Xiaomi Redmi 7 review: Good looks, long battery life and decent camera make it a good deal
Last week Xiaomi launched the Redmi 7, a phone with a price tag of Rs 7,999 as well as the phone that is the successor to the last year's Redmi 6. The new phone, that is the Redmi 7, is a major upgrade over the Redmi 6 in almost every way. It is significantly different from its predecessor in screen, camera, core hardware and battery capacity. In a way, the Redmi 7 is a phone that reinvents the entry-level Redmi series and it does it well.
I'm using the Redmi 7 for nearly a week now and must say that Xiaomi has done a splendid job as far as the design of the smartphone is concerned. We at India Today Tech reviewed the Redmi 6 last year and had found it to be a good phone for its price. But at the same time there were aspects of the phone that we felt could have been better. It is as if Xiaomi took meticulous notes of all that we said about the Redmi 6 and with the Redmi 7 set out to fix whatever niggles we had. But enough about the Redmi 6, enough of the context, let's deep dive into the Redmi 7. After all, it is the review of the new phone.
Redmi 7 design
I believe that for the price the Redmi 7 looks stunning. There is no better way to describe it. For Rs 7,999, the Redmi 7 brings gradient finish, funky colours, dot notch, and good screen-to-body ratio to consumers. There's no other phone at this price segment that offers the design aesthetics that Redmi 7 does.
The gradient design of the phone in particular is one of the best bits. Xiaomi calls it Aura Smoke and the way the colours shift on the back panel of the phone looks very enticing. I'm using the Comet Blue variant of the phone and love how the gradient transforms from the darker shade of blue to lighter. The change in colour is extremely smooth and that makes the phone look appealing to the eyes. It also makes the look much pricier, even though there is no metal or glass in the Redmi 7 back panel. Unlike the Redmi Note 7, which costs more, the Redmi 7 uses a plastic body with metal frame. But it looks good in the hands nonetheless.
The overall build quality of the Redmi 7 is spot on. It feels sturdy and dense. There is a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 on top of the screen and that adds to the sturdy design.
Redmi 7 display
If there is one area where I believe the Redmi 7 could have been better then display it is. I recently reviewed the Redmi Note 7, the Redmi Note 7 Pro for India Today Tech and I had mentioned about the dull displays on those phones, something that is no issue in indoor settings but under the sun takes the sheen away from these otherwise excellent phones. I have the same complaint from the Redmi 7.
Indoors, keeping the screen brightness between 40 - 50 per cent works well for me. But the problem is using the phone under the blazing sunlight. For me, even cranking the brightness to 100 per cent wasn't sufficient to see the screen of the phone clearly. I have a tendency to text while going back home from the office - that's around 4PM - and found it extremely difficult to message on the Redmi 7 even after increasing the screen brightness to 100 per cent. Overall, the Redmi 7 is a good phone to watch videos, movies, play games or text mostly in indoor situation.
Indoors the multimedia experience turns out to be pretty good. I loved watching Friends on the Redmi 7, but while watching a show called Delhi Crime - that mostly has scenes shot at night and hence rather dark - I believe the viewing angles could have been better and the screen slightly brighter. Just to add, if you try to watch on the Redmi 7 the latest Game of Thrones Season 8 Third Episode, which is quite dark because winter is dark and Winterfell particularly so, the experience will not be nice. But videos shot in good lighting appear great on the large 6.26-inch display of the Redmi 7.
Redmi 7 performance and software
I must give credit to Xiaomi to bring Snapdragon 600 series chipset to a phone under Rs 8,000. The Redmi 7 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 632 processor paired with up to 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage - it also comes with expandable storage slot. To recall, last year's Redmi 6 comes with a 12nm Helio P22 octa-core processor that clock up to 2.0GHz.
I used the Redmi 7 as my primary device for a week and believe it is capable enough to handle day-to-day task easily. However, the phone did show signs of stutters while opening apps, switching between two apps, particularly when too many apps were open in the background. Basically, don't expect a flagship class or even Redmi Note 7 class performance from the Redmi 7. I often had to clear the background apps for the phone to work smoothly. In particular the camera app felt buggy. When I was using the phone it took me a lot of time to switch between the Gallery app and Camera app.
As far as the gaming is concerned, the Redmi 7 handles basic games like Subway Surfers, Candy Crush well. The phone is also capable of running PUBG and Temple Run but the games did lag occasionally. There were times when PUGB app crashed in between a match and I had to restart the game from the start. It was irritating, but then when you are using an entry-level smartphone you must cut some slack and be a little patient with it.
Overall, I feel that the Redmi 7 performance is a mixed bag. The phone is good for basic usage but definitely isn't for the power users. People who game a lot, or if you want smoother performance, should try to increase their budget and get something like the Mi A2 or the Redmi Note 7 Pro.
Redmi 7 battery
The Redmi 7 comes with a massive 4000mAh battery, which is much bigger than what we saw inside the Redmi 6. And no wonder the fantastic battery life is the result of this big battery. For me, the Redmi 7 lasts over a day and half on a single charge. While reviewing the Redmi 7 I used it as my primary device and I was blown with the battery life it offered. With such an incredible battery life, the icing on the cake would have been fast charging support. Sadly that is not there, and I believe understandably so because the price. The Redmi 7 comes bundled with a 10W charge in the box and it takes nearly 2 hours to charge from 0 to 100 per cent. The Redmi 7 comes with micro USB support and not Type C.
Redmi 7 camera
On paper, the Redmi 7 includes a dual-camera module that is similar to what we saw in the Redmi Note 7. This means the primary camera is paired with a 12-megapixel sensor and the secondary camera, which captures the depth information for portrait mode photos, uses a 2-megapixel sensor. After using the Redmi Note 7 and the Redmi 7, I believe that even though the Redmi 7 has a similar camera module, it's performance when you click photos is a notch below the more expensive Redmi.
The Redmi 7 captures decent pictures in good lighting condition. But in low-light, it struggles, particularly with details.
Pictures clicked with the Redmi 7 in daylight look fairly good with mostly accurate colours and enough details. However, the focusing is slightly slow and hence I sometimes ended up with blurry photos. Basically, you will have to a little patient with the Redmi 7 camera, and if you are you will likely end up good photos when the light is good.
The performance of the camera indoors or in low light is average. I neither expected the Pixel-class low light photos from the Redmi 7 nor got them. The colours in images shot indoors are mostly fine but high amount of grain and low details means that the Redmi 7 will not click any mesmerising night photos for you.
On the front, the Redmi 7 uses an 8-megapixel camera and its performance is very good, particularly when you account for the price of the phone. The selfies look decent with good amount of details as well as nice colours. Even the portrait shots clicked using the selfie camera turn out to be better than expected.
Most phones under Rs 8,000 struggle to click good photos, so I know I should not judge the Redmi 7 camera too harshly. In fact, it is fairly good when the light is optimum but there is room for improvement.
Should you buy Redmi 7 for Rs 7,999?
Yes. The Redmi 7 is a good phone for its price. The Redmi 7 looks stunning for its price. The gradient finish is a highlight of the phone. And in other aspects, the Redmi 7 is a mixed bag. The phone manages to click pretty good pictures in good light, offers great battery life - possibly one the best under Rs 10,000 -- has decent performance, and comes in several funky colours. I wish the display could have brighter. But regardless, the value that Redmi 7 offers for the price is great. Go for it if you don't want to splurge more than Rs 8,000 on your smartphone.