Xiaomi Redmi 1s Review: Cheap and Good Do Go At Once


It is by default that the market of low budget smartphones is filled with phones that may seems good but not exactly good enough at their price. There is also common saying that cheap and good doesn’t get along. But lately there are a hype about certain model called Xiaomi Redmi 1s. Being sold at warp speed at flash sale here in Indonesia is indeed one thing, but how good exactly this red rice for an under 2 million rupiahs smartphone?

What is Xiaomi Redmi 1s?

For folks that don’t know Xiaomi up to this point, i do pity your soul but it’s perfectly normal. It is not until the end of 2011 when Xiaomi released their 1st handset, Mi1. If you skipped this news, then maybe you’ll remember when Hugo Barra, one of the Google Executives moved to Xiaomi in Late 2013.

For the handset itself, it packs a whopping Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon (Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7) with Adreno 305 on-board. Also 1 GB of RAM, 8 MPix rear camera, a 4.7″ 720p screen with AGC Dragontrail (it’s like Gorilla Glass but less famous, move on). For those who feel unfamiliar with the processor name, it is the same that used on Moto G or Sony Xperia M2 or Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. By default, Hongmi is loaded with Android 4.3 ROM with (of course) MIUI interface.


Should You Buy This?

With that cheap market price, this device can be bought by anyone. But do everyone wants it?
For some selfie targeted fellows, 1.6 MPix front camera sure won’t satisfy their ego. But for someone who might just get their hand first time on smartphone, it does give some appeal. Early adopter who want another secondary phone might give a glance to this cheap powerhouse. Furthermore, it will be an awesome update for people with old Android device running 512 MB of RAM (or less) and 480p resolution (you might feel every app on your phone is a bit sluggish at this time, go fetch!).

People with small hands sure want to think twice (or more) since this Hongmi is actually pretty big (and heavy too. 158g!). Bother yourself with a ruler and measure whether 14 cm x 7 cm is considered big and uncomfortable. If the answer is a yes then you might want to pick Moto G as i speak.


Build Quality

Xiaomi claimed that Hongmi is been tortured before you open the box. They’ve conducted fall test from 1m for 100 times, pressed buttons for 100.000 times, re-plugged the battery for 3.000 times, and many more (read more here). Honestly, the feel of the physical buttons (which are only volume and lock/unlock buttons) are not that cheap. The back cover also give a firm grip toward the palm of the hand and rarely slides. Unfortunately, the back cover is a fingerprint magnet. This might not a big deal for some but it tends to give ugly dirty look.


 Software: MIUI

Special thing about MIUI is that you can change the element of the ROM without the need for root permission. There are pre-configured themes provided online by MIUI for free. All you need is create an mi account, and you’re good to go. You can browse by popularity or based on category like cartoons, love, simple, fresh, and many more. It won’t take long to adapt for veteran Android users, and it is actually less confusing for first-timers.

There is this DND mode or “Do Not Distrub” mode that can be set to the owner liking. It silences the phone automatically during certain hours (if set) or on-demand via drop down menu.



The camera app itself provides plenty customization such as: HDR functionality, advanced mode (you can set ISO, white balance, exposure, scene mode), panoramic modes, and filters. The app also let the user choose the automatic metering method (center-weighted, spot, frame average). You can also take a shot in 4:3 or 16:9. Nifty, eh?

About the camera result, you can see in the picture below (if you get a blurry feels with the picture, blame my hand).


Things to be Noted

Being a cheap handset always gives drawbacks. Cheap does give good but it doesn’t guarantee great. 2000 mAh for a 4.7″ IPS LCD is just less. The phone barely alive at 7 hours and half (give or take) after standby in 3G mode (locked, not preffered), and it gives it best at 9 hours and half. The main culprit is the screen. It takes more than 50% of battery usage in the battery usage history. So make sure your automatic brightness configured. Of course it still depends on your daily usage but you might want to know that before getting one.


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