“The Redmi Note 7S sits between the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro in the Note 7 series”

Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 7 (review) in India earlier this year, alongside the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro (review). The Redmi Note 7 duo were distinguished by the use of a 48MP sensor and upgraded processor in the Pro variant. Interestingly, the Redmi Note 7 variant launched in China features Samsung ISOCELL GM1 sensor, which is also a 48MP unit. Now, in a bid to make 48-megapixel cameras more mainstream, the company has launched the Chinese variant of the Note 7 in the country as the Redmi Note 7s. At a starting price of Rs 10,999, the Redmi Note 7s sits snuggly between the Redmi Note 7 and Note 7 Pro. The smartphone arrived at our premises recently and here’s how I feel about it after spending a short while with the phone.

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The packaging of Redmi Note 7s is exactly the same as its siblings with the phone’s visuals on top, branding on sides and core specs listed at the bottom. Lifting the lid, you will find a cardboard sheath housing a clear plastic protective case and documentation. Below that, the Redmi Note 7S lies atop the 2A wall charger, a SIM-ejector tool and USB Type-C cable. Xiaomi isn’t known for providing earphones with its smartphones and Redmi Note 7s is not an exception. Redmi Note 7S UFI 07

As for the smartphone itself, the Sapphire Blue unit that I received looks stunning to say the least. Thanks to the rounded corners, confidence-inspiring heft and even weight distribution, the smartphone might fool you into thinking that it’s a premium offering. In our reviews of the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro, we couldn’t stop praising how good these devices look and feel in hand, and all of that is applicable to the latest launch as well. The back panel is also identical with a dual-camera module in the top-left corner, circular fingerprint scanner towards the center and the Redmi by Xiaomi branding at the bottom. The hybrid SIM slot and physical buttons are located diametrically opposite on each side of the phone. The top of the smartphone is home to an IR Blaster and a 3.5mm audio socket, whereas at the bottom you will find the Type-C port and loudspeaker grille. The smartphone also features P2i splash-resistant coating, which makes it impervious to accidental splashes and light rain.

Along with the design, the Redmi Note 7S also borrows the display from its siblings. The Redmi Note 7S flaunts the same 6.3-inch Full HD+ display with a small waterdrop-shaped cut-out up top, which the company likes to call Dot Notch. You can find the thin slit housing the earpiece on top and there is also a hidden LED notification light on the chin of the smartphone. While the IPS LCD panel of the handset is not as impressive as an AMOLED screen, the display on Redmi Note 7S is impressive in terms of vividness, sharpness, viewing angles and direct sunlight legibility. Additionally, features like contrast adjustment and reading mode also improve your viewing experience.

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Speaking of features, the Redmi Note 7S boots MIUI 10.3 out of the box, which is based on the current Android 9.0 Pie. The software is typical of Xiaomi with a drawer-less homescreen layout and a few bloatware apps that can be uninstalled. The animations and multitasking on the smartphone felt smooth as well, which can be accredited to the octa-core Snapdragon 660 SoC. As far as variants are concerned, the base model comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, while the higher-end version ships with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, which offers 52GB storage to the end user out of the box. Powering the smartphone is a 4,000mAh battery with support for Quick Charge 4.0.

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Moving on the highlight of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S. The handset features 48-megapixel + 5-megapixel snappers on the back. However, unlike the Sony IMX 586 sensor on the Redmi Note 7 Pro, the one on the Note 7S is Samsung’s ISOCELL GM1 unit. The difference between two is that Sony’s offering is a true 48MP sensor that uses no software gimmick, while the Samsung sensor outputs 48-megapixel images using interpolation and onboard AI. In my short stint with the Redmi Note 7S, the phone managed to capture impressive shots indoor as well as in daylight, though I’d like to reserve my judgment till I get to test out the smartphone extensively. On the front, the Redmi Note 7S features a 13-megapixel snapper with AI Portrait mode.

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With the launch of Redmi Note 7S, the phonemaker is aiming to fill in all gaps in the budget segment. The new launch offers loaded internals, premium design and a powerful camera at a more attractive price point than the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Moreover, the company will be offering the Redmi Note 7S on both online and offline channels, which makes it all the more compelling. 

Photos by Raj Rout