Touted as the apple of China, Xiaomi took the world by surprise when it unveiled its range of low cost Android smartphones which packed the punch of an high end android smartphone. Within a year of its existence, the company was able to rope in Hugo Barra, Google’s VP of Android. Xiaomi debuted in India with its Mi3 smartphone and within the first sale itself, the company was able to build in much hype for its smartphone without any advertising.
Today i have with me the Redmi 1s, which is one of Xiaomi’s entry level and budget android offering. The smartphone was launched first in India on September 2nd via an exclusive and first come first basis sale on Flipkart.com. The phone’s key highlights are its hardware and price tag which attracted a lot of attention from prospective customers. The demand for the smartphone was so huge that in the first sale itself, 40,000 units of the Redmi 1s were sold within 2 seconds. I was lucky enough to get hold of an Redmi 1s from the first sale and here’s my review of the same.
Being an entry level phone, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S comes in a simple cardboard packaging which contains the phone, battery, user guide, warranty card, USB to micro USB cable and a charger.
Since i got the phone in the first lot, i was also given a complimentary screen protector and two micro sim to standard sim adapters for free.
Given the price point at which it sells, the Redmi 1s has a decent build quality. The phone’s body is made out of plastic but it doesn’t give you the el-cheapo feel. While i can’t say how durable the phone is, its always advisable to opt for an casing to protect your phone from accidental damages. The phone has a dimension of 137 x 69 x 9.9mm and weights at 158 gm. It does weigh heavier than the average android smartphone, but you will get used to it eventually.
Xiaomi has gone for a very simple design philosophy with the Redmi 1s. The phone might be slightly bulky but it is truly durable. The phone has a matte finish plastic rear cover which is also a fingerprint magnet.
The Phone has a 5.7 inch IPS display which is protected by AGC Dragontrail glass. like most other android smartphones, the display is a fingerprint magnet. There’s a 1.6MP front facing camera, couple of sensors and a speaker above the display.
The phone’s back cover is removable and a 2000 mAh battery is housed beneath it. There are two sim card slots and a microsd card slot above the battery. The first sim card slot supports both 2G and 3G sim’s whereas the second slot just supports 2G sim cards.
A 5.5 inch microphone jack is placed on top of the phone and at bottom there is an micro USB connector along with the microphone.
At the rear, there is an 8MP camera with a single led flash, the speaker and a secondary mic.
At the bottom of the display there are three capacitive red buttons for navigation. The only problem with these navigation keys is they do not have a backlight which means if you are using the phone in a dark environment, then you might have problems with pressing the right key, however these keys are very sensitive. There is also a notification led below the navigation keys.
There is a power button and a volume rocker on the right side of the phone, while the left side of the phone is left bare.
The Redmi 1s has a 4.7 inch display which has a resolution of 1280 * 720 pixels and a pixel density of 312 ppi. The display is protected by AGC Dragontrail glass which is scratch resistant and at the same time even protects the display from shattering under pressure.
Being an IPS display, the phone’s display is very bright and sharp at 100%. The phone’s display looks good under indoor use but when used outdoors, the display becomes somewhat unreadable due to its reflective nature. Movies and pictures look vivid and colorful on the display and the viewing angles are even great.
The Redmi 1s is powered by a Snapdragon 400 chipset with a quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7 processor, Adreno 305 GPU and 1GB of RAM. The phone feels snappier with its smooth and intuitive UI but on many instances i did experience lag while switching between apps and even while transitioning between home-screens. The phone runs on MIUI v5 which is based on Android 4.3 and as of now the latest android 4.4 KitKat update is yet to arrive.
Here are some of the results from the various benchmarks i conducted on the Xiaomi Redmi 1S.
Linpack ( multi thread )
The Redmi 1’s camera shoots amazing photos in daylight. Thanks to the f/2.2 aperture and 28mm wide lens, it certainly has the best camera among its competitors. Photographs taken in daylight come out extremely sharp and have vivid colours. However once its dark the photographs tend to get blurry and lose quality.
Videos captured by the phone are recorded in 1080p resolution at 30 fps, however the quality of the video captured is below than average. Here are some photos we took with the Xiaomi Redmi 1S’s rear camera.
The Redmi 1s runs on the MIUI Rom, which is one of the most simple and easy to use android roms available. However this comes at a price as the rom is very demanding in terms of ram. Under basic usage, the ui itself consumers more than 60 t0 70% of the phone’s ram, leaving it with less ram for other processes.
The MIUI doesn’t has a dedicated app menu, instead all the apps are displayed across multiple home screens. The UI closely resembles to that of an iPhone. The phone has an themes app which allows you to browse through a large number of free themes and all of them come with a different combination of sounds, wallpaper, fonts and icons.
Here are some screenshots of the UI on the Xiaomi Redmi 1s.
The phones audio quality during calls is above average and i was able to clearly listen to the speaker on the other side of the call. The phone’s signal reception was also very impressive. The external speaker at the back of the phone has good audio output in the mid range, however the quality deteriorates at the max volume.
Gaming on the Redmi 1s was very smooth. I played games such as Subway surfer and Temple run. All the games ran smoothly for most of the time, however i did experience some lag in between. Unfortunately gaming tends to heat up quickly during gaming, especially around the rear camera, beneath which the Snapdragon 400 processor is housed.
The battery life of the Redmi 1s is nothing to boast about, under regular usage patterns the phone easily manages to makes it through a day. However under intense use, the phone battery drains out quickly and the fact that the phone heats up very quickly, i suspect thermal throttling to be a major issue with this phone.
- 4.7″ IPS 720p capacitive touchscreen with 312pi pixel density; AGC Dragontrail glass
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with MIUI v.5
- 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU; 1 GB of RAM; Adreno 305 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
- 8 MP camera with LED flash; 1080p video capture
- 1.6 MP front-facing camera; 720p video recording
- 8 GB of built-in memory, expandable via a microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
- Active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone
- 2,000mAh battery
The Xiaomi redmi 1s is an entry level phone, but with the hardware it has got, it completely obliterates all the other phones below and around the price point at which it sells at.
For a phone priced at Rs. 6000, i didn’t expect performance to be a part of the package. The Redmi 1s provides the best hardware among its competitors. However the phone has some demerits too. First of all the MIUI rom is a huge RAM hogger and i will definitely like to see this decrease with future updates. Secondly the phone heats up quickly under medium to heavy usage which is something to worry about and last but not the least, theres a big problem with the availability of this phone. Xiaomi is selling all its phones exclusively via flipkart in India and adding to this the phone is only available in limited quantity via flash sales which occur once in a week. This makes it very difficult to acquire the Redmi 1s.
Taking advantage of this situations, some people are buying the redmi 1s and selling it in black at a few thousands above the base price. Fortunately Xiaomi is gearing up for the festive season ahead and the company has promised to stock more than 1,00,000 units of the Redmi 1S per sale.