Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi might be leading in India, but the company is largely known as a budget brand and has failed to sell premium phones multiple times. The Redmi K20 Pro is an effort at breaking that image and delivering a phone in the more premium price segments.
This isn’t the first time that Xiaomi has tried it, but it’s the first time its budget focused Redmi brand is being used to target buyers in the mid- to premium segments. The company confirmed that the Redmi K series will be a new range, and that there will be more (presumably premium) phones in this range in future.
Interestingly though, while the Redmi K20 Pro does elevate Xiaomi’s Redmi brand into a new price segment, it also retains some of the elements of the affordable Redmi series. For instance, the phone has a premium and colourful glass finish on the back, but it doesn’t have the curved designs that companies like OnePlus and others have adopted. Of course, that can be excused, given that this phone is considerably cheaper than phones like the OnePlus 7 and others.
Where the phone reeks of the old school Xiaomi though is its performance. MIUI is still a considerably heavy software interface, but with the Snapdragon 855 chipset inside, it runs without any distinct lags. It’s not the fastest phone out there still, and the OnePlus 7 or 7 Pro are still noticeably faster if used side-by-side, but there’s nothing to complain about with this one either.
It also has a bright and colourful AMOLED display, which again punches above its weight. Colours are pleasantly oversaturated and it covers a wide enough colour space to make your content look good. You get only 1080p resolution, but that’s reasonable at the reduced price.
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To cover all its bases, the Redmi K20 Pro also has three cameras on the back and a pop-up front camera. It sports wide-angle (13MP), telephoto (8MP) and a standard (48MP) camera on the back.
Quality of imaging from the standard camera is very similar to the Redmi Note 7 Pro. It shoots good photos in bright or daylight conditions, but drops quality in low light. It’s a far cry from the Pixel phones by Google, but much closer to OnePlus’ camera on the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro, even after the company’s new camera update.
Xiaomi’s camera is weakest when you’re shooting with the telephoto lens. That camera works only in well lit conditions and shoots dark, below par photos if the light conditions are anything less than ideal.
There’s an AI camera mode, which will suit your tastes if you like slightly oversaturated shots. However, for those who like more natural colours in the images, the non-AI mode is better, but still not perfect.
The Redmi K20 Pro also supports fast charging, but the company doesn’t include a fast charger in the box, just like it doesn’t have headphones in the box.
In sum, if OnePlus was the brand for those looking for a reasonably priced flagship smartphone, the Redmi K20 Pro now fills that space. Other than the fact that the Redmi K20 Pro doesn’t have a curved screen, there’s really no significant compromise here.
Xiaomi has done what it has been known for—undercut its competition. The Redmi K20 Pro is not a phone that people buying a Samsung Galaxy flagship, Google Pixel or Apple iPhone would buy, but it could easily be a more value-for-money alternative for OnePlus 7 or Honor View 20 buyers. Having failed to penetrate the ₹25,000 plus segment with its Mi phones, if there’s one phone that can help Xiaomi succeed here, it has to be this one. Just as long as it can shed its “budget phone maker" image.