Thanks to Xiaomi Malaysia, I’ve been selected to review the latest Xiaomi product which will soon hit the Malaysian market; the Redmi Note 3. There has been rave reviews from outside users and tech sites alike, but different users will have different perspective, and here is mine. Just to note also, this review will fall under the ‘Redmi Note 3 Explorers Program’ in which I was selected to be part of.
The Redmi Note 3 comes with the Snapdragon 650 hexa-core processor processor, with options to either have a the 32GB non-removable internal memory and 3GB of RAM variant, or 16GB non-removable internal memory with 2GB of RAM. For this review, the bigger and faster version is used, and it is highly recommended as a choice when opting to buy the Redmi Note 3. Do note that there are no expansion slots for additional memory however.
The phone is a dual-SIM smartphone and has 4G capabilities for both sim cards. It has all the basics a smartphone nowadays have including infrared, GPS and radio capabilities.
BUILD & SHAPE – An all metal comfortable piece
Measuring 150mm long, 76mm wide and 8.7mm thick, the phone feels right at home in my palms. While I do not fancy the gold colour which was dispatched to me, I have to admit that holding the phone in my palms gave me a lot of satisfaction simply because the phone was not too big, and it was surprisingly lightweight (164g) for a phone made out of aluminium.
The curves at the side of the Redmi Note 3 also did a lot of justice as it provided that pleasurable touch and grip you need when you have the phone in your hand. However, when your hands do get sweaty, it becomes slightly slippery.
Navigating around the phone was easy because each buttons coming with the phone were nicely placed according to my hand size, making it hard to believe that this phone was not custom made for my palm. I’ve used a lot of phones, even from Xiaomi themselves, but this has got to be the winner when it comes to the location of the buttons.
At the back of the phone, there’s a practically placed finger print sensor. Personally, I do think using the fingerprint sensor at the back would need some getting used to, but it’s not a huge problem considering it eliminates almost completely the need to use a password or a pattern lock.
DISPLAY AND SCREEN – Very fast brightness adaptivity
Like most smartphones, the 5.5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen comes to live when you press the power button, but the Redmi Note 3 display which comes with 16M colors may not be the best out there as there are some smartphones which could offer you better display.
However, the display’s sunlight readability and minimum brightness level are notably impressive and the adaptive brightness feature worked like a charm.
CAMERA – A new benchmark for many
The 13MP rear camera comes with face detection, autofocus and a dual-LED flash. Under proper lighting, the images were really stunning as you can see below.
With less lighting, the images obtained were less impressive and slightly grainy, but it is still far better than most smartphone models sold within it’s pricing.
Using the zoom of the Redmi Note 3 produces a photo with a lot of grain, but this is typical for digital cameras, regardless of what model you use.
The macro shots of the Redmi Note 3 are impressive to say the least. The image stablizer helps alot when making macro shot. I was blown away personally by the macro shots I was able to take.
The 5MP front camera is good enough for selfies, and works best under good lighting. Under poor lighting/night, the images do suffer more, but this is expected from the front camera of a smartphone which has less capabilities. It is however worthy to note that the images from the front camera were still better than most smartphones which aren’t dedicated to selfies.
The video recording capabilities of the Redmi Note 3 is also good, but the one feature I enjoyed most is the ‘Time-lapse’ feature as you can see below.
SOUND & SPEAKERS – It’s location bumped it out
When it comes to sound, the loudness of its external speakers are the ones that really matter. This allows you to hear calls/songs/movies clearly when you are on the speaker.
Thankfully, the Redmi Note 3 speakers, located on the rear of the phone, were loud enough for a decent conversation. The only worry however is how one holds the phone, because holding it with your palms firmly behind the body can cause the speakers to be covered, hence limiting the sound produced by the speakers.
THE SOFTWARE: MIUI – The winning formula
MIUI is the main reason Xiaomi stands out over the rest of the pack for me. While Xiaomi has also aggressively priced their smartphones, the MIUI, which is the operating system for most, if not all Xiaomi smartphones is the reason why people stay with the Chinese tech giant when it comes to smartphones.
The Redmi Note 3 is no different here. Running on Android v5.0.2 (Lollipop), the Redmi Note 3 works like a charm with almost no problems. Flicking and scrolling around the phone is a breeze, with everything popping up almost instantly upon a tap.
My personal favourite of the MIUI is the Security app which comes with a battery management, junk data cleaner, anti-virus, a call/SMS block app and more. If you decide to get the Redmi Note 3, be sure to check this app because it can make your phone work even better! – Here I review some secrets on how to use features of the MIUI.
Aside from giving the best Android experiences, Xiaomi is also among the fastest to update their smartphones to the latest-most stable Android update, ensuring you always stay up-to-date with the trend. They also work faster than other smartphone manufacturers to fix bugs that are detected. This is hugely thanks to their large community of developers which are worldwide.
BATTERY LIFE – Staying alive for 12 hours
The Non-removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery allows 12-13 hours of constant use of the Redmi Note 3. On standby, Xiaomi claims you can get 264 hours with a 3G network connected.
I have a separate post on the battery life, so for here, I’ll just say that the battery life is good to last you at least 12 hours on a normal day.
Nonetheless, if you are looking for an alternative test for the battery life, then I found this one from GSM Arena (seen below) quite interesting as it puts the Redmi Note 3.
CONCLUSION & PRICING – The smartphone to beat
The Redmi Note 3 is sold for CNY899 (Roughly RM570) in China so it is likely to be sold in Malaysia for around that range. As for now, there has been no word of the Malaysian price, but if my calculations are right, plus considering the fact that the smartphone gives you a great camera and experience, this smartphone is a definite steal by any standards.