Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

Budget smartphones with top-tier - or at least near top-tier - specifications are what's selling like pancakes right now, and that's what Chinese giant Xiaomi is taking advantage of. Gone were the days where a powerful smartphone costs a kidney (I'm looking at you, Apple); you can have something that suits your needs plus a couple of additional features for a very affordable price in the form of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is a 4.7-inch HD Android smartphone that sports a relatively new 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, and an 8-megapixel rear camera. Its main highlight is its price-performance ratio, though admittedly the device is far from perfect. Here's our Xiaomi Redmi 1S review.

Design

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S upfront looks like a very uninspired smartphone from 2013. It looks very basic - not that there's nothing wrong with that, though there's nothing right with that either. In a local perspective, the Redmi 1S looks like most of the budget Cloudfone line, with its slab design and flushed camera.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

The front sports the smartphone's 4.7-inch display, a front-facing camera, a couple of sensors, a notification LED with multiple colours (same as the one from the Xiaomi Mi 3), and three soft-touch buttons. Unfortunately - and this I emphasize - the Redmi 1S's soft-touch buttons don't have LED lighting, so in dimly-lit environments you'll be relying only on muscle memory for navigation, which consequently affects user experience. For reference, certain mobile devices at the Redmi 1S's price point have LED lighting on their soft-touch buttons.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

The device's plastic backside meanwhile sports an 8-megapixel camera, a LED flash, a discreet loudspeaker (unfortunately placed beside the camera, and has the tendency to get muffled while holding the smartphone in the landscape orientation, especially when you're playing a game), and the Xiaomi logo, finished with an almost gunmetal gray matte paint. Honestly, if only local companies installed their logos with more flair and not just brush-on print, it would add another dimension of premium to their devices, but I digress. The sides meanwhile feature a sleep/wake button, a volume rocker, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a charging/micro USB port.

Lifting the plastic shell will reveal the 2000mAh battery, two mini SIM slots, and the microSD card slot.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is a pretty weighty smartphone. Devices with similar builds are almost always lighter, but the Redmi 1S is almost as heavy as my HTC One, which was wonderful because that in itself says something. Handling was also very manageable, since the device only has a small frame relative to today's flagship phones, and isn't that slippery.


Display

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S sports a 4.7-inch HD IPS display at a 1280x720 screen resolution with an up to 10-point multitouch, 312ppi, and has Asahi Dragontrail Glass reinforcement. For the benefit of those who don't know, Dragontrail Glass is an additional protective layer on your display that makes it extremely scratch-resistant. You can get a knife and drag it across the display and it won't get nicked. On another note, the device's 4.7-inch display carries some of the more sizeable bezels we've seen in an international device in a while. It isn't that disappointing though, since after all, the Redmi 1S is a budget device. 

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

The Redmi 1S's display, at 720p, produces crisp, vibrant images, with everything looking natural and well-saturated (as against oversaturated displays that look sickly colorful and in permanent HDR, but I digress). Also of note was the device's tendency to lean on yellowish whites instead of the regular bluish whites. The display was also unable to produce deep blacks - a preferential feature for apps with a night mode. These said, the smartphone gives you the ability to adjust the screen's color temperature and saturation. So for example, if you want a cooler, milder yellow on white display, just navigate to the display settings and switch the display temperature to Cool.


The Xiaomi Redmi 1S sports the company's own user interface - the MIUI (currently on version 6). The MIUI is reminiscent of Apple's iOS UI or even Gionee's AMIGO UI, operating with its rounded-corner square icons, to its no-drawer approach. To its credit, the UI doesn't have the slightest of chokes, a thing that's present on TouchWiz and AMIGO, though admittedly it can use a little more work on the design side; I don't believe the term "Simplicity is beauty" applies here. I could be wrong, since hundreds of thousands of smartphones have been shipped to buyers worldwide. The Redmi 1S's MIUI is sadly still based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.


On top of the regular Xiaomi MIUI skin, the Redmi 1S also carries what it calls a Lite Mode, wherein the phone simplifies the UI to its most basic - just a few, large squares on the home screen and rather large menu fonts. This was apparently implemented with old people in mind.

Performance

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, an Adreno 305 GPU, and a 1GB RAM. It's ahead of the performance game versus other similarly priced Mediatek devices, given that the internals are from Qualcomm, though in some instances user experience was negligible - the keywords being "some instances".

We ran our standard benchmarks in the Xiaomi Redmi 1S, and here's what we got.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

The Redmi 1S gave a good score in the AnTuTu benchmark. The device received a score of 21246, around 4000 higher than most devices in its range (most local quad-cores score around 17000), both specifications and price-wise. It's a testament on how well-built and optimized the smartphone is. Other benchmarks painted the same picture, putting the Xiaomi Redmi 1S to expectations.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

What this means realistically is that the Redmi 1S is a more than capable smartphone in handling your daily performance needs, such as not choking in crunch time performances like heavy gaming. Benchmarks aside, the device also gives a lot of value-for-money features, just simple implementations that make using the smartphone more convenient, such as a Do Not Disturb feature, an option to record your phone conversation on the spot, and even offering the ability to disallow privacy-invasive permissions from apps.

Browsing with the Xiaomi Redmi 1S' stock browser was a good experience. It's pretty fast in terms of rendering and loading times. WiFi connectivity performance was also good: the smartphone still picks up a consistent signal - around 2 to 3 bars - 20 feet away from the wireless WiFi source.

All the above said, the device unfortunately keeps on experiencing frequent random reboots, force closes, crashes, and freezes in regular use, making it feel unpolished in the software end. For instance, opening the Google Play Store or the Gallery will result in a crash of some sort, usually involving the app in use. There was also one time where waking up the device led to a reboot. For reference, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S in question was updated with the latest software available from the MIUI OTA section. These said, I subscribe to the idea that faults in a specific unit doesn't make all the units produced faulty. In short, the review unit might be a lemon, unless proven otherwise.


Considering the experience above, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is still a great performer for its price.

Audio and Video

With such a budget pricing, you shouldn't overexpect with the Xiaomi Redmi 1S. Sure it's got a fantastic display and a wonderful performance to boot, but it's a little weak on the sounds. More on that later.

Equipped with a 720p IPS display, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S relatively has great video playback, with no obvious pixelation or ghosting. This, however, is to be expected with devices nowadays. The NASA rocket launch video pictured below has very fluid smoke reproduction, and keeps its detail even when it gets paused (if you'll notice, most smartphones playing videos with dynamic movement loses significant image detail when the video is paused).

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

As previously mentioned, among the Achilles Heel of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is the audio department, specifically its loudspeaker. Music played from the device sounds weak and has strong crackling, especially on EDM and Dubstep tracks (playing the same audio track on two different devices, one being the Redmi 1S, yielded this result). For what its worth, highs and mids reproduced on the loudspeaker are moderately audible.

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S's package doesn't include headphones. You can puchase the Piston headphones separately for P695. For what it's worth, the headphones' performance is top-tier for its price, if general internet consensus is to be believed.

On call experience, the Redmi 1S's earpiece has enough power to deliver voice with clarity, making conversations moderately pleasant.

Gaming

Backed by a budget but formidable hardware, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S runs games smoothly. One of the more resource-intensive games of recent memory is Edge of Tomorrow. This game throws sprites, explosions, and AI like nobody's business, but the Redmi 1S was able to handle it. The same story goes with Asphalt 8: the game has plenty of dynamic movement, windows reflections, and sunlight shifts, yet the humble Redmi 1S can process the game at full speed.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S does start to heat up within 10 minutes of gaming. However, the heat was just warm enough to be tolerable, not hot. Unfortunately, gaming isn't immune to the device's random crashing.

Camera

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S sports an 8-megapixel rear camera  with autofocus and flash and a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera. The main shooter can capture up to 3264 x 2448 pixels, and has a 1.4 µm pixel size.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

On paper, the Redmi 1S's rear camera sounds unimpressive, but actually trying it proves otherwise. The photos produced by the device look clear and crisp, not missing a beat. Color levels are just the right level, with everything more or less with acceptable saturation and accuracy. However, warmth on images are a little off, with indoor and outdoor whites and yellows appearing with a bluish hue.

Sample photos below.


As you can see, the accuracy and noise levels at night-time environments are very decent. Frankly, there are better camera on other smartphones out there, but the Redmi 1S's 8-megapixel shooter at the device's price range is a very sweet deal.

Zoom levels on the device were also pretty decent. However, the autofocus feels like it can adjust the focus further but was stopping at the maximum allowable zoom.

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S's default camera app bears MIUI elements all around, and comes with your standard mobile photography features such as panorama, HDR, face-detection and geo-tagging features. It also has about 15 filters, the most refreshing of which are the mosaic (puts heavily pixelized blurs on the subject) and the mirror (mirrors half of the subject to make two proportional copies).

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

The Redmi 1S's camera has no shutter lag, which helps a lot in capturing time-critical photos that you would've otherwise missed if there was even a second of shutter delay. And lastly, the camera has a built-in QR code reader software. There's no need to install another separate app that does the same job. Just enable the feature on the advanced settings (it's enabled by default) and just hover around a QR code you want the device to read.

Battery

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S carries a 2000mAh removable Li-ion battery. Experience with the battery life was wonderful, primarily because it outperforms other devices with the same battery ratings or higher. Continuous and moderate regular use makes the Redmi 1S's juice last up to 12 hours. Conversely, heavy usage brings the battery from 100% to zero in about 5 1/2 hours. This is based on a video loop we performed with display brightness and volume both on maximum, with WiFi and Bluetooth enabled.


Charging time was surprisingly faster in the Xiaomi Redmi 1S versus other devices in the same range. It goes from empty to full in about 1 hour 40 minutes, provided you don't use it while charging.

Other Features

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S comes with Xiaomi's own cloud, aptly called the Mi Cloud. The service offers, among others, data usage conservation, effortless data migration from non-Xiaomi to Xiaomi devices, and an access from anywhere feature that lets you locate, lock, or erase the contents of your device remotely via i.xiaomi.com. It's a good feature, if not already tainted by previous issues that tell of the company's effort of acquiring user data without consent.


Secondly, the device has its own messaging service called the Mi Chat. It offers what most messaging services does, like send video messages, do wireless calls, send stickers and the like. As mentioned previously, there's also the Security app which enables the user to deny permissions certain apps are asking.


Last of the notable value-added features of the Redmi 1S is its in-house theme store. Fellow Xiaomi users from around the world share their themes via this store, and you can use them on your device for free.

Verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is a nice smartphone to have, primarily because of its price, its build, its performance, and the great value for money experience it offers (I appreciate the regular OTA updates highly). It's a reliable and affordable Android that leaves almost nothing to be desired.

There's not much positive remaining to say about the device, since it's all summed up perfectly in the sentences above. However,  for around the same amount, one can avail of smartphones with more cores, such as the SKK Phoenix X1, providing better performance, albeit there could be build quality issues. There's also that constant nagging Redmi 1S issue of constant crashing of apps and random rebooting. If the above doesn't trouble you (and if you don't mind soft touch keys with no LED lighting or more cores in a smartphone for almost the same price), the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is for you.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is available for P5,599 (SRP) at a major online store.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Specifications

OS: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, MIUI
Processor: 1.6GHz quad-core MSM8226 Snapdragon 400 processor, Adreno 305 GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 4.7-inch IPS LCD display, 1280x720 screen resolution, 312ppi, Asahi Dragontrail Glass, 10-point multitouch
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera with AF & flash, 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: 3G/HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 w/ A2DP, LE, micro USB 2.0, USB OTG, GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery:  2000mAh Li-ion battery, removable
Dimensions: 137 x 69 x 9.9mm, 158g
Price: P5,599

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1 comment :

  1. i made A xiaomi redmi 1s review video here,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JojcTZb-8nc

    ReplyDelete

 
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