Xiaomi Redmi 7 review: Budget phone with classy design

In late April, Xiaomi launched the Redmi 7 along with Redmi Y3 in India. The former comes with several upgrades both in terms of exterior looks and internal hardware over the predecessor Redmi 6.

I have been using the Redmi 7 for a couple of weeks and here's what I think about the Xiaomi's new budget offering.

Design, display and build quality:
Xiaomi's new Redmi 7 undoubtedly is the best looking phone under Rs 10,000. My review unit comes in a gorgeous blue with a gradient finish. I love how the colorway blends from light blue in the base to darker shade at the top.

The Redmi 7 flaunts glossy glass cover on the back which cascades to the sides, which is flanked with a sturdy metallic frame. When held in hand, the device exudes premium feel and also surprisingly offers good grip for the fingers. The only qualm is that it is a fingerprint magnet.

The company offers free translucent shell cover with the retail package, which not only helps the device from breaking during an accidental fall but also protects from sweaty finger smudges and user need have to constantly clean the back. Also, it can be noted that the Xiaomi device comes with P2i coating. It prevents rainwater or even the water splashes slip inside the device and harm the components.

Over-all, the build quality is top-notch and have to say, there are very few, which can match Redmi 7 in the budget segment.

On the front, it flaunts contemporary dot-notch display design with just a tiny space allocated to the front-camera on the top-center. Even the bezels are slim particularly at the top, right and left sides, while the base is slightly thick, but, it doesn't harm the aesthetics of the display panel in any way.

It features 6.24-inch HD+ (1520x720p) screen with automatic brightness adjustment feature. There is also reading mode, which makes the screen less straining on the eyes particularly in the late evening and in the night. With 19.5:9 aspect ratio, watching high-resolution videos on the Redmi 7 is a delightful experience.


Xiaomi Redmi 7; picture credit: Rohit KVN/DH Photo

On the left, it houses a  2+1 tray slot. With the consumer need not have to compromise on the second SIM or the microSD card for the extra storage.
On top, it features IR blaster, a 3.5mm audio jack and mic. At the base, it houses two single-grille speakers with a type-2 micro USB port in the middle. 

Performance:
Xiaomi Redmi 7 houses a 14nm class 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 octa-core with Adreno 506 GPU, 2GB/3GB, 16GB/32GB storage and Android Pie-based MIUI 10.2. My review unit comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage and worked smoothly for performing day-to-day operations such as app launching, snapping pictures and web browsing. Even while playing normal games like Angry Birds and PUBG Mobile, it works without any lag. But, be advised the device will not be able to take a load of graphics-intense games like the Asphalt 9. Rest assured, the Redmi 7 works smoothly while performing any normal day-to-day chores. 

But, I was a bit annoyed by the constant ad popping in the phone. After I downloaded the Angry Birds game, the phone showed an open button on top, while offering ad insisting me to install a sponsored app. Though there is an option to disable 'personal ad' option in the settings, it is too deep and also has to be disabled in other sections to completely block all the ads. I urge Xiaomi to offer a simpler solution to stop these nagging ads.

Camera:
Like the Redmi Y3, the Redmi 7 to houses same primary camera on the back. It comes with a 12MP (with 1.12µm pixel size, f2.2 aperture) + 2MP depth sensor with PDAF (Phase Detection AutoFocus), AI scene detection, dual-LEd flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. 


Xiaomi Redmi 7 primary camera

The picture quality is good when taken in bright natural sunlight. Have to say, the Red, pink, purple colored subjects such as flowers come out over saturated in the picture, but I am not complaining, as they are tailor-made for posting on the social media platforms.


Xiaomi Redmi 7 primary camera sample taken in the evening; picture credit: Rohit KVN/DH Photo

In the dark, the autofocus loses speed and takes its sweet time to become stable. To fasten the process, I just touched the subject on the screen to set the focus directly on the subject and take the picture. I did not like the night mode, but the phone was able to take capture good decent sharp pictures in normal mode with just LED light on.

Unlike the Redmi Y3, which comes with a 32MP sensor, the Redmi 7 features a modest 8MP selfie snapper with AI Portrait mode, AI beauty and Palm shutter. It takes an acceptable quality selfie for a phone priced under Rs 9,000.


Xiaomi Redmi 7 photo sample taken in the night with LED flash on; picture credit: Rohit KVN/DH Photo

Battery:
Xiaomi Redmi 7 houses a 4,000mAh non-removable cell. During the testing, it consistently delivered a full day battery life under mixed usage, which included an hour of gaming, internet browsing, YouTube videos (via Wi-Fi) and normal day-to-day chores. It can be noted that the battery will drain faster when browsing the web or playing videos on the Internet with mobile data on.

Final thoughts:
The Redmi 7 is a well-rounded phone with all the right mix of ingredients. I am pretty sure, the Xiaomi phone will attract fence-sitters particularly keypad-based feature handset to go for their first-ever smartphone. Also, those planning to buy a secondary mobile can also bet on the Redmi 7.

What impressed me the most in the Redmi 7 is the battery life and premium glossy design. Even the processor and the camera are also decent for a mobile priced under Rs 9,000.

Pros:
Exquisite design language and colourway
A full day's battery life
Good camera for its price tag
Descent processor configuration
Triple slot tray for two SIMs and microSD card
Security features such as the fingerprint sensor and face-unlock work fine with less False Rejection Rate (FRR)

Note: Though is face unlock is quick to recognise a face, it's not reliable in low light environments.

Cons:
The ads on the phone are such a big nuisance, but it can be blocked by going to setting options and disabling them.

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