Gadgetslab: Redmi 1s


Redmi 1S
Ren Alcantara

Smartphone manufacturers have always had consumers by the short hairs. Smartphones are just a sneeze away from being an absolute necessity, but they cost a significant of money to produce, market, and sell. For a long time, cheap phones were cheap. Things have changed. At the forefront of the charge is Mi. Their mid-range model, the Redmi 1S, was a hotly-anticipated model in many markets including ours. We got our hands on one for review, and here’s what we think.

Design: 3.5/5
The Redmi 1S is beautiful in a utilitarian sort of way. There are no bells and whistles, just the way I like it. It has a nice heft to it, tipping the scales at a beefy 158g. It’s also a little on the meatier side, at 99mm thick. These give it a really great, solid feel in your hand, and feels like it could survive more than its fair share of drops.

The power button, along with the volume rocker, is situated on the right edge of the device, giving you easy access to both with either hand. Apart from that, there’s a microUSB charger on the bottom, and a 3.5mm jack up top. There aren’t any other buttons or ports aside from those. To access the SIM slots, battery and microSD slot, you have to pop the whole back panel off, which is achieved easily thanks to a notch on the lower left side of the rear plate. Both SIM slots are of the mini-SIM variety, so if you have the smaller micro- or nano-SIMs, you may want to grab a SIM adapter.

Hardware: 4.5/5
Man. How do we even start? This is a midrange smartphone, yes, but it’s a beast of a midrange phone. The screen, which is a nice, roomy 4.7 inches on the diagonal, is an IPS LCD panel with a pixel density of 312 PPI. It’s a 720 x 1280 deal, and has great colors and viewing angles. The panel is protected by Dragontrail glass, which is about at par in strength as the slightly more popular Gorilla Glass.  Inside, though, is where the phone really shines.

Running underneath the admittedly plain exterior is a Qualcomm MSM8228 chipset, a quad-core A7 processor running at 1.6GHz, and 1GB of RAM, plus an Adreno 305 GPU. This might seem like it means anything, but take our word for it when we say this is a lot of power for its class. This spec is capable of blowing almost every other smartphone in its segment clear out of the water. It does, however, only come with 8GB of storage, so a microSD card is a must.

It runs MIUI V5, which is a Mi’d-up version of the Android 4.3. App compatibility is broad, and it has a very healthy community behind it, with updates happening regularly.

User Experience: 4.5/5
When we first came across this device, we knew it could perform amazing things. We weren’t disappointed. The MIUI experience is very pleasant, with so many optimizations and conveniences included. TO be fair, my other device is capable of doing the same things, but only because I bought apps that let me. I loved MIUI so much; I actually went and installed the ROM on my work phone. There’s hardly any adjusting necessary, so you can jump right in. The OS even has extra functionality that makes using two lines simple. You can choose which line sends messages and calls as you send them out.

The phone has more than enough power to handle everyday tasks. Everything just happens so smoothly, you don’t really lose any attention paying attention to how the phone works. It just does. Letting the system handle multiple tasks works fine as well. There’s enough horsepower available to let you do what you want, without having to worry about a drop in performance.

Gaming, which is inevitable on the phone, was also a pleasant experience. It benchmarks on Antutu above 20,000 points, and even the more recent, resource-intensive games run just fine. Modern Combat was smooth, and immersive, without the skipping that makes playing a chore. You don’t have a whole lot of memory available though, so you might want to try your best to keep just a few titles installed at a time.
Battery life was impressive. The Redmi 1S comes with a 2000mAh battery, and even though it is a dual-SIM device, it had enough power for more than one whole day of use, with data on. Running a hotspot will, as expected, drain the battery pretty fast, though. You’re going to charge at the office should you go that route.

Value for money: 4.5/5
It isn’t often that a phone like this comes along for a price this low. It retails online at about PHP 5,600, and is worth every Peso. Every other smartphone in its segment is left in the dust, and it even outpaces devices that are almost twice its price. To say that you get bang for your buck in this case is a gross understatement. It’s so aggressively prices, some other brands have been pushed to re-evaluate their own pricing, which is a great thing all around. If you have a little spare cash and need a great-performing dual-SIM phone with 3G connectivity, try to find a friend with one of these, and give it a try. We’re sure they’re not that hard to find.

What’s hot:
Amazing value for money
Stellar performance
Solid build

What’s not:
Standard-sized SIM cards

We’re just waiting for the next sale to hit.

Connectivity: GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 1900 / 2100
SIM: Dual SIM (Mini-SIM, dual stand-by)
Dimensions 5.39 x 2.72 x 0.39 in
Weight 158 g
Screen: 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.7 inches (~312 ppi pixel density), Dragontrail Glass
Storage: 8GB internal, microSD slot
Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon
Processor: Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7
GPU Adreno 305
Camera: 8MP Main, 1.6MP Front