Xiaomi's Redmi lineup has witnessed a major design overhaul in recent times, with the company eschewing metallic bodies in favour of glass and plastic with gradient designs that are en vogue right now. The Redmi Note 7 series was the first to adopt this new design philosophy, and now, the new Redmi 7 has inherited the same design. Aside from aesthetics, the Redmi 7 also has a host of upgrades under the hood, all while retaining roughly the same affordable price tags associated with a Redmi smartphone. We got to spend some time with the Redmi 7 at Xiaomi's launch event, and here are our first impressions.
The Redmi 7 is made out of glossy plastic, which might not sit well with fans who prefer the look, feel, and durability of metallic bodies. This is definitely a compromise that Xiaomi has made to achieve the Redmi 7's beautiful gradient finish. Xiaomi is calling this aesthetic Aura Smoke, and in our opinion, it actually looks more appealing than the metallic finish of previous Redmi phones. The Redmi 7 comes in two gradient colour options, Lunar Red and Comet Blue, as well as the plain Eclipse Black.
We found the Lunar Red variant to be the best-looking one. The smoky black-and-red gradient really catches the eye, and is contrasted sharply by the black rim running around the sides of the phone. The Redmi 7 is relatively compact, and its curved sides make it comfortable to hold. According to Xiaomi, the device also sports a P2i hydrophobic coating for splash resistance.
Xiaomi has also gone with a new design for the front panel of this phone, largely eliminating the thick bezels of the Redmi 6 in favour of a more expansive display with a waterdrop notch. The display is a 6.26-inch HD+ (720x1520 pixels) panel with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which is hard to find on a smartphone in this price bracket.
We found the display to be vibrant with decent viewing angles, but we did find it to be a bit too reflective indoors. The peak brightness of 450 nits is decent as well, but we didn't get a chance to test the legibility of this display under sunlight.
The internals, as well as the cameras of this phone, have been upgraded as well. The Redmi 7 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SoC, marking a shift from the MediaTek Helio P22 inside its predecessor. This octa-core SoC is paired with up 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, which is expandable by up to 512GB using a microSD card.
Xiaomi has equipped the device with two SIM slots and a dedicated microSD card slot, which means that users don't have to sacrifice dual-SIM functionality for more storage space. Powering the whole device is a 4,000mAh battery, which is again an upgrade over the 3,000mAh unit of its predecessor.
In the imaging department, the Redmi 7 comes equipped with AI-assisted dual rear cameras — a 12-megapixel (f/2.2) main camera with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Selfies are handled by an 8-megapixel front camera. While AI scene detection and portrait mode can be good features to have, the support for recording full-HD videos at 60fps is a more welcome surprise on this entry-level smartphone.
We didn't have a lot of time to check out this phone's cameras, but we did manage to try the palm shutter gesture to take selfies from a distance. It worked just fine, allowing us to adjust our posture during the countdown for better-looking results.
The Redmi 7 runs the custom MIUI 10 skin, based on Android Pie. In our brief hands-on time with the device, we found it to be quite fluid. App switching was smooth, and we did not come across any trouble while navigating through the UI. Unfortunately, we still find the aesthetics a bit garish, and the iconography is something that Xiaomi needs to work on.
At a starting price of Rs. 7,999, the Redmi 7 offers great value and is a significant upgrade over its predecessor. At its asking price, the Redmi 7 will take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy M10 (Review) and the Realme 3 (Review). On paper, the Redmi 7 appears to be a great addition to Xiaomi's portfolio, but we'll keep our verdict reserved till we complete our full review.
We will soon put the Redmi 7 through its paces as we assess key parameters including its cameras, general performances, and battery life, among others. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for our detailed Redmi 7 review, coming soon.
Do Redmi 7 and Redmi Y3 prices in India show that Xiaomi's missed a trick? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.