Xiaomi the original Chinese mobile manufacturer made its arrival in the Indian market with the launch of their flagship smartphone Mi 3 this year. Mi3 hit a record breaking sales with an exclusive partnership with Flipkart as the only distribution partner, with 20,000 units being sold every week in just 2.3-2.5 seconds. Getting a high end smartphone at a pricing of mid-segment was bound to face high demand but this, was never expected.
Later, after a month Xiaomi launched Redmi 1S their budget smartphone at a staggering price of Rs. 5,999 with almost same specifications as Moto G which costs 14k INR. Keeping in mind that Moto G was a bestseller in India and the most sold handset in the history of Motorola. The smartphone looked too good to believe for a non-seasonal deal considering the price. We had to review this product in order to test its endurance and to declare it as a worthy buy. Thanks to Xiaomi for the review unit, we used the handset pretty much to have our thoughts ready. Want to know what we think about the product? Read our review below for more details.
First impression when we got to see the product in-person, ‘does this really cost 6k?’ The design of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S though has nothing to brag about neither it has any metal in its body but it doesn’t looks cheap. The Gorilla Glass display panel makes it look like a mid-range smartphone with an expected price close to 10k unless he/she is not aware about background of the company.
The smartphone feels a little heavy compared to other what we have used but perfectly ergonomic in size. The handset measures 137 x 69 x 9.9 mm in dimensions and weighs 158 grams. Just for the record, smartphones on an average weights 140 grams which is considered acceptable. The handset has a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display with Dragontail glass protection having 720p resolution.
The front has the earpiece on the top edge with a secondary camera on the side. Below the display there are three capacitive touch buttons for menu, home and back which don’t have access to backlight for them. These are actually reflectors which actually glow when light is thrown upon them defeating the purpose in low-light or no-light. Let’s be honest these do look cheap. If we can’t have on-screen buttons they should have been painted white but not red.
The back houses the 8MP secondary camera with LED flash just below it and a speaker grill on the adjacent right. There is a secondary microphone on the top as well.
The sides are not much crowded. The top has a lone 3.5mm audio out while the bottom has a primary microphone and micro USB port for data sync and charging.
The popular budget Android smartphone from the Chinese vendor is powered by quite a decent hardware. It packs a Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon 400 chipset within which has a 1.6GHz Quad-core processor and Adreno 305 GPU. It is paired with 1GB RAM and 8GB on-board storage. For those interested (probably everyone), there is a microSD card slot as well which can support up to 32GB expansion adding to the on-board storage.
As expected, it is supported by WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, accelerometer, gyrometer, and proximity sensor. Talking a bit more technical, it supports WiFi 802.11 b/g/n protocol , WiFi direct and WiFi hotspot facility. It comes with Bluetooth v4.0 compatible with A2DP and low energy powered devices. It also supports USB-on-the-go along with HSDPA and HSUPA. It is backed by a removable battery with capacity of 2000mAh.
Xiaomi have been around for quite a long time, heard much on the forums for its MIUI. If you ask me this is one of the reason I want to buy a Xiaomi smartphone. MIUI is the best Android fork to be released till date that is stable and wildly popular. We have a lot of stock based roms like CyanogenMod which add value with its tweaks but the stagnant UI doesn’t offer much choice.
MIUI on the other hand is a completely new experience which talking precisely is something midway between iOS and Android. Adding to the user interface, it offers a pleasant user experience as well which we have be testing for a fairly good time to make our conclusions. We shall be talking about the operating system more in detail seperately and will try to restrict our boundaries here to the smartphone.
Starting with the homescreen, first thing to observe here is no app drawer. This means widgets and app icons are on the same screen, so less traversing and more productivity. This might not be preferred by some but we find this as a refreshing change.
There are quite a numbers of applications which come pre-installed with the OS like the Mi-Cloud (which has been quite in news due to its controversy about data leak) and Mi-Chat etc. This is the bloatware which you call but it actually does not affect the performance as you can control to disable its auto-start and even uninstall in case you simply don’t want it. MIUI comes with a dedicated permissions manager app which allows to manage permissions related to apps individually and shows what are they allowed to access.
The OS runs pretty smooth on this hardware. It is easily able to handle all basic tasks thrown at it. MIUI V5 that runs on Xiaomi Redmi 1S is based on Android 4.3 JellyBean. It has already got few updates but we are not sure when it will be upgrading to the newer versions.
The smartphone comes with a 1.4µm pixel size lens 8MP rear camera along with 1.6MP front-facing camera. The nearest smartphone available in this range are not featuring more than 5MP camera even Moto G (1st Gen) which is the closest competitor with the same hardware.
The 8MP rear camera on the Xiaomi Redmi 1S produces decent amount of details. Point to be noted here is, that it comes equipped with a LED flash which at this pricing was not possible before. It comes with different shooting modes including HDR my personal favorite. The camera produces fairly good results with decent color corrections. Though noise levels can be high sometimes along with white balance which can be off-track. Auto-focus works great in well lighted surroundings because we aren’t expecting much from low-light.
Below attached are few samples clicked from the rear camera on the Xiaomi Redmi 1S.
The smartphone can shoot up to 1080p videos at 30fps from the rear snapper. The camera UI is fairly simple with settings menu having general things to explore.
After using the smartphone for almost for a fairly good time to get our review ready, we can easily recommend this handset as a value for money spent. For 6k INR we can’t complain for what it not offers but can truly appreciate for its performance because it leads in the below 7k segment league. Talking about the complaints first, prominent heating issues and RAM issues. This has been well known to arise especially when playing games or muti-tasking. Along with this we observed slightly sluggish performance from the time we first unboxed the device primarily due to RAM consumption. A recent update v45 stable release was supposed to fix these issues which somehow did we expect this to improve further with future updates.
Two primary USPs for this handset are the display and the camera. The 720p display and 8MP rear camera is the best to get at this price point. Running MIUI we could observe a refreshing new experience with our favorite mobile operating system. Hardware on this smartphone is exactly the same as Moto G which is known as the best seller smartphone. The battery runs for 13-15 hours approximately in a day on full charge on moderate usage with sync on 3G and WiFi.
Due to its flash sales business model, Xiaomi have been badmouthed in the past while some have praised about their offerings ignoring everything else. The after sales is still not pleasant but the company is trying to make it smooth. We believe that the company is working on making the overall experience with the product hassle free for the public taking initiatives themselves. Alike the Redmi 1S and Mi3, which have been launched in India and Redmi Note, Mi 4 and Mi Band to be launched soon hopefully addressing the expectations of targeted audience. Xiaomi Redmi 1S being a stellar product still faces some hiccups which makes it deprived of a 5/5 rating, settling at 4/5.
[easyreview title=”Install or Not Scorecard” cat1title=”Hardware” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”4.0″ cat2title=”Performance” cat2detail=”” cat2rating=”4.0″ cat3title=”Design” cat3detail=”” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Value for Money” cat4detail=”” cat4rating=”4.5″]