Redmi K20 Pro
Tushar Kanwar
Redmi K20 Pro
TECH
19/07/2019 4:13 PM IST

Redmi K20 Pro Review—Redmi Goes (Budget) Premium?

Although Xiaomi’s Redmi line is generally known for its excellent entry-level phones, with the newly launched Redmi K20 Pro, it’s taking on brands like OnePlus and Asus for the budget-premium crown.

The newly-launched Redmi K20 Pro is a phone that promises high-end flagship specs at a very Xiaomi price point. It’s already getting a lot of attention with a lot of hype, but is it all that it’s made out to be? Is this the phone that finally lets Xiaomi make a real dent in the budget-premium segment and take the fight to OnePlus? Is this the flagship-killer-killer? 

Starting July 22 midday, you can order a K20 Pro at Mi.com, Flipkart and Mi Home stores for Rs 27,999 for the 6GB RAM/128GB storage model or Rs 30,999 for the 8GB GB/256GB storage version. The optional-but-highly-recommended 27W charger will set you back by another Rs 999, and a red, black or blue case an additional Rs 499.

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Redmi K20 Pro – Pros

Build and Design: The Redmi K20 Pro takes a decidedly bold leap forward in terms of styling, almost flamboyantly so, with the use of a mesmerizing gradient pattern which catches and reflects the light in a unique fashion. As a result, both the Glacier Blue and the Flame Red colorways are stunning to look at, even though you’d probably be hiding the phone under a case soon enough. The glass sandwich design gets Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both the front and rear, and the use of p2i nano-coating and rubber lining for the SIM card tray protects the phone from the odd splash of water. 

Tushar Kanwar
The Redmi K20 Pro has an eye-catching, distinctive design.

Turn it around, and the pop-up selfie camera module affords the Redmi K20 Pro an all-screen front, with an impressive 91.9% screen-to-body ratio, which gives the 6.39-inch-display sporting phone a rather one-handed feel. The pop-up movement is slower than what we’ve seen on the OnePlus 7 Pro or the Realme X, so face unlock is supported but too slow to recommend. There’s a distinctive lining of LED lights on the module which may or may not appeal to you, but the notification LED on top is certainly useful. The mechanism is rated for 300,000 open/shut cycles, that’s about 100 selfies a day for 8 years, plus it features the now-regular drop protection which retracts the mechanism in case a fall is detected. A headphone jack, a single downward firing speaker and a dual-nanoSIM slot round out the design, and by any measure, Xiaomi’s certainly nailed the design brief with the Redmi K20 Pro—it’s got flair by the bucketloads!

Tushar Kanwar
The mechanism of the pop-up selfie camera is a little slow.

Display: With the notch out of the way, the Redmi K20 Pro gets a punchy little AMOLED 2340x1080 pixel display and unlike the Poco F1 from last year, there’s little room for complaint with vivid colors (or accurate colors, you get to choose), excellent contrast levels and impressive brightness levels. Arguably one of the best displays in the sub-40,000 segment, the Redmi K20 Pro’s display offers an always-on display mode plus there’s the integrated fingerprint scanner which works almost as fast as a physical fingerprint scanner—more reason not to use the slow face-unlock! The immersive display is great for movies, and if you plug in a set of high-quality headphones, you can take advantage of the custom DAC with 24-bit 192KHz audio playback.

Performance: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 is showing up in way more devices in the first few months after launch than its predecessor did even several months post launch, but the Redmi K20 Pro will likely remain the most wallet-friendly Snapdragon 855 phone for some time to come. As we’ve seen on the Oppo Reno and the OnePlus 7 series, the chipset is super snappy and responsive, and it handles everyday tasks and heavy games with consummate ease. The ‘Game Turbo’ feature mutes notifications and prioritizes bandwidth for games and when coupled with the graphite cooling system and the Adreno 640 GPU, lets you go all out with your PUBG sessions with the chassis warming up only a little after 45 minutes of gaming.

Tushar Kanwar
It's got one of the best displays in the under Rs 40,000 segment.

Battery: Mating the 7nm Snapdragon 855 to a Xiaomi-staple 4,000mAh battery delivers an all-day battery life to the Redmi K20 Pro, even if you go heavy on it with GPS use and streaming music and game audio over Bluetooth as I did. Screen-on-time figures varied around the 7-hour mark, which is pretty stellar. The bundled wall charger charges at 18W and tops up the device from empty in a shade under 90 minutes, but you can put down some extra cash and pick up the 27W charger for faster charging. 

Redmi K20 Pro – Cons

Software: For this phone, Xiaomi opted to use the Poco launcher out of the box. There’s a built-in dark mode, an app drawer, and extensive theming options. But there is an insane amount of notification spam from the first party apps. Sure, there are no ads in the system apps, but one look at the sheer number of notifications from the browser and the Mi Video apps, both apps I didn’t use a lot during testing, is enough. We get Xiaomi’s monetization model on its entry-level handsets but this ruins the experience of a device competing in the budget-premium-flagship space.

Tushar Kanwar
Despite (budget) premium pricing, the Redmi K20 Pro is going to spam you incessantly.

Cameras: The camera department is a mixed bag, with its shares of highs and lows. This is the first Redmi phone with a versatile triple rear camera setup—a 48MP primary Sony IMX 586 camera with an 8MP 2x-telephoto lens and a 13MP 0.6x ultra-wide-angle shooter, but with no OIS on any of the cameras. The main shooter uses pixel-binning to combine 4 pixels into 1 to output 12MP shots, and the results are pretty good. Images in daylight have lots of detail and a wide dynamic range but switching to the telephoto and wide-angle shooters leaves you with softer details, so you have to pick between interesting perspectives and versatility or detail level.

Tushar Kanwar
The Redmi K20 Pro camera isn't bad, but falls short of premium flagships.

Low-light images are decent with noise reined in, but there’s a clear gap between the K20 Pro’s results and those of premium flagships such as the Pixel and the P30 Pro. Selfies from the 20MP pop-up camera look artificial and often have their backgrounds overexposed and blown out. In general, the K20 Pro needs to up its consistency to the next level if it’s to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the camera elite.