Review Redmi K20 Pro: Top smartphone with pop-up camera

Redmi, as a subsidiary company of Xiaomi at least officially “independent”, released its first own flagship smartphone. The Redmi K20 comes in two versions: Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro. The K20 is already available as Mi 9T for Europe, but the Redmi K20 Pro is not yet a flagship. Does this mean that the Xiaomi Mi 9 will be taken off the throne?

Redmi K20 Pro Pop-Up Camera

Technical data of the Redmi K20 (Pro)

Redmi K20 Pro Redmi K20
Display 6,39″ AMOLED Display (2340 x 1080p, 19.5:9 aspect ratio) 6,39″ AMOLED Display (2340 x 1080p, 19.5:9 aspect ratio)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 @ 2.84 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
Graphic chip Adreno 640 Adreno 618
Main memory 6/8 GB LPDDR4X RAM 6/8 GB LPDDR4X RAM
Internal memory 64/128/256 GB UFS 2.1 64/128 UFS 2.1
Main camera 48 MP Sony IMX586 with ƒ/1.75 + 8 MP Tele camera with ƒ/2.2 + 13 MP Ultra wide angle (125° angle) 48 MP Sony IMX586 with ƒ/1.75 + 8 MP Tele camera with ƒ/2.2 + 13 MP Ultra wide angle (125° angle)
Front Camera 20 MP with AI Scene Detection & Portrait Mode, Panorama Mode 20 MP with AI Scene Detection & Portrait Mode, Panorama Mode
Battery 4.000 mAh with 27W Quick Charge 4+ 4.000 mAh with 18W QuickCharge
Connectivity LTE Band 1,3,5,7,8 WLAN AC, GPS//BDS, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual SIM, Dual GPS, NFC LTE Band 1,3,5,7,8 WLAN AC, GPS//BDS, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual SIM, Dual GPS, NFC
Features Fingerprint sensor in display | USB Type-C Fingerprint sensor in display | USB Type-C
Operating system MIUI 10.2, Android 9 MIUI 10.2, Android 9
Dimensions / Weight 156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8 mm / 191 g 156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8 mm / 191 g
Price from 2499 Yuan; ~ $362 from 1.999 Yuan, ~ $289

Comeback of the Pop-Up Camera

Even before the official launch, Xiaomi’s promo engine, which released its first render images for the Redmi K20, got off to an easy start. The back is shiny, you use a red-metallic Colorway, which is a real eye-catcher. The camera arrangement on the back is interesting. This time it consists of three sensors, underneath there is a flash. We last saw such a centrally positioned camera on a Xiaomi device with the Xiaomi Pocophone F1.

Xiaomi Mi 9T vs Redmi K20

If you choose the Redmi K20/Pro you get the Redmi lettering on the back, which runs parallel to the long sides. The global Xiaomi version gets the Mi branding. Otherwise there are the same Colorways for all versions, namely blue, red and black. Our test device comes in the “Glacier Blue“- Colorway and we like it very much, because the effect is especially effective on the sides. Here Xiaomi and Redmi have their own design – keep up the good work!

Redmi K20 Pro vs Mi 9T Backside

The fact that these are basically the same smartphones can also be seen from their dimensions. The Redmi K20 Pro also weighs 191g like the Mi 9T, with dimensions of 156.7 x 74.3 x 8.8 mm. The workmanship of the Redmi K20 Pro is exactly the same. Nothing wobbles, there are no sharp edges and good pressure points on the keys. It’s also worth mentioning here that the two camera modules on the back side protrude relatively little from the case. For example, you have a clear advantage over the Xiaomi Mi 9, because of the thicker design the K20 Pro simply has more space.

Redmi K20 Pro Button Red
The red button is also a nice detail on the K20 Pro.

Redmi smartphone with AMOLED display

The screen extends over a length of 6.39 inches and Redmi incorporates an AMOLED display. A novelty for the new Redmi series; at Xiaomis Flagships this technology has meanwhile established itself as the standard. Under the display there is also the fingerprint sensor, whose technology originates from the seventh generation. This is the same panel as the Xiaomi Mi 9 and Xiaomi Mi 9T. Rich colors, good brightness and very good functionality.

Redmi K20 Pro Smartphone Display

Especially the good viewing angle stability and the Always On Display are not negligible advantages at the desk. You can be informed quickly about the time and messages and read them even from a steep angle. In order to be able to offer a price advantage over the Mi 9, Redmi uses “only” Gorilla Glass 5 and not the sixth generation. Nevertheless, it is good to know that the display panel is well protected. Most impressive, however, is the “borderlessness”, which results in a screen-to-body ratio of over 90%.

#popupinstyle: but is that awesome?

Redmi is able to do this, because there is no notch or in-display camera installed. This can be avoided by using another popular concept: the pop-up camera. The front camera is hidden in the housing and only appears when it is needed. Then the camera module is moved out mechanically. For example, we know it from the Vivo NEX Ultimate. Since this mechanical part can be quite susceptible to problems, the Vivo NEX Ultimate has already been criticized. But the new OnePlus 7 Pro is also equipped with a pop-up camera. This camera also serves as a direct competitor.

Redmi K20 Pro Pop-Up Camera

This works like the Mi 9T in principle, but not as fast as the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom’s “shark fin”. Until the camera is fully extended, the front camera needs 1.4 seconds, the Oppo Reno only 0.8 seconds. That’s not so much the problem with a Selfie, but you can also wait the milliseconds. With Face Unlock this is really annoying, here you are much faster (and safer) with the fingerprint sensor in the display or a pattern.

Xiaomi Mi 9T front camera

A flagship needs the Top-CPU

It’s a flagship, because the Redmi is equipped with the Snapdragon 855 processor. The top CPU also sits in the Xiaomi Mi 9 and is this year’s top processor for almost all Android flagships. The Octa-Core with a clock frequency of up to 2.84 GHz provides a lot of power, but is accordingly only found in more expensive top smartphones. In the slimmed down version the Redmi K20 or Mi 9T appears with the Snapdragon 730, which is an upper midrange processor.

Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro Gaming

With the memory there is no big surprise, here the meanwhile usual configurations expect us. The smallest version combines 6 GB RAM with 64 GB internal memory, a second version increases the mass memory to 128 GB and for multitaskers there is also an 8/128 GB and an 8/256 GB version. Of course, the prices vary depending on the memory. However, the mass storage cannot be expanded.

Redmi K20 Pro Benchmark Screenshots

So it’s no big surprise that the Redmi K20 Pro or Xiaomi Mi 9T runs like a cheetah on a hunt. PUBG on HDR and Ultra Framerate runs completely smooth, looks very nice, but the K20 Pro also gets a bit warm. Nevertheless: Multitasking works here without delays! If you switch permanently from a 4K60fps video to PUBG and then to a benchmark, you won’t have any problems here. The performance of the Redmi K20 Pro is really nothing to complain about.

Battery life

As usual for the Redmi smartphones, the manufacturer uses a large battery. As already suggested in advance by a leak, the Redmi K20 and K20 Pro works with a 4,000 mAh battery. Thus Redmi remains faithful to its line; so far nearly all Redmi devices came since Redmi independence with a 4,000 mAh battery on the market. The battery life is almost two days, in the battery benchmark we end up with about 13 hours. Here it depends of course strongly on the use, the big battery and MIUI provide for enough juice.

Redmi K20 Pro battery life

The battery can even be charged with 27W Quick Charge, which ensures a fast charging time of 70 minutes for 100% even with such a large battery. But for that you need the 27W Charger from Xiaomi, which is not in the box. To be praised here is that the K20 Pro only needs 30 minutes to reach over 50%. So if you have to go fast once in a while, you can get a good day’s use out in half an hour.

Instead, you do without the “luxury feature” of wireless charging, the 20W Qi charging is reserved for the Xiaomi Mi 9. The “normal” Redmi K20 or Xiaomi Mi 9T has to get by with 18W Quick Charge 3.0.

Real triple camera

It was already clear in advance which camera would be used. The main sensor uses a 48 MP resolution, it’s the Sony IMX586 sensor that’s also in the Mi 9 or Honor View 20. The second and third sensor is a wide-angle camera with a 13 megapixel sensor and a shooting angle of 124.8°. The telephoto lens works with the 8 megapixel resolution. Here you get the same setup as in the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE.

Redmi K20 Pro Smartphone Camera

It is interesting to note that the Mi 9T is equipped with the Sony IMX582 sensor, which is nowhere used as a sensor. It’s probably just an artificial demarcation to justify the surcharge. Because in practice you won’t notice it. In a 1-to-1 comparison, there might be minimal differences in the exposure here and there, but the colors are accurate with both devices. Also the sharpness is simply right. In contrast to other manufacturers such as UMIDIGI, the contrast is pleasant and the dynamic range correspondingly high.

Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro test photo main cameraXiaomi Redmi K20 test photo person comparison Mi 9TRedmi K20 Pro test photo macro vs Mi 9T

A small difference in the camera app of the two devices is the Dynamic Shot function. This is currently only available on the K20 Pro. The mobile phone takes pictures before and after the actual shutter release, as in the case of known “live photos”, and afterwards you can choose the best shot.

Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro front camera

As with the Mi 9T, the K20 Pro also needs a reference point for the white balance in some scenes, otherwise the colors can be as wrong as in our ball pool. A similar problem could also be found with the OnePlus 7. For even more test pictures we would like to refer to the Xiaomi Mi 9T test report again, as the second and third sensor as well as the front camera are identical.

Redmi K20 Pro test photo white balance

Differences in video

Even though almost everything is the same, there is still a slight difference in the video recordings. In contrast to the Mi 9T, the Redmi K20 Pro can also film in 4K resolution with 60 frames per second (fps), the Mi 9T only with 30 fps in 4K resolution. In practice, this is hardly likely to be a decisive reason, since both only support slow-motion videos in Full HD 1080p at 120 fps and HD 720p at 240 fps.

Finally a Redmi with NFC

Since Xiaomi and Redmi are a bit sparse with NFC and usually only use it in their top smartphones, it is all the more pleasing that the Xiaomi Mi 9T and the K20 Pro are also equipped with NFC. Thus mobile, contactless payment is possible. But that would have been surprising, since the K20 is also a top smartphone and comes accordingly with USB type C on the market.

But don’t forget the traditionalists, because there’s still a 3.5 mm jack connector on the top side. The NFC module is also available for the Xiaomi Mi 9T.

Redmi K20 Pro headphones

And of course there are a few wireless connectivity standards like Dual Band WiFi, Bluetooth 5, various LTE bands and even Dual GPS. The China version also runs MIUI 10, the Xiaomi operating system based on Android 9.

MIUI only in English

As the name suggests, the Redmi K20 Pro is a China version. In addition to missing LTE bands, it also features a missing multilingual system language. The K20 Pro can only be used in English and Chinese. Also the Google services are unfortunately not pre-installed, but this is not a big problem. Via the Mi App Store you can easily download the Google Installer, which installs the Framework and the Play Store. Thanks to the pre-installed Play Protect it is even certified!

Redmi K20 Pro Android Screenshot

Xiaomi is known for a relatively good update policy, especially the top models like the K20 Pro are regularly provided with security and system updates over the years. We are currently at MIUI 10.3.11, the update to MIUI 11 is expected for autumn 2019. MIUI is Xiaomi’s own operating system, which is based on Android 9 but strongly adapted. One gets own Xiaomi services like the Mi Cloud, does without an App-Drawer, but also offers an aggressive battery management.

Redmi K20 Pro vs. Xiaomi Mi 9T/K20

With the minimal differences between the two models, the question naturally arises: Redmi K20 Pro or Xiaomi Mi 9T/Redmi K20? Of course, the K20 Pro is more powerful overall, but maybe not everyone needs the Snapdragon 855. The Snapdragon 730 is also a very strong and future-oriented CPU, the camera leaves nothing to be desired and everything else is very similar, except for the price.

Conclusion: Waiting for the Global

The Redmi K20 Pro is similar to the Xiaomi Mi 9 in many parts, but in the guise of the Xiaomi Mi 9T. Like the Pocophone F1 last year, the Redmi K20 Pro leaves little room for criticism. Top processor, AMOLED display, lots of memory, large battery, fast charging, USB type C, jack and NFC as well as a fingerprint sensor in the display. The only difference is the pop-up camera.

If you can make friends with it, the price-performance ratio here is unbeatable again, after all, the Redmi K20 Pro is around $500 (import price), if not a little less. Although the Xiaomi Mi 9 is cheaper in places, it is also available in more languages and as a global version. If you don’t want to wait for a Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro, you’ll also be happy with the Xiaomi Mi 9T in my opinion. If you absolutely need top hardware, you can also grab the Mi 9. If you can wait, you can also get a top smartphone with the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro/Redmi K20 Pro!

What do you think of the pop-up camera and which version would you choose?

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Why doesn't this affect our review in any way?
Profile picture from 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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Comments (8)

  • Profile picture from ssteelblood
    09.05.19 um 20:51

    ssteelblood

    I actually am surprised all this tech isn't available yet in uk

    • 10.05.19 um 11:22

      Thorben CG team

      Actually, there are Xiaomi Stores in the UK, at least in London as far as I know.

  • Profile picture from Cheyenne yellowbird
    10.05.19 um 02:32

    Cheyenne yellowbird

    How well will they work on Canada and will we get eastern knock offs

    • 10.05.19 um 11:24

      Thorben CG team

      I think they should work just fine. For LTE the main frequencies are 1700 and 2100 Mhz, which are LTE band 1 and 4, which nearly every Redmi device supports. You can use it in English as well.

  • Profile picture from Nico
    31.05.19 um 17:16

    Nico

    How about the US? And what bands will be supported by the mi 9T? Same as the Mi 9?

    • 03.06.19 um 14:59

      Thorben CG team

      @Nico: We dont have the complete specs by now, but yes, presumably it will have the same LTE connectivity as the Mi 9.

  • Profile picture from Mandy
    04.06.19 um 07:12

    Mandy

    Im with Nico, when will the US get a go at these?

  • Profile picture from unknowncod3z
    10.07.19 um 18:04

    unknowncod3z

    I doubt Xiaomi would ever release in the US legit. But you can always buy the phone and use it on your US carrier. Just make sure you research what bands it has to make sure you get LTE, unless you don't care about it.

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