From entry-level budget smartphones to power-packed flagships, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi now has a product in every price band at the lower end of the spectrum — up to Rs 20,000 that is. However, the company’s India story has a lot riding on its affordable smartphones. Therefore, before announcing its premium K20-series in India, the company has refreshed its entry-level Redmi A-series with the launch of the Redmi 7A.
Design and display
The phone has a plastic unibody that covers the entire back and sides. The back side has a minimal design with vertically aligned single camera and LED flash on the top-left corner, followed by “AI Camera” text below it, and the Redmi branding on the lower left side. The front looks identical to the predecessor with a 5.45-inch screen of an HD+ resolution, stretched in an 18:9 aspect ratio. The screen is responsive and has a good contrast, but abysmal brightness hampers sunlight legibility.
The screen has limited bezels on the sides and thick ones at the top and bottom. The top bezel area accommodates earpiece, notification LED, sensors and front camera, and the bottom bezel has a Redmi branding embossed on it. From the design perspective, the Redmi 7A is not a major update over its predecessor. Nonetheless, it looks decent and first-time smartphone buyers would appreciate it for its minimalist no-frills design.
The Redmi 7A has a 12-megapixel camera on the back, with the Sony IMX486 sensor, and a 5MP camera on the front for selfies. While the rear camera is good for a phone that costs only Rs 5,999, the front camera could have been better. The rear camera takes decent shots in good light conditions, and it has an autoHDR mode that also does a reasonable job in capturing highlights and shadow details. The front camera, on the other hand, is good only for daylight selfies.
Xiaomi Redmi 7A camera sample: Auto mode
Xiaomi Redmi 7A camera sample: Auto mode
Xiaomi Redmi 7A camera sample: Auto modeThe camera interface is basic, but loaded with several modes and tools, including photo filters and the pro mode. The front camera supports the depth mode, which works decently in good light conditions. Both the cameras, however, struggle in lowlight conditions and require a steady hand to capture still photos.
Xiaomi Redmi 7A camera sample: Low light (AutoHDR)
Xiaomi Redmi 7A camera sample: HDRPerformance
The Redmi 7A is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 system-on-chip, which features an octacore processor (it operates at the frequency of up to 2.0GHz) paired with the Adreno 505 graphic processing unit (GPU) that operates at a frequency of up to 650MHz. The phone comes in two variants – 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, and 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. The former variant, which has been reviewed here, has around 9GB of free storage, which gets reduced to around 7GB after updating the phone’s apps. Thankfully, the phone comes with a dedicated microSD card slot, which allows storage expansion to up to 256GB.
MIUI 10 UI: (L-R) Swipe up gesture activates Google Assistant | Installed Bloatware
MIUI 10 UI: (L-R) Notification area | About pageThe phone boots the Android Pie operating system-based MIUI 10 user interface. The UI is loaded with bloatware, which is another reason for low internal storage. While some of them can be uninstalled, most of them are part of MIUI and stay installed on the phone. The MIUI has repeatedly been criticised for allowing advertisements, and there is no respite from ads in the Redmi 7A. They keep popping up inside apps, and in the notification area, besides other places. And it does not go well with the otherwise capable and sleek interface.
Powering the phone is a 4,000 mAh battery that keeps the show going for around two days. Though the phone supports 10W fast-charging, it unfortunately comes bundled with a 5W charger that takes around three hours to charge the battery.
Priced at Rs 5,999, the Redmi 7A is a well-packaged product in the entry-level smartphone segment. For first-time smartphone users, the Redmi 7A is excellent! Consider this phone for its splash resistant build, minimal design, capable cameras, and decent performance. Besides, the phone comes with two years’ warranty, which makes it a good investment.