Review Redmi 7A: Low-Budget Smartphone with 5.45″ Display for $79.68

If you’re still looking for a cheap and reliable smartphone, the Xiaomi Redmi 7A might be the right choice for you. You can get it for $79.68 from AliExpress.

Xiaomi’s subsidiary Redmi is becoming more and more diversified. With the Redmi K20 and K20 Pro, the manufacturer’s flagship was presented at the end of May. On the same day, the low-budget fraction is also taken into account, as the Redmi 7A is again something for those who don’t want to spend $100 on a smartphone.

Redmi 7A Display

Technical data of the Redmi 7A

Xiaomi Redmi 7A Xiaomi Redmi 7
Display 5.45 inch IPS LCD display (1440 x 720 p) with 295 ppi 6.26 inch 19.5:9 HD (1520 x 720 pixels) LC display (268 PPI)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 @ 2 Ghz Snapdragon 632 @ 1.8 GHZ
Graphics chip Qualcomm® Adreno™ 505 GPU Qualcomm Adreno 506
RAM 2 GB 2/3/4 GB
Internal memory 16 / 32 GB 16/32/64 GB (expandable up to 512 GB)
Camera 12 Megapixels with f/2.2 F-stop 12 Megapixels with f/2.2 F-stop
Front camera 5 megapixels 8 megapixels
Battery 4,000 mAh 4,000 mAh
Connectivity Micro-USB, BT 4.2, GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20 b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2, Micro-USB, GPS, Dual-SIM
Features Headphone jack, Dual SIM, microSD slot, Face Unlock Fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock, 3.5 mm jack, Infrared
Operating system Android 9 / MIUI 10 MIUI 10 Interface based on Android 9
Dimensions / Weight 146.3 x 70.41 x 9.55 mm / 165 g 158.73 × 75.58 × 8.47 mm / 180g

Yet another “compact” Redmi phone

You don’t even notice that the Redmi 7A is a smartphone from 2019. The low-budget smartphone lacks some features, for example Redmi does without a notch. Screen edges are clearly visible and are just as large on the top and bottom as on the predecessor. In between there is again a 5.45 inch LC display in a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.

Thus, the front camera and the auricle are located on the upper edge of the screen. In fact, the Redmi logo is present on the underside, but it’s actually pretty out of fashion. Honor and Huawei especially liked to do that.

Redmi 7A Redmi lettering screen border

On the back it also looks more like understatement. In the upper left corner is the camera, which consists of only one sensor. Underneath is the flash. Otherwise, not much happens on the back, even a fingerprint sensor is not found. Only the Redmi lettering is parallel to the side edges on the left back, as we have known this from Huawei for several generations. The “AI Camera” lettering underneath the module could have been saved, but the CE mark and the model number could not.

Redmi 7A Smartphone back Redmi lettering

Processing & Handling

But the Redmi 7A with dimensions of 146.3 x 70.4 x 9.55 mm is quite compact, but with 165 g almost as heavy as a Xiaomi Mi 9. Despite a price of less than $100, the Redmi 7A is also very solidly manufactured. Of course you use a plastic case, which looks more or less like one piece in the unibody design. The side edges are pleasantly rounded, so it fits well in the hand. The case frame again protrudes slightly further than the outermost edge of the front and back.

We noticed, however, that the black plastic frame that holds the display glass is marginally higher than the glass top. This results in a small edge, which is clearly noticeable when stroking over the edge. This is not the case with more expensive Xiaomi smartphones like the Mi 9T. But at least the cut-outs are precisely milled, so you don’t have such a problem there. Nevertheless, you have to notice that the Redmi 7A feels much cheaper than the more expensive Xiaomi smartphones, which is mainly due to the plastic cover. It’s also a lot thicker than other popular smartphones.

Redmi 7A smartphone backside

In addition, the Budget phone is probably splash-proof, but it does not have an IP rating. Xiaomi formulates it here: “Like an invisible raincoat over your phone”. But this applies explicitly only to splash water, the mobile phone does not survive in the water or anything similar – a pity.

Higher pixel density than the Mi A3

According to the price, Redmi or Xiaomi uses a display panel with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 295 ppi with this display size. In fact, this pixel density is higher than with the in-house Xiaomi Mi A3, which costs a good $100 more. The lower resolution is still absolutely justifiable with such low-budget models, in the tests of the predecessors one could still shine with a decent screen.

Redmi 7A Display

The same applies here: the display of the Redmi 7A is perfectly in order. One notices the missing pixels, also the colors are by far not as strong as with a FullHD AMOLED panel. But the brightness is still sufficient even at 50%, even in stronger sunlight. Due to the large battery, it is also possible to be on the move at 75% of the maximum brightness. There’s also nothing to criticize about the functionality, even Multi-Touch with up to ten fingers is supported. On the other hand, the viewing angle stability is unfortunately very poor.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A display settings

In the settings to the display is actually even the dark mode, a feature which was introduced with the Mi 9. But it doesn’t have the same energy saving effect as an AMOLED, because the black pixels of the LC-display have to be illuminated as well. In addition, there is a color palette and presets for color & temperature as well as a read mode. Not bad for such a cheap smartphone!

Redmi 7A with Snapdragon 439

With low-budget smartphones, performance is especially important. Is such a cheap smartphone automatically slow? The Snapdragon 439 processor working in it sounds promising, after all it offers eight cores with a clock frequency of up to 2 GHz. This SoC is new and, thanks to the 12 nm manufacturing technology, quite energy-efficient. The GPU has been improved compared to its predecessor, the Adreno 505 offers up to 20% more power.

The Redmi 7A is not slow, but much slower than Xiaomi’s mid-range models. In some applications this isn’t noticeable at all, but sometimes even more so. Apps sometimes open relatively quickly, some take longer. Especially with the camera, where it has to go fast in some moments, it takes 1.5 seconds to be ready. Otherwise, the small lags are easy to forgive, it didn’t bother me to wait a second, because the performance is fast enough.

Redmi 7A Benchmarks

This does not change until the buffer is full. Xiaomi unfortunately only gives the Redmi 7A 2 GB RAM, there is no larger variant in the Global version. And with only two gigabytes of RAM you can reach your limits relatively quickly. Fast app changes are no longer possible from approx. 10 opened apps, with a switch almost every application has to be completely reloaded. To be able to clean up the RAM quickly, there is the RAM Jet “App” in the MIUI settings. These can be activated in this way:

Xiaomi Redmi 7A Activate RAM Jet

The benchmark results are accordingly and are almost as good as those of the Redmi 6 (not 6a) from the previous year. This is also in line with our practical experience from last year, where you get a good entry-level performance.

With the internal memory you only have two options: 16 GB or 32 GB. Due to the lower surcharge, we would recommend the 32 GB, as the operating system already uses about 7 GB of memory.

Record-breaking battery life

As with Redmi devices, the battery typically amounts to 4,000 mAh, which also provides the Redmi 7A with a two-day battery life. In some circumstances there is even more in it, in the battery benchmark the 7A has achieved a record-breaking value of 17 hours! The brightness setting was still an acceptable 50%. In practice, I’ve had congruent experiences, you can get by here for two days without any problems.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A battery benchmark

Although the processor theoretically supports up to 18W Quick Charge 3.0, the Redmi 7A is only equipped with a 10W charger. Accordingly, a complete charge takes a little longer than usual. In 80 minutes you can charge your smartphone from about 20% to 80%.

Redmi 7A with one camera

The just mentioned main camera on the backside consists of a 13 Megapixel sensor and offers features like AI-Beauty, portrait mode and a PDAF autofocus. Here we can expect the same sensor as in the Redmi 6, the better Redmi 7 is equipped with a stronger 12 megapixel sensor. The front camera offers a 5 megapixel resolution and serves Selfies as well as Face Unlock, since no fingerprint sensor is integrated.

Redmi 7A Smartphone Camera

With no other current Xiaomi smartphone is the camera app so limited to the essentials as with the 7A. So there is only one camera mode, video mode, short video mode (Why?) and a Pro mode. The photos from camera mode are really very solid for this price, so significantly more expensive mobile phones from other manufacturers can’t keep up. In the viewfinder of the app it doesn’t look like that at first, but the end results look much better. The difference can be clearly seen here:

Xiaomi Redmi 7A Camera App Comparison Photo

The colours are relatively accurate and not so saturated. The sharpness, on the other hand, is by far not as strong as with the larger Redmi 7 for example. The autofocus works okay overall, the speed is not always given here. All in all you get relatively few details, which doesn’t really stand out at first glance, but on closer inspection it does. But you shouldn’t expect that for this price either, we are dealing with a more than adequate picture quality for the price. After all, the shutter release time is surprisingly fast.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A main camera test photoXiaomi Redmi 7A main camera test photo dog Xiaomi Redmi 7A main camera test photo detail Xiaomi Redmi 7A main camera test photo objects

Front camera

Unfortunately, you can’t expect too much from a 5 megapixel front camera sensor. But Xiaomi manages to get the maximum picture quality out of it, even if it’s average at best. First you have to deactivate the annoying beauty filter and then you get solid selfies for your money. I like the focal length quite well, also Xiaomi has to be credited for integrating the portrait mode, which works even better than with much more expensive smartphones. The slight bokeh effect enhances the photos, but they don’t provide too much detail. Sceneries also appear pale relatively quickly here.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A front camera test photo Redmi 7A front camera test photo portrait comparison

Probably the most useful feature, however, is that the front camera also supports Face Unlock. Since no fingerprint sensor was installed, this is a good, if not a safe, unlock option next to a pattern/pin. Unfortunately, it’s also the slowest Face Unlock we’ve tested, but if you have 1.3 seconds, you can set up this premium feature without the region trick!

Standard level connectivity

Of course, even with a low-budget smartphone you can expect certain features like Dual Band WiFi, 4G and VoLTE support, Bluetooth and GPS. The fact that the Redmi 7A is more aimed at a less demanding target group can be seen on the Micro-USB port on the bottom. In return, you get a 3.5 mm jack connector on the top side. Surprisingly, you do without an IR blaster. But the real dual SIM slot plus the microSD slot for a memory expansion is a practical rarity.

Redmi 7A SIM slot

The Xiaomi Redmi 7A also supports LTE, since the LTE frequency bands B1/2/3/4/5/7/8 and band 20 are integrated. We can’t really complain about the speed either. In the 02 network, YouTube videos can also be streamed relatively directly, but a 30 MB test file was downloaded relatively slowly in 1:45 minutes. The voice quality is also good and leaves little room for criticism.

Redmi 7A headphone jack

MIUI 10 on Budget Redmi

On the 7A there is of course the own operating system MIUI 10.2.4, which is based on Android 9. MIUI is a strongly adapted operating system, which decides not only in the optics, but also in more detailed settings of pure Android. As an example one can mention the battery management, which benefits the battery life. In addition, Xiaomi pre-installs many of its own services such as the Mi Cloud, the Mi Store, the Mi Community App or Mi Video App.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A MIUI Software

Also the Google services are pre-installed, both the certified Google Play Store as well as GMail, YouTube etc. are with the Global version already on the Redmi 7A. We would advise you to use the Global version again, the surcharge is not significant and you don’t have to worry about flashing the CN version yourself. Xiaomi’s update policy is pretty good, so you don’t have to worry about security updates for the next 2 years.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A Face Unlock

As mentioned above, Face Unlock’s support for this price range is also exceptional. You don’t even have to change the region, this feature is now officially available. In general, Redmi 7A is completely usable in multiple languages, so you don’t have to deal with a bad translation.

Conclusion: No-brainer in the low-budget area

When it comes to low-budget smartphones, Xiaomi never disappoints. For the offer price of about $80 the Redmi 7A is unbeatable in my eyes! Compared to many other smartphone manufacturers, Xiaomi is based on a well thought-out operating system that tickles a lot out of the hardware. Especially the low price, the compact design and the top battery life are reasons for the Redmi 7A. But of course you have to cut back on performance and the camera.

It has to be said that the normal Redmi 7 delivers significantly more performance and takes good photos. And that costs only 20 to 30 dollars more. So, if you’re concerned about every dollar spent, or if you need a transition or second smartphone, I can definitely recommend the Redmi 7A. As a daily driver it would be a bit too slow for me, so the surcharge for the Redmi 7 is well invested.

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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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