Xiaomi Redmi 7A review: Well rounded budget phone

Since the debut of Xiaomi in India in 2014, it has steadily improved the market share in India and managed to top the chart in late 2017. It continues to be the leader and primary reasons for such a remarkable ascent of Xiaomi is that its products are feature-rich and yet costs much less than the rival brands.

Xiaomi has become a dominant force in the budget and the mid-range thanks to Redmi A series and Note series, respectively. As it marks the fifth anniversary in July, it launched the new Redmi 7A.

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. 

Build quality, design, and display:

Xiaomi Redmi 7A comes with a compact form and despite the curved corners, it offers good grip for the fingers to hold on to the phone. 

It also features polycarbonate-based shell on the back, but have to say, the company has done a good job in terms of build quality. It is solid and sturdy compared to rival brands in the sub-Rs 7,000 price bracket.

Redmi 7A boasts re-inforced corners to sustain accidental fall and also comes with pyrolytic graphite sheet integrated to the shell to dissipate heat when performing a heavy-duty function like playing a game or using a camera.


Xiaomi Redmi 7A; DH Photo/ Rohit KVN

Xiaomi Redmi 7A sports a 5.45-inch HD+ display with standard 18:9 aspect ratio. During the testing, I didn't have to squint my eyes too much to view contents on the screen under direct sunlight.

Performance:

My Xiaomi Redmi 7A review unit comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 octa-core processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. 

Since it is a new phone, Redmi 7A offered swift touch response in terms of opening apps, launching the camera and switching between multiple apps. 

As I mentioned in the initial impression article, MIUI and pre-loaded third-party apps consume more than half the storage of the phone and the user is left with little over 7GB memory.
But thankfully, Redmi 7A comes with a dedicated microSD card slot for extra storage in addition to two SIM slots.

One small, but a value-added feature of Redmi 7A that impressed me a lot is the wireless FM Radio. Now, consumer need not have to have worry about earphone audio jack to listen to radio stations. And yes, the loudspeaker is good too.

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.

Camera:


Xiaomi Redmi 7A's primary camera sample picture; 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 natural Sunlight conditions. Even in the night too, images captured were decent.


Xiaomi Redmi 7A's primary camera sample picture; DH Photo/Rohit KVN

Redmi 7A's front camera does its job quite good and offers an array of filters and Beautify to adjust skin complexion.

Over-all, Redmi 7A has the best camera hardware compared to the rivals in sub-Rs 7,000 price bracket. 


Xiaomi Redmi 7A's primary camera sample picture; DH Photo/Rohit KVN

Battery:
Xiaomi Redmi 7A comes with 4000mAh, 25% more than the predecessor. And, it did live up to the expectations. It easily lasts a whole day under normal usage like calling, multi-media messaging on WhatsApp, web browsing, watching videos on YouTube or on OTT (Over-The-Top) content on multi-media streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

But, if used more conservatively, the device can last half a day extra. 

Final thoughts:

Xiaomi Redmi 7A is a well-rounded phone. It checks all the key aspects a consumer would look for in a budget mobile such as sturdy build quality, performance, long battery life, and a good camera. 

I loved the camera of the Redmi 7A. It takes really good shots in the natural light and to an extent in low-lit environments compared to rival brands in the same price segment.

In the last few weeks, I got a couple of calls from former colleagues asking me to suggest a budget phone to gift their parents. Specifically, they were looking for a mobile, which is simpler to use and easily find the shortcuts to make calls, message, take photos and most importantly lasts longer in terms of battery life. 

So, if any of you are looking for a similar phone for yourself or senior citizens, the Redmi 7A fits the bill perfectly.

Pros:
Sturdy build quality
Day-long battery life
Good camera hardware for its price
Can play FM Radio without the earphone jack

Cons:
Xiaomi needs to reduce the ad notifications in the MIUI interface, but it's not a deal-breaker as some people I spoke to were not that much bothered as long as the device delivers in terms of performance, battery life and camera capabilities.

Face unlock is unreliable in low light environment

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

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