After the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Xiaomi has launched the more cost-effective Redmi 7. It will cost ₹7,999 for the 2GB/32GB variant, while the 3GB/32GB variant is priced at ₹8,999. The smartphone will be available through both offline and online stores and the first round of sales start today.
Design hasn't been a strong suit for Xiaomi’s budget phones. They have usually stand tall on their hardware prowess. With the new Redmi Note 7 Pro and now the Redmi 7, the company has switched to the glass-like (a version of plexiglass-like substance) back, which looks a lot more premium than the full metal jacket on the Redmi 6.
It looks a lot more appealing in the blue and red colour variants. Hefty phones with a glass back can be a recipe for disaster. At 180g, the Redmi 7 feels substantial yet it doesn't ever feel unmanageable. The brushed metal frame ensures a firm grip over the phone. The Galaxy M10 is lighter at 163g and comes in black and blue colours. However, it looks and feels like a budget smartphone with what seems like a glossy plastic back.
The front has the teardrop design with higher screen to body ratio of 86.83%. The Samsung Galaxy M10 has the same design but with a smaller chin, and a higher screen-to-body ratio of 90%.
Unlike its predecessor, the Redmi 6, there isn’t a big difference in the screen-size of the Redmi 7 and Redmi Note 7. The former has a 6.26-inch screen, but with lower resolution of 1,280x750p. One could argue that it isn't a deal-breaker and is reasonable for the price, as even without full HD resolution, the Redmi 7’s screen doesn't disappoint.
Colours in videos and games look good. The Samsung Galaxy M10 has similar screen-size and resolution, but the Redmi 7’s screen offers better contrast, which makes watching movies more enjoyable on it.
Interestingly, Xiaomi has used Corning Glass 5 on the display. It won't scratch too easily and should withstand some light drops.
What sets the Redmi 7 apart from its competition is the fact that it runs on a fairly powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset, usually seen in smartphones above ₹10,000. It was able to wade through most apps and tasks with ease and can even handle games like FIFA Mobile and Real Cricket 2019 very well.
Xiaomi has been a bit stingy in the memory department, though. The entry-level variant offers just 2GB RAM, which can be a bit low for users who like to multi-task on their phones.
Users can always expand the storage with a micro-SD card and Xiaomi has kept the card slot separate from the dual-SIM slots, so one can use all three simultaneously. The 4,000mAh battery is bigger than the Galaxy M10’s 3,400mAh battery but slightly lower than Realme 3’s 4,230mAh battery. However, all three can comfortably see off a full day.
In the software department, the Redmi 7 is a trademark Xiaomi device running the company's proprietary user interface, MIUI 10. It runs on top of Android 9 out-of-the-box. It feels slightly more polished than Samsung's new custom UI, running on the M10.
A weak link in Xiaomi phones is the camera. While Xiaomi has addressed that with the Redmi Note 7 Pro, the Redmi 7 feels like a chip off the old block. It has a 12-MP camera for regular shots and a 2MP depth camera for bokeh shots. While portrait shots look good, regular landscape shots lack clarity and even colours look washed out. The Galaxy M10’s camera was able to turn in more detail. The Realme 3 has the best camera of the three in terms of detail reproduction and it offers 2x optical zoom too.
Redmi 7 has an edge over the Galaxy M10 in terms of display, UI and design. The Realme 3 on the other hand is on par with it in terms of looks with its dual tone finish, battery backup, and overall performance. However, its custom UI is quite bland compared to MIUI 10. Overall, Redmi 7 is a dependable smartphone that ticks most of the right boxes.