Xiaomi Redmi Y3 review: Budget selfie camera expert

Last month, Xiaomi unveiled the new Redmi Y3 and went on for sale in early May in India. Like the previous generation Y series models, it is a selfie-camera-centric phone.

It comes with incremental upgrades in terms of internal hardware, while the design has changed a lot to match the current market trend in the budget and mid-range segment. However, the price of the Redmi Y3 is similar to its predecessor.

Does the Redmi Y3 live up to the hype? Let's check it out.

Design, display and build quality:

As said at the beginning, Redmi Y3 comes with contemporary design form--smooth shell on the back and dot-notch display. The company likes to call it the Prism Aura design form and it's gorgeous. The black review unit looks stunning in the daylight, but my personal favourite is the Elegant Blue model. [Fyi: There is also Bold Red colour option] 

The back cover though made of polycarbonate material is sturdy and also glossy finish makes the device visually appealing.  

Add to the fact that the company is offering shell cover in the retail package, the Redmi Y3 has better chances of sustaining daily wear and tear. Also, it comes with P2i coating, meaning it can survive accidental water splash and you will also be able to answer phone calls even under rain shower without worrying about the water damaging the phone [please ensure you dry the wet phone with a cloth].


Xiaomi Redmi Y3; picture credit: Rohit KVN/DH News Service

On top, it comes with IR blaster (for universal remote), a mic and a 3.5mm audio jack and the base, the Redmi Y3 houses two speaker grilles, which by the way offers good audio output even when the volume is maxed up. 

On the left, it comes with special tray slot, which can accommodate two SIMs and a microSD card so that the consumer never has to compromise between second SIM and extra storage, which is the case in most rivals brands. On the right, the Redmi Y3 features volume rockers and the power button. 

On the front too, it has a 2.5D curved display with Gorilla Glass 5 shield. It can protect the screen from minor scratches from keys when kept in the pocket, but when dropped from a high point (1.5 meters), it will crack. Device owners are advised to get a tempered glass guard to extend the longevity of the phone.

As far as the display quality is concerned, it is bright and offers good viewing experience even when using the phone under bright sunlight. I didn't feel any stress to my eyes reading emails nor when I was following the Google Maps route guide to my destination. 
But, 

Display: 6.26-inch HD+ (1520x720p) with 2.5D curved glass screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 shield  , 86.5-percent screen to body ratio

Dimension & weight: 158.73 x 75.58 x 8.47 mm & 180g

Performance:
Xiaomi Redmi Y3 houses 14nm FinFET class 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 octa-core( 8x Kryo 250: 4 Kryo gold core + 4 Kryo silver core) backed by 725MHz Adreno 506 GPU, 3GB/4GB RAM (933MHz LPDDR3) and 32GB/64GB storage (eMMC 5.1).

The Xiaomi phone works smoothly when doing normal day-to-day chores like launching apps, web browsing, loading camera, switching between multiple apps, watching videos on multi-media streaming apps, playing normal video games like Angry Birds and even PUBG Mobile will also run without any hassle.
However, the phone will not be able to show the same swiftness while playing graphics-rich games such as Asphalt 9.

Android Pie-based MIUI 10 offers lots of personalisation options, themes for customers to reflect their identity in the phone. But, the annoying part is the ads, which will pop-up even in the settings. The only solution is to manually disable ad recommendations in Mi File Manager, MIUI security and MI browser apps. 

Camera:


Xiaomi Redmi Y3 dua-camera photo sample; picture credit: Rohit KVN/DH News Service

The USP of the Redmi Y3 is its 32MP front snapper and yes, it lived up to the expectations. Xiaomi phone took good sharp images and is capable of recording HD videos, which comes in handy while video chatting. But, truth to be told, the camera app is a bit aggressive in terms of skin smoothening.

Having said that, skin tone adjustment feature is the most sort after in a mobile phone these days; particularly the Redmi Y3's target consumers such as college kids and social media savvy adults, who like to share selfies often on social media platforms. And, Redmi Y3 will definitely serve them well, as it offers numerous options such as adjust skin complexion, smoothness (removes pimples) and slender, which can make the face (jaw bone) smaller.


Xiaomi Redmi Y3 primary camera sample; Picture credit: Rohit KVN/DH News Service

On the back, the dual 12MP+2MP primary camera takes decent images in natural light conditions, but when the light starts to fade, the auto-focus seems to lose speed in locking the subject and also pictures begin show noise. But, you can capture good ones by if you have patience and a steady hand like I did. The resulting images are still better than the rival branded phone. Check out the images shot in the pitch darkness 


Xiaomi Redmi Y3 dual-camera photo sample taken in the night; picture credit: Rohit KVN/DH News Service

Specs: 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. On the front, it houses a 32MP selfie snapper with AI Portrait mode, AI beauty 4.0 and palm shutter.

Battery:
As far as the battery life is concerned, Redmi Y3 consistently lasted a full day under mixed usage. Thanks to 4,000mAh capacity, you can watch trailers or TV shows on multi-media streaming apps for an hour, play games (non-graphics-intense ones) for another hour, browse internet, social media channels several times a day and yet there will be more than 20-percent juice left. The battery drains a tad faster while playing videos with mobile data on, so consumers are advised to switch to Wi-Fi whenever possible. 

Final thoughts:
Xiaomi has done a pretty good job by incorporating well-balanced hardware for a phone priced under Rs 12,000. Redmi Y3 ticks all the key aspects such as reliable build quality, visually appealing design language, exceptional front camera, decent processor configuration and a high capacity battery, which the price conscious consumer expect from a phone in India.

Despite the low price, Xiaomi hasn't cut many corners in the Redmi Y3 and is exactly why it is the dominant player in this segment. Realme is the lone emerging rival, which can put up a fight, but it has a lot to catch up.  

Pros:
Good design language with the sturdy build quality
Terrific selfie camera
Long lasting battery
Dedicated three slots- SIM 1+ SIM 2+ microSD card
Both the security features face unlock and fingerprint sensor with less FRR (False Rejection Rate)
Aptly priced

Cons:
Besides the annoying ads, another qualm I have with the Redmi Y3 is that it lacks Widevine L1 support, meaning consumers won't be able to watch HD videos content on multimedia streaming apps, but this can be fixed via a software update as Xiaomi did with Poco F1.

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