The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, although a mid-range device, is one of the most highly-anticipated smartphones from the company to date. People all over the world can’t wait to get their hands on one since its announcement, and we can’t blame them. It has competitive specs, a beautiful design, and a very aggressive price tag. It’s yet to be officially available outside China, but we finally got a unit so test if it’s worth the hype.
Author’s note: The unit we have for review was bought from an online seller and runs on a Chinese ROM.
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
One of the first things we noticed about the Redmi Note 7 is its similarities to the Mi Play, at least from the front. It’s got a tiny notch at the top for the selfie camera and noticeable bezels especially on the bottom. The earpiece is located above the selfie camera, while the notifications LED is hidden at the bottom chin near the center.
On the right, we have the power/lock button and volume keys. They’re easy to reach and placed near the center. Found on the left is the hybrid SIM tray for nano-sized SIM cards and a microSD card.
Up top, are the IR blaster, a 3.5mm audio port, and a microphone. Down below is the main microphone, loudspeaker, and USB-C port.
Flip it on its back, and you’ll find the protruding dual-rear cameras, the LED flash, and the fingerprint scanner at the center. We can’t help but notice its resemblance to the Huawei Nova 3i from this angle.
Design-wise, the Redmi Note 7 is an attractive phone. I’m not fond of the bezel, but I got used to it after a few days. It’s a tall device which can be attributed to its 6.3-inch screen, but narrow enough to be held comfortably with one hand.
It feels great as well thanks to the rounded frame with a metallic finish and glass back. It’s a bit chunky at 8.1mm and hefty at 186g, but that’s understandable given the large 4,000mAh battery. If you’re worried about accessories, don’t worry as it comes with a clear case so you can protect it from day one.
Display and Multimedia
The Redmi Note 7 sports 6.3-inch IPS screen with Full HD+ (2340 x 1080) resolution or equal to 409ppi. Mounted on top of it is Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It’s a good display with rich colors, excellent viewing angles, and vibrant enough for outdoor use. What’s lacking though is the option to hide the notch. It’s not an issue when watching videos or playing games though as the content is displayed with a border.
When it comes to audio, the Redmi Note 7 doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking and sounds like your typical smartphone speaker. It’s crisp and loud but doesn’t have bass. It’s good enough for casual listening and hands-free voice calls. If you want a better listening experience, we suggest connecting it to an external speaker or your favorite headphones so you can take advantage of its Mi Sound Enhancer.
The Redmi Note 7 uses a 48MP (main) + 5MP (depth) rear camera setup. It has features like Portrait, Night, Panorama, HDR, Beauty, and Pro modes. It also has an AI mode that enhances the images based on the scene.
By default, it shoots images at 12MP resolution, but if you want to use the maximum 48MP, you’ll need to shoot in Pro mode. Images produced, even at 12MP, are nice with plenty of details, punchy colors, and good dynamic range. Low-light performance is okay but not great as it is prone to noise. Check out the samples below:
The 13MP camera handles selfies. Images produced are clean and have great color and decent sharpness, as long as you’re shooting in an area with abundant lighting. The beauty effect also works well in enhancing the user’s face without buffing out essential features.
When it comes to video recording, the Redmi Note 7 maxes out at 1080p at 60fps. There’s also a high frame rate mode that shoots 1080p clips at 120fps. Video quality is decent but it’s not as sharp and colorful as I’d like. There’s stabilization as well, but the shakes are much visible due to the high frame rate, so we suggest shooting at a lower 30fps. Watch the sample below:
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the operating system is MIUI 10.2 based on Android 9.0 Pie. However, the unit we have on hand came from China and is running a ROM customized for that market. That means you’re getting a lot of features and apps tailored for Chinese consumers.
It’s not a big downer though as most of these apps can be uninstalled. There’s no Google Play Store, as expected, but you can download it using the built-in app store.
When it comes to features, the Redmi Note 7 has plenty. It has Mi Ai which is a voice assistant but only responds to Chinese dialects. It also has Second Space, MIUI Lab to test beta features, Lite mode, Gesture navigation, Cleaner, App Lock, Dual Apps, and First Aid to check if the phone has issues.
Storage-wise, the unit we have has 64GB of storage with a usable space of 50.01GB. It’s still a sufficient amount and can be expanded using a microSD card up to 256GB capacities. It’s a hybrid setup though so you’ll need to sacrifice your SIM 2 slot.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Redmi Note 7 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 AIE octa-core chipset, Adreno 512 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. Performance is great which is not a surprise for a phone of this caliber, and had no issue running our favorite games like Asphalt 9, Mobile Legends, Ragnarok M, and PUGB Mobile in their highest settings.
You can also turn on its Game speed booster for optimized performance and network connection stability. Some warming can be felt at the upper side near the camera but not enough to be cause for concern.
Check out the benchmark scores below:
• AnTuTu – 141,733
• Geekbench – 1,643 (Single-Core), 5,385 (Multi-Core), 5,420 (RenderScript)
• 3D Mark – 1,334 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1), 1,269 (SSE – Vulkan)
• PC Mark – 6,166 (Work 2.0)
• AndroBench – 282.68 MB/s (Read), 199.92 MB/s (Write)
You can also watch our Can It Game video below:
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Redmi Note 7 has your usual connectivity features which include Dual-SIM, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB Type-C. Yes, it has GPS, but it has an issue and can’t detect our location even with apps like Google Maps, Waze, and GPS Test. We found out that other Redmi Note 7 users are also experiencing the same problem and could be a software bug. Some have suggested a fix which you can read here.
Battery life is good on the Redmi Note 7 thanks to the 4,000mAh battery and can last us a whole day of mixed usage with a little left in the night. However, it’s not that impressive when it comes to benchmark tests as it only got 9 hours and 54 minutes on PC Mark (for comparison, the ASUS ZenFone Max M2 got 17 hours and 10 minutes), and a decent playback time of 14 hours and 7 minutes. Charging, on the other hand, takes about 2 hours.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 is an enticing offering note solely because of the specs but because of the price. If you’re buying from China, you can get it starting at just CNY 999 or under PHP 8K for the 3GB + 32GB model. Then there’s the 4GB + 64GB for CNY 1,199 or under PHP 10K, and the top-of-the-line 6GB + 64GB model at CNY 1,399 or under PHP 11K.
Even if you can get it from some re-sellers at a slightly higher price, you’ll still have to deal with the disadvantages. One, it’s running on a Chinese ROM. Two, there’s a GPS issue. And three, there’s no warranty in the Philippines because it’s not officially available in the country yet.
So is it worth getting the Redmi Note 7? My answer is yes, but my recommendation is to wait for its official arrival in the Philippines so you won’t have to worry about the issues mentioned above.
Redmi Note 7 specs:
6.3-inch Full HD+ (2340 x 1080) 19.5:9 IPS LCD display, 409ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 AIE 2.2GHz octa-core processor
Adreno 512 GPU
microSD up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2)
48MP f/1.8 Samsung GM1 sensor + 5MP f/2.4 dual rear cameras
13MP front camera
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
3.5mm audio port
MIUI 10 (Android 9 Pie)
4,000mAh battery w/ QuickCharge 4.0
159.2 x 75.2 x 8.1 mm
What we liked:
• Nice build and design
• Good display
• Good cameras
• Large battery
• Competitive price
What we didn’t:
• Not yet officially available in the Philippines
• Chinese ROM
• GPS issue