Redmi 7 review: Budget killer for $130.38 from Xiaomi
At the turn of the year 2019, Xiaomi “separated” from Redmi for marketing reasons and is now establishing Redmi as its own brand. The Redmi Note 7 was the first strike, and the second immediately follows. In March, the tech giant from China officially introduced the Redmi 7, the manufacturer’s low-budget device. Does this “fit” into the footsteps of its predecessor?
- Redmi 7 (3/32 GB) Global Version
- Redmi 7 (3/64 GB) Global Version
Technical data of the Redmi 7
|Display||6.26 inch 19.5:9 HD (1520 x 720 pixels) LC display (268 PPI)|
|Processor||Snapdragon 632 @ 1.8 GHZ|
|Graphic chip||Qualcomm Adreno 506|
|Internal memory||16/32/64 GB (expandable up to 512 GB)|
|Camera||12 megapixels with ƒ/2.2 aperture|
|Front camera||8 Megapixel|
|Connectivity||b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2, Micro-USB, GPS, Dual-SIM|
|Features||Fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock, 3.5 mm jack, Infrared|
|Operating system||MIUI 10 interface based on Android 9|
|Dimensions / Weight||158,73 × 75,58 × 8,47 mm / 180g|
Xiaomi or Redmi usually succeeds relatively well in presenting all devices of a generation in a similar look. The new Redmi 7 reminds us of the Redmi Note 7, the big brother. With a display diagonal of 6.26 inches, however, this is minimally smaller, but really only minimally, after all, the Note 7 works with a 6.3 inch diagonal. The waterdrop notch at the top of the screen has also been taken over 1:1 from note 7, which is why the two are hardly distinguishable from each other.
The fact that you are dealing with a cheaper China smartphone can be seen on the back. While meanwhile every smartphone gets a glass backside, the Redmi 7 gets a plastic backside. This feels somewhat inferior and is almost as susceptible to fingerprints as a glass back. Since the Redmi devices always appeal to a somewhat younger target group, the Redmi 7 promises a colourful variety of Colorways. The budget smartphone should appear in black, grey, green, red, blue, purple and white.
These colourings are partly equipped with the Twilight effect. However, our black test device manages without such an effect and is therefore quite classic. The fingerprint sensor is located on the back next to the dual camera – nothing new.
Processing & Handling
The dimensions are 158.73 × 75.58 × 8.47 mm, which makes it relatively large. Especially in comparison to the direct predecessor, the Redmi 6, we have here an increase of more than one centimeter in length, which we personally do not exactly welcome. But we also get almost an inch more display diagonal. At 180 g, it’s also relatively heavy, at least heavier than the larger Xiaomi Mi 9, which is probably due to the larger battery.
Even if the plastic feels a bit cheap on the back, there is almost nothing else to complain about. Only the edge around the fingerprint sensor on the back is a bit sharp-edged. It should be positively emphasized that the design of the Redmi 7 has made progress in contrast to the previous generation. It’s not a unibody yet, but the back is much more beautifully integrated into the case frame than, for example, the Redmi Note 6 Pro.
The display – just okay
In order to clearly position the Redmi 7 as a budget smartphone, an HD+ display with a resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels is installed in the seventh generation. This is still quite reasonable in the price range, even though I’m waiting for Full HD+ to finally establish itself as the minimum standard. In practice, you can also see a difference in sharpness. In direct comparison to a Redmi Note 6 Pro, fonts, for example, are blurred. In order to recognize this, however, you have to go unnaturally close to the screen. Only with the media consumption like e.g. YouTube 720p are not quite so nice, especially with a 6,26″ diagonal. You can overlook that, but my eyes are probably too used to FullHD.
Rather, I would criticize the low brightness of the display panel. For everyday use, about 40% of the maximum brightness is necessary, otherwise the display reflects too much. But at maximum brightness you can’t compare it with a more expensive Redmi Note 6 Pro, which is one corner brighter. In addition, the top and bottom edges are slightly darker than the rest of the screen. But this only really stands out with white backgrounds. The viewing angle stability is also at most average.
There’s nothing wrong with the functionality. There were no input lags during the test period, nor did I feel at any time that anything was not working properly. The Redmi 7 also supports Multi-Touch with up to ten fingers, which is now quite normal.
Back to Qualcomm!
Low-budget smartphones always have to manage the difficult balancing act between a certain basic performance level for current applications and a good price. Redmi opts for the Snapdragon 632 processor. The chip is still relatively new and combines eight Kryo 250 cores with a clock frequency of 1.8 GHz. The CPU is more or less a successor of the Snapdragon 625 processor, which is known from the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite or Redmi Note 4.
And that is pleasing. After all, the predecessor has somewhat cheaper and weaker MediaTek processors. I like the Snapdragon 632 for this price range and it handles everyday tasks very solidly. But I want to take away the illusion that you are as fast as with a top processor. The “cold start” of some apps takes a bit longer here and there than you might be used to. But this is not slow by far and does not reduce the fun with the mobile phone.
In fact, the eight cores also offer enough power to play a bit more challenging games. Asphalt 9 actually ran smoothly, but you have to sacrifice high graphics settings for that. This can be recognized by the smoothing of the edges and the textures, but it’s definitely still more than enjoyable. But MIUI’s Game Booster was also used here to be fair. The Global version of the Redmi 7 is only available with 3/32 GB or 3/64 GB memory, which in my opinion is sufficient for such a mobile phone. But if you have a lot of apps open, you notice that you should clean up the RAM.
Snapshot guarantor for little money
Even budget smartphones have long been equipped with dual cameras at Xiaomi, including the Redmi 7, which combines a 12 megapixel sensor with a ƒ/2.2 aperture with a secondary sensor that collects some additional information with 2 megapixels. The front camera in the Waterdrop notch provides 8 megapixel resolution.
I had no high expectations of the camera in advance, but was positively surprised during the test. The main camera takes really good pictures, which you would take with much more expensive (!) smartphones. That’s not necessarily even due to the sharpness, which is fully in line with the target, but not extraordinary, but due to the good colors. Especially the photo of our YouTuber Julian was very nice for me. In this price range, no smartphone camera has convinced me as much as this one in the Redmi 7.
This was shot in portrait mode and can convince with a very good edge detection. In addition to the portrait mode, you can also use the AI scene detection of Xiaomi, which in my opinion only partially provides added value. An optical zoom through a telecamera or an ultra-wide angle sensor is not necessary.
Also the video quality at a 1080p resolution is satisfactory, but here I don’t like the sound quality. The voice behind the camera sounds fine, everything in front of the camera a bit tinny and dull. However, you should keep a steady hand, as no image stabilization is activated.
The 8 megapixel front camera doesn’t quite excite me like the main camera. I like the sharpness and the autofocus as well as the portrait mode. But the colors seem a bit more neutral, which is fine for the price.
Redmi once again as a battery monster
The Redmi Note devices from Xiaomi have been convincing for several generations with a sensational battery life. The Redmi 7 also comes with a 4,000 mAh battery, but the processor is not quite as powerful as those of the last note devices, but also energy-efficient due to the 14 nm production technology. You don’t have to light up so many pixels.
What I mean to say is: the Xiaomi Redmi 7 is a small battery wonder! After all, it achieves an amazing 13 hours and 44 minutes in the battery benchmark.
You can easily use it for two days with one battery charge. Unfortunately, you can only recharge your phone with 10W using the Micro-USB port. You don’t grant the consumer the Quick Charge 3 standard, but you should use a Redmi Note 7.
Even though many low-budget China smartphones may require you to do without 4G, the Redmi 7 of course provides two Nano-SIM slots, which both support LTE. VoLTE is also supported on both SIM cards at the same time. There is nothing to criticize about the LTE reception, the LTE bands B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, Band 20 (Global version only) and B28 provide a good LTE reception. Interestingly enough, only 2.4 GHz WLAN is available for local Internet, so Dual Band WiFi with 5GHz is not available here. Also ac-WiFi is not available, only b/g/n.
In other wireless standards, the Redmi 7 offers Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, Galileo and GLONASS, but no NFC. This leaves Xiaomi to the more expensive models of its portfolio like the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE.
Really practical, on the other hand, is the true dual SIM slot, which also leaves room for memory expansion. So we have two Nano-SIM slots and one microSD slot. In addition, there is the 3.5 mm jack connector on the top of the phone, which is located next to the infrared blaster. There is a Micro-USB slot on the underside, which is unfortunately only conditionally up-to-date. I would really appreciate it if Xiaomi would finally switch to USB type C, because I can’t really understand the cost argument with such an edition.
Speakers & Fingerprint Sensor
The loudspeaker on the underside is unfortunately only a mono loudspeaker, there is no media volume from the auricle above the waterdrop notch. The sound is not outstanding, but also not as bad as you would expect for the price. The maximum volume isn’t quite as high, but the phone hardly overdrives and focuses on a relatively clear, but also flat sound image.
The fingerprint sensor on the back does its job as usual well, quickly and reliably. Due to the somewhat “weaker” processor, waking up from standby takes a perceived millisecond longer than with flagships, but that’s still within absolute limits. It’s usually even enough to tap the sensor briefly to unlock the phone. As already explained at the point “Processing” earlier, only the somewhat sharp-edged ring that surrounds the sensor disturbs me here.
Xiaomi = MIUI operating system
Of course the smartphone uses MIUI as operating system, because it is not an Android One device. This is based on Android 9 Pie and we are on MIUI 10.2.1.0 Stable. To whom the four letters don’t say anything: MIUI stands for the Mi User Interface, Xiaomi’s own interface. This is strongly adapted, for example does without App-Drawer, has been profoundly changed in the system, so that it is equipped with an aggressive battery management.
The status of the security update is February 2019, which makes it relatively current. Since our test device is the Global Version, the Redmi 7 can be used directly from the factory in several languages and all important Google services such as the Play Store, YouTube, GMail etc. are pre-installed. The Play Store is also certified. If you have the China version, you will need to install it. This can be done via the Google Installer via the Mi App Store.
In our opinion MIUI is a pretty good operating system, but the app layout without App-Drawer might take some getting used to. There are certainly different opinions here, but you are welcome to ask questions in the comments or express your opinion about the operating system. Apart from that, we would strongly advise you to go for the Global version, especially if you are not that tech-savvy.
Conclusion: A lot of power for little money
With the Redmi 7, Xiaomi manages – let’s be honest, it’s Xiaomi – to claim the budget assortment for itself. I clearly like the processor choice better than its predecessor and it provides sufficient performance. The camera is the big surprise and can conjure up really nice snapshots, here you get my full score in this price segment. In addition, the huge battery is perfect for a long battery life. Also the real dual SIM slot, fingerprint sensor, operating system and the basic design positive aspects, even if not above average.
But you also have to cut back. For me, the display in particular is not exactly a reason to buy a smartphone. It’s okay and will probably be enough for most people, but compared to Xiaomi’s middle class it’s a bit darker and not high-resolution either. Also the size is a point of criticism for me. It’s a shame that they deviated from the earlier handy design and are now adapting the over 6 inch design.
In my opinion it is definitely worth its money and can be recommended almost unconditionally as a beginner smartphone. Even though I personally would have liked a more compact design in order to distinguish myself more clearly from the Redmi Note 7.To the gadget