Xiaomi’s Redmi Note was the perfect mid-budget Android smartphone, and with each successor the company has raised the benchmark. But with the Redmi Note 7 Pro coming less than six months after the Redmi Note 6 Pro, does Xiaomi have enough to justify the upgrade?
Design and display:
This is a well-designed smartphone with a 6.3 inch bezel-less screen that dominates the front, neatly placed buttons and ports on the side panels, and a vertical dual camera along with a fingerprint scanner on the back. But wasn’t this also the case with previous Redmi Note devices? Recently, Xiaomi has been lacking in design innovation. Especially when competitors such as Asus, RealMe and Honor have experimented with a glass back with innovative patterns and 3D effects. But with the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Xiaomi seems to have bounced back and in a big way too. Available in two gradient colors – Nebula red and Neptune blue – the phones look stunning. Xiaomi is called Aura Design and claims to have used a six-layer process to achieve the gradient. And if these colors are too bold for you, the back cover added to the box will soften it up a bit. Or opt for the black variant, which is subtle but looks just as premium. The great appearance is the P2i nano coating and the addition of the custom rubber material, which makes it splash resistant and protects liquid from water ingress. The Redmi Note 7 Pro survived the unexpected rain in Delhi. But he may not survive a dip in the pool.
The 6.3-inch full HD + display that protrudes in all directions looks forward and looks crisp and sharp. I had to turn the brightness to full power when using in sunlight. The dot notch in which the selfie camera is housed does not hinder the user experience. There is an option to hide the notch, but it brings back a thick border to the top. Within the full screen display settings, the device will display the list of apps that work best in full screen mode. The front, like the back, is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, but is susceptible to scratches. Adding a tempered glass to the front is a good idea as the rating unit was scratched by the diamond earned while answering a call.
Navigation and user interface:
For navigation, buttons on the screen are enabled by default, which can be replaced with full screen gestures at any time. With this big screen, I personally think gestures come in handy. I’m not a big fan of the Mi UI, but the MIUI 10 seems to be quite polished. While the apps are still spread across multiple pages on the home screen, pressing the multi-tasking button shows split screen options, cleaning shortcuts, security scan, thorough cleaning and management of apps along with all running apps in the background. And a long press on the home button activates Google Assistant. For those who find taking screenshots a bit difficult, one is instantly captured by tapping the screenshot shortcut in the notification bar. All the necessary apps like contacts, calculator, screen recorder, scanner, downloads and more are neatly stacked under the Tools folder. The security app provides quick access to delete trash, run security scan, run app lock, get battery and data usage information, and more.
IR Blaster, Mi Remote:
One thing that I have always liked about Redmi Note devices is the inclusion of IR Blaster with Mi Remote. This phone allowed me to control my TV, set top box, air conditioner and many other devices. All I had to do was add the device information to get the compatible remote. This function is useful in summer when the air conditioner remote control is not nearby. In addition, the list of compatible devices is huge and constantly being worked on.
The camera has been one of the highlights of Redmi Note phones in the past and the company claims to have raised the bar with the Redmi Note 7 Pro. The device includes a 48 megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor with an aperture of f / 1.79 as the main sensor and is accompanied by a 5 megapixel depth sensor. The camera app has been expanded and offers a world of features and settings to play with. But even with the 48-megapixel sensor on board, photos are captured with the 12-megapixel resolution in photo mode by default. And I was able to manually switch to the 48 megapixel from the camera settings. This is because the photos taken at 48-megapixel resolution were heavy – about 15MB each, and the same image captured at 12-megapixel resolution was less than half the size.
The portrait mode for bokeh images is good at edge detection – focuses on the subject while blurring the background. Even when using the portrait mode, I could choose between the filters, beauty settings or studio lighting options such as natural, stage, film, rainbow and more (works on a human face). What’s even more interesting is the portrait image editing option. Not only could I adjust the background blur, but I could also add studio lighting. With the help of light trails I was able to add some sort of motion in the background and save it as in an image or video format.
AI camera setting is available in photo and portrait mode. The images captured with the Redmi Note 7 Pro are sharp and retain details, and the colors look vibrant. The dedicated night mode comes in handy when taking photos in low light, which allows you to take some pretty decent photos. But they are not completely silent. The 13 megapixel front camera is decent enough to take social media ready photos.
Overall, the Redmi Note 7 Pro has one of the best cameras in this price category.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro scores equally well in terms of performance. It worked smoothly with multiple apps running in the background. Streaming videos was a joy and there was no lag in playing games either. But the device started to heat up after a few minutes of playing games like Battlefield and PUBG. However, our review unit wasn’t running the latest retail software. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor coupled with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. Although it is a dual SIM phone, the secondary SIM slot is a hybrid and can also be used for a microSD card.
Battery: Xiaomi has lasted a bit, but the company has finally built in a Type-C charging port. The 4100 mAh battery supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4, but the 10 W charger included in the box is not compatible for fast charging. It usually takes almost two and a half hours for a full charge which has lasted me a day with average usage.
If you are looking for a good smartphone under Rs 15,000 then look no further. The Redmi Note 7 Pro, priced at Rs 13,999, is one of the best smartphones you can buy. It looks stunning, has a great camera, good performance and an impressive battery backup.
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