Besides the low price tag, the Redmi Note 3 offers a premium, beautiful design that is a first for its tier.
AT A GLANCE
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
650 hexa-core 1.8GHz
150 x 76 x 8.65mm
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Despite only coming into the market barely two years ago, the Redmi Note family has come a long way. Xiaomi has proven itself to be a company capable of great design and build quality. The Redmi Note 3 is no different. This budget-centric smartphone surprised us with its array of ﬂagship and premium features such as a ﬁngerprint sensor, metallic design and great build quality.
The Redmi Note 3 is the ﬁrst Xiaomi phone to have a full-metal body although there are still two plastic bands at the top and bottom of the phone for the antennas, while the textured ﬁnish on the rear also helps provide a better grip on the device. Holding the Redmi Note 3 in the hands will make you question how Xiaomi managed to include an aluminum body in a phone that costs below $300. Right-handed users will like the layout of the keys where the Back button is conveniently located closer to the right thumb.
One of the things we appreciated is the inclusion of backlighting for the capacitive buttons - they will light up whenever you touch the ﬁngerprint sensor or power button. Xiaomi claimed that the ﬁngerprint sensor unlocks in just 0.3 seconds. In our testing, it really was that fast. They stated that it uses Trustonic’s TEE chip-level ﬁngerprint sensor security.
To put it simply, the Redmi Note 3 should have the same level of security as Apple’s Touch ID; ﬁngerprint data is stored in a dedicated space within the hardware. For the Redmi Note 3, this security enclave is created with the help of Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment.
The Redmi Note 3 runs on MIUI 7 interface based on Android 5.1.1 OS (Lollipop), and this MIUI 7 interface supposedly has been optimized to run 30 percent faster than its predecessor. After updating all the preloaded apps, the Redmi Note 3 comes with about 22.70GB of available storage space. The model sold in Singapore comes with 32GB onboard storage space, which you can further increase up to another 32GB via microSD. The phone’s SIM card tray accommodates a micro-SIM card and a nano-SIM card. Both slots are capable of supporting 4G networks. The nano-SIM slot doubles up as the microSD slot though.
The Redmi Note 3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 hexa-core 1.8GHz processor and 3GB RAM. Like its predecessor, the Redmi Note 3 delivers more performance than its price tag would suggest. Navigation was smooth and there was hardly any lag, something that has plagued Xiaomi devices before the release of MIUI 7. RAM usage by the OS was still relatively heavy though; 1.7GB was available when we closed all apps in the background. Armed with a huge 4,000mAh battery, the Redmi Note 3 lasted 10 hours and 23 minutes in our battery test. The rear camera received a huge upgrade for the Redmi Note 3. You now get a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, 5-element lens, phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and a dual image signal processor.
With the exception of optical image stabilization, these specs are typically found in higher-end smartphones that cost twice as much. The photo-taking Hardware experience on the Redmi Note 3 was pleasant; the user interface is simple and straightforward to use. We like how Xiaomi did not try to clutter the interface with too many options. Manual Mode options are limited to white balance and ISO levels. There are also several camera modes such as HHT (low light mode), ﬁsh-eye effect, Beautify, Tilt-Shift and Panorama. Aside from its attractive price, the Redmi Note 3 offers a premium and beautiful design that is a ﬁrst for a product in its category.
The 5.5-inch display provides ample screen estate for all your needs from gaming to reading, while offering a comfortable grip thanks to its curved edges and textured metal. MIUI 7 is a huge improvement from previous versions, especially if you’ve been turned off by its laggy past. Overall, the new Redmi Note 3 performs within or above expectations in most areas and you will be unlikely to ﬁnd a compelling alternative for what it can offer.
The Redmi Note 3 runs on the
MIUI 7 interface, which has been
optimized to run 30 percent
faster than its preceeding UI.
Holding the Redmi Note 3 in the
hands will make you question
how Xiaomi managed to include
an aluminum body in a phone
that costs below $300.