Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review

This review is based on a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 with Snapdragon 650 SoC and 3GB of RAM, running a global software ROM with Google services pre-installed.

Introduction


Let’s say that you’re in the market for a new smartphone, but you’re constrained within a very tight budget. One of your options is to settle for something on the lower end, but made by a well-known company – the Motorola Moto G and the Samsung Galaxy J5 are some of the first models to come to my mind. Alternatively, you may take a gamble and go for something a bit more… exotic; something like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review
Xiaomi is one of the many Chinese brands we rarely get to mention, primarily due to their near-zero presence in the western part of the world. But when we do get to talk about Xiaomi’s handsets, the story usually revolves around how much you get for so little. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, for instance, packs a humongous battery, a high-resolution display, a 16MP camera, and a fairly powerful Snapdragon 650 SoC coupled with plenty of memory and storage space. All of this costs well below $200 in the Asian markets where the phone is officially on sale. Could this deal be too good to be true, however, or is this the absolute best bang you can get at this price point? And no less importantly, is importing one worth it given the extra fees you'll have to endure?

The box contains:

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
  • Wall charger (Output: 5V, 2A)
  • Micro USB cable for charging and data transfer
  • SIM card ejector tool
  • Quick start guide

Design


Excitement and curiosity, sprinkled with a healthy dose of skepticism – this is what I felt as I was setting up the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 as my new personal phone. On one hand, it was my first time having one of the brand’s handsets as a daily driver. On the other, I was finding it hard to believe that a smartphone could retail for so little and not be terrible. Spoiler alert: it was not.

Looks, however, weren’t what the Redmi Note 3 was going to win me with. Don’t get me wrong: the phone looks great for a budget offering, and it is clear that Xiaomi has put effort in giving it character – by going for a metal body, for instance, or by adding a shiny metallic trim around the glass covering the front. In spite of this, the handset couldn’t thrill me with its appearance.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review

In the hand, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 feels bulky and heavy, which is to be expected given the considerable capacity of its battery cell. It is well balanced, however, and and its curved corners make it comfortable to handle. I’m also happy to report that all buttons work well, while the fingerprint scanner is positioned right where my index finger naturally rests.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that this thing has a fingerprint scanner! Very few low-cost phones will offer you this perk, and having it is a great convenience. Admittedly, the one on the Redmi Note 3 is fast and reliable.


Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

Dimensions

5.91 x 2.99 x 0.34 inches

150 x 76 x 8.65 mm

Weight

5.78 oz (164 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches

142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Asus ZenFone 2

Asus ZenFone 2

Dimensions

6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches

152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Dimensions

5.96 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches

151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 g)

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

Dimensions

5.91 x 2.99 x 0.34 inches

150 x 76 x 8.65 mm

Weight

5.78 oz (164 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches

142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Asus ZenFone 2

Asus ZenFone 2

Dimensions

6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches

152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Dimensions

5.96 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches

151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display


On the technical side of things, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 sports a 5.5-inch LCD display with 1080 by 1920 pixels, which, in human speak, means that it is big and stuffed with more than enough pixels to deliver clear and crisp visuals. For a budget-friendly handset, this screen is nearly perfect.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review
I did have to add that “nearly” there because the screen’s colors aren’t exactly accurate. One flaw that tends to stick out is the cold color tone, giving whites a noticeably blueish look. Thankfully color temperature can be corrected from the settings menu, although I’m willing to bet that most people wouldn’t even notice that the screen is colder than it should be.

Before I proceed, I must make it clear that I’ve had almost no troubles using the Redmi Note 3 in broad daylight. The screen gets bright enough to be used comfortably outdoors, and it would have been even easier to see if its glass surface wasn’t as reflective. At night, I sometimes took advantage of the built-in Reader Mode, which works pretty much like f.lux or Apple’s Night Shift – it filters out blue light to reduce eye strain.



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50 Comments

1. GreenMan

Posts: 2694; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

The clock widget... The wallpaper... And its box... THAT ALL REMIND ME OF iPHONE... Sorry, but I just can't help myself...!

2. aayupanday

Posts: 582; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

The review system here is Bollocks! This phone deserves a rating of 8.0 and above for the type of value it offers according to its price.

18. NonFanBoy

Posts: 180; Member since: May 28, 2015

"Importing one to Europe or the U.S. makes less sense, however, and this is the standpoint from which I'll draw my conclusion." This is how they always draw their conclusion and cut off 1.5-2 from the true rating. What is funny though is that most of their readers outside US are from Asia so don't really know whom they are drawing the conclusion for.

40. dcwt2010

Posts: 71; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Is that fact? I mean that in a curious way, do you have the stats to support that?

27. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

IT DESERVE 9+ !!!! just look at that price range.. no one at that price range can beat this phone

33. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

Not if it's Chinese

3. kiko007

Posts: 7489; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Again cheap doesn't = better. I don't know how many comments are going to be "BUT IT'S SO CHEAP!" but I know that is going to be a heavy part of the criticism given here. PA understands this, but many of you don't seem to have a clue as to why price doesn't factor into the review process for MOST reviewers.

6. Guaire

Posts: 855; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

"This means that our reviews do not present the point of view of a single person (the author), but instead, they encompass a much wider range of various views." "Class: The class of each cell phone is defined by the targeted customers` preferences regarding the cost, the luxury level, the multimedia features and so on." http://www.phonearena.com/howdowerate

35. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

Stupidest argument ever.

47. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

Then you seem to have the same logic as PA, where an overpriced iPhone gets overly high ratings.

4. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Pa hates Chinese manufacturers #facts

5. GreenMan

Posts: 2694; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

People hate Pa for nothing #facts

23. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

8. Moose

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

I disagree that Chinese phones are hard to get in Western countries, that they are costly to ship or slow to arrive. I have ordered a number of phones from Chinese retailers. It only costs an average of about $20 via DHL and they normally arrive (in Canada) no more than a week after the order is placed. Import duties average around $25 - no extra tax or costs. I have never had any hassles with any of my orders. In terms of rating the Redmi Note 3 in comparison to similarly priced phones, I would pick the Redmi Note 3 first because of its superior battery life compared to the competition. But then, I am not that fussed about photo quality.

10. lallolu

Posts: 731; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

I am not really sure whyPA rate phones. Probably due to sponsors that will like their phones to be rated high. Why not do like gsmarena? Review the phones as you do now but don't rate it. Even if the ratings were not subjective, some people wil not agree with it. Go and ask teachers and they will tell you this.

11. peace247 unregistered

WTF u can't give it low score just bcos its available for $300 in ur country. It definitely deserves 8.5 or more.....and yeah i have this same model....i agree if u want a decent camera then this mobile is not for you.

12. Shrihari

Posts: 104; Member since: Jan 29, 2013

Seriously 6.8? must be above 8.0. Main points to look is the priceat which it is being sold. You guys mainly tend to ignore it.

13. Awaragardiyan unregistered

phonearena, do urself a favour and stop reviewing non-Apple phones

14. drahcir02

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 03, 2016

Not a 7? I thought non apple device = 7.

15. launernoon

Posts: 81; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

6.8? This phone doesn't even deserve a 6. Xiaomi phones are really difficult to use. Not to mention the ui is a total iOS ripoff. Their phones slow down and lag after months. Even for its price, it still doesn't deserve a 6. Price shouldn't factor in any reviews. Just because you are selling your phones dirt cheap doesn't mean the buyers should expect a crappy user experience.

20. Jimboslice

Posts: 9; Member since: May 05, 2016

What a bunch of bulls**t! You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Not one thing you said is even remotely true.

16. WallStreet

Posts: 256; Member since: Sep 21, 2014

I think in order to give such a low grade you would have to give some further explaination, otherwise it's just bullocks with the grading system!!! Review is ok

17. VVayne

Posts: 103; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

I had this phone for a month and got rid of it mostly because; -notifications arrive as they want, you really can't rely on MIUI... -apps kept shutting down, listening on spotify during morning commute was painful, I had to start the playback 2-3 times again. Not a big issue but definitely annoying. -sometimes the alarm doesn't fire off in the morning.. -the call experience was pretty robotic, the voices are clear on both sides, but nothing like they sound in other phones, I love my wife's voice on the phone and this is not the device I use with joy when calling with her on the phone -other than that, the performance is great, if that is the only thing you need, but the device might be a bit overrated on the internets, is either used by people who can't afford a quality flagship phone, or by people who had mediocre/slow phones and are blown away with this device. I blame nobody, I enjoyed my while with the Redmi Note 3 (SD version), but, there were too many buts, and I decides to skip for the S7 edge.

34. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

I've got one. FIrst and last Xiaomi / CHinese-branded phone, EVER. Keeps freezing / randomly rebooting. Xiaomi Warranty? No, they don't care.

19. cytyler

Posts: 24; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

I own the SD650 version of RedmiNote3. The phone costs USD220, and frankly speaking, the phone performs terrible, especially the camera, even my 3 years Honor6 take better pictures. I made the wrong decision of buying this!

26. mahima

Posts: 719; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

the camera was not great, but the phone performs terrible?? i find that hard to believe as a redmi note 3 user...

39. dazed1

Posts: 786; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

BS, pure BS! the phone is very fast and the best price/performance unit in recent years.

21. Jimboslice

Posts: 9; Member since: May 05, 2016

Can't rely on miui huh? Crappy user experience? Saying you don't like it is one thing but making up ridiculous bs about it is something else...really stupid. To anyone with half a brain don't listen to this nonsense. I've had my mi4c since January of this year and it still runs like a champ!

22. Jimboslice

Posts: 9; Member since: May 05, 2016

I can only imagine that a newer device like the redmi note 3 could only be better!

24. rahool360

Posts: 19; Member since: Feb 15, 2013

I think reviewer here is clearly dump or not ready to work...the issues he told about is crazy...because i dont find those issues in UI, i have been using this phone for three months, I got the device for testing before its release ... if the reviewer cannot tweet picture from his gallery with this phone...phonearena should consider him firing from the position, and put some guy who is not dumb to review a phone properly.....
Redmi Note 3
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor MediaTek Helio X10, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 4000 mAh

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