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Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review: Xiaomi Goes Metal

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 15

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
  • Dual-SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, fingerpint scanner
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop with MIUI 7.0
  • 4000mAh battery

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 01

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.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 28 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 27

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.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 29 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 10 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 09 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 08 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 07

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Richmond Tan

A licensed mechanical engineer, a masters of business administration graduate, a businessman at day, and a tech enthusiast at night. Loves to explore new gadgets available in the market, always strives to be the first to land something new in the Philippines.

70 Comments

  1. Sir Richmond, i saw this new unit available at Widget City (10.5K) and hoping you have the same unit directly from China as reviewed however i am just concerned on the ff:
    1. Language Settings to Chinese?
    2. Google Playstore availability (some direct China phones does not have official Google Playstore). Although there are alternatives like F-Droid, GetJar, SlideMe, Mobogenie, Aptoide,etc.
    3. LTE PH bands – occasionally signal drops with Globe/Smart?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Language you can choose english or chinese. Google playstore is not present in any china released phones be it asus xiaomi samsung or huawei. LTE is cellsite dependent and not smartphone depended, but yes it works with both globe and smart seamlessly.

      1. i need help sir i want to buy this phone because of the beast specs but having some doubts about internet connectivity. just want to ask if the lte and HSDPA connectivity works fine here in ph because i chatted xiaomi customer service and they dont recommend phone models that it was not officially released in ph. i highly appreciate youre response about this thanks

    1. sir, please read the article again: 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

      1. Yung benchmark ng baterya po. Alam naman po naten almost same specs lang sila maliban sa baterya na 4000mah. Mukhang malakas kumain ang 3gb ram at fp sensor ng power.

        1. Sorry my bad, i thought it was antutu.
          Anyways, thats just a benchmark sir. It will all boil down to how you use it. if you use more mobile data than wifi, then you will end up draining your battery faster. 🙂

    1. How is the review biased? Read it and I have yet to see where the bias, I mean, if the reviewer said that the Redmi Note 3 is better than the Iphone 6s or the Note 5 or the Xperia Z5 premium or the Nexus 6p, well that is probably biased. But I have yet to see the biased part, would you kindly point me to it?

    2. Moderates the MI Philippines? Can you elaborate on that? Afaik, may di sya moderator for that. Get your facts straight.

  2. Hi Sir Richmond, I have been waiting for this phone ever since it was announced and I’m glad that you wrote a review for it. You mentioned that you know local importers for the phone, I was hoping if you can recommend one? I want to buy the phone but I just don’t know any trusted seller and since it is not yet under Lazada, you’re my only hope. Thanks! 🙂

  3. May ntc approval ba yung sa widgetcity? Ano ang protection for consumers? Good product pero kung walang ntc pass ako.

  4. hello unbox pansin ko lang Antutu 5.7.1 pa din gamit nyo 🙂 baka po mas better if updated din yung benchmark software na gagamitin hehe

  5. If U Guys r Intrested on buying a redmi note 3, u can try out this guy on facebook. i havent bought any item from him but after reading this review maybe i’ll consider buying a redmi note 3 this christmas from him…..https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005633355683…..

    REDMI NOTE 3 3gb ram
    32gb rom ………………12,500 free Temper Glass
    GOLD 11,500 free TG SILVER /D. GRAY
    16gb rom ……………… 10,300 free TG GOLD
    10,000 free TG SILVER /D. GRAY
    Add 100 TPU CLEAR CASE

  6. Hello sir Richard, any comments or battery charging analysis? tried timing the battery from atleast 10% to full charge? does it have fast charge or quick charge? 4000mah is a lot, so just asking.

      1. Actually, Google Play lang, kelangan mo parin i install ung ibang Google Apps. If you chose Xend, it would take up to 2 days (Metro Manila) from the pick up date. Follow up mo lang kung kalan ma ppickup ung order mo.

  7. you can never go wrong with xiaomi products.
    from their phones, pb, tv, shoes, rice, water (and counting)
    every product is worth the price and totally worth it from you hard earned cash

    thumbs up sa review sir richmond!

  8. Now I’m getting confused whether to get Mi4c or Redmi Note 3… Any opinions po regarding this smartphone match? Great review btw.

  9. Sana magkaroon na din nung Redmi Note 3 Pro variant na release this year lang.. 16MP Rear cam and Snapdragon 650 tapos Andreno GPU with Sim 2 AKA Optional microSD card Slot… 🙂

  10. Hi, can you please check if you can get hands on another version of this phone that runs on Snapdragon 650. It’s currently selling in Widget City through import. Thank you.

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