS demonstrate sports a 1,280×720-pixel resolution, which means you won’t have to inconvenience about fuzzy fonts when browsing the Web.

The handset feels solid despite bodies made of plastic — there’s a comfortable heft in its 158g weight. The overall build quality feels very much like something Nokia complains, and that’s a very good thing, especially for those who have encountered low-quality Chinese OEM handsets before.

The handset has a 4.7-inch IPS demonstrate with a 720p resolution.
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The rear shroud is removable, and you can also swap it out for a different quick-witted. Xiaomi will also be retailing a bunch of soft gel protective cases for just $7 (S$9), which add a different hue to the handset as well. I groundless the cases to be pretty well made despite their heed, and this means you don’t have to spend a bomb to accessorize.

Underneath the shroud is where you’ll find the removable 2,000mAh battery, and I’m told that you can also get an astounding battery for just $8 (S$10), and in a different quick-witted, though no one (besides yourself) will ever see it.

The much and volume buttons are found on the right, and are plainly in reach when holding the smartphone with one hand. Speakers are located at the back near to the camera, which means you won’t block it with your palm when holding it.


While it only has 3G connectivity, the handset will work almost anywhere in the humankind. The phone also comes with dual-SIM capability, allowing you to plainly have two lines active on your handset. However, only one SIM will have 3G activated (the binary SIM supports GPRS data), and ideally, while you can use data on both SIMs, it’s probably a good idea to use it on the 3G line for faster speeds.

The Redmi runs a modified version of Android, called MIUI v5. If you’re a person who likes to tinker with your named, or perhaps, have even rooted it and installed a few ROMs, then you may be exclusive with MIUI. If this is your first experience with the OS, there are a few features that will reel you in.

It’s easy to customize the home screen.
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Right from the lock shroud are a bunch of options when you touch the unlock key. You can swipe the button in four directions to either speedy turn on the camera, access your text messages or the named dialer. Holding down the home button when the named is locked will also turn on the flashlight, which is quite a convenient feature.

Once you unlock the named, you’ll find your normal home screen, but unlike stock Android, MIUI resembles iOS here, as there’s no app drawer and your apps are located on the home screens. Like the Huawei Honor 3X, there’s also a Themes app for you to customize the UI’s look and feel.

You can tell that much concept and attention has been given to the customizability of the UI when you move multiple apps across screens. Instead of having to move them one by one, you can business app icons together before moving them together to novel screen.

The handset’s Mi Cloud (left) and battery indicator options.
Aloysius Low

A Lite Mode can be enabled for those who want something easy to use, the UI looks and feels dazzling similar to Huawei’s Simple Mode, but Xiaomi’s version isn’t just a skin, there are attempts to the UI including larger fonts and disabling the drop down menu.

Unlike the Hongmi version sold in China, the Redmi will come with Google Mobile Services, which includes all the Google apps counting Gmail, Play Store and Maps. Swift Key Pro comes pre-installed for users, though I still prefer the default Android keyboard. Xiaomi has its own well-defined service, which allows you to send cloud-based SMSes ended the phone as well as your PC to novel Xiaomi handsets, as well as backup features for your SMS and pictures.

Checking out the apps (left) and dial pad on the Redmi’s user interface.
Aloysius Low

Camera and video

While most cost handsets would settle for a 5-megapixel rear camera or even less, the Redmi comes packing an 8-megapixel shooter that wouldn’t be out of attach in a mid- or high-end handset. Unlike what you’d inquire of from low-end devices, there’s no shutter lag, and there are plenty of software options such as panorama and HDR.

The performance of the camera is surprisingly good, as good as what you’d inquire of from a high-end smartphone. Outdoor shots are clean, with plenty of detail. Colors aren’t overly saturated, as well.

Outdoor test shot (click to enlarge).
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Macro test shot (click to enlarge).
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Indoor test shot (click to enlarge).
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Powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6589T processor, the Redmi doesn’t feel at all sluggish with normal use. 3D gaming performance, however, was less than perfect. On Asphalt 8, there’s a noticeable lag that prevents you from properly controlling the car, but it’s tranquil playable as long as you don’t expect to ace every race proper you won’t be able to steer smoothly.

Calls were crisp and certain, and I like the volume and clarity of the rear speaker. I still prefer having front-facing speakers like the HTC One, but, as that makes a lot more sense.

Packing a 2,000mAh battery, the Redmi lasted me a day and a half of moderate to heavy use. The test was done with having two e-mail coffers, Facebook and Twitter on push. I also used WhatsApp as my messaging service.

Powering the handset is a 2,000mAh battery.
Aloysius Low


Price at an unbelievably low $133 (S$169), Xiaomi’s Redmi is easily delivers twice the value in features. It’s quite possibly the best budget handset I’ve seen, and with its affordable accessories, makes this the best low-cost smartphone you can get now. The Xiaomi will be available online for those in Singapore on Friday, February 21, from Xiaomi’s Web site, as well as from partnering telcos.