The Redmi Note 7 is the starting signal the Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi. While the current best mid-range smartphone, the Redmi Note 6 Pro was almost identical to the Redmi Note 5, the Redmi Note 7 sets new standards in the mid-range segment. The notch is much smaller, the camera is way better and the hardware becomes stronger – even a USB-C connection is now in an affordable smartphone. Presumably inspired by the Mi 8 Lite, the Redmi Note 7 gets a glass back and a new design.
An independent brand like this one could actually work for Xiaomi because the devices of the Redmi Note series or Redmi series have always been a price-performance bang. Depending on the model sometimes more or less good. However, in recent years, mid-range smartphones are actually almost always very good, although the changes and improvements of successors in comparison to their predecessors were often only marginal. With the new Redmi Note 7, a little more life is back in the series and some things have been changed and refreshed.
The current price of P9,990 for the 4GB / 64GB variant is perfectly fine for this device! Let us proceed to our review.
Redmi Note 7 Specs
- 6.28-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display, 2340 X 1020 resolution, 409 ppi
- Android 9.0 “Pie”, MIUI 10
- Dual-SIM, dual standby
- 2.2Ghz 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor
- Adreno 512 GPU
- 32GB / 64GB / 128GB internal storage
- Expandable microSD slot up to 256GB
- 3GB / 4GB RAM
- Dual 48-megapixel + 5-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture with phase detection auto-focus and dual-LED flash
- 13-megapixel rear camera, f/2.2
- 1080p at 120fps of video recording
- Fingerprint scanner
- Face ID recognition
- 4G LTE (Category 6)
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Infrared blaster
- GPS, with A-GPS, Beidou
- USB Type-C connector
- 4,000 mAh non-removable battery
Unboxing Redmi Note 7
Design & Build quality
The design of the Redmi Note 7 is a bit similar to the Mi 8 Lite, and most especially the Mi Play. Thus, both the Mi Play and the Redmi Note 7 have only a small display notch, which houses only the lens of the front camera. We are pleased that the trend has apparently turned here and the manufacturers were no longer obstruct this ugly and especially huge notches. As a result, the notch is less intrusive and does not disturb during operation. The Redmi Note 7 is available in three colors: Black, Twilight Gold and Neptune Blue. The metal frame on the side is painted in the chosen device color and looks very noble. The display glass is framed in a slightly protruding frame and stands slightly off the case. Due to the smaller notch on the top, the only white notification LED has moved down to the chin.
At the back, the Redmi Note 7, like the Mi Play or Mi 8 Lite, is fully glass-based. This makes it very noble and reminiscent of a high-end device of competitors. However, the design has a big disadvantage here as well. By choosing the material glass suffers the haptic, the device can quickly slip you without a cover from the hand. In addition, the glass can also splinter when it falls on the back. But this is also always a potential hazard with other glass-backed equipment.
What is striking on the back, there is no standard Mi logo, but Redmi by Xiaomi. This highlights the new brand.
The security of the device is a section that has been gaining relevance with the passage of time. But in Redmi Note 7, all these advances that we have seen as the integrated readers on the screen or the Face ID have not yet arrived. The middle range of Redmi offers us a traditional rear fingerprint reader that offers, yes, an excellent result. It is placed in the most comfortable situation, it is fast and very reliable. Nothing to object to in that element.
The same thing does not happen with facial unlocking. Or rather, the lack of facial recognition. As we have seen in other devices of Xiaomi, the face unlocking is not activated by default . It is possible to activate it by changing the region, but it is not something that we recommend or that all users want to do it.
During the review, there are the usual inputs / outputs and key positions. On the right side, you will find the power button and the volume rocker. On the opposite side is the dual SIM card slot for either two Nano SIM cards or a Nano Sim + microSD memory card. On the bottom, there is behind a mesh grid of the speakers. In the middle bottom part, we finally find here the USB Type-C connector. The Redmi Note 7 is the first device in this series with the new type of connection, although devices such as the Mi 8 Lite now also have USB Type-C installed. This is usually gladly installed by other manufacturers at the expense of the 3.5 mm audio jack. But not with Xiaomi, because the Redmi Note 7, you get both and even the built-in infrared sensor. Look sideways at the device, the protruding camera is noticeable. Even with the included case, you do not get complete protection for the camera, because the glass of the camera optics is still a bit out. Thus, the camera glass rests on the table and could easily scratch. If it bothers you, you may need to buy another case.
The Redmi Note 7 has a 6.3-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. This gives an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The narrow 8 mm drop notch takes up little space from the display surface. As with its predecessors, Xiaomi has installed a good LCD panel here again. The color reproduction and the contrast are very good, also the black value. With a dark background, minimal screen bleeding can be seen. As with all new Xiaomi devices, there are no longer any capacitive buttons, just pure on-screen buttons. If desired, these can be completely switched off in the settings and the control is only executed with pure gestures. Thus, you actually get the full display surface and have no annoying buttons more. The touchscreen is also very precise.
The display brightness is on average to a good level. In reality, the automatic display brightness responds promptly and without delay. In sunlight, the display can still read reasonably well.
With a screen ratio of 81.4 %, the Redmi Note 7 is a clear improvement over the Mi A2 and its 77.4%, although we are on the same line as the Redmi Note 6 Pro and its 81.1%. Regarding the latter, the screen is similar in size and resolution.
Through the screen options, MIUI allows us to choose between several screen configurations, depending on whether we want to maintain a natural or improved contrast. By default, it comes in the first one although if we activate the second one we will not notice a very big change either.
Software, UI & Apps
The Redmi Note 7 is delivered with the current MIUI 10.3.2.0 stable interface based on Android 9.0 Pie. The patch level is also quite up to date with April 05, 2019.
Both the performance and design of MIUI 10 have improved a lot, but what we have is very different from what pure Android offers. MIUI is a layer with a multitude of options and pre-installed applications.
As soon as you set up the Redmi Note 7, we will have access to applications to take notes, calendar, file manager, music, browser, but also very specific applications of the brand such as the Xiaomi store, an own application store and the My Community apps or MIUI Forum. In case it was not enough, we also have the applications from Amazon, Aliexpress, Facebook and Netflix.
White tones and large icons predominate in MIUI 10, although what we miss the most is possibly the multitasking tab . Here we have vertical cards in a design quite different from what we have in other devices.
Another addition that gives us the software is the possibility of changing the navigation of the system by gestures, to eliminate the traditional buttons and move without the usual pulsations. They are not bad, but they need to improve their sensitivity to become an interesting option.
The software of Xiaomi is a very characteristic element of the Redmi Note 7. We have the FM Radio, WideLine L1 support and add-ons as dual applications. The number of options is very high and the performance has been improving a lot.
Redmi Note 7 Performance & Benchmarks
In terms of performance, there are not many new features in the Redmi Note 7. Xiaomi is again relying on the tried-and-tested fare and incorporates the 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 660 octa-core processor with Adreno 512 GPU. This has 8x Kryo 260 cores. While Xiaomi still relies on eMMC 5.1 for internal memory. In operation, you notice nothing of it and so the whole system runs absolutely smoothly. Switching between apps is also fast. The otherwise good performance is also reflected in the Antutu benchmark with 137,853 points.
Next, to the Qualcomm processor, 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM is added. The performance is very good, all applications open quickly, moving between the menus is pleasant and we can play with ease. We do not have the fluency of a high-end, but with this chipset, we already reached a point quite pleasant for day to day usage.
We have tested the Redmi Note 7 with games such as Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile and the fluency has been quite good, although the graphics have not been able to place them to the maximum.
The version we have tested has 64GB, of which 50GB are free. Fortunately, for those who want to expand the space, the Redmi Note 7 is compatible with microSD cards up to 256GB.
Redmi Note 7 Camera
The camera is a key section in any smartphones, whether low-end or flagship. The Redmi Note 7 incorporates a double camera with a 48-megapixel main sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor. Unlike the Pro version, we have a Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 sensor with an aperture lens of f/1.8 . For the front camera, we have a 13-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture.
The double camera comes with artificial intelligence to improve the results, portrait mode for the front and Full HD video recording at 60 fps. Strangely, 4K video recording has not been installed at the moment. Let’s see how the photographic section of the Redmi Note 7 behaves.
Despite having a 48-megapixel sensor, the camera of the Redmi Note 7 makes its high-quality images at 12 megapixels using the “pixel binning” technique that combines four adjacent pixels of 0.8μm to create a larger and brighter pixel than in this case 1.6μm.
The Samsung sensor uses this technique to try to create photos with less noise than we would have with a traditional sensor of 12 megapixels. How is the result when it comes to the truth? Really convincing if we consider the price of the device.
By day, the images obtained are very good and with a high level of detail. The focus is not the fastest, but the result is quite good. The biggest problem with the camera is perhaps with the colors, they are not as natural as we would like them to be, and in the light-colored areas, it does not finish illuminating enough.
If we activate the HDR mode or artificial intelligence, what is achieved is just the opposite. The images are somewhat washed and the colors lose intensity, although more detail is achieved in the shadows. Even so, the result is very balanced and the images are striking enough.
In the case of opting for manual mode and 48 megapixels, what we have is that we can increase the detail much more but in general we get very similar photos. At the end, where we have felt more comfortable is with the standard camera and we do not believe that photography at 48 megapixels (8000 x 6000 pixels) is something that offers a special bonus.
The surprising thing about the Redmi Note 7 camera is that it behaves more or less at night. Normally in these situations, the camera goes down a lot, but the Redmi Note 7 meets quite a note. The level of detail is lower and there is some noise, but it is very acceptable and the lights are well treated.
Xiaomi also incorporates a night mode that manages to illuminate the scene without offering totally artificial results. It manages to capture much more light and detail. What ultimately allows us to get better shots.
The portrait mode of the Redmi Note 7 is good, not so much in the cut of the bokeh but in the general impression. The level of detail is very high and reinforces the object, also the background is not very blurred. For this price range, we have finished quite happy with the portrait mode.
The front camera of the Redmi Note 7 is 13 megapixels and f/2.0 aperture. We have HDR mode, artificial intelligence, portrait mode and classic beauty mode.
The selfies seemed right to us, although it is not their strong point. The level of detail is correct and the portrait mode works relatively well despite not having a second sensor, but we have not been convinced by the dynamic range.
The approach works well although we do not have auto-focus. While the beauty mode allows us to adjust in multiple levels – the size of the eyes, the tone of the skin, soften or stylize it. As well as a more generic beauty mode with five different levels.
Connectivity, Audio quality & Battery life
The voice quality of the Redmi Note 7 during a telephone call is very good, our conversation were always able to understand us very well. The reception performance was always very good and there was a stable reception almost everywhere.
2G: 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G: 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
4G LTE: B1, B3, B5, B7, B8, B34, B38, B39, B40, B41
In terms of WLAN, the Redmi Note 7 offers dual-band in the standard IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Thus theoretically, transmissions up to 1.5 Gigabit per second are possible. Otherwise, still Miracast, DLNA and Wifi Direct are offered. The GPS comes standard with GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou.
The Redmi Note 7 has a mono speaker on the bottom and in addition to the USB Type-C connector, a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the top. The speaker delivers a good volume without it starting to distort. As usual, you have to cut corners in terms of sound. There is simply no dynamic. It all sounds very linear and the bass is not really good over. With headphones, you will, of course, get a better quality, which can be adjusted according to your preferences via headphone presets and an equalizer in the settings. The overall volume could be a bit higher for our taste, but, as a whole audio setup is okay.
The Redmi Note series is especially known for its high battery capacity. The Redmi Note 7 also has a large 4,000 mAh battery. Coupled with the Snapdragon SoC and the very well-optimized MIUI interface, it offers a very good runtime. In reality and after about 7 days of use, we managed as a heavy user under 1.5 days. The smartphone will definitely bring you over the day. With the supplied 5V / 2A power supply, the device can be recharged from 1% to 100% in about 1.5 hours with Quick-Charge 3.0 AC adapter.
With the ulterior motive that Xiaomi wants to establish the new Redmi Note 7 as its own brand, they are using this device exactly the right way.
So, the Redmi Note 7 is finally a real upgrade of the series, even if Xiaomi still relies on the older Snapdragon 660 processor. But it does not matter, because in combination with the fast LPDDR4X RAM and the eMMC 5.1 storage memory, you get a very high-performance device. Also, the battery life is usually excellent and finally you get here the long-awaited USB Type-C connector. And not even at the expense of a 3.5 mm jack, that is still there.
The device also makes a big leap forward in terms of camera, so it surpasses its predecessors but clearly, as far as the quality and sharpness. All you have to complain about the advertised 48 megapixels, because they are only generated with 4x 12 megapixels pixel shift in software.
Even otherwise, the all-round package of the device is right. A great big display with just a drop notch, current OS and top workmanship in a sophisticated design are more than decent features. Thus, the Redmi Note 7 is currently the best mid-range smartphone on the market as of this moment.