We review the Redmi Note 3!
Xiaomi’s offerings, while perfectly affordable, are usually all-plastic affairs. That less than premium approach has put the company at a disadvantage, especially since its domestic competitors have been pushing out elegant, all-metal devices for a good while now. That’s changed with the Redmi Note 3, a phone announced a few weeks ago and just a mere months after their newest phone, the Redmi Note 2. But just like Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, Xiaomi had to sacrifice a lot of features that endeared them to their customers to get the all-metal design, which includes the removable battery and expandable storage.
The review device for this article was a Redmi Note 3 Prime that was purchased in China during the official release of the phone.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 specs
- MediaTek MT6795 Helio X10 octa-core processor
- PowerVR G6200 GPU
- 2GB/3GB of RAM
- 5.5-inch full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 16GB/32GB of storage
- 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF
- 5-megapixel front camera
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, fingerpint scanner
- Android 5.1 Lollipop with MIUI 7.0
- 4000mAh battery
A newer, more premium Redmi
The Redmi Note 3 represents a drastic change in design language for Xiaomi. No more less than premium plastic – the new phone now sports an all new brushed aluminum metal body that’s available in gold, silver and grey colors. It’s a great upgrade to the all-plastic Redmi Note 2 which was a literal smudge magnet. Xiaomi has also thrown in a fingerprint scanner on the back that facilitates easier and faster unlocking, similar to the offerings of Xiaomi’s domestic rivals, Huawei and OPPO.
One thing that did annoy us though was the speaker placement. Unlike the designs of other companies, Xiaomi has placed the speaker grille at the back, which makes it a challenge to hear the phone when it’s ringing when it’s laying flat on the table, screen up.
The layout of the phone is more or less the same as its predecessor, with the 3.5mm audio jack on the top, the USB port is on the bottom (and has OTG capability) with the power and volume keys on the right. The dual sim cards are both LTE compatible for both Smart and Globe networks. Surprisingly enough, Redmi took away its expandable micro SD slot which is present in all Redmi series which came before this one, with the Redmi Note 3 falling more in line with the Mi 3i and other devices when it comes to microSD expansion capability.
The Redmi Note 3 sports a 5.5 inch, full HD IPS display that translates to around 403 ppi. Its colors are very vibrant and crisp and it doesn’t have a yellow tinge to the image as we previously reported in our Redmi Note 2 review. The 5-megapixel front facing camera is upgraded to 1080p and is also moved to the right side.
Putting it side by side with the iPhone 6s, it really looks similar on the edges and especially on the feel of the metal casing. This isn’t surprising considering that other Chinese manufacturers take liberal design language inspirations from the Cupertino company.
Android Lollipop on MIUI v7
The Redmi Note 3 rus on the Xiaomi’s latest version of MIUI, which is currently at version 7. There have been some changes in the Redmi Note 3 in regards to MIUI, most pertinent of which is that you can no longer access the bootloader and the recovery mode has to be done using the MI PC Suite.
Helio X10 is beastly, as usual
The Redmi Note 3 carries similar hardware to its cheaper plastic brother, specifically the MediaTek MT6795 Helio X10 processor octa-core inside that runs at 2.0GHz. Depending on the version you get, that processor will be paired with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. The Helio X10 processor is pretty beastly – navigation and multi-tasking is pretty much a walk in the park – no hiccups at all. Gaming on the Redmi Note 3 is buttery smooth with NBA 2K16, as it ran without any problems.
Based on our observations, the Redmi Note 3 is cooler than the Redmi Note 2 in terms of heat dissipation. Using a laser thermometer for testing, we recorded a 32 Celsius for standby mode, 33.5
Celsius for normal usage like call, text and web browsing. On full throttle, the Redmi Note 3 reached up to 37 Celsius when we played almost an hour or NBA 2K16 opposed to 39 Celsius on the Redmi Note 2.
In AnTuTu, the Redmi Note 2 Prime received a score of 49,705 points.
Superb camera for its price range
The Redmi Note 3 features a 13mp camera Samsung/OV Isocell camera with PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus) function and 0.1s focus speed. And on the front, it houses a 5mp 1080p OmniVision snapper with 5-element lens and f/2.2 aperture. The rear camera managed to take good photos, even it’s the same specs as its predecessor, it seems to take crisper and clearer photos. The selfie cam was upgraded from 720p to 1080p and it’s a good sign for those selfie lovers out there.
Battery packs a lot of juice
The Redmi Note 3 ships with large 4000 mAh battery, a first for the brand. Even with the jump from 3060Mah to 4000Mah and the addition of a full metal chassis, the overall weight of the Redmi
Note 3 only increased by a mere 4grams. The Redmi Note 3 recorded around 7 hours of runtime in our PCMark battery benchmark test.
One of Xiaomi’s better smartphone releases, but local release is still unknown
Xiaomi’s managed to hit one out of the park yet again with the Redmi Note 3, managing to improve on the already excellent Redmi Note 2 in a short time. But given the short transition period and the drastic makeover for the Redmi Note series, would Xiaomi be killing their own low budget phone? Given Redmi Note 2 Basic (799 RMB / 5900 Pesos) vs Redmi Note 3 Basic (899 RMB / 6650 Pesos), Redmi Note 2 Prime (999 RMB / 7390 Pesos) vs Redmi Note 3 Prime (1099 RMB / 8130 Pesos), the price difference is not that much. Given the choice, we would probably take the Redmi Note 3 over the earlier Redmi Note 2. The addition of the fingerprint sensor, brushed metal aluminum unibody and 4000 Mah battery capacity is more than justified considering you’re just adding Php 1480 more.
Many of you reading this probably know what’s next – PH release. Sadly Xiaomi hasn’t followed through with the release of the Redmi Note series in the PH, and the way things are going, it may be a long while before this phone arrives in our shores, at least officially.