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While the Mi series may be the flagship series of Xiaomi‘s product line, it’s the Redmi series that’s the company’s bread and butter. And within the Redmi series, it’s the Redmi Note series that has everyone’s attention as it encapsulates Xiaomi‘s ethos of offering more bang for your buck.
Continuing the tradition this year is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro, the flagship within the company’s Redmi lineup. Like the previous phones in the series, the Redmi Note 7 Pro pushes the budget smartphone category further than it has ever been, cramming in as many flagship features as it possibly can without breaking the bank.
The crown jewel this year is the presence of the Sony IMX 586, a 48MP behemoth that is found in nearly every flagship Android smartphone this year but Xiaomi was one of the first few companies to implement it, that too in a budget phone.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro specs
- Body: Gorilla Glass 5 front and back, polycarbonate frame
- Display: 6.3-inch, 2340×1080 IPS LCD, 409 PPI
- Rear camera: 48MP f1.79 PDAF primary, 5MP secondary, 4K30 video
- Front camera: 13MP f2.0, 1080p30 video
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 675, 2.0GHz octa-core CPU, 845MHz Adreno 612 GPU
- Memory: 4/6GB LPDDR3 RAM, 64/128GB eMMC 5.1 storage
- Connectivity: Hybrid dual SIM, 4G VoLTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, USB-C 2.0
- Battery: 4000mAh, Quick Charge 4.0 support
The rest of the kit isn’t bad either. You have a polycarbonate and glass body with a teardrop notch display, a Snapdragon 675 chipset with 4GB or 6GB RAM and 64GB or 128GB storage and a big 4000mAh battery.
When you remind yourself all of this is in what is still essentially a budget smartphone, it seems very impressive indeed. Of course, running on top of all this is Xiaomi‘s MIUI 10 based on Android 9 Pie, which, for now at least, is the latest version of Android available.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro sports an attractive, modern design.
The front of the device has a display going nearly edge to edge. There is a small chin on the bottom and on top is the familiar notch, but neither are particularly distracting.
The sides of the phone are made out of glossy polycarbonate, which can feel slippery at times. On the right are the power and volume buttons, placed appropriately and having a decent tactile feedback.
On the top of the phone are two things that are very hard to spot these days, a headphone jack and an IR blaster. The latter is quite common on Xiaomi phones but the former is starting to disappear, even from budget offerings like the Mi A2 so this may just be the last Redmi Note phone with a headphone jack.
On the left side of the phone is a SIM tray with a hybrid design that can hold either two SIM cards or one SIM and one microSD. The tray has a rubber gasket around the rim, which should prevent water or dust from entering.
On the bottom of the phone is a USB-C port flanked by the microphone on the left and a loudspeaker on the right. This phone does not have stereo speakers, so that’s the only loudspeaker on this device.
The back of the phone is also finished in Corning Gorilla Glass 5 like the front and has a beautiful 2.5D gradient reflective surface that changes color from bottom to top. This finish is found on the blue and red variants but not on the black.
On the back is also a fingerprint sensor, which is easy to reach and the camera module, which sticks out a fair bit from the back.
The design of the Redmi Note 7 Pro is really nice, especially in the blue or red variants. It also feels quite premium in hand, something that’s not the case for a lot of budget phones, even ones that do have a glass body. This phone is heavier than most in the segment, which actually helps make it feel more substantial and opulent in hand.
However, the phone still isn’t rated for dust or water resistance, which is to be expected in this price range and other than the gasket around the SIM tray we saw no other evidence of this phone being able to ward off the elements, so it’s best to keep it away from water.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a 6.3-inch display with a resolution of 2340×1080. It’s an IPS LCD panel with a notch and a 19:9 aspect ratio.
The display has three color modes. The default Automatic contrast makes the colors more saturated with higher contrast and bluer whites. It also changes the display contrast based on ambient lighting and has manual white balance wheel. The Increased contrast option looks similar to Automatic contrast but lacks the automatic adjustment of contrast and white balance. Lastly, there’s the Standard mode, which is based on the sRGB color standard, and it’s what we used for our testing.
The image quality in the Standard mode is decent. The colors look reasonably accurate but the display has a greenish yellow cast. However, you do tend to get used to it and after a while it’s not that noticeable.
In our color checker tests, the display produced mediocre results in the grayscale patterns due to the greenish tint to the whites. However, the rest of the color performance wasn’t too shabby for a budget device.
Overall, the display quality is pretty good for the price but we would have liked to see better color accuracy.
As with all Redmi phones, the Redmi Note 7 Pro runs on MIUI. Our review unit is using the latest MIUI 10 on top of Android 9 Pie.
As we have mentioned in our previous Xiaomi reviews, MIUI is a major departure from stock Android. This is a complete redesign of the user interface and outside of a couple of specific menus you will never see stock Android UI elements here.
This includes a lot of custom items, such as the launcher, the notifications, the app switcher and all of the stock apps. All of these have gone through several changes over the years, with MIUI 10 easily being the best version so far.
The launcher is as we have seen before, lacking a traditional app drawer and instead of placing all the apps and widgets on the homescreen like on iOS. Xiaomi has a different launcher for the Pocophone that does have an app drawer and also some other features and while that launcher can be installed on any Xiaomi phone, for some reason Xiaomi chooses not to integrate the two.
The notifications also sport a custom design. The grid of icons is customizable but for some reason you cannot have fewer than twelve icons. The notifications themselves have seen several improvements over the years and do work more or less in line with stock Android and other Android phones.
Another thing that was improved recently was the app switcher. Instead of the horizontal card layout of previous versions, we now get a tiled view that shows four apps at the same time. This is definitely the most functional layout of any app switcher and there isn’t another phone that lets you jump straight to the fourth last app that you had opened.
Also updated are the volume controls, which now features a much more attractive and easier to use interface. You can also expand it to show all the volume levels for different functions.
The Settings app has gone through some changes as well and the About phone section has now been moved to the top of the list. This is convenient if you like to constantly check for new OS updates or updates for the stock apps that come pre-installed. The rest of it, however, is more or less the same and a lot of it is still a bit convoluted and many of the things aren’t placed where you’d expect to find them on any other Android phone.
Xiaomi has also added dark mode in the latest version of the OS. This works system-wide across all the stock apps as well as every other part of the UI. Well, almost every app as the File Manager app and the Security app for some reason aren’t affected by the dark mode.
As before, there is gesture support built-in. Xiaomi‘s gesture implementation is perhaps the best on Android, possibly because it’s identical to iOS. You swipe up to go home, swipe up and hold for app switcher and swipe from left or right edge of the screen to go back. It works as you’d expect and the animations are done well.
There are tons of other features in the OS that we don’t have time to discuss today. There’s also a lot of customization options built-in. It’s one of the reasons why people like MIUI so much and even prefer it over stock Android.
But while there’s definitely a lot to like here, it can also be quite a nuisance at times. Many of the stock apps that come with the phone will bombard you with notifications throughout the day. If you know how to block these, that’s fine but a lot of people don’t and it’s common to see someone’s phone going off and it’s the Themes app telling you of a new theme. The phone is littered with such apps and even apps you don’t expect to send you notifications will do so at some point or other.
There are also far too many duplicate apps on the device. In the same vein as Samsung, Xiaomi loves to have a version of its own app for every Google app, so the phone comes with two of everything. There are two browsers, two music players, two image galleries, and two app stores. The app store is particularly annoying, as it merely exists so Xiaomi can shove promotional content at you and offers nothing extra over the Play Store. As you can guess, none of these duplicate apps can be removed entirely.
The other nuisance is ads. Xiaomi has gone on record saying it can afford to sell these phones at such low prices because it’s found another revenue model – by pushing ads through its apps. Unfortunately, practically every app that comes built into the OS now has ads built-in. The good thing is these can be disabled but you have to do that on a per-app basis and the option to do it isn’t always easily accessible.
It is possible to spend an hour or so going through every app and setting to disable all the notifications, unwanted apps, and ads. We’d also recommend switching the launcher to something more practical and sensible with a better-looking set of icons. Unfortunately, a lot of this requires knowledge that most people don’t have. Most people just use their phones as they come out of the box and the out-of-the-box user experience for MIUI phones isn’t great.
Unfortunately, there’s no point expecting Xiaomi to fix any of this considering these annoyances are now part of the company’s revenue model. However, it’s good to note that this is not the case on all markets that Xiaomi phones are available on. Users in most Western countries seem to be spared the barrage of ads. For now.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro comes with a fairly respectable Snapdragon 675 chipset with a choice of either 4GB or 6GB RAM with 64GB or 128GB storage, respectively. The regular Redmi Note 7 (or Redmi Note 7s as it’s known in India) has a Snapdragon 660 chipset instead.
For the price, the performance of both Pro and non-Pro models is really good. Xiaomi generally has very good performance optimization so the phone never feels sluggish or out of breath. Even doing things like switching apps or taking pictures in the camera app feel very quick. You only really notice the difference in performance if you use a much more powerful smartphone side by side but for most users, the performance on offer here is perfectly satisfactory.
Gaming is another area where the Redmi Note 7 Pro does reasonably well. We played a few rounds of PUBG Mobile and even at ‘HD’ setting and ‘High’ frame rate option, the game was perfectly playable and we didn’t have any issues with it.
The single loudspeaker on the bottom of the sounds good but it doesn’t get particularly loud and just having it on one side makes it sound unbalanced when you’re watching a video or playing a game. Fortunately, the phone does come with a headphone jack although there aren’t headphones provided with the phone and you will have to buy those separately.
Lastly, the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone also works quite well and was generally quite reliable.
The camera has an aperture of f/1.8 along with phase detection autofocus and a dual LED flash. Complementing it is a secondary 5MP depth sensor used for taking portrait images.
The camera application is similar to what we have seen on Xiaomi phones in the last couple of years. The UI is inspired by the iOS Camera app, so on the bottom, you have all the various camera modes and you can tap or swipe to move between them. On the top are toggles for the flash, HDR, AI mode, beauty and color filters.
There’s also an additional menu housing the options for tilt-shift mode, aspect ratio adjustments, countdown timer, and Google Lens. There’s also the Straighten option, which uses the phone’s accelerometer to automatically straighten the image even if you don’t hold the camera perfectly level.
Among the various modes we have the standard Photo mode, a dedicated 48MP mode, Portrait mode, Night mode, Panorama and lastly Pro mode. For video there’s the standard Video mode and also a short video mode that takes quick 15 seconds videos suitable for Instagram.
The Pro mode on the Redmi phones isn’t as elaborate as on the Mi phones, which is a shame considering the sensor on this device. Here we find white balance adjustments, manual focus but without focus peaking, shutter speed and ISO. There’s no option to capture images in RAW.
Image quality in the default photo mode during daylight is largely excellent. The camera has excellent color reproduction that even surpasses some of the more expensive phones on the market, along with really good contrast and exposure. Images captured in daylight have rich details with very little noise or over-sharpening. The only area where it struggles is in capturing bright highlights in moderately lit situations but apart from that there’s not much else to complain about.
Low light is a different ballgame, however. The images in low light come out way too soft at times. The noise reduction algorithm wipes out a lot of the detail and texture in the images. The lack of optical image stabilization also doesn’t help, as the images can also tend to be shaky and the camera has to bump up the ISO instead of the shutter speed to compensate.
There’s also a night mode, but it doesn’t really do much and is basically useless.
The HDR mode works quite well. Images shot in HDR mode have improved shadow and highlight detail without looking too over processed.
You can also choose to shoot images in 48MP mode; however, we didn’t see much reason to. While in bright sunlight you do get some extra detail, it’s not enough to justify the 2 seconds or so where the camera app freezes while it saves the image, nor is it worth the 2-3x increase in file size.
Also, the camera will only actually capture true 48MP images in bright light. In any other situation, it will simply upscale 12MP images, which as you’d expect, don’t look any better than the default 12MP images.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro can also record 4K video. Unfortunately, there is no OIS on this phone and the electronic stabilization is also disabled in 4K mode. This results in a detailed but very shaky video and the camera shake, even when standing still, makes the video unwatchable.
The same is true for the 1080p60 mode, which also does not have any stabilization. On top of that, this mode also suffers from a very soft image as it’s being captured at a fairly low internal resolution and then upscaled to 1080p.
The best mode in our opinion is 1080p30, where you get good image quality, at least in daylight, but also electronic stabilization.
You can also record 120fps slow-motion video in 1080p but the video is soft and there’s no stabilization.
Overall, the camera on the Redmi Note 7 Pro is rather good for the price range. As with the other phones with this sensor, the 48MP description is a bit of a misnomer but even in 12MP mode the phone captures some good-looking images, provided there’s enough light.
The Redmi Note 7 Pro has a 4000mAh battery. We didn’t do our usual battery life test, but in actual usage, the phone easily went through an entire day on a single charge. The battery life has always been a highlight of the Redmi Note series, and the Redmi Note 7 Pro is no exception.
The phone does support Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0, but the phone does not ship with a fast charger. The bundled charger does charge the phone in under three hours but if you want faster charging you will have to spend extra for a compatible charger.
The Redmi Note series has pretty much dominated the budget Android smartphone segment ever since it was released. In markets like India and China that are remarkably price- and value-conscious, the combination of affordable price and robust feature set of the Redmi Note series made it the absolute favorite of the masses and pushed Xiaomi to the top of the sales charts.
With the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Xiaomi is injecting even more of the flagship smartphones into the budget market. The glass body feels premium, as does the large, nearly edge to edge display. The performance is best in class, and the 48MP camera takes some terrific photos. And finally, the battery life is as good as it has ever been.
As a complete package, few phones can compete with the Redmi Note 7 Pro on the market, which is why it has been so challenging to get one since it was released. We would like to see Xiaomi improve its software experience further and make it less of an annoyance with the abundance of ads, notifications, and duplicate apps but apart from that there’s not much to complain about here.
- Good design and build quality
- Good display quality
- Good performance for the price
- Good daylight camera performance
- Good battery life
- Well priced for the hardware and performance
- Software loaded with bloatware, ads and disruptive notifications
- Fast charger is not bundled
- Unimpressive low-light camera performance