When Xiaomi entered India, no one really expected the brand to make a name for itself in just 5 months (for good and worse). After doing pretty well with its flagship Mi3 smartphone, they switched focus towards the affordable mobile space in India, which is a real crowd puller. So when the Redmi1S was announced, and much to our surprise, priced lower than the printed price at Rs 5,999, heads were shaken and a big question was asked: have they managed to pack just about everything at this price? The answer follows.
What is it?
You’ve asked for a lot of features at an affordable price point and Xiaomi delivers that to you, yet again in the form of Redmi 1S. It’s got the display, the power and the camera that you’ll pick up any day for this price.
Who is it for?
That’s the best thing about Rs 5,999. Anyone can use it, even the first timers with smartphone might be tempted to try out their luck with the Redmi1S. No EMIs, just pure luck is all you need to get this phone.
Now, let me get this straight. If you want a drop-dead gorgeous phone for this price, then Redmi 1S is not for you. It’s not the lightest and definitely not the thinnest around but still, there’s more to a phone than just ridiculing for how it looks. Redmi1S is crammed on a regular-shaped 4.7-inch body with a not-so-glossy-and-ugly plastic body that doesn’t look cheap even a bit.
You’ll find the Mi branding at the bottom and the rest has been left as-is so that you can complement the phone’s simplicity. One thing we did not like about the Redmi 1S was its physical buttons missing out on the back-lit aspect. If you’re in the dark, good luck finding your way through the Back, Home and Settings option, positioned right below the display.
For a sub $100 phone to get the HD i.e. 1280x720p resolution is a mean feat, but giving out Asahi Dragontrail glass protection too, is just ridiculous. The display, thanks to all the protection is highly durable to all kind of scratches, even when inside your pocket and this coming from someone, who has a lot of stuff always, makes for a viable case with regards to durability. It’s bright, crisp and good for gaming, reading content on the web and even movies. Outdoor visibility might not be the best and the reflective nature of the display can be irritating at times but all in all, there’s not much to complain about the HD quality on offer. The closest you’ll get to HD in this range, is a 960x540p on the Moto E.
If you thought display was the end then you’ll be surprised with the power that Redmi 1S holds under its hood. It packs a 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon chipset with 1 GB RAM and offering 8 GB internal storage, expandable up to 32GB. It’s got the power to run multiple apps, web browser, listen to music and manage to play games as well. Movie watching isn’t a bad experience either, but not sure if you would watch one on a phone of this size. However, it’s not all rosy with the Redmi 1S. Constant heating can be bothersome to many and end up being a deal breaker, when you compare the phone with Moto E and Zenfone 4. The chipset seems to have been under-clocked to give the phone a balanced experience and that’s impacted the core performance. You can play games like Asphalt 8 and FIFA on the phone, but not without its share of issues.
Xiaomi Redmi 1S just like the Mi3 is powered by MIUI 5 running over Android 4.3 Jelly Bean version. There’s a lot to like about the interface. Firstly, it’s nothing like the custom Android versions we have seen on devices from the likes of Samsung, Sony and HTC among others.
MIUI has a clean, elegant look about it and everything has a reason for its availability. Add to that, you’ll find the Lite Mode on Redm1S, which is a perfect option for elderly users in your household. MIUI has its own set of drawbacks but none so major.
It’s hard to find a decent snapper on a phone that costs less than $100 and Xiaomi did just that. Redmi 1S comes fitted with an 8MP rear snapper with a capable LED flash. On the front side of phone there’s a 1.6MP camera, basic but quite good in the range. The rear camera offers decent clarity and image detail in daylight not in low light; but the image quality is better than any other phone in this segment.
We tried out the video option as well and the results were quite satisfactory, albeit a lot of heating on the sidelines became a common pain point.
This is probably where Xiaomi should have done a bit more research and development. The Redmi 1S is powerful, but the phone’s not capable of lasting through that power, over the course of day. During our basic video playback tests, the phone managed to last us for over 5 hours. While using the Redmi 1S as primary phone, we managed to get the battery juiced up for around 13 hours in a day. Compare that with Moto E and Zenfone 4, the Redmi 1S has scope for improvement on the battery front.
Refreshing Android interface
Should you buy it?
Oh yes. That’s a no brainer. Redmi 1S is your’s if you dearly want it and we don’t see why one wouldn’t want to own it. Sturdy body, bright display, good cameras and a new name to call for. But if you’re sure about the China-aspect about Xiaomi and buying phones online (flash sales buying), then Moto E is the next best option.
Display: 4.7 inch; 1280x720p
OS: MIUI 5 over Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
CPU: 1.6 GHz quad-core Snapdragon
RAM: 1 GB
Storage: 8 GB, expandable up to 32 GB
Cameras: 8MP (rear), 1.6MP (front)
Battery: 2000 mAh