Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 can shoot 4K videos, but requires a third party app
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 review: Beauty with a monster powerXiaomi Press Kit

Xiaomi's previous generation Redmi Note series had received a tremendous response in India as it came with top notch features, and there was hardly any competition to match it in the budget segment. Now, Xiaomi, in a bid to further get a grip on the budget phone segment, has introduced the well-crafted Redmi Note 3, which not only focuses on performance and battery life, but also on design language, photography and security.

We have been using Redmi Note 3 for more than three weeks and it has impressed in almost all aforementioned aspects.

Here's our take on Redmi Note 3:

Design and build quality (4.5/5):

Most of previous Xiaomi devices used to boast top-end internal hardware but were visually not so appealing. However, in 2016, Xiaomi has done a great job with the new phablet. The Redmi Note 3, in our opinion, is the best looking mid-range device out there in the Indian market.

The new phablet features metal-based unibody design and is curvier compared to its predecessor. On the back, its smooth metal cover is of top-notch quality and thanks to sand-blasted matte finish, its gives a good grip for the hand to hold on the phone and it also repels smudges caused by sweaty fingers.

Though there are two hard plastic strips -- one each on top and the bottom (to allow antennas receive uninterrupted signal), it's very hard to see the difference when looked from a distance. The company has put brushed-metal coating on them so that they in blend with metal-cover in the middle as the make them look real. 

When the Redmi Note 3 is held in hand, it's really light to hold despite use of metal for the outer shell. It weighs just 164g.

The Redmi Note 3 features fingerprint sensor on the back. It is placed below the camera module with dual LED flash for ease of access. Further down, a four-grille load speaker is placed.

On the right side, volume rockers and power buttons are placed one above the other, whereas the dual-SIM slot has been incorporated on the left side.

At the top, we find a mic, a 3.5mm audio jack and an IR sensor (to control TVs) and at the bottom, we find micro USB to left side with another mic beside it.

Display (4.5/5):

As far as display is concerned, its a treat to use Redmi Note 3 in both bright day light conditions and in dark environment as well, thanks to Sunlight display technology and Night Display mode.

For those unaware, using the Sunlight Display technology, the device intuitively adjusts brightness when it is being moved from well-lit closed environment to outdoors.

When Night Display mode is activated, the device controls Blue light emissions to prevent eye strain, while reading messages or browsing internet on the phone during the night.

Performance (4.5/5):

Xiaomi's new phablet houses Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 (ARM Cortex A72 dual-core + ARM Cortex A53 quad-core) series hexa-core SoC (System-on-Chip) with Adreno 510 graphics engine, making it the most powerful device in its class. The lower-end Redmi Note 3 (with 2GB RAM) scores an impressive 1499 and 3490 points in single-core and multi-core tests on Geekbench 3.

On 3D Mark benchmarking app, it again fared well with top-notch score of 825 points.

In AnTuTu, it scores a whopping 46,724 points, whereas the 3GB RAM model score goes north of 77,000 points range, comfortably beating the Snapdragon 810-powered OnePlus 2, Google Nexus 6P and few other flagship phones.

The phone is really quick while switching between multiple applications and there is hardly any lag when playing power-intensive games such as Asphalt 8 and others. We did feel the phone getting heated during extended gaming session, but this is not a big deal considering most phones do get hot when played for long.

Interface (4/5):

The Redmi Note 3 comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based MIUI v7.0 series interface. Though it is one generation old OS, people won't miss Marshmallow features like Doze, as the phone has its own power saving features and resource optimising software conserves RAM usage and distribute power based on priority among apps (depends on type of permission).

Just a few days back, our review unit received 240MB plus update. It brought new feature, wherein user can take photo by tapping fingerprint sensor. It also brought lots of bug fixes, which were reported by users on the company's "Report Bug" application, which comes pre-loaded with every Xiaomi device.

Report Bug is one of the hallmark initiatives of Xiaomi, which make their devices so desirable.

Camera (4.5/5):

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 boasts a 16MP camera with PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus) function, dual-tone LED flash, HDR, face/smile detection, dual-ISP (Image Signal Processor).

During our tests, it performed well under bright light conditions. The phone's camera produced really good quality pictures during the day, but the device could not repeat the same feat in a closed environment.

As far as front 5MP camera is concerned, it produced fine quality selfies. You can see the Redmi Note 3's pictures below.

1/6
  • Primary camera sample number 1, under bright light conditionsRohit KVN/ IBTimes India
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Primary camera sample 2, under bright sunlightRohit KVN/ IBTimes India
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 primary camera sample 3 during twilight conditionRohit KVN/ IBTimes India
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 primary camera sample 4 taken during night with flashRohit KVN/ IBTimes India
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Primary camera sample 5, taken during early morning without flashRohit KVN/ IBTimes India
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 front camera sample 1Rohit KVN/ IBTimes India

Battery (4.5/5):

One of the key attributes of the Redmi Note 3 is its battery. It houses a high-capacity 4050mAh battery.

During our testing, fully charged Redmi Note 3 lasted one and half days under mixed usage, which involved taking calls, occasional browsing of internet, few minutes of video playback and watching videos on YouTube for about half an hour.

If left idle, the phone was able to stay awake for more than a week.

It also boasts 5V 2A "Quick Charge" technology, where in the device gets charged to 50 percent within 30 minutes.

Honorable mention:

Besides a high-capacity battery and great design, fingerprint sensor is most notable feature of the Redmi Note 3. It takes a fraction of a second to take to fingerprint input and unlock the screen. Even the False Rejection Rate (FRR) is very low compared to other devices in the sub-Rs.12,000 price-range. Except when the finger is sweaty, biometric sensor was accurate all the time during our testing.

Verdict (4.4/5):

We used Redmi Note 3 for more than three weeks and tried to conduct every possible test to simulate normal day-to-day use and also went a step further to push the device to extreme use by playing high intense games, binge watching high resolution videos on YouTube, camera testing both in day light and night conditions. We are mighty impressed with the Xiaomi phablet. It fared well in almost all departments.

Pros:

  • Beautiful design language
  • Excellent battery life
  • Fingerprint sensor is of top-notch quality
  • Timely update for bugs

Cons:

  • Camera performance in dark light conditions could have been better

Key specifications of Redmi Note 3:

Models Redmi Note 3
Display 5.5-inch full HD (1920 x1080p) LCD screen with wide 178° viewing angle, Sunlight display technology, Night Mode
  • Pixel density: 401 ppi (pixels per inch)
OS Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based MIUI 7.0
Processor 64-bit class Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 Hexa-core (ARM Cortex A72 dual-core + ARM Cortex A53 quad-core)
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 510 GPU
RAM 2GB / 3GB dual channel LPDDR3
Storage 16GB (expandable up to 32GB)/32GB [eMMC v5.0]
Camera Main: 16.0-megapixel camera with PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus) function, dual-tone LED flash, HDR, face/smile detection, dual-ISP (Image Signal Processor)Front: 5.0-megapixel camera with 36 smart beauty profiles
Battery 4050 mAh
  • GPS navigation: up to 14 hours
  • Speaker music playback: close to 32 hours
  • Headphone music playback: up to 60 hours
  • Standby mode: close to 22 days
  • 5V 2A "Quick Charge" technology, where in the device get charged to 50 percent within 30 minutes.
Network 4G-LTE (all four bands- 4, 5, 40 and 41)
Add-ons Metal-body, finger-print sensor, dual-SIM slots (nano+micro), Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth, GPRS, A-GPS, FM Radio, micro-USB, USB OTG, VoLTE (Voice-over-LTE) HD voice and video call, IR (infrared) remote feature,
Dimensions 150 x 76.0 x 8.65mm
Weight 164 g
Colour options Silver, gold and dark grey
Price
  • 16GB: Rs 9,999
  • 32GB: Rs 11,999
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