Redmi K50i review: ultimate performance on a budget

Our take on the latest Redmi K-series phone - the K50i.

Review Summary

Expert Rating3.5/5

Design
★★★★★
★★★★★
Display
★★★★★
★★★★★
Software
★★★★★
★★★★★
Camera
★★★★★
★★★★★
Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
Battery
★★★★★
★★★★★

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Good daylight photography
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Staid design
  • Uses an LCD panel
  • Average low-light photography├é┬á

After a brief hiatus of almost two years, Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi has finally taken the wraps off its latest K-series smartphone in the form of the Redmi K50i. For the uninitiated, the company announced the Redmi K20 Pro (review) back in 2019 which, at the time, featured a flagship processor, a pop-up camera module and an AMOLED panel, all for a starting price of just Rs 27,999. Unsurprisingly, the device was deemed a runaway success but since then, Redmi has mostly stuck to the budget and affordable segments. 

Be that as it may, the Redmi K50i comes with a loaded spec sheet and costs just Rs 25,999 in India. So then, is the device a good buy? More importantly, can it fend off the competition, the likes of which include high-performance devices like the iQOO Neo6 (review) and POCO F4 (review)? I’ll try and answer the aforementioned queries and more in this review.

Verdict

The Redmi K50i lacks the flair and appeal that defined the K20 Pro back in the day. However, the phone offers excellent performance, good battery life and decent daylight photography chops which, when put together, make it a compelling option. 

Design and display

The Redmi K50i is not particularly sleek and from the outside, it doesn’t exude the kind of pizazz I’ve come to associate with Redmi phones from the past. To wit, the handset weighs upwards of 200g and measures 8.87mm, which robs it of points in the portability department. Further, the unit’s polycarbonate build doesn’t feel as premium as some competing devices either. That said, the back of the phone is replete with a glittering blue colour scheme that shimmers under the sun and exhibits shades of green at different angles. What’s more, the handset ships with a flat frame which, when coupled with the device’s curvy back, provides a better grip on the phone. 

As for the button layout, the Redmi K50i ships with a volume rocker and a power button on its right-hand side. Interestingly, the device doesn’t opt for an in-display fingerprint sensor and instead, embeds the scanner within the power toggle. Redmi continues its tradition of providing an IR blaster with the phone too, a feature that I find most useful when the AC’s remote is beyond my arm’s reach. Lest I forget, the device ships with a headphone jack positioned up top and even touts a dual-speaker setup, with the earpiece doubling up as the secondary speaker unit. Suffice it to say, Redmi has played it safe with the design of the K50i. Be that as it may, while the device isn’t a head turner, there is little doubt with regards to the handset’s robust build quality.

Redmi is taking the road less travelled in the display department and the company has outfitted its latest contender with an FFS LCD panel. That’s quite surprising, seeing how most competing devices ship with an AMOLED screen. That said, Redmi claims that K50i’s FFS screen offers better viewing angles, draws lesser power and relays enhanced visuals than a run-of-the-mill LCD. However, during my time with the phone, I didn’t find the K50i’s viewing experience anything out of the ordinary.

On the upside, the panel refreshes at 144Hz, which is somewhat of a rarity in the handset’s price bracket. You can even choose between 60Hz, 90Hz, and 144Hz refresh rate options from within the settings menu, depending on how smooth you want the scrolling and animations to be. As for the rest of the display specs, the 6.6-inch screen offers an FHD+ resolution and comes layered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 protection on top. The panel touts a punch-hole notch which, much to my dismay, does exhibit slight backlit bleeding. 

Regardless, the K50i’s screen is well-calibrated and buyers can even sift through various customisation options present in the Colour Scheme menu to finetune the viewing experience to their liking. The 500 nits of brightness levels are a bit too low but it should suffice for indoor usage. I should also add that while the device can relay HD streams, it doesn’t support HDR playback from OTT services like Netflix. Overall, I was quite satisfied with the panel’s picture quality. What’s more, the screen’s uber-fast refresh rate somewhat makes up for its sub-par brightness levels too, which is great.

Cameras

The Redmi K50i features a triple-camera setup heralded by a 64MP Samsung GW1 primary sensor. As for the auxiliary cameras, the device ships with an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP macro shooter. I should add that I could only click images in overcast conditions, owing to the onset of monsoon in Delhi. However, going by the results, I’m positive that the Redmi K50i’s camera setup will shine even brighter with ample light at its disposal.  

There are a few problems, of course, and the device struggles to reciprocate colours accurately. In fact, I noticed that dark red hues would often be rendered a tad pink. Even so, the dynamic range was to my liking and the sensor churned out sharp images with well-defined shadows. The sensor tackles exposure metering admirably too and I didn’t notice any highlight clipping when pointing the sensor directly at a source of light. I’d also like to add that the sensor offers snappy focussing speeds as well as a shallow depth of field owing to the large sensor size. The 64MP images from the sensor allow users to crop into the shot but, per usual, the photos will eat into a bigger chunk of your storage compared to say, a pixel-binned image.

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Ultra-wide images maintain the colour temperatures quite nicely although the sharpness levels tend to taper off along the edges. That being said, the quality of photos from the macro sensor is nothing to write home about. If anything, the unit reciprocates the colours of the subject to a tee under ideal lighting. In terms of video recording capabilities, the phone can record clips in up to 4K 30fps although I prefer to shoot at 1080p 60fps more.

Moving on, the Redmi K50i’s lowlight camera capabilities will not win it any laurels. At the same time, the output isn’t too shabby either. In fact, with the night mode utility enabled, the sensor overexposes the frame at times. The detailing in the scene is not the best in underlit conditions either, although the noise levels are kept to a minimum. I also like the sensor’s snappy autofocus in lowlight scenarios. That’s not all, as the smartphone’s 16MP selfie camera leans toward natural skin tones and exhibits good sharpness around the subject’s face, thereby making the shots Instagram-ready.  

Performance and software

MediaTek’s Dimensity 8100 SoC powers a bevvy of devices and the Redmi K50i is the latest in line to utilise its services. The phone starts with 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM but can be specced with up to 8GB of memory and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Now, I have already compared the chipset’s performance metrics to a slew of other processors, which you can read more about here. But, to get you up to speed, MediaTek has really upped its silicone game over the past few years and the brand’s current-gen offerings are in fact, on par with their Qualcomm counterparts. Suffice it to say, the Dimensity 8100 SoC-backed Redmi K50i is among the fastest phone in its segment.

To give you a better picture, the device crossed the 800,000 point mark in the Antutu benchmark and yielded 3,691 points in GeekBench’s multi-core test run. The phone doesn’t heat up under a sustained load either and maintains 89 percent of its peak performance in the CPU throttle test. The device can even run graphically-demanding games at competent settings, with BGMI maxing out at HDR graphics and Ultra (45fps) frame rate presets. Suffice it to say, the K50i can crunch through extensive computing workloads without breaking a sweat. 

Moving on, the device’s stereo speaker setup outputs a punchy sound and gets adequately loud as well. The headphone jack has hi-res support for compatible wired audio products too, which is great. I was satisfied with the unlocking speed of both, the facial recognition tech as well as the fingerprint sensor too. 4G network connectivity via Noida’s Jio circle works as expected and in time I should be able to comment on the phone’s 5G capabilities as well.

Talking about the phone’s software, the device boots Xiaomi’s intuitive MIUI 13, based on Android 12. You can head over to our previous review of the Xiaomi 12 Pro (review) to get a better idea about the software experience. What I will add, however, is that the device is still plagued by bloatware issues and although the skin is heavily customisable, it doesn’t gel well with third-party launchers.

Battery

The 5,000mAh cell housed inside the phone allows you to use the device for a sizeable portion of the day without having to look for the charger. I got up to six hours of screen-on time with the phone, with my usage comprising running a few benchmarks, playing an hour of BGMI and watching a few episodes of Resident Evil, while also browsing through my social media handles. PCMark’s Battery test also returned a good score of 12 hours 30 minutes. And, should the battery backup still fall short of your expectations, you can juice up the device quickly too. In fact, the handset’s 67W brick will juice up the device up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.

Final verdict

The Redmi K20 Pro oozed class and offered excellent performance along with a reliable set of cameras at the time of its launch. That said, the Redmi K50i is seemingly content with maintaining a low profile. To wit, the handset’s style choices will not attract as many eyeballs and while the phone ships with a capable LCD display, you will get a better viewing experience from competing devices that ship with an AMOLED panel. The POCO F4, for instance, offers a fantastic AMOLED panel which is compliant with Dolby Vision HDR codec as well. 

That being said, the handset leaves no stone unturned in the performance department and is by far, the fastest phone to retail for around the Rs 25K mark. With early bird offers, the K50i can be obtained for as low as Rs 20,999, which I think is an unbelievably good deal. Rest assured, the K50i checks enough boxes to get a recommendation from me.

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5 

Pros:

  • Excellent performance
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Good daylight photography
  • Decent battery life

Cons:

  • Staid design
  • Uses an LCD panel
  • Average low-light photography 

Key Specs

Xiaomi Redmi K50i
RAM6 GB
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 8100 MT6895Z
Rear Camera64 MP + 8 MP + 2 MP
Front Camera16 MP
Battery5080 mAh
Display6.6 inches
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Xiaomi Redmi K50i Price
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Rs. 25,999.00
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Rs. 25,999.00
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