Xiaomi Redmi 7A hands-on: Promising budget phone

Xiaomi unveiled the new Redmi 7A in India on July 4 and is slated to go on sale on 11 July.

It comes in two variants-- 2GB RAM + 16 GB storage and 2GB RAM RAM + 32GB storage -- for Rs 5,999 and Rs 6,199, respectively. As part of the launch campaign, the company will be offering a Rs 200 discount on both the models.

Deccan Herald received the Redmi 7A review unit. On paper, it has compelling features for a budget phone. here's my initial impression.

Build quality, display, and design:
Xiaomi Redmi 7A sports a 5.45-inch HD+ display with standard 18:9 aspect ratio. On the back, it flaunts polycarbonate-based shell. The company claims to have incorporated pyrolytic graphite sheet to dissipate heat when performing a heavy-duty function like playing a game or using a camera. Also, it features re-enforced corners to sustain during a fall. 


Redmi 7A sports a 5.45-inch HD+ display; picture credit: DH Photo/Rohit KVN

When held in hand, Redmi 7A feels solid and sturdy compared to other phones, which fall in the same price bracket.

Though thick bezel-based design seems outdated in 2019, the target consumer who are usually senior citizens or first-time touch-screen mobile buyers, they usually don't mind about the exterior looks, but give preference to the performance and battery life.

One qualm I have with the Redmi 7a is the missing fingerprint sensor. I always prefer it over the 2D-based face recognition, as the latter is less reliable and also it will hardly work in the low light condition. Then, users have to depend on the pattern or number passcode to unlock the phone.

Processor, RAM, and storage:
My Xiaomi Redmi 7A review unit comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 octa-core processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. In a brief time, I have spent time with the phone, it was swift in responding to the touch, app loading, opening the camera and browsing the web. However, I need more time to fully assess the phone.


Xiaomi Redmi 7A comes with Android Pie-based MIUI 10 OS; Picture credit: DH Photo/Rohit KVN

But, I noticed that there was just a little over 7GB memory available for users, while the rest is consumed by MIUI software and third-party apps. Only saving grace is that the phone has a dedicated microSD card slot for extra storage in addition to two SIM slots.

I also appreciate Xiaomi for incorporating the wireless FM radio modem. With this consumer need not have to have worry about earphone audio jack to listen to radio stations. And yeah, the loudspeaker is good too.

Camera:


Xiaomi Redmi 7A comes with a 12MP primary camera with Sony IMX486 sensor;  Picture credit: DH Photo/Rohit KVN

Xiaomi Redmi 7A boasts 12MP camera with Sony IMX486 sensor, LED flash, AI Portrait feature on the back and a 5MP sensor on the front with face recognition capability. This is a big upgrade over the predecessor and as far as the picture quality is concerned, it took fine quality pictures in the bright natural Sunlight conditions. But, will give the final verdict after testing it through other light conditions.

Battery:
Another big upgrade we see in the Redmi 7A over the 6A is the battery. It comes with 4,000mAh cell, that's 25% (1000mAh) more than the predecessor.

Having reviewed several mobile phones in the budget segment, Redmi 7A can last a whole day easily under mixed usage. But, will try to run through its pace to see how much screen-time it can really deliver.

Initial thoughts:
Design wise, it may not be a show stopper, but it has good upgrades in terms of internal hardware over the predecessor. 

For now, I am very impressed with the build quality of the Redmi 7A and to an extent, the camera capabilities look promising.

Stay tuned. I will be filing the full Redmi 7A review later this week.

Key specifications of Xiaomi Redmi 7A:

Display: 5.45-inch HD+ (1440x720p) IPS LCD with 2.5D glass, 18:9 aspect ratio
OS: Android Pie-based MIUI 10
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 (1.95GHz Cortex A53 x  4 + 1.45GHz Cortex A53 x 4) with Adreno 505 GPU
RAM + Storage: 2GB + 16GB & 2GB + 32GB (both versions can be expandable up to 256GB via microSD card)
Main camera: 12MP with Sony IMX486 sensor, LED flash, PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus)
Front camera: 5MP sensor with AI Portrait mode
Battery: 4,000mAh 
Add-ons: Three slot-tray (nano SIM 1 + nano SIM 2 + microSD card), splash-proof design, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), 3.5 mm audio jack, FM Radio (wireless)
Colour: Black/Blue/Gold
Price: 2GB RAM + 16GB storage- Rs 5,999 & 2GB RAM + 32GB storage- 6,199

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