Xiaomi shook the mid-range smartphone segment last year when it unveiled its Redmi Note 5 Pro in the Indian market. The phone offered more value-for-money than any of the other options in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment at that time. However, soon enough most other OEMs caught up.
But, Xiaomi isn't one to quit without a good fight. In comes the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Xiaomi last month unveiled its true successor to the Redmi Note 5 Pro in India, as part of a global launch. Priced starting at just Rs 13,999, the Redmi Note 7 Pro is a beast when it comes to specifications. There is a 6.3-inch full-HD panel with a Dot Notch, a Snapdragon 675 SoC, a 48MP primary rear camera, and a 4000mAh battery with Quick Charge 4 support.
So, where does the Redmi Note 7 Pro go wrong? Not a lot of places, evidently. I spent a couple of days with the phone and here is how the experience went.
Considering Xiaomi has been going around touting the Redmi Note 7 Pro as some sort of photography expert, the camera was the first thing I tried out.
I took the Redmi Note 7 Pro out for bowling at Smaaash (in Delhi-NCR), a location with a lot of artificial lighting and moving objects. The phone managed to extract quite some detail in low light conditions, however definition was slightly off when objects were moving in the frame.
After an exhilarating session of knocking down several bowling pins, I decided to head out into the parking lot to test out the Super Night mode; similar to what Google is doing with the Night Sight mode on the Pixels. The experience of clicking a photo using the Redmi Note 7 Pro's Night Mode is slightly frustrating, considering the amount of time it demands for you to stand still, and also for post-processing.
However, the results are worth it. A Royal Enfield motorbike was our perfect muse, and the Redmi Note 7 Pro's camera managed to capture good details in pitch dark lighting conditions. How Xiaomi managed to fit in this kind of software (or hardware) processing in a phone priced so low is beyond us.
It was time to test out how the phone's camera performs in daylight conditions. Tasking that for the next morning, I put the phone in charging mode. The phone supports Quick Charge 4 which theoretically offers up to 18W fast charging. However, a slight disappointment is that Xiaomi is bundling only a 10W adaptor in the box, which charges the phone at slower speeds than expected.
On our way to office, the next day, I happened to spot some lovely flowers. The Redmi Note 7 Pro was put to good use as the phone took some amazing macro shots of the flora around us. Depth effect was brilliant even with portrait mode turned off. The 48MP mode, toggled off by default, does help in low light conditions but doesn't give you much motivation to have massive image file sizes for regular daylight shots.
Even selfies are great in good lighting conditions. Even with the AI mode turned on, the Redmi Note 7 Pro's 13MP front camera doesn't tend to soften your face, giving it a natural, but vibrant look. With screen flash turned on, the front camera manages to retain most of the details and churns out some impressive shots, yet again.
Too deeply involved in taking lovely shots of the sky, flowers, and my face, I completely forgot that I was getting late for office. A colleague of mine called up to enquire as to why I hadn't reached yet, and I ended up testing the call quality on the Redmi Note 7 Pro.
The phone automatically boosts volume from the earpiece when it detects low signals or less volume from the other side. Quality was mostly fine during my experience with the phone, but you tend to cover the microphone (unintentionally) due to the massive form factor. I tried out Airtel and Jio SIM cards; both had good cellular reception and I rarely faced call drop issues.
During my day at office, the phone's usage involved more-than-regular checking of emails, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, et al. Battery levels dropped consistently, without any shocks to battery performance. As for software, MIUI 10 offers you fullscreen gestures, but they are not as refined as you wish them to be. I experienced quite a bit of stutter whilst using the Back and Home gestures, ending up going back to the navigation button layout.
The Snapdragon 675 processor was snappy in most circumstances, and managed multitasking pretty well. I'm not much of a mobile gamer, but a PUBG Mobile fanatic colleague took the phone from me to test out his favourite battle-royale game on it. The game ran well on HD settings, and he experienced almost zero stutter during an intense 30-minute session. For those curious, he didn't score a chicken dinner.
A workday filled with meetings, discussions, and articles got over late in the evening when I decided to head out for a coffee with some friends. The topic of discussion soon became the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Everyone liked the design language of the phone, even if it was the more sober Space Black and not the gradient Neptune Blue or Nebula Red.
One of them thought that the phone felt adequately solid in the hand; the glass back design was received more positively than the metal back design of predecessor Redmi Note 6 Pro. The Dot Notch is slightly disruptive, however, and could have been better implemented like the OnePlus 6T wherein the notch blends into the top border.
All in all, the Redmi Note 7 Pro seems like a proper successor to the Redmi Note 6 Pro. It has a positive design overhaul, improved specifications, an amazing camera, and good battery performance. There's really not much reason to not recommend the Redmi Note 7 Pro to anyone wanting to buy a phone below Rs 15,000 in India. If you want a better display (Super AMOLED) and a slightly different design language, you could spend a little more and get the Samsung Galaxy A30.