For a relatively new brand, Xiaomi had a perfect entry into the Indian market. The Mi3 sold like hot cakes on Flipkart and even captured the attention of naysayers who were generally against devices from Chinese companies.
Redmi 1S is latest device that went on sale last week and similar to the Mi3, the Redmi 1S is targeted towards consumers who are seeking a highly affordable phone that packs in all the features you’d expect from a higher priced phone.
Comparing the Redmi 1S’ design with the Mi3 would be like comparing apples to oranges but I feel Xiaomi could have done a bit better. For instance, the bezels surrounding the top and bottom side of the display could have been thinner, helping to reduce the overall size of the device. The second gripe I have is with the non-backlit touch-sensitive menu, home and back buttons. While the red coloured buttons on a black background is not an issue while operating in daylight, the experience gets infuriating when you try to use the buttons in the dark. The phone is also on the heavier side and weighs around 150 grams.
That being said, the Redmi 1S is not a bad looking phone. It’s slim (9.9mm) and narrow that can be used with one hand and has a nice matte grey finish at the back. As far as placements go, there’s a front-facing 1.6 megapixel camera, microUSB port and a mic at the bottom, 3.5mm headphone jack at the top, power and volume buttons on the right and an 8 megapixel autofocus camera at the back with an LED flash, loudspeaker and the second mic at the back.
If anything we’ve learned from the Mi3, Xiaomi tends to give the best possible hardware at the price and Redmi 1S is no different. You’ll find a 4.7-inch IPS display with a resolution support of up to 1280×720 pixels, which is generally unheard of at this price range. The display is decent with good amount of brightness, viewing angle and colour contrast. Xiaomi even allows to adjust the colour temperature and saturation with pre-configured options. Protecting the panel is Asahi’s Dragontrail glass. Dragontrail is an alternate solution to Corning’s Gorilla Glass and protects the display from scratches. However, what it cannot protect from are fingerprint smudges.
Powering the device is a Snapdragon 400 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM that helps to run the MIUI OS. The processor and RAM combo won’t get any accolades for being speedy but it does offer satisfactory performance. The interface runs smooth but can turn jittery if you run and close a number of apps in a short amount of time. The phone also has a small amount of free RAM (around 250MB) at its disposable.
The Redmi 1S also managed to run the Anomaly 2 benchmark and Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
There’s about 6.14GB of internal storage available to the user but good thing about the Redmi 1S is that it comes with a microSD card slot. Although Xiaomi claims to support a microSD card of up to 64GB, our unit could not detect the 64GB card. The phone also supports USB OTG, in case you want to copy data from a flash drive.
There’s an 8 megapixel camera on the Xiaomi Redmi 1s and it takes some good quality pictures. The camera easily bests its closest competitor (Moto E) and in some cases, some mid range devices. The noise is kept in check with good colour reproduction. The camera however, disappoints with low light shots. On the video side, the phone can shoot in up to Full HD resolution, which is another plus in this price bracket.
The Redmi 1S supports dual-SIM and has a good call quality that is helped by the dual mic for noise reduction. The battery on the device is rated at 2000mAh and in our tests with a single SIM, the phone lasted for more than a day with Wi-Fi and around 14 hours with two SIMs and lots of calls.
The MIUI OS is based on Android 4.3 is largely unchanged from what we saw in the Mi3. You’ve got the same lock screen that gives quick access to music, calls, messages, camera or flashlight; private messaging; no app drawer; Themes support; call recorder; FM Radio; Compass; MiTalk and more. Xiaomi hasn’t confirmed as to when MIUI v6 will be released but it should be soon.
All said and done, the Redmi 1S is not without its quirks but what masks these quirks is an attractive price tag of just Rs. 5,999. Moto E, Asus Zenfone 4 don’t stand a chance when you compare them with Redmi 1S’ hardware but Xiaomi has to optimise the software to give users a more fluid experience.
Pros: Good hardware, Price
Cons: Software needs improvement, no backlight for menu buttons