The $105 Xiaomi Redmi 3S brings a metal body and fingerprint scanner to the lowest Android phone tier


Chinese vendor Xiaomi stays true to its "give the most for the price" success mantra, even when it comes down to its lowest catalog tier. The new Xiaomi Redmi 3S is a showcase of how much tech can be (reasonably) given away for the equivalent of $105 (699 Yuan), which is how much the base model starts at.

The Redmi 3S is a bit of an iPhone lookalike that's sold in familiar Gray, Silver, and Gold colors. Its body is metal, although the top and bottom parts appear to be made of aluminum-imitating plastic to solve signal reception problems. Its 5-inch IPS display runs at a 720 x 1280px resolution, while the back of the phone is graced with a fingerprint scanner – a particularly nice treat for budget-minded users.

Inside the dual-SIM handset, a Snapdragon 430 processor ticks with eight CPU cores, one pair clocked to 1.1GHz and the other at 1.4GHz. The base model sees Qualcomm's chip paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable eMMC storage, while the "High" version, which costs $136 (899 Yuan), comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Both variants are powered by a large 4100mAh battery, which should account for long standby times, given the frugal screen resolution and power-efficient chipset.

The Redmi 3S is equipped with a 13MP main camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase-detection auto-focus (as fast as 0.1 seconds, according to Xiaomi), HDR mode, manual controls, and a single LED flash, among other niceties. The front cam is a 5MP unit with f/2.2 aperture size and face recognition. Both cameras can record video in up to 1080p resolution.

Running on a Qualcomm platform, the Redmi 3S supports the essential connectivity standards and sensors, although network support is limited to Chinese networks and there's no NFC. The phone runs Xiaomi's MIUI 7 interface, whose many bundled app and content stores that cater to Chinese users will play a major part in how the company will profit from such a low-cost device.

While the Redmi 3S' value for money ratio might seem incredibly alluring, Xiaomi's handset is targeted towards customers in China (possibly neighboring countries, too) and won't see a global release anytime soon. Importing the phone doesn't make for a solid idea, as limited network compatibility, re-seller markups, shipping and import taxes, and lack of warranty and customer support will turn it into a poorly spent $200 (or so). 

Still, it's remarkable that Xiaomi is bringing features like a metal body and fingerprint scanner to the lowest of low-priced Android smartphones that still stand up to modern standards. We expect competing manufacturers like Huawei and Meizu to follow suit in the months ahead.

Related phones

Redmi 3S
  • Display 5.0" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, Octa-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4100 mAh

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14 Comments

2. zex999

Posts: 92; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

So it can be done. 4100mah battery in a metal body for $105.

3. mahima

Posts: 726; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

they have to mention iphone... this looks like any other metal phone... but not much of iphone

6. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

It looks almost identical to the iPhone...

8. mahima

Posts: 726; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

yeah coming from papasmurf and phonearena

11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah right, even toddlers can differentiate between iPhone and this phone

4. mahima

Posts: 726; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

they have to mention iphone... this looks like any other metal phone... but not much of iphone...anyway have better storage than iphone 16gb

5. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

"Still, it's remarkable that Xiaomi is bringing features like a metal body and fingerprint scanner to the lowest of low-priced Android smartphones that still stand up to modern standards." If PA's going to review it, it would get a 6 anyway.

7. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

How's the connection of this phone

9. Awaragardiyan unregistered

there is another one called redmi 3x launched today, but i guess it's for china unicom only

10. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

What if iphone decided to launch low end iphone.... Bingo!!!! They simply relaunch iphone 3gs with same spec

12. sebstin

Posts: 174; Member since: Dec 03, 2015

very nice specs.... less than 140mm X 69mm really good for 5" phone.. Too bad its not available in US..

13. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

Why would a $105 phone cost $200 if imported when the Redmi Note 3 Pro costs just $30 above it's Chinese/Indian price delivered to the US? It's almost certain that it will also be compatible with US 3G (but not lte) networks too as are all Xiaomi phones. Again another half-assed poorly researched PA article.

14. imran86

Posts: 208; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

Specs wise, It's better than the Iphone 6s and still 6 times cheaper. PA should have mentioned that as well.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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