The Redmi Note 7S.
The Redmi Note 7S.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7s review: Fixed, even though nothing was broke

  • The Redmi Note 7s starts at 10,999 and bridges the gap between the the Redmi Note 7 and Note 7 Pro
  • It is essentially an improved Redmi Note 7 with an improved camera. Everything else remains the same

Xiaomi's sub-brand Redmi launched a new device in its popular Note line-up last week—the Redmi Note 7s. The Redmi Note 7s was initially launched to bridge the price gap between the Note 7 and 7 Pro, but the Chinese sub-brand later announced that the Note 7s would replace the Note 7 in the line-up.

While it is unclear why Xiaomi took the step of phasing out a smartphone that was launched only a couple months ago, even though nothing was really wrong with it, we do know that 7s does improve a bit on its cheaper sibling.

What has changed?

The price—the Redmi Note 7s starts at 10,999—just a 1,000 more than a top-specced Note 7.

Xiaomi is justifying this price bump by adding a 48MP camera, which not the same as the Redmi Note 7 Pro. The Note 7s has a Samsung GM1 sensor instead of the Sony IMX586 sensor found in the Note 7 Pro. The former is a bit cheaper and has a few trade-offs, especially during low-light scenarios, but the difference isn't big enough to be a deal breaker and is definitely a lot better than the outgoing Redmi Note 7.

The sensor tends to saturate photos in order to make them stand out a bit more. I expected a bit more detail out of it, given it's a 48MP sensor after all. But it still stands heads and shoulders above smartphones in its class.

Redmi Note 7s camera sample.
Redmi Note 7s camera sample.

Low light photography is acceptable, again given the price range, you can't really go wrong. The pixel binning definitely helps click a brighter image during tricky situations and the post-processing smoothens out the noise. The result is a softer image that is still usable.

Redmi Note 7s low light camera sample.
Redmi Note 7s low light camera sample.

What remains the same?

Literally everything else. It has the same dimensions, processor, battery capacity, memory and storage configurations as the Redmi Note 7. Even the front-facing camera is unchanged. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor paired with up to 4GB of RAM is more than enough get through most moderately intensive tasks.

You can also use it for casual gaming, just don't expect high-graphics, no-frame drops experience on PUBG.

The low power processor combined with a 4,000mAh battery also does wonders to make this a day and a half phone. On a few occasions, I could even stretch it to a second day.

The 6.3-inch full HD+ LCD display is great indoors but is a bit feeble outdoors. The backlight is just isn't powerful enough to view content clearly during a sunny afternoon.

The UI is the regular Xiaomi affair. It is a bit unpolished and the lack of an app drawer is a downer for me. Xiaomi seems to be taking user consent very seriously for its proprietary apps, which is a very good thing, except that everything has at least two confirmation screens. This is just nitpicking to be honest, because once you've set everything up, you're good to go, more or less.

Verdict

The Redmi Note 7s is a welcome addition to the Note 7-family. It bridges the gap well between the Note 7 and Note 7 Pro, but can't really justify why Xiaomi would want to replace the Note 7 with it.

For some buyers, 2,000 can be a major chunk of money. The 48MP Samsung sensor is, no doubt, a day and night difference from the Note 7's run-of-the-mill 12MP camera, that wasn't broken in any aspect. But some users may not really be into that and would just find the thought of buying a sub- 10,000 phone comforting enough.

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