I won't be lying when I say that Xiaomi is one of the most-talked after brand. The Chinese company has not spent even a single rupee on advertising and in fact they seem casual about all the wave they have created by selling feature packed phones at shockingly low prices.
Although its unique strategy of using online flash sales has really paid of with a few customers, we must remember that Xiaomi is still a startup and is in its initial phase and it doesn't have the financial or logistical might that the Samsung and Apple has.
Now, on the second note Xiaomi has temporarily put sales of the Mi 3 on hold to concentrate on an even lower priced offering, the Redmi 1S. As with the Mi 3, this phone boasts of specs that are usually found in phones that cost at least twice as much, such as the much-loved Motorola Moto G. I personally feel that Redmi 1S has all the potential to once again change the dynamics of the smartphone market.
Look and feel
Unlike in the days of the Nokia Xpress Music and 7280, which looked like a lipstick case, phone companies are no longer experimenting a lot with design. Smartphones today come pretty much in the same candybar shape, and most don't even really give it a second thought. Though we had curved phone LG G Flex and Samsung Round but that is yet to be explored.
The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is yet another candybar smartphone with a same old prdictable look that does not attract that much attention. It's somewhat unexciting, but that may not matter to a lot of people.
The Redmi 1S measures 137x69x9.9mm and is definitely not slim. Moreover, its 158g weight makes it heavier than a lot of other phones in this price range. The rear cover is removable and Xiaomi is expected to offer colourful replacement panels just like Moto Shells. The Redmi 1S is sold with a matte grey rear.
A 4.7-inch screen, which has thick plastic borders. The three capacitive button labels which sit below the screen are red in colour with the the LED indicator is below the home button.
Specifications and software
For a phone priced so low, the Redmi 1S has jaw-dropping specs. Housed inside the body of the Redmi 1S are some top-quality hardware components including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.6GHz with an integrated Adreno 305 GPU. There is 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, of which 6.14GB is available to the user.
The Redmi 1S come with an 8-megapixel BSI camera with flash which can record 1080p videos. It also has a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera. and Redmi 1S is powered by a 2,000mAh battery.
The 4.7-inch LCD has a resolution of 720pixels, which is phenomenal compared to other phones in this price range.. It is protected by AGC Dragontrail 2 glass. The Redmi 1S runs Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) with Xiaomi's MIUI v5 skin on top of it which is a dissapointment considering a lot of phones in this price range come with Android 4.4 (KitKat) pre-installed. Xiaomi has promised a software update before the end of this year that will bring MIUI v6 on top of Android 4.4 KitKat.
MIUI goes farther than most Android skins when it comes to customisation. It offers a lot of depth and a ton of features. It is incredibly responsive to touch and, unlike stock Android, has all the app icons lined up on the homescreen itself. There are also tonnes of useful software tweaks. We noticed that Xiaomi has included a 'Lite Mode' which resembles Windows Phone's UI. The most important and frequently used apps are available in the form of large easy-access tiles.
There are a ton of themes which is great for customisation, but in our opinion they all look really cartoonish. In fact, MIUI itself is very colourful. Ultimately, this boils down to preference.
You can read more of our thoughts on MIUI in the Xiaomi Mi 3 review.
We want to get one thing out of the way: the primary 8-megapixel camera on the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is the best anyone can find for a phone priced below Rs. 10,000 right now.
In our daylight shots the camera managed to capture some really good images. The only problem we noticed was the software processing worked overtime to reduce noise in the images by smudging details slightly. Otherwise, colours were natural. Even in macro mode, the phone performs really well. We were shocked after the low-light performance test. The camera managed to capture some details which even more expensive smartphones generally fail to do. The quality of the 1080p video is also fairly decent.
The camera software does a lot of processing after images are captured by the 1.6-megapixel front camera. This smudges details in order to beautify a person's face.
The camera app looks like a slightly tweaked version of the default app from Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). However, it is easy to use.
There is no other phone in this price range that performs as well as the Xiaomi Redmi 1S. If someone puts a gun over my head and forces me to come up with one problem, it would be that only 400MB of RAM is available after the OS and other services have loaded. As long as you don't open tons of apps together, it shouldn't be that much of a problem.
For the most part, the phone works very well and it didn't face any heating issues either. According to sources Dead Trigger 2 can be easily played in Ultra High settings, just to push the GPU.I don't think prospective buyers will be disappointed with the gaming performance.
Now coming to synthetic benchmarks. The Redmi 1S scored 21,439 - AnTuTu 5 and 10,752 - Quadrant, which are leagues ahead of phones competing in this price range. In our graphics benchmarks 3D Mark Ice Storm and GFXbench, the phone scored 5274 and 10.4fps, which are both comparable to scores of much higher priced phones. I also played some sample videos to test if the phone could handle them and found that the 1080p sample video encoded at 40mbps won't run, which was a bit of a letdown - 1080p videos encoded at a lower bit rate ran fine though. The tiny speaker can get really loud but at its highest volume the sound distorts.
Xiaomi doesn't bundle earphones in the box and for testing purposes so I used our our headphones. The sound quality was really good. .
In our rigorous battery test, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S it lasted a good 8 hours and 27 minutes of video playback on a loop. In everyday usage shuffling between 3G and Wi-Fi, it wasn't significantly better than other offerings, but should still last you a day of heavy usage.
Xiaomi continues the trend aggressively in the budget smartphone market and with Redmi 1S they have sure shot to leave Samsung & Micromax behind.
Even more expensive phones such as the Moto E and Micromax Unite 2 are no where near to Redmi 1S when it comes to reliable performance, great camera, crisp screen and excellent battery life. The only major drawback we see is the lack of Android 4.4 (KitKat) at the moment.As this one will come with Android v4.3 out of the box.
Looking at this phone's specs, it is easy to make comparisons to the Moto G which is almost available at double the price but I am avoiding that at the moment as Moto G will soon be succeeded by the Moto G2 (or whatever the final phone will be called).
At the moment the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is the best buy with a price tag of just ₹ 5,999/- on flipkart . According to flipkart ,Xiaomi Redmi 1S will have its first flash sale on September 2 . In the first round, 40,000 units will be put up for sale and we wont be amazed if they all vanish within seconds. I recommend this phone because the price-to-performance ratio is unbelievably amazing - and hope you end up booking one before the time runs out.