Xiaomi Redmi Note3-A Cost-Effective Smartphone
Xiaomi’s phones is one of the most popular smartphones in China. You know Redmi is the Xiaomi’s budget smartphone line-up, and the Note 3 sits at the top of the series as an all-metal Android phablet with a fantastic design and decent performance.
As we mentioned, Xiaomi doesn’t officially sell its phones in the UK, but you can buy them from third-party suppliers such as GearBest. Indeed, GearBest supplied our review sample of the Xiaomi Note 3, a gold handset with 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. To buy this phone from GearBest today you’ll pay £118.27, although it’s also worth considering the Note 3 variant with 32GB of internal storage and 3GB of RAM, given that there’s no support for microSD and performance should be better.
One of the things to watch out for when buying a phone from China is that it is supported by your network. In the UK, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 operates on only the UK 4G LTE bands 3 and 7, which means band 20 frequency used by O2 and piggyback networks such as giffgaff is not supported. Should your network be supported, however, the Note 3 offers 4G connectivity on both of its dual-SIM slots (this is a dual-standby phone that accepts two Micro-SIM cards). Also see: Best dual-SIM phones and dual-SIM phone buying advice.Other connectivity options are excellent, too, covering the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, an IR blaster, GPS and GLONASS, although there’s no NFC.
Despite being a budget smartphone, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 has some capable hardware inside, with the 2GHz MediaTek Helio X10 chip, a PowerVR Rogue 6200 GPU and a huge 4000mAh battery. Even the 2GB of RAM model was capable of raw processing performance faster than that of every phone we’ve tested bar the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge, although it fell down somewhat in our graphics tests.As Xiaomi’s first all-metal Redmi Note, the 3 is a gorgeous in its gold incarnation with a sandblasted smooth outer shell and 5.5in full-HD display. A fingerprint scanner is fitted to the rear, alongside a 13Mp camera with two-tone flash. Around the front you get a 5Mp selfie camera.
The MIUI 7 Android 5 Lollipop-based OS is well regarded in China, if not ideally suited to UK users out of the box. As we’ve said it’s quite possible to change this setup, but it’s perhaps not something novice Android users would be comfortable in doing. But that’s all that would stop us thoroughly recommending the Redmi Note 3 as one of the best budget Android phones money can buy. Let’s find out why.
While the Redmi Note 3 has some of the markings of a budget Android phone – it’s on the chunky side at 8.65mm , plus there’s the rear-mounted speaker and now outdated Micro-USB port – it looks good enough to take on the iPhone in the design stakes. Despite housing both a large 5.5in screen and a high-capacity battery, this Xiaomi phablet feels fantastic in the hand. It’s reassuringly weighty without being heavy at 164g, and rounded edges on the rear make it feel smaller than it is. On occasion you might want to use it in both hands, but we didn’t have trouble reaching to the far corner of the screen with a thumb when required. As with the Mi 4C there’s also an easily accessible one-handed mode that lets you shrink down the contents of the screen to 4.5-, 4- or even 3.5in.
The gold metal shell is sandblasted to a smooth-to-the-touch but matte-effect finish. This contrasts nicely with the shiny polished edging seen around the screen, fingerprint scanner, camera and flash, and even the shiny Mi logo on the rear. It really is a premium-looking smartphone.
Xiaomi has specified a 2GHz MediaTek MT6795 Helio X10 64-bit octa-core processor, PowerVR Rogue G6200 GPU and 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM. There’s also 16GB of internal storage , and a huge-capacity 4000mAh non-removable battery that is charged over Micro-USB.
The Xiaomi supports Performance and Balanced operation modes; we ran it in Performance mode for the sake of our benchmarks, although Balanced will provide longer runtime. Even so, we got a good two days use out of the Note 3 in Performance mode.