Becoming number one is easy but staying at the top is difficult. After having dominated the budget segment throughout 2018, Xiaomi is facing some competition from new entrants like Realme and revived Samsung (Galaxy M) and Honor. With rivals matching the specifications and price points, Xiaomi scrambled to a new Redmi Note 7 series with upgraded specs along with critical gap fixes in the design department.
Redmi Note 7 phones now have trendier gradient glass design with smaller notches on the front. While the base model Redmi Note 7 looks like an incremental upgrade and just there to tap the Rs 10,000 segment, Redmi Note 7 Pro is more of a premium smartphone. Xiaomi followers would know Xiaomi’s ‘premium’ doesn’t really mean a steep price tag. Redmi Note 7 Pro is available at a starting price of Rs 13,999.
With Redmi Note 7 Pro, Xiaomi aims to disrupt the budget and mid-range segment, like it did to the segment a couple of years ago. There are three key things that set Redmi Note 7 Pro apart from the existing budget phones. First, it brings the Sony IMX586 sensor to deliver 48-megapixel sensor on a 14K device. Second, it features Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor, a slightly superior chipset than the Snapdragon 660. Third, Xiaomi is bringing real glass to the budget segment instead of using a polished polycarbonate body to mimic the experience.
The 48-megapixel camera is a treat for mobile photography enthusiasts. As explained in our detailed camera review, Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro delivers near-excellent results. The default 12-megapixel camera does a good job in daylight while 48-megapixel mode enhances the details. After having used Redmi Note 7 Pro as our primary driver for some time, we’ve noticed a few gaps in the camera app. On some occasions, the app takes a bit of time to launch. Image processing in non-default modes is slower than expected.
We suspect this is mostly a software problem as we faced issues with the overall UI as well. Our unit is running MIUI 10 Global 9.2.25 Beta. Some of the issues include slow responsiveness to dialler application. As far as MIUI goes, it’s still a work in progress. Xiaomi fans may have made peace with the customisation and ads, but the UI really needs to be more refined. It looks dated and hasn’t the best implementation of Google’s Android Pie. Minor things like App Actions could have made a big difference. Universal search function is a big miss on the phone. Clearly, Xiaomi has to do a lot of optimisation if it wants to win the Android purists.
If you can move past the UI flaws, Redmi Note 7 Pro will really impress you with its performance. Graphic-intensive games such as PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 run smoothly. In fact, Redmi Note 7 Pro may be one of the best gaming phones under Rs 15,000 in India. Of course, it’s not a Poco, but at this price point, Redmi Note 7 Pro handles power use with ease.
While the 48-megapixel camera is everywhere in Xiaomi’s posters and ad campaigns, the 4,000mAh battery is the most underrated feature. It delivers day-long back up with extensive browsing, multimedia streaming and gaming sessions. If you’re a light user with basic use cases, you can definitely squeeze more juice from the phone. Unlike several other Android phones in this price category, Redmi Note 7 Pro has good standby time. There’s a USB Type-C port with fast charging support. It’s not the fastest charging technology out there but gets the job done. One of the things Xiaomi didn’t even highlight, the Type-C port also supports audio. There’s also the 3.5mm headphone jack.