I have been looking for an upgrade for my mum for a few months now and a few weeks ago I finally purchased the Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime. (in most of the contents below, the 3s and the 3s Prime are used interchangeably – the only difference between the models is that the prime model also has a finger print reader.).
The Xiaomi Redmi 3 series of phones (I will explain the wording better later) have 5 inch displays, come in 2GB RAM/16GB storage or 3GB RAM/32GB Storage variants and more or less identical design, 720p IPS displays, 13 mega pixel camera and the later models also come with fingerprint readers. They use the MIUI variant of android. My phone came with MIUI 8 pre installed.
I purchased the 2GB RAM/16GB Storage version for around £100.00. WIth releases of new models, the phone can be found slightly cheaper (but if the GBP keeps devaluing, it may become more expensive).
If you decide to purchase this, remember that Xiaomi sell multiple versions and with the multiple versions, you want the one with the Global ROM with the official OTA update mechanism. Otherwise you may end up with a phone that is hard to update and is in chinese.
Another thing to be aware of is that with the advent of 4g, not all bands are supported by all phones. With the Xiaomi Redmi 3s, it wont support 4g on O2 in the UK, so if that is your network of choice, you may need to avoid this phone.
The phone is aimed at emerging markets, but it can also be used in the UK and is very competitive in terms of price and performance with other phones which are much more expensive.
The Xiaomi Redmi 3s is not a top of the range “flagship” product but one that is aimed lower down the range. It does have a killer feature though: Battery life.
Most phones these days have batteries that will last a day or maybe a day and a half. The 3s has a battery life that should last atleast two days and with with low to moderate usage, anything up to 4 days.
It has accomplished this by having a bigger battery by most phones, but by also having a less battery hogging (and thus slower) processor and a screen resolution that is only 720p (which while low for android phones is actually pretty close to the resolution supported by the very expensive iphone 7). I shouldnt be too surprised as the phone has an IPS display which are known for their quality.
Thats all well in theory and I was not expecting much of the low resolution display. The quality and brihtness of the display was a pleasant surprise when I used the phone – it was bright and clear and unless you were specifically looking for a 1080p or a 2k/4k display, you wouldnt fault it.
The software is a little different from stock android – many android variants from the far east do away with the 9 dot ap button and have everything on the screens or in folders on screens – but it works well and is quite clear.
A good thing about Xiaomi is that unlike other manufacturers from the far east, it is quick to provide updates. My mum’s previous phone was a Huawei Y550, which since purchase did not recieve single update. Xiaomi and their online user community suggest that Xiaomi are quick with updates.
This granted is not limited to just software – they seem to launch a new variant of each phone on an almost monthly or a bimonthly basis. Xiomi has released (not in chronoligical order) the 3, 3S, 3S Prime, 3 Pro, 3X, 4 Prime and a 4, all released within the last 6-8 months most new releases have minor changes. There are also the larger “Note” versions but these seem to be updated slightly less often.
The original Xiaomi Redmi 3 had a different processor and it did not have a finger print reader. There are probably other hardware differences between the variants, but there doesnt seem to be anythig major.
With the newly released Redmi 4, I cannot see any particular hardware updates that stand out.
I had previously attempted to upgrade my mums phone to a previous flagship model, but having to charge it every night wasnt appreciated.
This phone looks good, isf ast enough and the battery lasts long, so it gets a strong recommendation.