You typically see mid-range phones from the likes of Samsung or LG going for RM 1,000 and above. So it can be shocking to learn that Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi, has its mid-range model Note 7 priced from RM 679.
At this (entry model) price, it comes with snazzy features that are common in high-end flagship phones: 48MP + 5MP dual-sensor rear camera, latest Snapdragon 660 processor, low-light photography mode, 4,000 mAh battery and a starting 3GB for RAM + 32GB for storage.
It's very easy to dismiss the quality of these features at such a low price. Hence, we take it to our tests!
Check out our hands-on video review done by Umar!
Redmi Note 7
|Processor||Octa Core, Qualcomm SDM660 Snapdragon 660|
|Memory (RAM)||3 GB / 4 GB / 6 GB|
|Storage||32 GB / 64 GB|
|MicroSD Storage||Up to 256 GB (Uses SIM 2 slot)|
|Rear Camera (Dual)||
|Front Camera (Single)||
|Screen Size||6.3 inches|
|Resolution||1080 x 2340 pixels, 19:5:9 ratio|
|Dimensions||159.2 x 75.2 x 8.1 mm|
|Operating System||Android 9.0 (Pie), MIUI 10|
Design & screen
Redmi prides on the fact that Note 7’s body is highly durable thanks to being protected by Corning Gorilla front and back (official video on this below!). Of course, we don’t suggest throwing your phone around like a brick, but we appreciate the fact that we can trust the build quality of a midrange such as the Note 7.
Like many other phones, Redmi Note 7 now has a big display screen at 6.3 inches that’s satisfyingly bright and clear. Despite its body size, the phone is quite manageable, with us not not having to experience any slips despite its smooth metallic cover. In my personal opinion, I give thanks to its edges, which are actually of a different finish, as it offers additional grip to prevent hand slips while providing comfortable handling.
At the back are the dual camera set-up and the physical fingerprint scanner. We find it odd that the camera lenses jut out instead of being flattened alongside its back, but this is a minor issue.
Redmi Note 7 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 660. In our week’s worth of testing, we hardly experienced lags although we did find the booting as well as animations of apps slightly delayed. This also shows in games as well. With that, we suspect that this is due to low framerates as we closely monitor touch responsiveness. Meanwhile, a piece of good news is that heat control is well-managed on the Note 7.
So if you’re used to gaming on high-end phones, you may see a difference in slightly slower response on animation. Otherwise, the phone is great for casual players, but probably not hardcore individuals unless they are looking for a budget gaming phone, to which Redmi Note 7 will do just fine.
At the time of review, Redmi Note 7 is the only budget mid-range option that offers low-light photography. With better ISO and highlights calibration, shooting in night mode will make a difference than shooting in normal mode.
Left to right: auto mode vs night mode
Left to right: close up of auto mode vs night mode
As one can see, night mode handles highlights and exposure pretty well, but noise is more apparent. Moreover, saturation seems to be toned down a little in night mode. Perhaps HDR would help with capturing shots as good as the night mode with more saturation, seeing as it brightens darker areas in our sample shots, but that results in flatter subjects as shown below.
Left to right: Auto mode vs HDR mode
Another camera feature on the Note 7 is pro mode, where you can access the option to shoot with a 48 MP sensor (which otherwise in normal mode, you’ll be shooting with its native 12 MP lens). Now, 48 MP should let you shoot sharper and brighter photos than its native 12MP sensor. But we did find that it has its limits due to restricted control over the settings just like many other smartphones.
Sample of a photo taken in auto mode
Sample of a photo taken in pro mode (ISO 100, WB Sunlight, 1/1000, f/1.8)
Photos shot in 48 MP looks decent, but the loss of details are prominent if you zoom into the photos. Moreover, due to the inability to access and control aperture, certain areas of lighting (according to different day settings) will be overexposed. With this, we think that pro mode is best for capturing certain tricky scenes (like sunsets) whereas auto mode should do just fine in most cases thanks to its auto AI scene recognition.
Sample of a photo taken in portraiture mode
On the other hand, we think that portraiture mode on the Note 7 is a two-thumbs up for us. The separation between the subject and background is quite close to that of the iPhones. As expected, a lot of noise is still present in portraiture mode. All in all, the depth of field on the Note 7 is acceptable.
Thanks to the 4,000 mAh battery pack, it got us through the day (about a total of 5-6 hours total on-screen usage before needing to charge again). However, we were slightly disappointed with the lack of a quick charger.
Redmi Note 7 supports Quick Charge 4.0, but it only ships with a 10W charger. This means you will need to buy a quick charger of your own. If you do have a quick charger, Redmi claims you will be able to charge the phone from 0 to 100% in just one and a half hour.
Surprise, surprise; for such a budget-priced phone, you are given two ways to unlock your phone - the back physical scanner and face scanner. In our tests, both scanners responded at lightning speed.
The face scanner is especially fast, whereby the phone unlocks right away even when I (lazily) face the screen at odd angles. In fact, we can see that both scanners are even faster than the S10 Plus’ in-screen and face-unlock scanner.
Who is it for
Packed with several features that you could only enjoy in most higher-end phones, Redmi Note 7 exceeds our expectations. As long as you’re not nitpicky about the finer things, it offers a fine cellular device to those who do not want to dent their wallets. We may also very well call Redmi Note 7 the best budget, mid-range phone that you can get now.
Disclaimer: The pricing shown is just a good indication of how much these products are worth. The prices could change based on the e-commerce promotions that are going on. If some of the products are not available, do email us at [email protected] Thank you!
The Redmi Note 7 is a fine piece for those who want a budget smartphone that still offers great quality. With a camera that suffices in quality, durable battery and body as well as a fast processor, you’ll be stoked for getting such a steal priced under a grand.