The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is very similar to the Redmi Note 7 launched a few months ago, but with a much better camera, at almost the same price.
Tushar Kanwar
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is very similar to the Redmi Note 7 launched a few months ago, but with a much better camera, at almost the same price.
TECH
01/06/2019 12:26 PM IST | Updated 01/06/2019 12:27 PM IST

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S Review—Great Specs, Great Price, Unhappy Fans

Xiaomi’s latest budget-friendly smartphone is a great pick—but the timing of its launch, and the similarities to its previous iteration, has made early adopters who support the brand unhappy.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is a phone that Xiaomi recently launched to celebrate the landmark milestone of the company selling 20 lakh units of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro in under three months. But unusually, a number of Xiaomi’s die-hard fans aren’t celebrating the launch of the next best thing from the company in the under-Rs 15,000 category.

That’s because those fans rushed to buy the Redmi Note 7 when it went on sale just a couple of months ago. And the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is identical to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 it is due to replace—the same 6.3-inch FHD+ panel, Snapdragon 660, 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage, and 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage variants and 4000mAh battery—but it comes with an updated 48MP + 5MP rear camera configuration—for just Rs. 1,000 more.

The reason is simple—the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S configuration in India is sold as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 in international markets, so it’s odd why Xiaomi didn’t launch this model in India to begin with. Xiaomi’s had a history of carpet-bombing the market with barely-differentiated-on-specs phones, but this move is odd even by its own standards. Not to mention the bump up in price brings the top spec variant of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is within spitting distance of the base variant of the arguably better Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro itself.

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If you didn’t pick up the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, then check out our review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S, which we put through its paces for the last one week.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is available via an open sale on Flipkart, Mi.com, and Mi Home stores since May 31 and offers 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage (Rs. 10,999) and 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage (Rs. 12,999) variants.

Redmi Note 7S—Pros

Design: The good thing about separated-at-birth differences between the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is that the Redmi Note 7S looks every bit the premium and attractive device the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 did, Gorilla Glass 5 sandwich design and all.

They’re so alike, it’s hard to tell them apart, with all three models (the Pro included) sporting big ‘Dot Notch’ displays and the plastic rounded frames that are super comfortable to hold. Type-C, 3.5mm jack, IR emitter and P2i coating for splash protection? Yes for all four!

Tushar Kanwar
The design of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is the same as its previous version, the Redmi Note 7, and unfortunately, it's as much of a fingerprint magnet.

Minor complaints, but the prominent camera bump is a little unsettling when you place the phone down on a table. And like the rest of the Redmi Note 7 series, the glass back attracts smudges before you can say ‘Redmi’ so even with the gorgeous Ruby Red color, a case is highly recommended.

Cameras: Clearly, the headlining upgrade on the Note 7S is the 48-megapixel camera, which if you’re do a bit of specs-hunting isn’t the same as the Redmi Note 7 Pro’s Sony IMX586 sensor. Instead, you get the Samsung GM1 primary sensor (f/1.8 aperture, 1.6-micron pixel size) with a 5-megapixel depth sensor for portrait mode shots. The 48-megapixel resolution is activated only in Pro mode, and all other modes default to 12-megapixel with the 4pixels-in-1 pixel binning to ostensibly capture more details.

Tushar Kanwar
The one difference in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S is the camera, which has been upgraded significantly over the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7.

The results are impressive—the pixel binning benefits both daytime and night shots in terms of details, and colors are usually on point, though the AI sometimes goes overboard and artificially bumps up the saturation levels. Compared to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro, it’s evident the pricier Sony sensor does a better job in practically every scenario, so if photography is important for you, the extra investment in the base variant of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro may well be worth it.

Tushar Kanwar
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro has a slight edge when it comes to the camera, but even the one of the Redmi Note 7S does a good job at the price.

Performance and Battery Life: The Note 7S gets the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chip, which places it alongside the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 and the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2, both of which start at lower price points. It’s no Snapdragon 675, the chip that powers the Note 7 Pro, but it’s no pushover either – it handles day-to-day tasks consummately, though one should point out that we had the pricier 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant which benefits from the extra RAM.

PUBG Mobile works fine too, as long as you’re not cranking the settings all the way up. Battery life benefits from the Snapdragon 660’s lower power consumption and my usual Whatsapp - light gaming - browsing - Apple Music - email use saw me though the better part of two days. Charging is quick as well, with a full charging taking a shade less than two hours, and then there’s Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 support as long as you buy a compatible charger on your own.

Tushar Kanwar
The Ruby Red variant looks amazing, but it's a fingerprint magnet, so a case is recommended.

Redmi Note 7S—Cons

Software: This is fast becoming a recurring theme across Xiaomi phones—MIUI 10 running Android 9 Pie with the latest May security patch is all very well, as is the level of customization and nifty features Xiaomi’s fork of Android offers, but the first party apps themselves keep assaulting you with notifications a little too often, not to mention the spammy ads littered around many of the apps.

Display: The 6.3-inch Full HD+ resolution LCD display is good indoors, and colors and sharpness levels leave no room for complaint. Take it outdoors though and you really need to crank up the brightness to see anything.