Chinese handset maker Xiaomi has climbed to second spot in the Indian smartphone market after coming here nearly four years ago. The company has now expanded its budget line-up with the selfie-centric “Redmi Y” series. The new Redmi Y1 device comes in two variants — 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage at Rs 8,999 and 4GB RAM and 64GB internal memory variant at Rs 10,999. At this price point for the 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM devices, Redmi Y1 essentially competes with “Canvas Infinity” from Micromax (which costs Rs 10,999) and Redmi Note 4 (Rs 9,999) — a hugely-popular Xiaomi device.
Does the device live up to its selfie hype? Let us find out.
Xiaomi’s maiden shot at catching up with the trend of selfie-focused smartphones does not go waste. At first glance, the smatphone looks quite similar to the Redmi 4, but for a bigger-form factor that accommodates a 5.5-inch HD display with Corning Gorilla glass on the top. Redmi Y1 features a 16MP front camera with selfie light that captured detailed selfies and had accurate colour reproduction. Additionally, there are “smart” and “pro” modes that help in further smoothening the portrait shots.
The front shooter has an aperture of f/2.0 and can record video at up to 1080p resolution. The rear camera on the device is a 13MP sensor with phase detection auto focus (PDAF) and single-tone LED flash. Similar to that of other Xiaomi devices, the camera app of Redmi Y1 houses modes such as “Panorama”, “Beautify” and “Manual”.
Images taken in day-light conditions had enough detail and good colour balance. The device offers a metal unibody design with antenna bands running at the top and bottom on the rear side. Interestingly, Redmi Y1 has a very light-form factor that makes handling it very easy. The fingerprint sensor at the back is quite handy and unlocks the phone fast. The Snapdragon 435 processor does its job well in powering the device as well as keeping it cool while we played some power-intensive games such as “Prime Peaks”. There was no noticeable stutter when we opened multiple tabs on the Chrome browser, streamed music and used social media apps.
Only the right bottom-firing speaker is functional which is capable enough to not let you miss calls. The smartphone runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat operating system (OS) with its custom MIUI 8 on top. Xiaomi’s latest MIUI 9 upgrade that includes India-specific features that started rolling out from November 3 is likely to be rolled out for Redmi Y1 soon as well.
What does not work?
Photography in low-light conditions was pretty challenging for Redmi Y1’s primary camera. We noticed grain in the images while zooming in. Xiaomi’s trademark navigation keys are placed below the display but they don’t support back-lit feature like the Redmi Note 4.
Conclusion: Redmi Y1 is a good attempt by the Chinese handset maker in manufacturing a budget phone which is not just about selfies. A light-form factor, decent specs — apart from a good selfie camera — make it a strong contender against other Android budget phones.