Sales of the Xiaomi Redmi 3 began in China in January. The smartphone is available in four configurations. One is gold and completely smooth. The other three have a diamond pattern on aluminium and are available in either gold, a white front and grey back or with a black front and grey back.
Its starting price in China is 699 CNY, which is around 105 USD. Of course, the process of importing means the price will rise due to shipping and customs costs. You can purchase it directly from exporters in China for around 160 USD.
design and build quality
The Redmi 3 is the smallest Xiaomi device but that does not mean it's a low-end smartphone. On the contrary, it looks like a premium phone with mid-range specifications.
On the front, we see a 5 inch screen with curved edges. There are three capacitive buttons at the bottom, a motion sensor at the top, speakers and a front camera. The edges around the screen are protected by a plastic glazing edge.
The phonebody is unibody. Unlike its predecessor, the Xiaomi Redmi 2, the battery cannot be removed. But the Redmi 3 does have an aluminium back, which gives adds much more glamor to the phone. In the upper and lower parts of the phone, the aluminium body flows into plastic.
Three of the available models have an aluminium back with a diamond pattern. At the top there is a microphone, an infrared sensor and a mini jack for headphones.
There are buttons on the right side. Both have a plastic finish, and thanks to the difference in size, it is very easy to feel the difference between the two. On the left side, there is a slot for the SIM and microSD cards.
The finish is amazing for its price but it does not stop there. Its 144 gram build is worthy of admiration and its 8.5 mm thickness is part of its allure.
Like most Chinese devices, the Xiaomi Redmi 3 is Dual SIM. It has a hybrid slot, which means that one of the slots is compatible for both a microSD and nano SIM card, but only one at a time. The other slot supports a micro SIM card. Therefore, you must choose between more memory or SIM Dual.
In addition to introducing a microSD, it also supports OTG technology. With it, you will be able to use USB drives and external hard drives, provided you have a micro-USB to USB adapter cable.
The Redmi 3 also has an infrared sensor to control television, air conditioning, DVD players and other appliances that use remote controls. This type of sensor is usually only in high-end devices like the LG G4 or the Galaxy S6.
The Xiaomi Redmi 3 display is an IPS LCD panel with a 5-inch HD resolution. It is comparable to the Moto G (2015) screen but the glass does not have any protection.
The viewing angles are not the best I've seen. It gets dark in some directions but this effect is not too dramatic. The colors seemed to be pretty good on an LCD panel.
The Redmi 3 has Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with Series 7 MIUI, a more advanced version than the Note and this model incorporates version 5.0.2 Lollipop. At the moment, there is only a Chinese and English ROM.
For the Redmi Note 3, there is already a multi-language MIUI 7.1 ROM. Nothing has been announced yet but surely the Redmi 3 will eventually have an international ROM. In January, MIUI 7.1 launched for a large number of Xiaomi devices and may take a little longer to get the Redmi 3 integrated into the rest of its family.
This device has the boot loader locked so you cannot flash other operating systems outside of the hands of the manufacturer. To update the phone, you need a computer and the the Xiaomi Mi PC Suite.
The Redmi 3 has several Chinese application services like Weibo, which can be uninstalled easily if you prefer. The only ones that cannot be uninstalled are the basic system applications like the camera, contacts, My App Store, etc.
Google services do not come preinstalled, but it still very easy to get them. You just need to look for 'Google' in the App Store and choose 'Xiaomi' and search the Baidu repository (the blue icon). The logo that is like Google Play appears and you can just click install. Now you just have to launch the application and grant all permissions requested. At the end of the process, you will have installed Google services and Google Play.
With a 64-bit Snapdragon 616, Adreno 405 GPU, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory it's very similar to the Moto G Turbo (Snapdragon 615) configuration and therefore has a similar performance. The Moto G Turbo gets an AnTuTu score of almost 56,000 points, close to the Redmi 3 which gets close with a little more than 55,000.
The Redmi 3 seems to have exceptional performance, especially when you consider its price. With this phone, everyday applications are more fluid and it soundly supports games. It supports Real Racing 3, Nova 3 or Traffic Rider quite well. The animation of the games might seem a little slow but the phone has a lot of sensitivity.
The rear speaker is quite powerful but the sound quality is lacking. The back speaker makes a certain echo that emits very metallic tones. The front speaker has a much cleaner and higher quality sound. Therefore, the sound quality for calls is excellent.
There are several interesting options for configuring the sound and tweaking the equalizer. It also has a good option for optimizing the headphones by type.
The rear camera has 13 MP, f/2.0 aperture and is accompanied by an LED flash. The first time I saw it, I was surprised at the size of the lens. The photo quality is quite good for the price of the phone and for its class. In good light, it captures images very clearly. At night, like most smartphones, it falters. It also performs well indoors under artificial light.
The front camera has 5 MP and f/2.2 aperture. It's nothing fancy but the pictures are clear and you can expect good results. Below you can see some photos in both HDR and automatic.
The most amazing part of the Redmi 3 is the battery. It comes equipped with a 4,100 mAh battery, which gives it a range of about two to three days with moderate use. I used it a lot the first day, playing games and doing benchmark tests, and I never had to charge it. It still had 13% battery life left on it at the end of the day.
With a weight of 144 g you would never guess that it has a big battery. The Redmi 3 is definitely a role model for other manufacturers and for all ranges of smartphones.
To charge the battery over a good 4,000 mAh, a 2-amp charger is necessary but luckily it comes along with the phone. The total charging time is about two hours.
The Xiaomi Redmi 3 outperforms most devices in its price range. But the leap in quality between the Redmi 2 and Redmi 3 is abysmal both in design, battery life and performance. In China, it is a lot better option than the Moto G but the rest of the world the price is a bit high due to import costs.
The real negative I have about this phone is that as of this moment, the operating system is only in English.