Redmi Note 7 Pro Review
Since the launch of the first Redmi smartphone in 2014, Xiaomi has maintained a relative monopoly over the entry-level to the mid-tier budget smartphone market. Offering high-quality hardware at aggressive price points, the brand capitalized on tech-aware youth of the country that didn’t have a lot of spending power, but still wanted bang for their buck.
Over the years, other companies saw the success of Xiaomi’s business model as they climbed all the way up to being the third-largest manufacturer of smartphones globally, in a matter of years. Low profit didn’t really matter when entire warehouses worth of stock was being sold out in a matter of seconds. And come 2019, everybody wants a piece of the pie.
With some many challengers to the budget crown, the market share that Xiaomi snatched from giants from Samsung was being returned. The recent generations of Redmi smartphones still sold well, but were nowhere near the buzz of their record-breaking predecessors.
With the launch of the new Redmi Note 7 and Note 7 Pro, Xiaomi’s back for its throne. And this time, it’s got vengeance in mind.
Redmi Note 7 Pro Review
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note series has long been the most valuable player in the roster. Over the course of several iterations, the series has struck a good balance between good performance and great price. The phone promises high-end hardware at an enticing price.
Xiaomi has tossed out that traditionally safe metal build of the Redmi Note series and brought in a bit of pizzazz, opting to make the Redmi Note 7 Pro is entirely of glass and use Gorilla Glass 5 both on the front and the back. While the Black variant is sleek and understated, it’s the gradient-heavy Nebula Red and Neptune Blue colors that half blind you and half look downright stunning.
The metallic plastic sides have been coated with a glossy layer to match the back, which, unfortunately, is like every other glass backed phone in the market: a fingerprint magnet. With the dual-camera module (which protrudes rather noticeably) at the top left along with an LED Flash, Xiaomi has made room for an optical fingerprint scanner in the middle of the rear glass panel.
The phone also comes with a hybrid dual-sim tray which can be used for a nano+nano or a nano+sd combination. The Type-C connector and mono speaker lie at the bottom while the IR blaster and (sigh) 3.5mm headphone jack is housed at the top.
The innards are sandwiched between Gorilla Glass 5 and while there isn’t any IP rating, Xiaomi says the phone can stand a few splashes thanks to rubber gaskets along the ports. The phone feels dense and solid, almost assuring good build quality. Xiaomi has also provided a phone case for safety in the box.
The dot-notch on the top of the front isn’t anything spectacular but it gets the job done by facilitating an 81.4% screen-to-body ratio. Bezels at the top and sides are slim enough, but there is a significant lower chin where you’ll also find the notification LED.
The screen on the Redmi Note 7 Pro is a 6.3-inch Full HD+ 19.5:9 aspect ratio panel. The panel is IPS LCD, packing 401 pixels per inch. The phone finally has support for Widevine L1 DRM so you should not face any issues with watching HD content on streaming services. (theoretically, at least)
There are options to hide the notch if that’s your preference, but since this is an LCD display, the software layer shows up in a grey tone that is visible at high brightness. The panel also has a variable color temperature.
The front of the phone, however, is extremely glossy making it hard to read under direct sunlight.
Redmi Note 7 Pro packs a Snapdragon 675 chipset paired with 4GB/6GB of RAM under the hood. The octa-core processor uses a combination of six cores based on the Cortex A55 architecture and two which are built on the Cortex A76 platform. The latter two ensure that CPU performance is not that far off from the similar Snapdragon 835, a flagship chipset from just two years ago. The Adreno 612 GPU isn’t a standout but comfortably outclasses similarly priced handsets.
Storage options are 64GB and 128GB which can be expanded the microSD card slot. You can expect to find over 50GB of free space on the 64GB version of the phone.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a 4,000mAh battery powering the device. Between the efficient 11nm Snapdragon 675 chipset and MIUI’s battery optimizations, the phone lasts a full day and then some. Battery life will obviously vary depending on usage from case to case. Xiaomi promises an average of six hours of screen on time.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro ships with support for Quick Charge but Xiaomi hasn’t bundled in a compatible charger in the box as a cost-saving measure.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro runs MIUI 10 based on Android 9 Pie.
In simple terms, MIUI is an acquired taste. People switching from a Xiaomi will feel at home, but folks who prefer stock Android or have used any other skin might find MIUI a little confusing, particularly digging around the vastly different the Settings app. On the flip side, the phone has a lot of little tricks and can be endlessly customized.
Xiaomi offers some neat features in the gestures department to execute tasks. Adaptive Battery lets users choose which apps to close automatically in the background to conserve power. Second Space makes a return, which basically lets users create a second user profile. which is hidden until someone enters a specific password, lock screen pattern, or fingerprint to open it.
MIUI comes with appalling amounts of bloatware, and the Redmi Note 7 Pro is no exception. It comes preloaded with Xiaomi’s in-house apps including Mi Browser, Mi Video, Mi Community, and Mi-Pay. There are also a hefty number of third-party apps such as Daily Hunt and ShareChat among others.
While third-party apps can be uninstalled, the in-house apps can only be force-terminated. To make matters worse, they also dish out pesky ads.
Overall, MIUI might be a very feature-rich take on Android but it’s baffling how intrusive Xiaomi’s services are starting to get. The global version of the phone, when it rolls out, will likely not have any of these ads, but as it stands in the Indian market, the software is perhaps the weakest link here.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro’s photo chops are something Xiaomi has been bragging about since the launch event, going as far as comparing this phone to the iPhone XS Max.
The device comes equipped with a massive 48-megapixel main camera using the Sony IMX586 sensor with an f/1.79 aperture and 1.6μm pixel size.
48 MP might seem like a lot and while there is an option to click full-res images, the idea here is to enhance camera sensitivity and dynamic range by using pixel binning. Four adjacent pixels are combined and fused together to create a much cleaner 12MP image. The benefits are most visible in low-light conditions but even in daylight, the difference is visible.
It is backed by a 5-megapixel depth sensor with a long feature list that includes AI Portrait mode, AI Studio Lighting, AI Dynamic Bokeh, slo-mo video, and 4K. Up front is a 13-megapixel camera to take care of selfies with features such as AI Beautification.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a lot going for it. With its catchy design, smooth performance, impressive cameras, and stellar battery life, it has the makings of a solid mid-ranger. Add to that a highly competitive price point, and Xiaomi has successfully buzzed the industry again.
The company claims that both the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the cheaper Redmi Note 7 sold stocks out within seconds in a flash sale on Flipkart.
That phone has its flaws: it often overheats, comes with painful software experience and is a fingerprint magnet.
The sub-Rs. 20,000 realm is hotly contested and there are several devices to challenge the Redmi Note 7 Pro. The Oppo K1, for instance, offers an in-display fingerprint sensor and an AMOLED display. For a little more dough, the Samsung Galaxy A50 brings a triple rear camera setup and an AMOLED display, and in-display fingerprint sensor to the party.
Xiaomi scores points in all key parameters that sway the opinions of smartphone buyers, and it isn’t often that you can get them all in a single package. The Redmi Note 7 Pro is a formidable smartphone and might emerge as yet another winner for Xiaomi.
The Redmi Note 7 is priced at 16,999 INR.
Find out more about Xiaomi’s cutthroat approach to pricing here.