Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review: Midrange goes premium and powerful

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Earlier this month, Xiaomi launched its Redmi Note 3 smartphone in India for Rs. 9999. 3GB RAM variant is also available for Rs. 11998. At this price, this phone offers more than one can expect. Back in January, Letv created buzz with its metal body phone Letv Le 1s. So, Xiaomi already had a market competition but it managed to block the sales of Le 1S with the launch of Redmi Note 3. Even if the 3 GB RAM variant costs higher than Le 1s, it is packed with better camera and larger battery. If you are thinking to buy Redmi Note 3, I will recommend you to read this review to know more about this phone in detail.

Also read: Redmi Note 3 vs Letv le 1S

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review:

Design

I have a golden variant of Redmi Note 3 with the metal build. Edges are curvy and clean to offer comfort but it also makes it slippery. This phone is packed with large battery but it managed to keep weight lesser than one expects. It weighs 164 grams and thickness is just 8.65mm. So, this device is compact and easy to handle even if it comes with the large display and large battery.

At first look, you will notice the almost bezel-less display. Above the display, it got a microphone, LED notification light, sensor and front camera module. Below the display, you will see three touch buttons. At rear side, you see a 16-megapixels rear camera, dual tone LED and fingerprint sensor. At the below side in the rear panel, it got MI branding and speaker module.

At right edge, it houses volume rockers and power buttons. Buttons are easy to reach and you can feel every single click when you press the button. Left edge contains Hybrid slot where you can play two SIM cards or one sim card and 1 micro SD card. You have to choose what is important for you. At the top side, it got a microphone, audio jack and IR blaster. Bottom edge houses a microUSB port and microphone. With dual microphone system, your voice will be clear in calls.

Considering the price, this phone offers more than one can expect. Even if the device offers large display, it managed to keep size as small as it could. So, it doesn’t feel like a large device. The only wrong thing I found was the slippery body which could be the problem for few.

Display

The display is an important thing for many people. If you like to watch videos and movies in your smartphone, you will consider this seriously. As far as the video experience, this phone impresses. It features a 5.5 inch full HD display with 401 PPI. The display is protected with scratch resistant glass but the company didn’t confirm any.

Redmi Note 3 Display

Sunlight legibility is not that much of great due to reflective display but you will be satisfied if you are using it on good brightness. It same as in previous Redmi Note phones.

Redmi Note 3

Xiaomi added an adaptive brightness feature in this phone that worked really well during our testing.

User Interface

Redmi Note 3 runs on MIUI 7 based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. According to Xiaomi, MIUI 7 is 30% faster and 10% more energy efficient that previous version of MIUI. You will also surely get Marshmallow update soon. The company is already working on this.

MIUI 7 is quite smooth and good performing. Company added child mode, baby album, new themes and auto DND option in this. There are more than 10000 themes and wallpapers available. It comes with various pre-installed apps but these are useful apps. There is no app drawer and hence, all apps pop up on home screen.

The notification area has two semi-transparent tabs: first to host notification and second for quick settings. Tak cleaner window has also been improved.

It comes with various Google apps pre-installed. You also have access to Play store to download more apps.

One-hand mode is also there to use the smaller display in this phone. You can also customize the notification light to assign different colors to different kind of notifications. As always, MIUI offers privacy control and notifies you what kind of permission an app requires.

Great thing is that Xiaomi keeps on giving MIUI update to fix bugs and enhance software experience.

There is also a lite mode of this UI to offer you lighter and faster experience. In case, you want minimal things to use, you should use try this lite UI.

Performance

Redmi Note 3 comes with 1.8 GHz hexa-core Snapdragon 650 processor with 2 GB RAM and Adreno 510 GPU.  3GB RAM variant is also available with more storage. We tested 2 GB RAM variant and it performs well. Considering the price point, I would like to say that it was unexpected.

Everything runs smooth and minimal lag only if you have multiple heavy tasks running at the same time. Gaming is a real fun in this phone with awesome display, sound and performance. Don’t forget to keep the phone in performance mode to enjoy gaming in best possible way.

You will also be surprised to see the numbers it scores in different benchmarking services. With the score around 73000 on Antutu, it stands close to few top performing devices like OP2 and Galaxy S6.

16 GB storage is there and you can also expand storage by adding a microSD card. But, you will have to give up the idea or use 2 SIMs if you want to expand storage. It is because of Hybrid slot.

Camera

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 comes with a 16 megapixels rear camera with PDAF, dual tone LED and f/2.2 aperture. It also offers a 5 megapixels front camera with f/2.0 aperture.

The camera app is nice and clean. It offers few camera effects and few camera modes. There are various other modes including Panorama, Timer, Beautify, HHT, Gradient, Scene mode. 

If I talk about camera performance, primary camera is great with good details and color saturation in photos. HDR helps in capturing great moments in outdoor.

Indoor shots were not that much of great with some noticeable amounts of digital noise. It was still not bad. You also have an HHT mode (night mode) but I found HDR working better sometimes in low-light condition.

I also saw sometimes under exposure and over exposure at outdoor. Few focus related issues were also there when I tried to focus on some object but it was not able to do that.  But recent software update has tried to fix that issue and now the phone is working better.

Overall, I would like to say that this phone is a great performer in terms of camera. In this price segment, you will not expect more things.

If I talk about the video recording capabilities, you can record 1080p videos, time-lapse and slow motion videos. But it is worth to note that you can only record 720p videos in slow motion. There is no 4K video recording option in the app but this chipset supports 4K recording. So, few third-party apps allow people to record 4K videos.

Fingerprint Sensor

The fingerprint sensor is at the back side. In terms of performance, it is good and fast. Just touch the fingerprint sensor and it will unlock most of the times with success ratio of around 85%. It is pretty nice.

IMG_20140105_162529

Connectivity

Connectivity options are fine in this phone. It supports all Indian 4G bands and also supports voice over LTE. It supports Bluetooth 4.1, A2DP, BLE, HID, GPS with A-GPS, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac support and Wi-Fi Direct. It comes with microUSB port with support to USB On-the-go.

It also features an IR blaster located at the top of the phone and coupled with a software to use it. It turns your Redmi Note 3 phone into a universal remote. You can use this to remotely control home appliances.

Battery

It is packed with a large 4000 mAh battery which is impressive in performance. You will get over 5 hours of screen-on time and more than a day usage comfortably. On an average, you will see around 30 hours of backup in mixed usage. If you are a power user, you will have to charge it daily.

Good thing is that this much of large battery is available in much compact form. So, the phone doesn’t look bulky as compared to Moto X Play which is heavy with 3600 mAh battery.

Final words

At this price, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is the best phone available in the market. You can go with 3 GB RAM variant in case you need better specs on paper and of course improved performance. It offers brilliant display, good design, awesome battery life, and great performance. This is another Xiaomi phone which has set a benchmark for its competitors.


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The Review

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

8.4 Score

"A mid-range device with beautiful metal body,h stunning display, good performance great camera, and excellent battery life. Best phone available in this price range till date."

The Good

  • Good design
  • Nice display
  • Good performance
  • IR blaster
  • Fast fingerprint sensor
  • Good camera

The Bad

  • Slippery design
  • Average loud speaker
  • No NFC

Breakdown

  • Design 80%
  • Display 80%
  • Performance 85%
  • Camera 75%
  • Gaming 80%
  • Battery 85%