“The Redmi Note 3 Pro marks quite a few firsts for Xiaomi”
While Xiaomi has enjoyed a lot of success in the Indian market, its portfolio in the country has been in need of a refresh for a while now. The Chinese brand has just unveiled its latest flagship, the Mi 5, simultaneously at MWC, Barcelona and China. Sadly, we don’t know when it’ll be coming to our shores, but we do know that the company will be launching its mid-range Redmi Note 3 Pro in India next week on March 3rd.
We’ve already given the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro a once-over and here’s how our experience went.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (and subsequently the Redmi Note 3 Pro) are first smartphone from Xiaomi’s stable that are constructed entirely from metal. Yes, even its previous flagships, the Mi 4 (review | FAQs) and Mi Note (review) only offered metallic frames around their edges. However, the Note 3 Pro is a different story altogether as with the use of metal, it sports a classy look which grabs your attention immediately.
Not just in terms of looks, the Note 3 Pro also impresses when you hold it in the hand, as it gives off a feeling of a premium smartphone. While its weight of 164g might seem to be on the higher side, the manufacturer has distributed it over its body well, and thus it doesn’t seem bulky. However, the phone isn’t the slimmest out there with its waistline measuring 8.7mm.
In terms of the design language opted by Xiaomi, the Note 3 Pro isn’t much different from its siblings. The 5.5-inch display panel dominates the proceedings at the front, and is flanked by an earpiece, a couple of sensors along with the selfie camera above and the standard row of three capacitive keys below.
Both the volume rocker and the power button are placed on the right spine, whereas the left edge hides the ejectable slot that accepts a pair of nano-SIM cards. Up top lies a 3.5mm audio socket, a secondary microphone and an IR blaster, whereas the bottom sports the micro-USB port and a primary microphone.
Flipping to the back of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro, you’ll notice another first for Xiaomi – the fingerprint scanner. Above the circular biometric reader, there’s the primary camera supplemented by a dual-tone LED flash. The good part about the design is that the camera module doesn’t protrude unlike many other smartphones. This adds to the charm of the phablet, and means that the phone isn’t wobbly when kept on a flat surface. Towards the bottom, the rear panel features Xiaomi’s branding and a speaker grille.
The Apple of China has always kept the Redmi Note series in the mid-tier segment and offered modest hardware configuration in the range, but this time around, the Note 3 and Note 3 Pro pack in a loaded spec sheet. The 5.5-inch IPS display offers a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, resulting in a healthy pixel density of 403 pixels-per-inch. The screen is sharp and vibrant, and viewing angles are also wide enough. Sadly, it’s extremely reflective, though that might be because of the indoor lighting conditions.
Under the hood, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro comes powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 650 SoC, which offers 64-bit architecture. The chipset is a combination of a high-power 1.8GHz dual-core Cortex-A72 and a power-efficient 1.2GHz quad-core Cortex-A53. The processor is coupled with 3 gigs of RAM, and the engine seems to be powerful enough to handle anything you throw at it. In our brief usage, navigation was smooth and switching between apps was also quick. In the storage department, the phone comes with 32GB of memory on board. After accounting for the OS and its various resources, you will get around 19.8GB for your personal use.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro’s camera department includes a 16-meg sensor at the back and a 5MP front-facing shooter. Both the cameras come with f/2.0 apertures to let in more light, and the snapper at the back also boasts of fast autofocussing capabilities thanks to phase detection autofocus. For shooting in poorly-lit environments, the primary camera gets help from dual-colour LED flash. Both shooters are capable of recording full HD videos.
On softer side of things, you get Xiaomi’s MIUI v7, which, in this case, is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. The UI offers a flat and colourful interface along with several useful features, as we’ve seen on most phones from the company. The unit we checked out was a Chinese retail model, and we believe the Indian unit might get some preinstalled apps.
Another highlight of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro is its mammoth 4,000mAh non-removable battery, which should easily power it for more than a day. The smartphone comes with the usual set of connectivity options, including 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro is among the most anticipated phones of the year in India and quite a few are eagerly awaiting for it. If Xiaomi continues with its aggressive pricing strategy, then the Note 3 Pro can pose serious threat to current blockbuster in this segment – the LeEco Le 1s (review). We’ll bring you more details on the device closer to its launch date, along with our deep-dive review, so stay tuned to 91mobiles.
Photos by Ketaki Bhojnagarwala