The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 has garnered a number of reviews praising its design and battery performance, among other features, for its price range.

Competitors LeEco, Huawei, Lenovo and Coolpad should be wary of Xiaomi's flagship phablet as it boasts optimal features that, more often than not, beat those of its rivals. The current Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, also referred to as "Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro" by its developers, houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 Chipset that has been earlier released in India during one of the company's so-called "Flash Sales." Its previous version, released earlier in China, had contained a MediaTek Helio X10 processor.

Let's take a closer look at the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 through the eyes of reviewers.

Build Quality And Design

The metal rear of the phablet has been sand-blasted to give the phone a sleek and flowy design. Most sites applauded its design as it gives the phone a more premium look that hides the fact that it's cheaper than most leading brands.

Its edges are also curved in, disguising its dimensions of 150 x 76 x 8.7 millimeters (5.91 x 2.99 x 0.34 inches) that would require both hands for comfortable use. Marie Brewis from PC Advisor notes that there's an "easily accessible" one-hand feature "that lets you shrink down the contents of the screen to 4.5-, 4- or even 3.5 [inches]."

The phone weighs about 164 grams, or 5.8 ounces, which according to Abhimanyu Ghoshal from The Next Web is evenly balanced throughout the phone to give it a lighter feel.

A chrome strip runs around the phablet's front side, which should protect the screen from face-down situations and which Nimish Sawant from Digit notices as "quite thoughtful."

Android Authority's Bailey Stein comments on the "convincingly colored" plastic touches on the phone's upper and lower side, which may provide easier grips for landscape use while its more practical uses allow for a greater signal reception.

Display

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 boasts a 5.5-inch display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and 403 ppi. The screen's colors can be adjusted to warm and cold situations, and there is also a "Sunlight Display" feature that automatically adjusts the screen in sunny outdoors. Brewis notes how they like the "effect" created by the black borders around the edges of the phone's screen, despite the device's "slim" bezels.

Stein remarks that the screen's display is "quite good overall" but is a bit lacking in the contrast and display departments compared to other devices within this price range.

The absence of a Corning Gorilla Glass means the phone may be susceptible to scratching. The Times of India's Debashis Sarkar recommends a screen guard, also noting that the screen is "quite reflective."

Rajat Agrawal of BGR Media reports otherwise, saying that Xiaomi developers swear on the screen's protection capability, which they attest to as being equivalent to Corning standards. Xiaomi says the quality will be the same across all batches.

Sawant noticed that the screen is susceptible to smudges, which although quite easy to wipe off, still proved to be a bit "annoying." He also adds that the IPS LCD display has a "good contrast ratio" and has "decent black levels."

Sound

The Note 3 Pro's speaker is at the rear bottom, which most sites did not approve of. Most of the back of the phone is flat, considering that camera and fingerprint sensors on other devices are usually extended, save for a little protruding mark placed below the speakers. This was placed intentionally to let the sound out when the phone is laid on its back.

Ghoshal observed that the sound produced by the phone lacks the loudness it needs for music on the go but would easily fit indoor situations when it is used for viewing videos. Sound adjustments can be made using the "Sound Levels" feature of the phone to fit certain conditions.

Stein also adds that "while [the Note 3] may get reasonably loud," the sound quality may get a little "tinny" and "somewhat distorted."

CPU Performance

Upgraded from last year's MediaTek Helio X10 processor, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 now uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 1.8 Ghz hexacore processor combined with an Adreno 510 GPU. There are two RAM variants to choose from, 2 GB or 3 GB. These enable the phablet to endure any multitasking conditions effortlessly and play most HD games quite well.

Its fingerprint scanner, which can be used for locking and unlocking, as well as snapping photos and even locking apps, works in about 0.3 seconds according to developers, and reviewers can attest to that.

Those who use their phone for games do not need to worry about lagging issues as the phone can handle games like Hitman: Sniper, Relic Run, Total War Battles: Kingdom and Asphalt.

Sarkar notes, however, that the 3 GB RAM variant's idle state only allows about 1.5 GB RAM, so he advises that gamers should go for the 3 GB model instead of the 2 GB one. Some heating can also arise from continuous use but overall, it doesn't impact performance.

A few bugs that Sarkar noticed are the phone's SIM card detection issues and the slow-loading user interface. The SIM card issue puts the phone in airplane mode without notifying the user whenever the phone is turned on or restarted, or even after turning off airplane mode.

The phone can handle 4G networks and has good network coverage. Sawant shares that in one instance, he used the phone in an elevator and experienced no network issues. This, according to him, is "speaking a lot." Sawant also recommends that users finish all their tasks on the phone before rebooting for an update as this takes quite some time.

Battery

The Redmi Note 3 houses a non-replaceable, built-in, 4,050 mAh battery, which is the "densest" available for Xiaomi. Average users can use the phone for more than a day with Wi-Fi and 3G turned on. It takes around 4 hours to fully charge, but because of fast charging, the device charges to 50 percent in about an hour.

The phone also has "Performance" and "Balanced" modes for its battery usage, wherein "Performance" improves stability while "Balanced" lessens the impact of usage on the battery charge.

Stein calls the battery life "impressive," and Agrawal claims that the Redmi Note 3 is "the best smartphone" people on-the-go canhave as it eliminates the constant need to be near an electrical socket or carry a power bank.

Camera

The device has a 16-megapixel PDAF f/2.0 five-element lens rear camera outfitted with a dual-tone LED Flash and a 5-megapixel f/2.0 selfie camera.

Reviews collectively agreed that while the rear camera works sufficiently well in daylight, poorly lit subjects, nighttime shoots and dark conditions adversely affect the camera. Autofocus capabilities take a while to recognize objects and most of the time, the camera produces poor-quality pictures.

On the other hand, Sarkar remarks that the front camera can take "quality selfies," which uses face recognition and can be tweaked with beauty enhancement options. Ghoshal adds that the front camera can take sharp pictures outside and "even under artificial light."

Software And Features

Xiaomi uses its own custom OS based on Android, called MIUI. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 uses the current MIUI 7 that was built on Android 5.1. It features 15,000 UI themes, "XXL Text" display and is 30 percent faster and 25 percent more efficient than its predecessor. It also has "Child Mode Whitelisting and Restrictions" and "Baby Picture Detection" albums.

Stein remarks that MIUI is "one of the most polished skins" currently available on the market because of its number of customizable themes and features. He also adds that the MIUI is "smooth and snappy overall."

Ghoshal notes, though, that the custom OS lacks features to automatically organize apps and users have to rely on folders to manually organize their contents.

Others patiently await if the MIUI 7 is evidently planned for an upgrade to the newer Android Marshmallow, which can further boost the phone's battery with the Doze mode.

Pricing And Availability

While past models of the Redmi Note 3 became available in China last year and the updated version was previously launched in India on March 3 this year, other countries can only order through third-party programs, like GearBest for the UK, to get their hands on a unit. Prices may change depending on import and export prices offered through these sites.

The current Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is priced at around Rs 9,999 or about $150 for the 2 GB RAM/16 GB ROM variant and Rs 11,999 or about $180 for the 3 GB RAM/32 GB ROM variant in India.

Conclusion

Stein lists the pros and cons of the current "Pro" version:

PROS CONS
Excellent design and build quality No U.S. availability
Impressive battery life Camera is still about average for the price
Great software experience Display is lacking a bit in contrast and saturation
Very good performance  
Fast and accurate fingerprint reader  
Includes an IR blaster for controlling household appliances  
Great sunlight readability  
Excellent call quality  

Different ratings gathered are:

Category/Source

Android Authority 10/10

Tech2.com

10/10

PC Advisor

5/5

Build and Design 9 7.5 4.5
Features   8 4
Display 8 7  
Software 8 7.5  
Performance 9 7.5 4.5
Camera 7 6.5  
Battery Life 9 8.5  
Value for Money     4.5
Overall 8.5 7.5 4.5

To conclude, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3's overall features trump its lacking qualities in the camera department. Its long battery life, smooth performance, custom OS, and premium build makes the unit one of the industry's leading phablet brands within this price range.

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