Xiaomi accelerated its growth by breaking into the realm of smartphones and conquered about 5 percent of global mobile market share by 2015. Xiaomi made its mark surprising everyone becoming a main runner in the smartphone race in China. The vendor immersed itself into the market providing cheaper smartphones targeting a larger group of people. People seem to like the way Xiaomi smartphones feel in the hand and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is no exception. But is the phone good enough to be in your pocket as a daily driver. Arriving just four months after its predecessor, Is the device worth the upgrade? We find out in this in depth review.
The device is a complete overhaul to the previous Xiaomi Redmi Note 2. The phone is encased in a full metal unibody shell which makes the device easier to appreciate. Looking at the price which is comparable to its predecessor, the metal back is a welcome addition to the phone. Nevertheless, the phone gets a little slippery but that is not something a good case wouldn’t solve. The phone is not at all easy to use with one hand. The dimensions of the beast stand to be as follows. The Redmi Note 3 is 176 mm long and 156 mm wide. The device stands to be a little less thick than the mighty HTC 10 making it pretty sleek. On the back, the metal transitions into a high quality plastic on the top and bottom of the phone which are likely to help in antenna reception. This helps gripping the device when in landscape. Hovering over the device, you’ll find the power button and the volume rocker placed quite elegantly on the right. The buttons provide incredible tactile feedback and responsiveness. Up top, you’ll explore a headphone jack and lying on its side, is an IR blaster and a microphone. Following the convention, the microUSB port is placed on the bottom. The speaker is installed on the back. What strikes most is the addition of a fingerprint scanner embedded beneath its capacitive home button at a price this low. The phone definitely qualifies to be a steal at this price.
The Redmi Note 3 rocks a 5.5 inch IPS LCD Display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels resulting in a pixel density of 403 ppi. The display is pretty standard and is simply not overwhelming. The screen performed average in broad daylight but the adaptive brightness feature implemented by the company worked seamlessly. The display is not too bright on the eyes and the difference of low ppi when compared with high-end devices can be felt only if you strive to see it.
Under the hood, the Redmi note 3 comes in two models. One rocks a MediaTek Halio X10 Octacore processor and the other variant, termed as the Redmi Note 3 Pro uses a Snapdragon 650 chipset. The chipset mounts a Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 & Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A72. Although not the fastest chipset in market, the device does not lag and runs as a knife slicing through butter. GPU rendering in this device is handled by the Adreno 510 chipset. The phone runs graphics dependent games with little to no lag. The phone does not propose off the chart specifications but checks all the necessary boxes to amount for a consistent device. The mobile device comes in two models based on the internal storage. The 16 GB model mounts a 2GB RAM while the 32 GB version of the device has a whopping 3GB RAM. Not stating that 2GB RAM isn’t enough but greater RAM means more multitasking summing up to more freedom. Xiaomi devices support SD Card expansion which helps you store more data on the go.
There are two variants under the Xiaomi Redmi 3 category, one runs with a 13 megapixel camera and the other with a 16 mega pixel shooter. The latter of the two comes with an aperture of f/2.2 along with a front facing camera of 5 mega pixels with f/2.0 aperture. If you expect an off the chart camera quality, this might not be the right choice. Although a high end camera on paper, the results of the camera are not all praise. The phone performs reasonably under proper lighting but the real test begins under low light conditions. The saturation and details tend to wash out under low light and the camera tends to over expose the images. The phone has a decent camera but is definitely not the right choice for camera enthusiasts. You get nice selfies, especially under proper lighting conditions but the images from the front camera become grainy and over exposed even more. To sum up, The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 equips a decent camera but following the price group, you may find devices with better camera performance. The Redmi’s camera captures videos at 1080p at 30 fps. To cut short the device, it becomes pretty necessary to exclude the 4k video recording.
By the very latest, the Redmi Note 3 runs on the heavily skinned Android Lollipop v 5.1.1. Xiaomi names its UI to ‘MIUI7’ but the software does not inherit the stock material look of basic Android. The skins looks pleasing to the eye, all hail the features, the skin atop this software has to offer. You constantly get OTA updates which means a better experience. The device might also qualify to receive the Marshmallow update but that remains a conjecture till Xiaomi releases its official report. The model from Xiaomi uses snappy animations which is classic Android. The software runs pretty smoothly and continues without lag even with heavy usage. The device could be seen lagging once in a blue moon but that usually happens when running processor hungry tasks. The MIUI7 provides a rich high-end experience on a device priced under $250.
If you are a great fan of bigger batteries, this phone is made for you. When compared to the price tag on this thing, the device houses a massive battery. Passing a complete day with this device is something this device can handle eyes closed. With a 4050 mAh Li-Po battery, the phone easily managed to pass a day without breaking a sweat. The battery is non removable but that is something you do not have to worry about considering humongous giant of battery this device has. The phone is expected to provide a music playback time greater than 110 hours.Not once did it run out of juice during the day and entertained its users with ample battery time. Kudos to great battery.
Stepping into the domain where this phone excels, this phone packs a lot of stuff inside at a really low price. Not to throttle up the price tag, the phone has had to make some compromises here and there but for a price tag this low, this phone is definitely the best you can get. The phone is priced at about 200 Dollars and costs around 180 Euros. The price factor is a showstopper and makes you think of buying this device. You get a complete package handed to you at a very reasonable price making it a great budget phone.
The Redmi Note 3, as stated by the company as ‘Yours by design’ does not disappoint by what this device has to offer. You get great customization options, features and perks of this device at a really low price. The phone is impressive but is obviously imperfect. Redmi Note 3 makes all compromises it has to fit its budget but the device is pretty well rounded and can handle all you throw at it efficiently. Google apps do not always run flawlessly on this device and camera on this device is not at all special but the Xiaomi device excels in all those key areas where its competitors fail. The phone is definitely a compelling choice. I would describe the phone to be ‘cheap and cheerful’.