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Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review: Third Time’s the Charm

Performance

The Redmi Note 3 is powered by the Qualcomm’s new midrange chip, the MSM8956 Snapdragon 650 SoC, which consist of 2 1.8GHz Cortex A72 cores, 4 Cortex A53 cores and Adreno 510 GPU. The unit we received has 3GB of RAM while there is a lower-end model with only 2GB of RAM. The multitasking is likely to be affected by this difference. So enough of the specs and let’s dive into how does the 6-core processor perform in real life.

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It might not be a top-tier 800 series but it somehow manages to perform quite well. App loading and user interface navigation are done speedily. It does get warm after some performance demanding usage but its metal back dissipates the heat rather well and it is still comfortable to hold. It has good performance with a reasonable heat output, which is to be expected as Xiaomi released the Redmi Note 3 using Snapdragon processor as a response to complaints on the MediaTek overheating issues that the original model had. It is also able to deliver with high graphics usage games such as Asphalt 8. In our game time, there is actually no lag even though the visual settings are set to the maximum.

To be honest, I am impressed by the Snapdragon 650. While being marketed as a midrange processor, the level of performance is closer to the top tier Snapdragon 8XX series rather than the lower-end Snapdragon 400 series. This is what we wanted to see. In the past, I always felt that the Snapdragon 615 is not much better than the Snapdragon 400/410. This time, the Snapdragon 650 finally proves the worthiness of its midrange status and we might need to thank the two new high performance Cortex A72 cores. They are much better in heavy lifting as compared to the higher-clocked A53 cores found in the Snapdragon 615.

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If you are interested in benchmarking, Antutu benchmark rates the Redmi Note 3 at just below the Sony Xperia Z5 at a rank of 11 which is impressive for a phone at sub RM1k price range. In fact, it just loses out slightly in performance with the One Plus Two. The score largely aligns with what we experience in real-life and this is simply awesome.

Battery Life

With its 4050mAh battery, I managed to reach 7.5 hours of screen-on time in one single charge in one day, which is kind of insane (My eyes are quite tired though that day). You can expect it to last almost 2 days with less usage. Using it to play games or watch HD videos often will run it down to just around one and a half days which is still amazing. I have never used a phone that last as long as this and there are not many phones that can beat this number in the market. Thumbs up to Xiaomi in packing such a huge battery in a normal-sized phone.

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With this amount of screen of time, I am still not comfortable to claim that the phone can last you 2 full days for a reason. The standby time is really not great. The phone can lose between 5% to 10% of the charge in a 6 to 7 hour sleep. This means that as much as 200mAh to 400mAh of energy lost, which is insane. I suspect that the software is not optimized properly but I cannot be sure of it. I think the Redmi Note 3 will benefit from the Doze mode in Android Marshmallow update. So let’s hope that Xiaomi can deliver it soon.

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It does seem that the battery logger stays inactive when you don’t have mobile signal which is weird as I don’t quite see the reason to turn the logger off. The time remaining indicator is very optimistic with the lifespan of its battery as you can see from the screenshot, it predicts a 1 day remaining time for a 35% battery level. I suppose it shows a maximum value, but a more realistic information is preferred. At this point, I’m just nitpicking on the indicators, the bottom line is you’ll never have to worry about not having enough power unless you forgot to charge it the day before.

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Speaking of charging, we are sad to say that we couldn’t provide the accurate picture. The charger that came along with the Redmi Note 3 has a two-pin plug, which is used in China but not in Malaysia. The charger provided is rated at 10W (5V, 2 A). So we used our own 10W charger to charge the phone and the phone took slightly more than 3 hours to go from 0% to 100%, which is quite a long time. But considering the size of the battery, it is not that bad at all. The other drawback is that the battery is non-removable, so you cannot swap in an extra battery to get another full charge on the go.

Memory and Storage

Out of the box, it contains 24.30 GB of storage out of 26.28 GB available (for the 32 GB model), which is quite expected as the OS should take up around 2 GB. Redmi Note 3 has a microSD slot up to 128 GB which is an improvement over the older Redmi Note 3. However, it uses the SIM 2 slot so you can’t have 2 SIMs plus a microSD card inserted. If you want to use 2 SIMs, you’ll have to sacrifice external storage which might not be a problem as the base model comes with a reasonable 16GB internal storage. If you want to use 2 SIMs, we would recommend going for the 32 GB model as you wouldn’t want to face the dilemma of choosing a SIM slot or storage. The 16GB model comes with  2GB of RAM which is a rather minimum requirement of RAM nowadays. The 32 GB upgrades this to 3 GB of RAM which is much more preferrable. It will be better planning for the future anyway.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the updates. Am gonna get the phone. Think it will launch at 12 pm today.

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