It is worth noticing that Xiaomi is on a roll this year. The company has launched several new smartphones including the best selling budget smartphone of the year- the Redmi Note 3. And, they have the flagship Mi 5 as well, which received good praise from several corners of the country.
The company is again back at the entry-level segment with the Redmi 3s. Starting at just Rs. 6,999, the smartphone has got incredible specifications under its sleeves. The USP of the phone will be the 4,100mAh battery, which is very rare to see in an entry-level phone these days. We got our hands on a gold colored variant of the smartphone and it also available in two more colors- dark gray and silver.
Here’s what we think of the phone after using it extensively for more than ten days.
Xiaomi Redmi 3s Review: Stripped Down Version of Redmi Note 3
After being suffered from a major blow with their design language, Xiaomi seems to have settled on a particular design with the Redmi Note 3. And, the Redmi 3s comes with the same design as the earlier launched Redmi Note 3. Just a minor difference can be noticed when watching the 3s from the back- the camera module has been moved to the left corner, whereas the Note 3’s camera module is located at the center of the rear.
Same as the Redmi Note 3, the Redmi 3s also comes with a fingerprint sensor (only with the prime variant) and has the aluminum body. Up front, there is a 5-inch display with three capacitive buttons sitting just below the screen and a front-facing module along with the proximity sensor can be seen above the screen.
Rounding around the sides, you can see the volume rockers and power button on the right side of the smartphone, and they produce good tactile feedback. The loudspeaker grille is present on the bottom of the rear, and we think the placement of the speaker isn’t that great. We’ll talk about this later in our performance section.
There isn’t much to speak about the design of the smartphone. We must say that the Redmi 3s is the stripped down version of the Redmi Note 3 with a smaller display. Undoubtedly, the Redmi 3s is one of the best-looking smartphones in its price range.
Xiaomi Redmi 3S Review: The Best 720p Display!
The Redmi 3s comes with a 5-inch 720p display, which is more than for its price range. While the Lenovo K5 Plus and Coolpad Mega 2.5D offers 1080p and 720p displays respectively at the same price range, they don’t inspire confidence regarding overall display performance. In our review period, we never faced a single issue with the screen except for the poor sunlight legibility. Viewing angles are more than fine, and the smartphone is great to watch movies and Tv shows.
Snapdragon 430 Does a Decent Job
The Redmi 3s is powered by the all new Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset, which is an octa-core chip with all the eight cores clocked at 1.4GHz. There are two variants of the smartphone- one with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage and the other one (Redmi 3S prime) which is used to write this review comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage.
For the asking price, the Redmi 3s Prime packs a competitive hardware, and the 3GB RAM will be more than enough for day-to-day and for handling intensive tasks as well. The Adreno 505 GPU comes into play while playing games such as the Asphalt 8, Nova 3 and they ran beautifully without any issues.
As said earlier, the fingerprint sensor is located on the rear, which can be used to unlock the Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime. And, it is worth noticing that it is the same setup used in the Redmi Note 3 as well and does a great job. It unlocks the phone in seconds and is reliable as well. Speaking about the multimedia department, the smartphone lacks a compelling speaker. The loudspeaker is located on the rear on the smartphone, and it doesn’t fill a small room as well. This is the only department where the Redmi 3s doesn’t inspire confidence. That being said, the audio quality through the 3.5mm headphone jack is decent and much better than the loudspeaker.
On the whole, the Redmi 3s Prime is a great device regarding performance. The only disappointment is the below average speaker.
The Redmi 3S Prime comes with a 13MP camera with f/2.0 and PDAF technology on the rear. The camera does capture nice pictures in good sunlight conditions. However, under bright sunlight conditions, the smartphone captures images with high exposure. However, this problem can be solved by enabling the HDR mode. And the camera app locks the focus within seconds, which is a rare thing to see in entry-level smartphones.
When coming to the low-light shots, the smartphone doesn’t inspire confidence as it fails to capture images with excellent details. There is a 5MP front-facing camera, which can capture wide-angle selfies, but the camera doesn’t capture stunning images. But the pictures are decent enough to upload on social network sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
Overall, the camera isn’t that great as the one of Moto G4 Play but gets the job done most of the time except the low-light conditions.
MIUI 8 is Nicely Customized
When we received the Redmi 3s, it came with MIUI 7, but we quickly updated it with MIUI 8 (beta). The phone picked up an official update later on for the MIUI 8. We never faced a single issue with the software and MIUI 8 has some cool features under its sleeve. The long screenshot feature is just fantastic and you get all the traditional Xiaomi’s gestures such as the double tap to unlock etc., and all the features work just fine.
As is the case with other Chinese OEM’s, the Redmi 3s doesn’t come with an app drawer and all the apps are installed will be spread on the home screen itself. You won’t find any stock Android elements in the MIUI, which is a sad thing. The MIUI 8 also comes with a ‘Wallpaper Carousel’ with which you can automatically change your wallpaper when connected to a Wi-Fi network.
The MIUI 8 is clean and perfectly optimized for the Redmi 3s.
Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime Review: Insane Battery Life!
The Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime comes with a big battery of 4,100mAh, which with heavy usage easily stands for nearly two days. The 720p display helps to save more juice. I have installed over 150 apps on the phone with all the push notifications enabled, but that didn’t affect the battery life. The phone offered a screen-on time of 8 hours with normal usage and 6 hours with intensive usage involving two hours of gaming, two hours of YouTube streaming, and five hours of social network browsing. In this price segment, the battery life offered by the Redmi 3s is insane, and other phones don’t even come nearby the phone.
A Great Phone in Budget!
The Xiaomi Redmi 3s ticks all the right boxes except the poor low-light camera performance and a below average loudspeaker. Apart from those two issues, the smartphone excels in every department. However, the major advantage of the smartphone will be its bigger battery, which can easily withstand up to two days with moderate usage.
The usual Redmi 3s ships for Rs. 6,999, which will be more than enough for people with tight budget. However, we recommend you to go for the Redmi 3s Prime, which has 3GB of RAM and with extra storage. The phone has competition seen in the like of Coolpad Mega 2.5D, Moto G4 Play, but the Redmi 3s beats them hands down with its stupendous battery life.