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Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review: Xiaomi’s Most Affordable Phone Hits the Right Spot

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We review the Xiaomi Redmi 1S!

We’ve been spending some quality time with the Redmi 1S for more than a week now, and today you’ll find out if the Chinese company’s most affordable offering is really worth it. Is there a catch to the Php 5,599 price tag?

Xiaomi Redmi 1S specs

  • 1.6GHz quad-core MSM8228 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
  • Adreno 305 GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 4.7-inch HD display protected by AGC Dragontrail Glass, 720 x 1280
  • resolution
  • 8GB of storage expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • 1.6-megapixel front camera
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, USB OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Dual-SIM, dual standby
  • 3G, HSPA+
  • Android 4.3 with MIUI
  • 2000mAh battery
  • 137 x 69 x 9.9 mm
  • Php 5,599

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Built like a brick

If Xiaomi’s Mi 3 was a sleek, pretty smartphone, the Redmi 1S is a no non-sense bruiser. It’s thick, hefty and has thick bezels. It’s also a very comfortable phone to hold, thanks to the curved back of the device. The volume rocker and power button is located on the right side of the device.

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Turning the Redmi 1S over you’ll spot the 8-megapixel rear camera with the LED flash right below it. Like most of other affordable Android devices, the Redmi 1S is a dual-SIM deal, though you’ll be using two regular SIMs instead of micro-SIMs that are usually the case.

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The Redmi 1S that are hitting our shores are slightly different from the ones that Xiaomi originally sold. Gone is the Corning Gorilla Glass 2, replaced by Asahi’s Dragontrail glass. This is the same version that sold in India a few weeks back.

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While our review unit came with a black, matte back, people who like colorful gadgets will be able to buy a red gloss case for the Redmi 1S soon enough. Xiaomi also sells a number of official Redmi 1S cases which we saw during the original Mi 3 preview a few months back but they haven’t given a timeline when exactly these will ship.

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Like Mi 3 the Redmi 1S also comes with Xiaomi’s MIUI layered on top of Android 4.3. We’re not going to bore you with the details of MIUI (you can read our Mi 3 review that talks about it instead ) as it pretty much is the same deal here, though we did notice a new feature in it called Lite Mode, which essentially simplifies MIUI down to its simplest state, allowing other less than techy users to be able to effectively use the device.

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Has plenty of power under the hood – with a catch

Xiaomi is proud of the fact that the Redmi 1S, which sports a 1.6GHz quad-core MSM8228 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, has managed to achieve the highest score in AnTuTu compared to other devices running the same hardware. That translates to very smooth experience in both apps and the OS itself, as the device pretty much tackles games like Dead Trigger 2 without any problems.

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There’s a slight wrinkle in the otherwise rosy story though – the phone suffers from stability issues, and randomly restarts, even after updating the UI to the latest version. Some of the core functions of MIUI also will randomly stop, though this is a rarer occurrence. We’re really hoping that Xiaomi will be able to address this, and given their reputation for pushing timely fixes and updates, we’re confident that they will.

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Decent enough camera for its price

The snapper on the Redmi 1S is generally good, and is capable of producing quality photos with good color reproduction and detail. It does suffer a bit in low-light shooting, but that’s to be expected from a phone that carries its pricetag.

Battery that lasts all day

It’s an established fact that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are efficient processors compared to their rivals, and the one in the Redmi 1S is no different. With moderate use, the Redmi 1S had enough juice in it to power through till the end of the workday. More efficient use will probably see even longer battery life, and apps like Qualcomm’s BatteryGuru would extend that even more.

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Verdict: worth the money if you’re willing to ride out its flaws

Coming in at just Php 5,599, the Redmi 1S is certainly a good phone for the money. Probably the only issue here is the buggy, crash-prone software in our particular device. This software issue isn’t just on the Redmi 1S, mind you – an Unbox staff member who has a Mi 3 also suffers from software issues, though not as extreme as we saw in our review device. The good news is that this issue is perfectly solvable, since it’s a software problem, and we’re sure that Xiaomi will be able to fix the issue sooner rather than later.

The first Redmi 1S sale has already concluded, but there’s another one coming soon. You’ll have to pre-register to be part of the sale, and pre-registration runs until September 11.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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12 Comments

  1. “There’s a slight wrinkle in the otherwise rosy story though – the phone suffers from stability issues, and randomly restarts, even after updating the UI to the latest version”

    kaya pala.. you’ll find the answer below

    #mindblow

  2. Very good review po sir John Nieves. Ano po sa tingin nyo mas maganda sa camera department Zenfone 5 or Xiaomi Redmis 1s?

  3. Dear All,
    I purchased this phone from Flipkart in 6000. Phone looked very good in that price and working also smoothly
    But after using 1 month I found the display got damaged. i dont know how may be some pressure was put on the screen as i sat with the phone in my back pocket. Although i do the same with all the other phone i use as well.
    Anyways i took it to the service centre of Xiomi India in Delhi , India where I stay.
    I was shocked to hear when they said that Rs. 4800 would be charged for repairing this. I said it means that the rest of the phone is only for Rs. 1200
    They are just selling it in low price . The actual quality is very poor as just by slight pressure it get damage , and then the repair cost is unbelievable
    I would rate this phone 1/10 and never suggest anyone for buying this

    If any company official is reading this , please see if something can be done for me
    vikram
    9311567888
    India

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