Redmi Note 3: First impressions of the budget phablet

  • Abhinav Mishra, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 05, 2016 14:03 IST
Is the new Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 the smartphone that we have been waiting for? Here’s our first impressions. (Hindustan Times/Sanchit Khanna )

Xiaomi has now officially launched the much-awaited Redmi Note 3 in India. The smartphone’s primary selling point is its overwhelming spec sheet at a very competitive price point. It’s primarily designed to impress with its sheer speed and power, and of course, the under-Rs 10,000 price tag.

The phone comes in two variants and goes on sale on March 9 at 2pm. One can log onto Amazon and the company’s official website to place an order.

As with Xiaomi devices of the past, the USP of the phone is its features for the price bracket. Expect a Full-HD 1080p display, 3GB RAM and even a fingerprint scanner (a first for the Chinese company). Put simply, its aimed at giving you that flagship like experience at a price point that one can’t resist.

The 2 GB RAM variant of the smartphone is priced at Rs 9,999 while its 3 GB RAM will cost slightly higher at Rs 11,999. These will also be the company’s first smartphones featuring a full-metal body.

The device just arrived in our test lab, and here are our first impressions of the device.


The sample we have is in a light golden colour tone and features a full metal design. Though in terms of design aesthetics the phone doesn’t stand out. Even the metal used in the phone seems rather substandard, with a more plastic feel than metallic.

A slightly curved back gives the phone a pretty good grip, and relatively small bezels make it comfortable for one-handed usage. The fingerprint scanner is on the back, which is quite responsive and feels almost intuitive.

(Hindustan Times/Sanchit Khanna)

The volume and standby/power key are fitted on the right edge, making them easily accessible. On top is a 3.5mm jack and IR blaster (for universal remote functionality). We feel the overall aesthetic is good and works well for the price tag.


The Redmi Note 3 is all about it raw specs, as it rocks a 5.5-inch Full HD with Xiaomi’s own Sunlight Display technology. We wanted to test this feature ourselves and it didn’t disappoint. The phone offers good readability even under direct sunlight. The 401 ppi density makes text and images rather crisp and sharp, offering natural colour tones and good viewing angles.

The smartphone rocks a 5.5-inch Full HD with Xiaomi’s own Sunlight Display technology. (Hindustan Times/Sanchit Khanna)


Featuring the new Snapdragon 650 processor bundled with 3GB RAM, the smartphone is quite a beast in terms of performance. In our short time with the device, it could handle anything thrown at it – be it juggling multiple applications or playing Mortal Kombat X. There is one downside though; it tends to heat up even after moderate usage.


The camera on the Redmi Note 3 is pretty impressive. We were more than satisfied with its camera capabilities in general when compared to smartphones in the same price range. The 16-megapixel rear camera captures some crisp images; its Phase Detection Auto Focus technology was relatively quick in focusing on a particular object. Users also get a slew of filter options by simply swiping on the screen.

(Camera sample of a macro-shot taken from the Redmi Note 3)

On the front is a 5-megapixel camera which is fine for selfies.


To sustain the full HD 1080p display and the hexa-core chipset, the Redmi Note 3 features chunky a 4050mAh battery. This basically means the phone can survive a full day’s usage without charge, according to Xiaomi. We are still testing this feature out.

To buy or not to buy

Big screen smartphones are definitely in, and we like Xiaomi’s latest offer in the category. It lives up to its expectations in terms of performance and features, and coupled with its price, the Redmi Note could very well hit the right chord with the Indian consumer. We’ll give you a more exhaustive, brass tacks review of the phone very soon, and you can make your choice then. So far, it looks promising!

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