Review Xiaomi Redmi 3

Discussion in 'Gadgets and Consumer Electronics' started by JD666, Mar 27, 2016.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Yep, the Redmi 3, not the Note 3. The 5 inch, 720P update to the 4.7 inch Redmi 2/Redmi Prime.

    20160312_122244.jpg

    I was busy with traveling and the Samsung A3, that I couldn't give this device due time. However after returning, I was able to play around with it, and fix some minor issues that the device had, out of the box. More on that later.

    First up, un boxing and comparison for size. Then I'll share some photo samples between the Redmi 2, this and the iPhone 6S and the Samsung A3 for good measure.


    20160312_122154.jpg

    Xiaomi have taken a departure from their basic, recycled cardboard finish for the Redmi 2 (right), and have opted for an Apple like, white cardboard finish. The packaging is slightly slimmer, however has grown marginally.

    20160312_122211.jpg

    The Redmi 3 being launched in the Chinese market only, comes with the information in Mandarin. However it is possible to make out the information that it packs a 8 Core SnapDragon 616 processor, and a 4000 mAH battery.

    What had me excited the most was the battery, and the fact that the SnapDragon 616 is quite an adept processor, considering the performance of the Mi4i has been so impressive with the SnapDragon 615.

    20160312_122317.jpg

    Pulling the top off, I was quite surprised to see a haphazardly installed screen protector with so many bubbles. As if someone just did a shoddy job by hand, and didn't bother any more. Why waste the plastic, if it cannot be installed properly.

    20160312_122337.jpg

    In the hand, it feels noticeably bigger than the Redmi 2, and is bigger than the iPhone 6s as well. This device probably hits the upper limit of a device size that I can handle. At 139 mm in height, it is 1 mm greater than the iPhone 6S, and a whole 5 mm taller than the Redmi 2.

    It is slimmer, but only so at 8.5mm vs the 9.4 of the Redmi 2. The iPhone is obviously the slimmest at 7.1.

    The Redmi 2 was the ideal size in width, at 67.2 vs the 67.1 of the iPhone. This takes it slightly further at 69.6 mm.

    20160312_122421.jpg

    All 3 devices alongside. Note that the iPhone has a slim cover on, and the Samsung A3 is not doing a good job of focusing.

    20160312_122407.jpg

    The Redmi 3 and the Redmi 2.

    20160312_122434.jpg

    The back of the Redmi 3 is what everyone is talking about. The diamond cut pattern (to be honest) is not to everyone's liking. It's a hit or miss of sorts. Perhaps if they would've done a black finish with this, it would've been an interesting finish.

    20160312_122506.jpg

    The pattern catches the light well, and does give a unique appearance. Personally, I would've liked the option for a simpler linear design. Vertical lines all across the panel, would've given an impression of a slim device as well.

    A lot of people online point out the plastic bits at the top and the bottom. But what they fail to mention is how cheap(ish) they look on either side of the metal finish. The tiny plastic nub above the grille is to keep the speaker from being muffled on a flat surface.

    20160312_122509.jpg

    20160312_122512.jpg

    The 13 MP sensor sits flush, and the flash is quite bright if not two tone.

    Personally, I prefer the grippier, matt finish of the Redmi 2 over the Redmi 3. This does add some premium feel, but it isn't what one would really like.

    20160312_122516.jpg

    The bottom holds the Mic and the USB port. During my charging test with my new USB current draw measurement tool, I saw that this was pulling as much as 2.55 Amps for charging.

    20160312_122525.jpg

    The right side has the power and volume buttons. Similar to the Redmi 2, however the finish and response is better.

    20160312_122528.jpg

    The top houses the 3.5mm Jack, the Noise cancellation Mic and the Infra red blaster. I've had a great time setting up Mi Remote (a default app) and using the remote to operate my LCD TV and Home Theater. Good bye remotes!

    The other side houses the SIM Card tray. Similar to configurations in the market currently, you can either use the device in Dual SIM mode, or Single SIM and expandable memory mode.

    Some people with good crafting skills have manage to shave their SIM cards to the bare minimum and shove them in the tray along with the MicroSD card. This makes the device detect both SIM cards as well as the expandable memory.

    Definitely not recommended.

    20160312_122604.jpg

    Here's how the Redmi 2 stacks up against the Redmi 3 in the hand. As you can see, the difference is quite noticeable.

    20160312_122610.jpg

    Shelving the phone on the pinky, the weight of the device does make itself evident. At 144 Gms, it's 11 Gms heavier than the Redmi 2. Some of this would be attributed to the battery, which I don't mind at all.

    20160312_122840.jpg

    Also included in the packaging was a small Charger, SIM tray release pin, and a USB cable with documentation.

    20160312_122848.jpg

    The charger is a compact 2Amp unit. Definitely recommended, considering the capacity of the battery on this one.

    Moving on, let's talk about the device UI/Camera/performance etc.
     
  2. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    I was expecting the Redmi 3 to come with the China specific ROM. However when I powered up and started setting up the device, I was surprised to see all the bloatware that was installed.

    Screenshot_1971-01-01-04-00-59_com.miui.home.jpg


    This is just a simpler view, after removing what all I could. The device also had some sort of optimizer/custom launcher that would make a rocket shoot across the scene and then satellites would float over across the screen. Seriously, not kidding.

    Google to the rescue. I first found a method to install Google Play store along with all Google services.

    Turns out, there is an app that you download and run, and it does the job for you. It was developed for the Redmi Note 3, but to my luck, it worked for the Redmi 3 as well.

    After installing Google play services, I was able to run a quick bench on Antutu, and this was the result -

    Screenshot_2016-03-13-01-41-26_com.antutu.ABenchMark.jpg

    Which was very very surprising, since online scores indicate this device to be in the 35k zone.

    Some more research told me that online resellers are installing bloatware filled ROMs on the devices that they are selling/shipping. For some revenue model of theirs, they make some money upon installing these unwanted/and hard to remove apps on devices.

    Some time later, I found the Mi PC Suite (Useful device if you are a Mi device user) and flashed the stock Chinese ROM on the device.

    Voila, all the unwanted bloatware gone. There were some apps present, but they all were a breeze to un-install.

    Difference? Same device, stock ROM -

    Screenshot_2016-03-22-10-40-35_com.antutu.ABenchMark.jpg

    Yep, 4,500 points. Comparing the Samsung A3 to the Redmi 3, the Samsung scored 35,778 to the 34,946 of the Redmi3. But where it outdid the Redmi was in 3D (nearly double) and RAM.

    A lot has been said about the RAM optimization on the S7 Exynos as well. It apparently does a better job than the 820 S7.

    Ditto for GeekBench - Before and after -

    Before -

    Screenshot_2016-03-13-01-51-06_com.primatelabs.geekbench.jpg


    After -

    Screenshot_2016-03-27-00-36-23_com.primatelabs.geekbench.png

    Worth mentioning is that the earlier tests were done after installing Google apps on the bloatware loaded ROM, and this test was just done, after installing over 40 Apps that I use and under daily use.

    Thanks to the octa-core processing, the Redmi 3 does out do the Samsung A3 at 696 for single core and 2156 at multi core score. But just about.

    The reason I keep drawing these comparisons are due to the fact that both devices come in at vastly different price points, but cater to a similar segment.

     
  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Living with the Redmi 3 -

    I used the Redmi 3 over a week or so now. MiUi is as smooth as before. Picking up the Redmi 2 from time to time, the SnapDragon 410 makes the UI difference evident. Though the Redmi 2 is still an extremely capable device, it sadly cannot compete with the Redmi 3.

    Seeing the size go up in the Redmi 3 is surely a point of disappointment for me. However the improved battery life, and the Reading mode (filters out blue light at night) are welcome additions.

    The Redmi 3 does not heat up, not even as much as the Redmi 2. Running benches, I just felt the back of the device to be warm to the touch, that is about it.

    The camera though, is an improvement over the Redmi 2. However images are about average. The capture is snappy, and I like that.

    Battery life is whopping. Here's a shot for reference -

    Screenshot_2016-03-26-17-09-09_com.miui.securitycenter.jpg

    After 35 hours, with mixed usage, Video streaming via LTE/4G and other usage -

    Screenshot_2016-03-26-17-09-26_com.miui.securitycenter.jpg

    Which is stellar to say the least. This device reminded me of my Motorola Razr Maxx (purchased and discussed here in 2012).

    The Redmi 3 does great duty as a back up phone. Or a device that you wanna burn your data on. With a 10Gb pack here, I have no issues running the device a full day on 4G.

    A solid move indeed, packing in such a high capacity battery.

    Next up, I'm going to take some camera shots, compare them and share here.
     
  4. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Photo shot comparos. Between the Redmi 3 and Redmi 2.

    Not much to pick between an 8MP shooter of the Redmi 2 and the 13 MP shooter of the 3. However I added the Samsung A3 (2016) images for comparison, simply coz they turned out so well.

    Images were resized to half, using picture tray, and 3 shots were taken, with the devices mounted on a tripod. Flash off, HDR and Flash on.

    Flash Off -

    First up Redmi 3 -

    IMG_20160313_213414.jpg

    Redmi 2 -

    IMG_20160313_213741.jpg

    The difference in Baby Darth's face is evident.

    Samsung A3 -

    20160313_213538.jpg

    Still not close enough.


    II - HDR Mode -

    Redmi 3 -

    IMG_20160313_213418_HDR.jpg


    Redmi 2 -

    IMG_20160313_213756_HDR.jpg

    Samsung A3 -

    20160313_213529_Richtone(HDR).jpg

    The Redmi 3 definitely takes the cake here.

    III - Flash on -

    Redmi 3 -

    IMG_20160313_213428.jpg

    Redmi 2 -

    IMG_20160313_213750.jpg

    The flash on the Redmi 3 was more on the natural tone side, even though it's not a two-tone flash.

    Samsung A3 - 2016 -

    20160313_213824.jpg

    Samsung has the brightest LED of the 3. No surprises that the wood looks so washed out.
    --- Double Post Merged, Apr 1, 2016 ---
    The camera is good for everyday shooting, but in some colors I find it lacking compared to the Samsung. For the price, there might be some alternates, but at the overall package it suits about right.
     

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