Xiaomi is another emerging mobile smartphone manufacturer from China, famed for its competitively priced devices and strong emphasis on user feedback. If you remember, its flagship Mi3 sold 100,000 units in a record 86 seconds back in October 2013. The Chinese brand is already fifth largest in China behind Samsung, Nokia, Apple and Huawei. As part of its expansion strategy outside of its home country, Xiaomi is set to enter Singapore on 21 February 2014.
Unfortunately, Xiaomi has chosen not to bring drool-worthy Mi3 to mark its debut, but instead bringing the budget-friendly Redmi (also known as “Hongmi” in China”. The Redmi is a sub-RM500 feature packed smartphone that would give phones like the Moto G or Ninetology U9R1 a run for its money.
In the heart of most budget, entry-level smartphones these days is the quad-core MediaTek MTK 6589T processor, rated at 1.5Ghz. The reliable chipset is supported by the Imagination PowerVR SGX544 GPU. RAM is at a bare minimum 1GB and storage a rather paltry 4GB. The good news is that it comes with a microSD slot allowing additional storage of up to 32GB.
Impressively, the Redmi sports a 4.7-inch HD 720p (1280×720 @ 321PPI) display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2. Xiaomi has not skimped in terms of optics, packing in a 8MP main camera with extra large 1.4 unit pixel sensor and five plastic lens, and featuring f/2.2 aperture and 28mm wide angle lens. This sounds a lot like the Sony Exmor RS module, but I’m not able to confirm this. The front camera is 1.3MP.
The Redmi is a dual-SIM phone featuring one WCDMA slot for 3G data and one GSM slot for 2G data.
Redmi runs a popular highly-customised Android ROM called MIUI (version 5), used by over 35 million users worldwide.
Specs at a glance
- CPU Quad-core 1.5GHz MTK MT6589T
- GPU Imagination PowerVR SGX544
- System MIUI V5 system, support Android4.
- Call Dual microphone noise reduction
- RAM 1GB
- Flash Memory ROM 4GB
- Max storage expansion 32GB
- Celluar and wireless WCDMA/GSM; GSM 900/1800/1900, WCDMA 900/2100
- GPS GPS+AGPS
- Bluetooth BT3.0HS
- Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
- Capacity 2000mAh lithium-ion battery
- Display 4.7 inch display IPS (1280×720 @ 321PPI), Multi-touch capacitive screen
- Camera (back) 8MP; Camera (front) 1.3MP
- Dual Dual LED
- Aperture A ƒ/2.2 aperture
- Wide-angle 28mm
- Video capture 1080p HD video recording, 720p (1280×720) Quasi-definition camera
Pricing and availability
Xiaomi Redmi retails at S$169 (approx. RM422) and will be available from 21 February 2014.
On paper, the Redmi looks quite impressive for a sub-RM500 smartphone, really pushing the value envelope. While I’d personally pick the Mi3 over the Redmi any time, it should appeal to first time smartphone buyers, or those looking for a cheap second phone.
With other fellow China counterparts like ZTE and Huawei already having established a foothold (and this week OPPO) in the Malaysian market, it will be interesting to see how Xiaomi fares if and when it arrives here.
For now, our neighbour Singapore should be delighted to welcome another brand into its mobile market.
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