The Redmi 7 series is finally here in India, about six months after the Xiaomi Redmi 6 series was unveiled. The successor now comes with a water drop notch, a beautiful gradient design, and few other updated features. In the recent past, manufacturers including Samsung have been striving hard to make their presence be felt in the sub 10k segment of the smartphone market, this has forced manufacturers like Xiaomi to refresh their line-up and improve on their current offerings.
The newly announced Xiaomi Redmi 7 is an all-rounder and is appealing to most people offering exactly what the public is looking for. The focus of the new smartphone is on overall value rather than emphasizing on one specific feature. Xiaomi hasn’t launched the Redmi 7 Pro or the lower cost Xiaomi Redmi 7A in the market yet, in this review we will compare the Redmi 7 with the competition form Honor, Realme, and Samsung.
Design and Display
The Redmi 7 looks very different from the older Redmi phones and completely breaks the mold. The brand has ditched the metallic design that was seen on the Xiaomi Redmi 6 and has now opted for a multi-colored glossy plastic like most other competitors. The device comes in three different colors including the Comet Blue, Lunar Red, and Eclipse Black.
The Comet Blue and the Lunar Red variants come with a color gradient on the back and this is called Aura Smoke design, this design is controversial as not everyone will like it. However, the overall effect is subtle compared to the other offerings that we’ve seen in recent times. The device comes included with a dark translucent plastic cover in the box which makes the finish less evident.
The Redmi 7 has a very similar design to the Redmi Y3, the device has a 6.26-inch display compared to the 5.45-inch display on the Redmi 6. The Redmi 7 is significantly bigger than its predecessors and also has slimmer borders overall. The device is also heavier at 180g and measures 8.47mm in thickness making it a handful to hold. The device is pretty big and you can feel the heft while holding it or carrying it in the pocket, the corners are also sometimes difficult to reach with just the thumb.
The brand has introduced the water drop notch even on the low-cost Redmi 7 with this generation, while the smartphone does have noticeable borders, the brand has opted for Gorilla Glass 5 to protect the display from scratches and cracks. The back of the smartphone is made of molded plastic and is finished with a Nanospray to repel water. The back panel of the device is very glossy and highly reflective, the fingerprints stick on to the back panel and smudges are very noticeable within moments of using the smartphone. We also noticed that the back panel is a dirt and fabric magnet probably due to the static energy being stored, despite careful handling, the back panel is easy to get scratched and scuffled.
The edges of the Redmi 7 are made out of matte plastic and offers good grip, the fingerprint sensor on the back and the power button to the right are well within the reach. The earpiece is above the front camera and is very slim, the sensor is mostly hidden and there is a tiny notification light in the chin below the display that lights up when the phone is charging. The top of the smartphone houses the 3.5mm headphone jack along with the infrared blaster for controlling the household appliances like TV, AV, and Audio Stereo. The top left of the smartphone houses the tray for the Nano SIM cards and a microSD card, there are two grilles on the bottom, one of them is for the speaker while the other is probably for the microphone.
The Xiaomi Redmi 7 still uses the microUSB port and we would’ve loved to see the USB Type C port on the device. While the device still uses a plastic body that isn’t lucrative to many, the device still looks pretty good and has a decent amount of heft. The Redmi 7 is, however, more attractive than its predecessors at the same price.
Performance and Software
The Redmi 7 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor which is the same as He Redmi Y3. This is a considerable improvement over the MediaTek Helio P22 present on the Redmi 6 or the Snapdragon 625 on the Redmi 6 Pro. The new Snapdragon 632 is powered by Qualcomm’s Kryo 250 CPU cores running at 1.8GHz and has an integrated Adreno 506 CPU. The device comes in two variants, the base model has 32GB of internal storage and has 2GB of RAM while the costlier variant at Rs 8,999 comes with 3GB of RAM. This is a surprising move considering that the Redmi 6 had 3GB of RAM across the variants and gave an option for either 32GB or 64GB internal storage.
The device runs on Android 9 Pie based MIUI 10.2 software, this is very similar to the software found on all the Redmi Devices. The lock screen defaults to the Wallpaper carousel which might include some advertisements, however, during the initial setup, there is an option to disable this option. This is the same platform used by Samsung on their M series smartphones, we found fewer ads and better-designed snippets on the Redmi 7 compared to the Samsung Galaxy M20.
The MIUI software doesn’t come with an app drawer and all the application icons are displayed on the home screen, there is also an app vault with various panels including shortcuts for specific tasks within certain applications. The MIUI task switcher has a tiled layout and is very handy to use. The Second Space feature in the MIUI allows the usage of a separate profile for private applications and data which can then be deleted at convenience. The dual apps feature allows you to runs instances of any applications and not just messengers as in some cases. There are a Mi Apps store and several first-party applications included along with ads in them. The Built-in music application allows you to stream from Hungama without any further setup, there is also a Security application for virus scanning and privacy enhancement.
The Redmi 7 performs decently, we got to test the 3GB RAM variant of the device, apart from the ads in the software, the rest of the experience was very smooth overall. We noticed an occasional lag while scrolling through the app switcher when there are multiple apps and their thumbnails being cached. The display is pretty good but the text is a little fuzzy at times and the sunlight usability isn’t the best. The benchmarks show a huge improvement over the Redmi 6 series, the AnTuTu scores were at 103,561 while Geekbench gave us a single core score of 1247 and a multi-core score of 4,333.
We tried out a few games on the Redmi 7 including the Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG, the Asphalt 9 somehow showed itself as incompatible on the Play Store so we had to sideload the game. The PUBG game ran at medium graphics pre-set by default and the game ran fine. The device did get slightly warm to the upper region of the rear of the smartphone.
The Redmi 7 comes with a 12MP primary sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and a 2MP secondary sensor for depth sensing. There is no telephoto or wide-angle lens in the device, however, similar to the Redmi Y3 there is an AI mode to adjust the camera settings automatically based on the scene being captured. The camera application contains several options including the Pro mode, Portrait mode, Beautification, Group Selfie, Time Lens and others. The device also supports bulk capture by holding down the shutter button and there is also an option to choose the metering levels.
We were pretty impressed by the photo samples overall and the shots captured in the bright sunlight had amazing details and a sharp focus. There were good details within the focused area, however, when the images were a little far away, it looked much worse. The Redmi 7 handles exposure pretty well in scenes that have bright light, however, the colors seem a little dull and lack the punch.
The low light shots actually came pretty good and the colors were preserved pretty well, there is, however, a lot of noise in most of the pictures being captured and the photos lacked detail when zoomed in. There is also a lot of motion blur and some bright areas are overexposed due to a slow shutter leading to a less than optimal image. Video recording is supported at 1080p at up to 60FPS and supports both, the H.264 and the H.265 codecs. The clips recorded were a little dull and had a lot of shakes, night recordings had low detail and a lot of noise.
The front camera of the device is pretty good, it uses an 8MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and has beautification turned on by default which is very aggressive. The overall images are pretty good, however, if selfie images are your priority then the Redmi Y3 might be a better choice over the Redmi 7.
The Xiaomi Redmi 7 offers some of the best features and modern design, the brand has worked a lot to improve the design and overall feel of the smartphone since the Redmi 6. The reduction in the RAM and lack of a 64GB variant is a big let-down, the Redmi Note 7 and the Redmi Y3 are both available for just Rs 1,000 more than the Redmi 7 and might be more lucrative to most buyers given the advantage they offer.