In a surprise development, Xiaomi India last week started teasing the launch of a new Redmi Note 7S smartphone. Given the fact that this company already has the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro on sale in the country, it was a little hard to understand why it would want to bring in another phone to confuse consumers. Now, following the unveiling of the Redmi Note 7S earlier today, it seems possible that Xiaomi considered the lack of a 48-megapixel camera on the Indian Redmi Note 7 a weakness that its competition could take advantage of. Xiaomi has now plugged this gap with the aggressively-priced Redmi Note 7S, which is essentially the same smartphone that was introduced as Redmi Note 7 in China.
We managed to spend some time with the Redmi Note 7S on Monday, and here are our first impressions of the new smartphone.
If you have seen one model from Xiaomi's Redmi Note 7-series, you have seen them all. The Redmi Note 7S sports the same design as Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro. Barring the lack of gradient finish on the back of Redmi Note 7S, all three Redmi Note 7-series phones look the same, which is not a bad thing. Xiaomi managed to create an elegant and premium looking phone with the Redmi Note 7, and it makes sense for the company to keep using the same design.
Like other Redmi Note 7 phones, the Redmi Note 7S feels nice and solid in hand. It is a bit heavy, but isn't too bulky to make day-to-day usage cumbersome. The use of glass on both the front and back makes this phone a little fragile, so consumers will need to be careful while handling the Redmi Note 7S. The glass on the smartphone is also a fingerprint magnet, but the smudge marks can be wiped off easily. Xiaomi says the body of this phone has a P2i nano coating which makes it splash-proof.
Xiaomi has used a 6.3-inch full-HD+ screen with a waterdrop-style notch (or Dot Notch, as the company calls it) on the front. As this is the same display panel that the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro use, we have no complaints with the screen. Colour reproduction is good, and the screen is bright enough to be visible under direct sunlight.
The key highlight of this new smartphone is obviously its 48-megapixel primary rear camera. Although Xiaomi did not officially announce the actual primary camera sensor used in the Redmi Note 7S during its launch presentation, the product listing on the company website confirms that it is indeed the same Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 sensor that can be found in the Chinese version of the Redmi Note 7. This 48-megapixel shooter is joined by a 5-megapixel secondary sensor to make up the rear dual-camera setup.
It is quite likely that we will see some debate among Xiaomi fans over which is the better sensor, the Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 or the Sony IMX586 (used in the Redmi Note 7 Pro). In our brief experience with the new Redmi Note 7S, its camera seemed to take decent photos, except that they were a bit overexposed for our liking. On the front, the Redmi Note 7S has the same 13-megapixel selfie shooter as other Redmi Note 7-series phones, and it takes nice-looking selfies under decent lighting conditions. We will be taking a detailed look at all the cameras on this new smartphone in our in-depth review.
The Redmi Note 7S is powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, the same processor that Xiaomi used for the Redmi Note 7. In our short time with this phone, it responded quickly to everything we threw at it. There were no signs of lag, which isn't surprising since the Redmi Note 7 with the same Snapdragon 660 and the same amount of RAM (4GB) did quite well when we reviewed it.
Among other features, Xiaomi has given this phone a rear fingerprint sensor, a USB Type-C port, a hybrid dual-SIM tray, an IR blaster, and 4G LTE support. There is AI Face Unlock as well. Additionally, the company has packed in a 4,000mAh battery as well as support for Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4 standard. All of this comes at a starting price of Rs. 10,999 for the variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and there's also a variant priced at Rs. 12,999 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage
In the constant rush to stay ahead of its competition, Xiaomi is hoping that the Redmi Note 7S will give buyers another option to choose from. The upgraded primary rear camera is the only difference between the new Redmi Note 7S and the Redmi Note 7. It also costs an extra Rs. 1,000, but will this phone dampen the Redmi Note 7 Pro's appeal? Keep reading Gadgets 360, as our full review of the Redmi Note 7S is coming up soon.