REVIEW: Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Is The Best Value For Money Phone Under Rs 10,000

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Should you buy the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7? We find out.

Written By Saurabh Singh | Mumbai | Updated On:
Photo by Saurabh Singh

Brands launching lite(r) versions of their more premium high-end – read, expensive - phones isn’t new. But it’s not every day you see a brand coming up with a lite(r) version of another lite-ly priced phone. Not unless the brand in question is Xiaomi. The idea of a Redmi Note 7 Pro and a Redmi Note 7 may seem outlandish – why on earth would anyone care about a vanilla Redmi Note when there’s a Pro Redmi Note out to bag for a couple of thousand rupees extra? - but Xiaomi believes it can still pull this off. This is surely not the first time that it is doing it – and it surely won’t be the last. 

But while the difference between the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro was like night and day, it’s a lot harder to differentiate between the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro – especially for an average buyer. This also means, it is a lot easier to recommend the Redmi Note 7 over the Redmi Note 7 Pro for most buyers – even though the Redmi Note 7 Pro may seem better on paper. For a couple of thousand rupees extra, you’ll be getting slightly better performance – including slightly better camera performance. But what if I tell you, you’ll be getting more bang for your buck, should you get the Redmi Note 7 instead? Caught your attention now, have I? 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

The Redmi Note 7 looks exactly like the Redmi Note 7 Pro – which instantly makes it the best-looking phone that you can get south of Rs 10,000. Like the Redmi Note 7 Pro, the Redmi Note 7 also boasts of Xiaomi’s all-new aura design – which is a combination of glass and plastic. While the front and back are all-glass, the outer frame is all-plastic (so are the power button and volume rocker). And it is no ordinary glass but Corning Gorilla Glass 5 - on the front as well as on the back. Both of which are a first for any phone south of Rs 10,000. 

Now, I have been using the Redmi Note 7 for over two weeks now, and I have been able to keep my unit free of any scratches or unwanted wear and tear – but Corning Gorilla Glass 5 is prone to the occasional scratch or two (it is better designed to survive falls and stress), which is where the bundled clear case comes handy. 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

The Redmi Note 7 Pro is also water-resistant, sort of – like the Redmi Note 7 Pro. All the ports and buttons on-board the Redmi Note 7 – SIM card tray, USB Type-C port, 3.5mm jack and the speaker – are protected by watertight seals. These watertight seals, in turn, ensure the phone is protected against accidental spillage and light rain. All this when coupled with the phone’s P2i hydrophobic coating makes the Redmi Note 7 resistant to light splashes of water/rain. While it’s never advisable to test the limits of any phone – even, true water-resistant ones – it's nice to see Xiaomi offering such durability-related intricacies at such low-price points. 

Being a vanilla Redmi Note, the Redmi Note 7 lacks one thing though – the Redmi Note 7 lacks a Redmi Note 7 Pro-like light-bending gradient finish. Instead, the Redmi Note 7 is available in a slew of solid colours - Onyx Black, Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue. But again, that’s no deal breaker. 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

All in all, the Redmi Note 7 is well-built like any other Xiaomi phone – but the fact that it makes an all-glass design accessible to an even wider audience is its real USP. The Redmi Note 7 looks and feels like an expensive phone, but it isn’t expensive at all. Its all-glass body does weigh quite a bit, but those familiar with the Redmi Note 6 Pro/Redmi Note 5 Pro wouldn’t mind that. 

The Redmi Note 7, in addition, has a rear mounted fingerprint scanner which is ridiculously fast and accurate, and there’s also Xiaomi’s signature IR blaster built into the phone so you can control smart home appliances including the company’s Mi TVs through the Mi remote app. 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

On the front, the Redmi Note 7 has a 6.3-inch LTPS 1080p+ display with a teardrop/waterdrop style notch - Xiaomi is calling it a dot notch – which is again same as the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Much like the Redmi Note 7 Pro, colours look a little muted (especially by default) on the Redmi Note 7 but brightness levels and viewing angles are quite good.  

In terms of core hardware, the Redmi Note 7 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, making it one of the most powerful phones in India at its price. Xiaomi says it is using the processor’s full 2.2GHz clock speed unlike rivals that have been using a ‘lite’ version of this processor. This is paired with up to 4GB RAM and up to 64GB storage which is also expandable (via a hybrid slot). The dual-SIM phone runs Android Pie based MIUI 10 and supports dual 4G LTE.  

Photo by Saurabh Singh

Basic day-to-day tasks are handled well by the Redmi Note 7 – in fact, they’re handled better than any other phone in and around its price point. Basic games are handled well as well – so are graphical games like PUBG at medium settings. But somehow the Redmi Note 7 doesn’t feel like a fast phone – which is surprising considering the good hardware that is inside the phone. Although I did not encounter any random app crashes, I can’t say the same about lags. Every now and then, the Redmi Note 7 is prone to slowing down, and the slowing down happens across the board – all the way to the pull-down notification panel. 

Xiaomi’s MIUI is known for some aggressive background task management – it is known to kill off apps out of the blue from time to time. But somehow things seem worse in a phone like the Redmi Note 7 – clearly hinting at improper software optimization. Xiaomi needs to fix that.  

Photo by Saurabh Singh

Speaking of which, Xiaomi also needs to tone down on MIUI ads – they're everywhere and there’s no way to get rid of them without referring to a tutorial of some sort.            

Ads are new to MIUI (in India) but Xiaomi software was always up to the mark when it came to all-round stability – sadly, that’s not the case with the MIUI 10 inside the Redmi Note 7. In fact, its software maybe its weakest point – but since we're dealing with software, hopefully, Xiaomi has a fix on the way soon. 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

The same half-baked software also mars the all-round camera experience in the Redmi Note 7 – even though the Redmi Note 7 has capable camera hardware. The 12MP primary rear camera of the Redmi Note 7 can capture some good-looking photos with occasional softness in good lighting with good amount of detail and mostly spot-on – if a little oversaturated – colours. Dynamic range could have been better, but overall, the Redmi Note 7 should suffice for most users. The 2MP secondary depth camera can capture decent portrait shots in good light with good-enough edge separation and smooth creamy background blur.  

The Redmi Note 7 can also capture good photos in tricky light – there’s also a new steady handheld night mode for enhanced low light photography which is Xiaomi’s take on night mode.  

Photo by Saurabh Singh

The front-facing selfie camera, which uses a 13-megapixel sensor, does a good job too especially when the lighting is adequate – although details could have been better. 

Coming to the strongest suit of the Redmi Note 7 – which is a strong suit for any Xiaomi phone for that matter. The 4,000mAh battery inside the Redmi Note 7 can easily last a full day with moderate usage – even one and a half days should you tone things down further. In a first for any phone at its price point, the Redmi Note 7 also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 through USB Type-C (although, Xiaomi isn’t bundling a fast charger in the box). 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7: yay or nay? 

So, should you buy the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7? The answer is a resounding yes. The Redmi Note 7 isn’t perfect, but at its low price, it doesn’t really matter. The Redmi Note 7 starts at Rs 9,999 for the base variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, going all the way to Rs 11,999 for the top end version with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. For the price, you get a best in-class design, a modern waterdrop notch display, good all-round performance with capable cameras, and outstanding battery life. Its software is a work in progress – but then again, that’s not something that can’t be fixed in future. 

Long story short, the Redmi Note 7 is the best value for money phone under Rs 10,000 – and it’s so good that you won’t be missing out on much should you get it over the Redmi Note 7 Pro.   

Also Read:  Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro First Look: The Budget Flagship

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