Hands-On, Smartphone

Redmi 7 Hands-On: Better Than Ever

The Redmi 7 was introduced in China just two days ago, but surprisingly enough, the affordable device made its Malaysian debut yesterday along with the Redmi Note 7. On top of that, it will be available for purchase on 27 March too.

Carrying an affordable price tag and respectable hardware (for the money), the Redmi 7 is ideal for those who want the cheapest possible smartphone…that’s still actually good. But for certain folks, it may be worth it to spend a tad more for the superior Redmi Note 7.

Nonetheless, I had some quality time with the Redmi 7, and it’s really quite a good device – especially for its asking price.

Despite how affordable it is, the Redmi 7 doesn’t feel particularly cheap. Yes, it’s mostly made out of plastic, but it doesn’t feel plasticky. The polycarbonate frame’s matte finish feels good to the touch, and same goes for the curved plastic back. However, the back panel does pick up fingerprints quite easily.

Speaking of which, I love the design of the Redmi 7’s back panel. The Comet Blue and Lunar Red (my personal favourite colour) have nice, subtle gradient finishes that look really sleek. Of course, if you want a more low-key colour, there’s the Eclipse Black model.

Much like the Redmi Note 7, the Redmi 7 also has a notched display with larger than usual top and bottom bezels. These are not particularly pleasing to the eyes, but hey, this is not an expensive smartphone; our expectations have to be realistic. As a whole, the Redmi 7 still looks rather sleek and modern, and it has a 3.5mm headphone jack too, though it’s still using a microUSB port for charging.

Notch aside, the Redmi 7’s 6.26-inch 1520 x 720 display looks good. Even though it’s only a 720p display, it still looks sharp enough with good colour reproduction, viewing angles, and brightness. Plus, the lower resolution display has one vital advantage: lower power consumption.

Featuring a generous 4,000mAh battery, I’m quite certain the Redmi 7 will be able to deliver extremely good battery life. After all, its 720p display won’t consume as much power as a higher resolution panel, and under the hood of this phone is a power-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset.

Performance is not an issue with the Redmi 7 either. I can switch between different apps relatively quickly, there’s no noticeable lag or stutter while I was using the phone, and the phone as a whole feels fast and zippy. The Snapdragon 632 is not an awfully powerful chipset, but it’s certainly capable enough.

In this price range, it would be unrealistic to hope for great camera performance, and this applies to the Redmi 7. On the back, it has a dual camera system made up of a 12MP f/2.2 sensor and a 2MP shooter. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, is an 8MP shooter.

At the launch event, I managed to snap a few pictures with the Redmi 7’s dual camera system, and while it’s not amazing, it is certainly serviceable. There is noticeable shutter lag, but the image output isn’t all that bad, and the camera interface is quite intuitive to navigate around.

That being said, I’ve only taken daylight pictures with the Redmi 7. Chances are, the camera performance wouldn’t be quite as good in low light conditions, and that would be totally fine. This is, first and foremost, a very affordable phone – you really cannot expect amazing camera performance.

The Redmi 7 will be available for purchase in Malaysia from 27 March onwards, and it is offered in two variants. The 16GB model with 2GB of RAM retails at RM499, while the 32GB variant with 3GB of RAM goes for RM599. If you want more storage capacity, no problem – this phone has a microSD card slot.

Without a doubt the Redmi 7 is an affordable phone, and it will be worth the purchase for the majority of consumers. That is, unless you can afford to spend a little bit more for the Redmi Note 7, which retails from only RM679.

For only RM80 more than the 32GB Redmi 7, the Redmi Note 7 offers the same amount of storage and RAM capacities, a faster Snapdragon 660 chipset, a sharper display, superior camera performance, as well as better, more premium build quality. It’s a small price difference, but you’re getting a lot more value for your money.

However, if you’re on a really tight budget, the Redmi 7 is still a very good purchase, especially if you’re looking to get the RM499 variant. Even though it’s a cheap smartphone, it doesn’t look or feel cheap, and that shows just how far the Redmi series have come.