Photo by Saurabh Singh
Photo by Saurabh Singh

Mobile

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S First Look: Redmi Note 7 Super-charged With 48MP Camera 

Written By Saurabh Singh | Mumbai | Published:

Hack:

  • The Redmi Note 7S is your usual Xiaomi phone – no prizes for guessing, it (too) punches way above its weight in all the departments and it (too) won’t burn a hole in your pocket
  • Things start to get interesting when you realize that the Redmi Note 7S, is in fact, a rebranded Redmi Note 7 from China and global markets

Well what do you know, Xiaomi has finally launched the Redmi Note 7 in India. I know you’re probably wondering, didn’t Xiaomi launch the Redmi Note 7 in India already? Yes and no. The thing is, the Redmi Note 7 that Xiaomi has been selling in India, is different – from both its Chinese as well as global variants. The Redmi Note 7 India variant ships with a 12MP plus 2MP depth rear dual camera system, even as the Chinese and global variants pack a 48MP plus 5MP setup. This is because Xiaomi wanted to stay true to the Redmi Note legacy. A Redmi Note 7 with a 48MP camera would seemingly have increased cost. A Redmi Note 7 with a 48MP camera would seemingly not have been possible at an entry-level price of Rs 9,999. 

Even though many fans and enthusiasts have questioned the move, the fact that the Redmi Note 7 has been a best-in-class product, even without a 48MP camera, has helped Xiaomi turn the tide in its favor – the Redmi Note 7 (and Redmi Note 7 Pro) has been selling like hot cakes in India. Basically, everyone’s happy – and for those who demand more, there’s always the Redmi Note 7 Pro. 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

But on Monday, Xiaomi decided to go off the script a little – the company announced that it is bringing a new phone called the Redmi Note 7S to India. The Redmi Note 7S is your usual Xiaomi phone – no prizes for guessing, it (too) punches way above its weight in all the departments and it (too) won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Things start to get interesting when you realize that the Redmi Note 7S, is in fact, a rebranded Redmi Note 7 from China and global markets – it's the original Redmi Note 7 that Xiaomi should have launched in India in the first place.  

Which brings me back to my introduction - Xiaomi has finally launched the Redmi Note 7 in India. It’s got a new name, but everything inside (and out), is literally the same. 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

It has the same aura design with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front as well as on the back. It has the same 6.3-inch 1080p+ display with a teardrop/waterdrop style notch - Xiaomi calls it a dot notch. It has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor paired with up to 4GB RAM and up to 64GB storage which is expandable via a hybrid micro-SD card slot. It runs the same Android Pie-based MIUI 10 software. It has the same 13MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture and smart AI that can recognize up to 12 scenes. It has the same 4,000mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 support through USB Type-C (Xiaomi isn’t bundling a fast charger in the box here as well). It has the same P2i hydrophobic coating that makes them resistant to light splashes of water or rain. It is available in the same three colour schemes as well - Onyx Black, Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue. 

The Redmi Note 7S is a capable performer in day-to-day usage, it has a near edge-to-edge screen with good brightness levels and viewing angles (although colours look a little muted by default), its selfie camera does a good job especially when the lighting is adequate, and it has a phenomenal battery life – just like the Redmi Note 7. You can read my full review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 here

Photo by Saurabh Singh

Xiaomi isn’t saying what the ‘S’ in the Redmi Note 7S stands for – but I like to call it a Redmi Note 7 with a super-charged camera. Xiaomi has reason to believe that its 48MP camera will be enough to compel buyers into opting for it, as opposed to say the vanilla Redmi Note 7 that it sold in India. And it is correct. There’s no denying the host of possibilities that a 48MP camera brings to the table and for a phone that costs as much as what the Redmi Note 7S does, it’s a steal deal - you simply can’t ask for more.  

The Redmi Note 7S does not have the same 48MP camera sensor as the Redmi Note 7 Pro though. While the Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with a Sony IMX586 sensor, the Redmi Note 7S packs a Samsung GM1 sensor – that uses software interpolation to produce high-quality 48MP resolution photos instead of supporting them natively like the Sony IMX586. 

Photo by Saurabh Singh

Xiaomi is touting the low-light capabilities of the Redmi Note 7S’ 48MP main camera (the Redmi Note 7S also supports Xiaomi’s steady handheld night mode for enhanced low light photography), in addition to its ability to produce photos with lots of detail – both of which are a key highlight of the Samsung GM1 sensor. The 48MP main camera is paired with a 5MP secondary sensor for depth sensing aka portrait photography.  

Xiaomi sprung a surprise recently when it launched the Redmi Y3 in India with a segment-first 32MP front camera with a Samsung GD1 sensor – that works on the same principle as the Samsung GD1 inside the Redmi Note 7S. Come to think of it, the Redmi Note 7S with a 48MP Samsung GM1 inside isn’t very surprising – even more so since Xiaomi has already broken the back of many competitors by launching the Redmi Note 7 Pro equipped with a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor.   

What’s surprising is why Xiaomi had to come up and launch a product like the Redmi Note 7S in India at all. Or better still, why didn’t Xiaomi give an early heads-up to potential buyers who have probably already invested in a Redmi Note 7. Xiaomi has been teasing a new Redmi 700-series phone for India for a while now, hasn’t it? Xiaomi has been teasing the yet-to-be-launched Redmi K20 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (and other quirks) for some time now, hasn’t it?    

Photo by Saurabh Singh

And it does not help that the Redmi Note 7S starts at Rs 10,999 for the base variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, while the top-end variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage has been launched at Rs 12,999. The Redmi Note 7 sells for only Rs 1,000 less (Rs 9,999, Rs 11,999) and even though Xiaomi may say that every penny counts, well, not so much when you have around Rs 10,000 to spare. There will be many who’ll happily spend Rs 1,000 more for a better camera – even more so when the cameras that they’re getting in the Redmi Note 7 are probably its biggest Achilles heel. 

I don’t doubt either phones, but, this may be the first time I am wishing, there was a visible price difference between two Xiaomi phones – so I could actually pin-point that out and say, hey, that’s a tradeoff you get at a lower price. The Redmi Note 7 may (still) be the best phone under Rs 10,000, but Xiaomi just killed it by launching the real Redmi Note 7 that it was supposed to launch in the first place.   

Also Read:  Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S Launched In India With Segment-first 48MP Camera: Specs, Price And Everything To Know

DO NOT MISS