Redmi 1s: A little beast in my pocket?

Part 1 | Hands on review | Used for 72+ hours

The launch of a series of ‘economy’ or budget smartphones by the big names of technology (read Motorola, Asus, Xiaomi) has sent the mobile market in a frenzy especially in the Indian context. Well, it is encouraging and in a way opening up the market to a wide variety of devices made by quality manufacturers. So now almost everybody can own a decent smartphone with a big brand name on it.

This was enough motivation for me too, to move from my then entry level Samsung Galaxy Chat to a new budget smartphone. Here is a hands-on, first-look review of my Redmi 1s. I have used it for a little over 72 hours and I will review it based on my exerience thus far. It is not a final review and may not be comprehensive because I will need to spend atleast a week or two with it so as to actually know how well it lives up to its name and popularity.

  1. Form, build quality and feel: The form or design of the phone is really nice and sleak. It is decently thin, but the weight is a little towards the heavier side. The beezels are visibly thin so the screen looks more edge to edge. Build quality is good. It feels sturdy and it is in no way flimsy or squeaky. The volume rockers and power button are firm too (better than the ones on Asus Zenphone 4 or Moto E). The overall feel is nice to the hand. The screen is a bit glossy so will tend to gather dust and other particles quickly. Inside, the micro-SD and mini SIM card slots are very much accessible without having to remove the battery and that's great. One major concern is that the capacitive touch buttons for home, back and options are not backlit so you will have to slowly get used to work it around especially in the dark. It is irritating in the beginning.
  2. Hardware: The specs look all good on paper and perform similarly well too. The phone is fast and lags are sparse. The RAM can be a let down when you want to do high-end multi-tasking. Like running couple of games and your social and messaging apps may show some lags. The phone is highly responsive.
  3. Camera: I love this part of the phone. Both the cameras are great for the price. Nice clarity and good flash support. The front camera seems like a bonus!
  4. Screen: Awesome screen! The 312 ppi LCD IPS screen is sharp and clear. At 6k its a DEAL. The touch is nice. The asahi dragontrail grass is highly protective against scratches.
  5. Battery: I did two full charges and it roughly lasted me 17–20 hours on medium mixed usage (social, messaging, browsing, music and little bit videos and gaming) so I suppose it will last atleast 10–12 hours on high usage or maybe little less. A few days time will show us that too. So keep watching this space.
  6. MIUI: Initially, in the preview images, it dint look much appealing (I liked the Zen UI better). But now I kind of like it. ITs no cluttered and the customization is endless. It is ~90% responsive. But it has to be optimized to use the RAM in a better manner. At any point of time you will have 150MB -350MB of free RAM. That can get tricky at times.
  7. Gaming: Well all normal games will work properly. But high-end games like Asphalt 8 and Frontline Commando 2 crash frequently in the initial stages. Framedrops are common for high end games. Also gaming constantly for 15–20 minutes will cause the device to heat up. So will watching videos. It is not unforseen but stay aware of that. It is normal for all phones. Except in high end phones.
  8. Connectivity: Network reception is good so far. Wifi connectivity seems a bit weak. Both my office and at my home, I found wifi signals weak even though I was within 15 feet radius of the router.
  9. Sound: Loudspeaker and the primary speaker both are of decent quality. Sometimes audio quality for music seems a bit low, but that's okay I guess.

Overall, I feel it is a great phone in the given price segment. One can't ask for more. After all 6k is not that an amount of money in the current smartphone scenario. I am only concerned about the durability. But only time can give an answer to that. So lets wait and watch. Hope this review is of some help to you. The views are all personal. Performance and other factors may vary device to device and person to person. Stay tuned for my next update and in depth review in the coming weeks. Thank You for reading! ☺

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