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Redmi 7 First Impressions

Xiaomi recently introduced the Redmi 7 in the Philippines. It's a rare phone equipped with close to mid-range specs for its budget price tag.
Redmi 7 First Impressions
Meet Redmi 7, the next king of budget phones?

The company even dubbed it as the "fastest in class" as it is the most affordable phone equipped with the 1.8GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 632 octa-core processor in the country yet.

In particular, the starting price of this is just PHP 5,890 for the 2GB RAM/16GB ROM variant and PHP 6,490 for the 3GB RAM/32GB ROM version.

But aside from the specs, Xiaomi also said that the Redmi 7 is a great all-rounder especially for the price.

Let's see!

Note: We received the unit bare-bones, so we can't show you the unboxing experience. In their website, Xiaomi said that the package comes with a 5V/2A charger, charging cable, SIM ejector tool, protective cover, warranty card, and user guide.

Build Quality/Design

Back design
Back design

Redmi 7 sports a glossy glass-like 3D curved back, polycarbonate frame, and 2.5D glass display.  But of course, its glossy back is prone to micro scratches. Put clear case if you can to prevent unwanted damages.

There's nothing too special about its build, but at least it has Gorilla Glass 5 protection unlike most budget phones with no glass protection at all. In addition, Xiaomi added P2i coating to prevent water splash damage.

Design-wise, a phone with this style is uncommon for the price. Behind, it has a 3D curved glass-like design with flashy gradient color finish. The unit I have for review is the comet blue gradient color option which look pretty cool in my opinion.

You will also find the vertically-aligned dual-camera setup behind with a single LED flash underneath. In the middle of the back, you'll see the fingerprint scanner. Below, the Redmi by Xiaomi logo is located.

In front, there's a big 6.3-inch display with 19:9 screen aspect ratio and a tiny dot drop notch. It's one of the few with a small notch at this price point to provide more screen real estate. It goes with 86.83 percent of screen-to-body ratio in total. That's massive for a budget phone.

Since its screen-to-body ratio is large and the notch is small, the phone has slim side and top bezels. Only the chin bezel is a bit thick. But, that's understandable for a budget phone.

It measures at 158.65 x 76.43 x 8.47 mm. 8.47 mm is quite slim for a budget phone with big 4,000mAh battery.

On top, you will see the microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack slot, and an IR blaster. YES, it has an IR blaster remote control feature for your other electronic gadgets.

Below, you will find the second mic, micro USB charging/data port, and speaker grill. At left, there's a triple card tray for the dual SIM and microSD card. At right, the usual power button and volume rocker are easy to locate.

Overall, the phone is well built with good ergonomics. My only complain about its design is it is prone to fingerprint smudges. Fortunately, it is not slippery to hold as well.

Initial findings

The notch
The notch

1. Redmi 7 is a well-designed phone with glossy gradient design and big screen with small notch on a budget. Not everyone has a phone that looks this good at this price point. The 6.3-inch IPS screen is also quite nice even if it only has HD+ resolution. It even goes with 84 percent NTSC and 1500:1 contrast ratio.
Redmi 7 AnTuTu and Geekbench
Redmi 7 AnTuTu and Geekbench

2. Inside, it runs with a Snapdragon 632 processor. It's an octa-core chip based on the 14nm process. SD632 is the direct upgrade of the trusty 625. It's paired with Adreno 506 GPU, 2GB or 3GB RAM, 16GB or 32GB expandable storage, and 4,000mAh battery with micro USB charging.

Basically, this phone has the highest overall specs under PHP 6.5K in PH yet. It also goes with 4G LTE connectivity.

3. Redmi 7 is also one of the few that boots with Android 9.0 Pie OS out of the box. On top of it is the MIUI 10 skin that looks clean with minimal bloats. It's one of the better looking and most feature-rich skins right now.

4. The cameras are quite nice! Behind, there's a 12MP f/2.2 primary camera paired with a 2MP f/2.4 secondary camera for depth. It's also an AI-assisted dual-camera setup that can detect multiple scenes. Xiaomi also claimed that it is a decent low light shooter. For selfies, there's an 8MP f/2.0 shooter with HDR.

Related: Redmi 7: First Camera Samples

5. Redmi 7 is complete with a reliable fingerprint scanner behind, but I can't find the face unlock tech in the settings. But again, it is also one of the rare phones with an IR blaster that you can use as a remote control.

Redmi 7 Specs

Display: 6.3-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 5 protected IPS screen w/ HD+ 1520 x 720 resolution at 267 ppi
CPU: 1.8GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 632 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 506
ROM: 16GB/32GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera: 12MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4 w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8MP f/2.0 
Battery: 4,000mAh
OS: Android 9.0 Pie w/ MIUI 10
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, FM Radio GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, IR blaster, P2i coating, Colors: eclipse black, comet blue, lunar red
Dimensions: 158.65 x 76.43 x 8.47 mm
Weight: 180 g
Price: PHP 5,890 (2GB RAM/16GB ROM), PHP 6,490 (3GB RAM/32GB ROM)

As of the moment

Xiaomi nailed it again! Redmi 7 is looking to be one of the most competitive phones in its class. For me, it has the style, performance, and cameras to beat under PHP 6.5K so far.

But we will still take this phone to a spin in the next few days before our final take.

Stay tuned for our full review!
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