Chinese technology company Xiaomi has so far had an eventful journey in India. In the five years since it launched its first product (smartphone) in the country, it has built for itself the reputation of being a brand for the price-conscious consumer. However, Xiaomi has now shown an intent to expand in other price categories while remaining strong in the budget and affordable smartphone segments. The company launched in India its premium offering, the Redmi K20 Pro, soon after the product was unveiled in China.
Business Standard takes a look at the ambitious product and assesses how it fares on key metrics:
The Redmi K20 Pro does look quite different from other Redmi-branded phones. It has a premium glass-metal sandwich design with a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection on front and back. The phone has a glacier-inspired (blue-colour edition that we reviewed) arc-shaped gradient reflective design on the back which looks mesmerising and distinctly different from any other iteration of gradient reflective design. On the front, the phone has an obstruction-free profile with no cut-out area for notch or punch-hole. Overall, Xiaomi has done a great job in keeping the phone’s design minimal yet functional. The phone looks modern and has a dazzling design. It fits perfectly in your hand and feels comfortable to hold and operate with its compact and lightweight build.
The Redmi K20 Pro has a 6.39-inch fullHD+ AMOLED display stretched in a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio. It looks vibrant and has good sunlight legibility. The display supports high dynamic range (HDR) and adjusts contrast automatically based on screen content. The display profile can be changed to render warm and cool colours from the settings menu. There is also an option to increase the contrast and amplify colour tones or set it to standard and keep the contrast constant.
The phone has an anti-flickering mode (DC dimming), which makes the display easy on the eye in a lowlight environment by reducing unnoticeable display flickering. The phone supports a system-wide dark mode, which uses a dark colour palette for system background and apps while also reducing power consumption. The display also supports the always-on mode (ambient display), which keeps a part of display active in the lock mode to show relevant information like time, apps notification, graphics, etc. Ambient display consumes power but the power consumption is negligible, thanks to the AMOLED panel.
The phone has Widevine L1 certification; its screen can use its native resolution to render content from over-the-top platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix in high definition. It also sports an in-display fingerprint sensor, which works just like any capacitive one to unlock the screen almost instantly.
The Redmi K20 Pro has a flagship-grade triple-camera set-up on the back, and a motorised pop-up selfie camera. The triple-rear-camera module features a 48-megapixel primary sensor (Sony IMX 586) of an f/1.75 aperture, a 13MP ultra-wide lens of 124.8-degree field of view (FoV) and an f/2.4 aperture, and an 8MP telephoto lens of an f/2.4 aperture. The selfie camera has a 20MP sensor of an f/2.2 aperture.
Technical details aside, the Redmi K20 Pro camera is a delight to use, irrespective of light conditions and scene settings. The phone’s rear camera is one of the most versatile in its segment. While the primary camera takes detailed shots with natural colours, the ultra-wide lens comes handy while capture scintillating landscape frames. The addition of a telephoto lens completes the package by adding 2x zoom to the set-up by allowing distant objects to be brought closer in frame.
The phone’s pop-up selfie camera is a capable one, too. It rises from the top and attracts attention with its blue colour LED that blinks as the pop-up module comes out. The selfie camera module is accompanied by a sci-fi background sound, which can be muted from the settings menu. For safety, the pop-up selfie camera module features an auto retract function that pulls back the module safely inside the chassis as soon as the phone detects accidental fall. As for image quality, the selfie camera impresses with both regular and portrait shots. It, however, struggles somewhat during lowlight conditions.
The Redmi K20 Pro is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 system-on-chip, paired with up to 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. The phone’s performance is sleek and it works without a glitch for most daily operations. It also handles processor- and graphic-intensive tasks without any stutters.
Xiaomi seems to have learnt a good deal from its gaming-centric Black Shark smartphones. It has equipped the Redmi K20 Pro with Game Turbo 2.0, which manages system resources and allows manual control over several in-game settings. It also allows tweaking touch sensitivity which helps during extreme gaming sessions that require constant touch inputs in quick successions.
The phone runs the Android Pie operating system-based MIUI 10 with Poco launcher loaded on top of it. Like other Xiaomi smartphones, the Redmi K20 Pro also sends some unwanted advertisements and notifications via pre-installed apps. However, the frequency of such notifications and advertisements is relatively low. There is also a provision to disable these random ads and notifications, but the process requires some time and effort.
Powering the phone is a 4,000 mAh battery that keeps it going for almost a day. Only those users who extensively stream multimedia over internet, play graphic-intensive games, and use social media a lot might need to charge the phone in between. Otherwise, the phone’s battery is good enough to stay for one full day. The phone supports the 27W SonicCharge technology, which charges the phone from zero to 100 per cent in around an hour. However, the SonicCharge is sold as a separate accessory, and the phone comes bundled with an 18W fast charger, which takes half an hour more to charge the battery to full.
At Rs 30,999 (8GB/256GB), the Redmi K20 Pro midrange smartphone has the qualities to challenge some of the current-generation premium phones. It exceeds expectations in design, display, camera, performance and battery life. This smartphone heralds the Redmi brand in a new avatar, indicating Xiaomi’s ambitions to expand take its dominance beyond the budget and affordable segments. With OnePlus now eyeing the premium segment, Xiaomi might be looking to enter its shoes in the midrange premium segment.