Xiaomi has a knack for springing surprises – big, beautiful surprises. The Redmi Note 7 Pro, that is making its global debut in India, is yet another rabbit that it has pulled out of its hat. I have to say, no one saw it coming, and even for those who did, the Redmi Note 7 Pro was a sure-shot shocker. With everything that the Redmi Note 7 Pro packs inside, it is hard to digest that the thing starts at just Rs 13,999 (4GB RAM/64GB) and the top-end 6GB RAM/128GB model costs an even crazier Rs 16,999.
Xiaomi was certain about two things before launching the Redmi Note 7 Pro in India – the Redmi Note 7 Pro will cost the same as the Redmi Note 6 Pro and the Redmi Note 5 Pro before it, and yet it will not cut any corners (at least, no immediately visible corners). In typical Xiaomi fashion, the Redmi Note 7 Pro also punches way above its weight – no other smartphone offers as many bells and whistles at its price point. The Redmi Note 7 Pro is a budget flagship, is what it is, no more and no less.
This starts with the design. The Redmi Note 7 Pro boasts of a fresh gradient design language and a waterdrop-style notch – which is a far cry from past Redmi phones. The Redmi Note 7 Pro is the first Redmi phone to have a glass back, and it is no toughened glass but Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (on the front as well as on the back) - Xiaomi says the Redmi Note 7 Pro is designed to survive 12-15 falls from 1m height (I still have to test that out, but that is what Xiaomi is claiming). The Redmi Note 7 Pro is also 14 per cent thicker than other glass phones, to add even more protection. Which is why it also weighs quite a bit, but those familiar with the Redmi Note 6 Pro/Redmi Note 5 Pro wouldn’t mind that.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro is also water-resistant. Sort of. Now, it is technically not a water-resistant device, which means it does not come with any ingress or IP-rating. So, technically you’re not advised to go about throwing yourself in the pool and taking the Redmi Note 7 Pro along with you with the expectation that the phone will have your back at all times but Xiaomi says it is a little more water-resistant than competing products – it is using watertight seals for all the points considered weak for a smartphone. This means that all the ports and buttons on-board the Redmi Note 7 Pro – SIM card tray, USB Type-C port, 3.5mm jack and the speaker – are protected by watertight seals. These watertight seals, in turn, will ensure your device is protected against accidental spillage and light rain. All this when coupled with the phone’s P2i hydrophobic coating makes the Redmi Note 7 Pro resistant to light splashes of water/rain.
But coming to the design, which is one of the main highlights of the phone – the Redmi Note 7 Pro is the first Redmi phone to come in a slew of gradient finishes including Nebula Red, Neptune Blue and Space Black - Xiaomi is calling it aura design. While the red and blue have this in-your face psychedelic look and feel, the black is what you should get if you like things simple and sober – also there’s a possibility that black will be available in more quantities (at least initially) since the red and blue are harder to make.
On the front, the Redmi Note 7 Pro has a 6.3-inch LTPS 1080p+ display with a teardrop/waterdrop style notch - Xiaomi is calling it a dot notch – much like other Xiaomi phones, colours look a little muted (especially by default) on the Redmi Note 7 Pro but brightness levels and viewing angles are quite good.
The other main highlight of the Redmi Note 7 Pro is its 48MP rear camera. Xiaomi is touting the fact that the Redmi Note 7 Pro has an actual 48MP camera which is a simple way of saying, it is using a Sony IMX586 sensor (like the Honor View 20) and not the Samsung GM1 (like the Vivo V15 Pro).
Both the Samsung GM1 and Sony IMX586 are the first to make high-definition 48 effective megapixels photography possible on a smartphone form-factor – capable of producing high-quality photos with more details even when zoomed in. But here’s the thing. The Sony IMX586 is hands down a better sensor than the Samsung GM1. At least on paper, since it can shoot native 48MP photos even as the GM1 can shoot only 12MP only to then interpolate to 48MP (through software).
Regardless, there’s more to smartphone photography than just the sensor and the megapixels – we will have more to say about the Redmi Note 7 Pro’s 48MP camera in our full review.
Xiaomi is also touting a couple of more features of the Redmi Note 7 Pro’s camera(s) - the dual camera system in the Redmi Note 7 Pro can recognize scenarios in 33 categories (with 6 India specific categories), and it also supports a steady handheld night mode for enhanced low light photography. The secondary sensor in the Redmi Note 7 Pro is a 5MP and is used for depth sensing aka portrait photography. On the front, the Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with a 13MP camera.
In terms of core hardware, the Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor, making it one of the most powerful smartphones in India at its price. This is paired with up to 6GB RAM and up to 128GB storage which is also expandable. The dual-SIM phone runs Android Pie based MIUI 10 and supports dual 4G LTE. It packs a 4,000mAh battery and supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 through USB Type-C (although, Xiaomi isn’t bundling a fast charger in the box).
Xiaomi has also launched the Redmi Note 7 in India, at an even more affordable price (than the Redmi Note 7 Pro) - it’s simply a toned down version of the Redmi Note 7 Pro with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor (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), a 4,000mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 through USB Type-C, a 12MP plus 2MP depth rear dual camera system, a 13MP front camera, and a 6.3-inch 1080p+ LTPS display with Xiaomi’s dot notch and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front as well as on the back. The Redmi Note 7 will be available in solid Onyx Black, Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue options.
One look at the Redmi Note 7 Pro, and it looks like, it is already a winner – it offers a premium design and high-end specs but costs 2X, 3X less than what a typical flagship will cost you. There is of course also the Redmi Note 7 for those with an even tighter budget (it 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). Watch this space for our full review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Note 7 in the days to come.