A review on Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 must be surprising for my blog readers. This blog is all about personal finance and real estate. A review of the mobile phone comes under technology domain. Occasionally, i do share my inputs on technology domain based on my personal experience. It is always a welcome change for the readers of this blog. Being into personal finance domain i always look out for products/services that deliver the best value for money. I may or may not be right every time :). As and when i hit the BULL’s eye, i share my experience with the readers of this blog as i shared my views on LED vs LCD TV in past.
Earlier i was carrying two mobile phones i.e. personal and business. It’s a pain to carry two mobile phones though it has its own advantages. I was looking for a dual SIM mobile phone within a budget of Rs 10,000. The mobile phone is a depreciating asset, therefore, i didn’t want to spend too much on the same. My 1st preference was Dual SIM Active mobile but there are not many options in India and it is costly. I decided to go ahead with Dual SIM Standby though it has a major limitation that i will discuss it in Cons section of this post. During my research, i came across Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. It was available only through FLASH SALE on Amazon and MI website. It created a lot of buzz in online space. I personally like the marketing strategy of the company to SELL the product. On the contrary, there are more critics compared to the supporters of this approach. One of the reason might be short supply.
I am using Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 from last 2 weeks and did complete R&D of the product. Now i am ready to share my experience. I will divide this post into 3 parts. The first section will discuss advantages or Pros of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. The second section will discuss shortcomings. Lastly, i will address the issues/common problems reported by the users and their solutions. Frankly speaking, these are not issues as such but need a turnaround to fix the same. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 should have published detailed guide or faqs for the benefit of buyers. I found out the solution of these problems on my own. Also, i will not share laundry list under each section. I will only highlight the points that are critical and most important from buyer’s perspective. Lastly, it is not a technical review but more from a buyer’s perspective.
Pros of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
1. Made in India:
Though this might not be a consideration for many buyers but i feel it is important. As i shared in my post, Make in India – Key to Revival of Economy that this initiative will help to generate jobs for low-skilled workers in India. It will also bring FDI and will be a boon for SME’s. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 received by me is Made in India :).
On the product front, there are 2 products sold by Amazon and MI. One that is Made in India & second one is Made in China. As i checked the reviews of buyers, my conclusion is that there are not many complaints about Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 that is Made in India. On the other hand, i found more no of complaints about Made in China unit. It reminded me of a dialogue from movie “Baaghi” by Tiger Shroff “China ka maal zyaada tikta nahin hain” :). Just kidding, Xiaomi is a Chinese company. Though the buyer is not aware of make at the time of purchase but if you are buying Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 from Amazon then Made in India unit will be dispatched from Bangalore. This observation is based on purchases made by me and my friends. By buying “Made in India” unit we are indirectly helping our economy. The unit received by me is manufactured at Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh.
This was a key consideration on the product front. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 has whooping 4050 mAh battery. Under 10k, you cannot find a good mobile with 4000+ mAh battery. Based my experience, a battery may last for upto three days if your usage is low i.e. you use only for voice and occasionally use data. For medium usage, the battery will last for upto two days and for heavy users like gaming, video chat etc it will last for a day. To increase battery life i uninstalled some unnecessary applications. I also restricted the data usage of applications not used frequently and changed the apps battery usage setting to Advanced. It restricts background activity when possible. I am a medium user and my battery lasts for 2 days.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 comes with a 2 Amp charger. The FULL Battery is charged between 2-3 hours. If you charge with samsung galaxy charger of 0.7 Amp then it will take 5-6 hours for FULL Charging. The reason being, Samsung Galaxy charger take 2-3 hours to charge 2000-2500 mAh battery. Therefore, 2 Amp charger ensure fast charging. The netizens think that Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 has incorporated some special technology for fast charging :). A word of caution you should only use the charger provided with Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. Any other charger may impact the battery performance.
3. Support all 3 bands of 4G and VoLTE:
As i shared that i was looking for a mobile so that i can use it for at least 2-3 years. 4G is future of telecom in India. Therefore, i was considering a flexibility to shift to 4G in future. For this transition, the mobile phone should support all three bands of 4G. Not many people are aware that a true 4G phone support three LTE bands i.e. band 5(850 Mhz), band 3(1800 Mhz) and band 40(2300 Mhz). Most of the mobile phone advertised as 4G smartphone in India does not support band 5(850 Mhz). Mostly high-end phones support all three bands. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 do support all three 4G bands. Therefore, in future, you have the flexibility to shift to any 4G operator in India without a new purchase.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 also supports VoLTE i.e. Voice over LTE. If you are planning to switch to Reliance Jio Services in future then Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is the Answer. Within Rs 10,000 i could not find any phone with VoLTE and all three bands support of 4G. In other words, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is future ready.
4. Premium Design and Stylish Look & Feel:
Trust me if you don’t know that this phone is Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and is available for Rs 9,998/- then this mobile phones gives a look and feel of any mobile worth Rs 30,000/- to Rs 50,000/-. I bought GOLD color and it is most attractive and stylish compared to other colors i.e. dark grey and silver. The design is very sleek if you are not using any cover.
Overall performance in terms of interface, time lag, display, ease of use etc is awesome. Though 2GB RAM is perceived to be low but Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 utilizes RAM memory quite efficiently. I have Samsung Galaxy with 2GB RAM. I found Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 much faster compared to Samsung Galaxy with the same set of apps and RAM. One of the reason can be a powerful processor of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. The processor and RAM complement each other. The powerful processor compensates for the RAM and vice versa. This was the reason i mentioned that i don’t see much value in 32GB and 3GB RAM version. The powerful processor compensates for 1GB additional RAM.
The screen colors are deep, rich, lively and vivid. The display is FULL HD IPS display. The readers know that i am a big fan of IPS display. The display in sunlight is not so great. The interface is MIUI and is different from Samsung interface that many users are familiar with. You will take 3-4 days to get used to the new interface.
The fingerprint scanner is quite accurate. Out of 10 times, it detected my fingerprint correctly 9 times. You can add multiple touch points of the finger for higher accuracy. Even the fingerprint scanner in my office is not that accurate :). It is very convenient to unlock the unit within a fraction of sec using the fingerprint scanner.
One of the common complaints on a public forum was related to Camera. As a buyer, we should remember that we are buying a mobile phone by paying Rs 9998/-. Our expectation should be according to the price paid. I am not buying a Digital SLR for photography. From the standards of Mobile Phone, the camera is good. The only issue is during low light. That is acceptable as i always keep in mind the price paid and set my expectations accordingly.
The earphone output from 3.5mm jack is too good. I get stereophonic sound while listening to FM Radio.
Cons of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
1. Dual SIM Standby:
No complaints at a price point of under Rs 10,000/- but it is imp for readers to understand the implication of Dual SIM Standby. In layman terms, if i am using 2 SIM and one of the SIM is in use then another SIM will be inactive. It is the biggest disadvantage of Dual SIM Standby. I have 2 SIM cards i.e. BSNL and Vodafone. When i am on a call on Vodafone and if someone dial BSNL no then the caller listens IVR “This number is not in Service”. In this case, you will not get missed call alert from BSNL. In the reverse scenario, If i BSNL no is busy and someone dial Vodafone no then caller listens IVR “The number you are dialing is out of reach”. I tried call forwarding feature but it didn’t work across operators. It is not a mobile phone issue but the lack of interconnectivity among telecom operators for call forwarding. The issue with the mobile phone is that it is Dual SIM Standby instead of my first preference Dual SIM Active. At the same time, you cannot expect Dual SIM Active mobile for Rs 9,998/-.
If you are likely to attend/receive long calls then Dual SIM Standby phone is not for you. You may miss important call on another number that is in the inactive stage during the call.
2. Inbuilt applications:
Some of the inbuilt applications on Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 like Chrome, Google Keyboard, Mail, Backup, Mi Drop, Mi Cloud, TalkBack, Yellow Pages, Find device. Mi Account, Mi Cloud Backup etc can neither be disabled nor uninstalled. It is quite frustrating as a user. I have paid for the device and i should have liberty to select the applications of my choice. These are not system applications that may impact the functioning of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. In my opinion, some of these applications are wasting precious space on the phone.
3. Security Concerns:
On my Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, i observed Running applications like Mi Cloud, msa etc and others as cached background process like Mi Account, Mobile Broadcasts, Mi Cloud, Backup etc. I am especially skeptical of Mi Cloud and Backup applications & never opted for these services. As i have not signed up for same, therefore, i am not sure why these applications are running forcefully. I tried to force stop but it again initiates in the background.
For the benefit of readers, i would like to highlight that in Oct 2014 Indian Air Force issued security warning against Xiaomi Products. In past, one of the security firms reported that Xiaomi Phones are pre-loaded with software to spy on you. The Indian Air Force reported that Xiaomi is found sending user’s private data to servers in Beijing. You may check news report published on NDTV Gadgets.
Personally, i have security concerns related to Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. At the same time as i don’t use my phone much for the activities like logins, passwords, banking etc that may cause privacy concerns. Therefore, i ignored this point at the time of purchase. I am still worried about the processes running in the background. Even after thorough research i could not find why Mi Cloud or Backup is running in the background along with some other Mi-Apps.
4. Mobile Ringer:
The speaker of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is at the back of the mobile phone. The ringer volume for the incoming call is very feeble. Because of this reason, i have to keep my phone upside down all the time. If you are out of home then ensure that you have set a very loud/noisy ringtone and the mobile is always on vibration mode. You may miss calls if you are at some noisy place or traveling. Another alternative is to keep a mobile phone in the pocket of a shirt but it is too big for the same.
5. Battery Replacement:
There is NO Back cover in Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. The battery is fixed inside and cannot be removed by the user. Therefore, you cannot remove/replace the battery on your own. You have to visit the Xiaomi or Mi service center to remove/replace the battery. This is a smart move from the company. It ensures that buyer will always buy/replace the battery from company service center. In the case of Samsung Galaxy, a battery from Samsung cost Rs 1200 whereas i bought non-Samsung branded battery for Rs 350. Secondly, in the case of unforeseen circumstance like spillage of water etc you cannot remove battery.
6. USB Charging:
As the battery capacity is too high, i was not able to charge Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 through USB 2.0 port and USB cable provided with the phone. The current through USB port is very LOW therefore even after 40 mins the battery % was stagnant. On USB 3.0 charging is very slow. Therefore, you always need a charger of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 to charge the battery. It might not be convenient for people who travel a lot.
7. The Phone is too Delicate to Handle:
The daughter of one of my friend dropped Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 from a bed (height of 2.5 feet) and the screen knocked off. Secondly, the finishing is too smooth that phone slips from your hand. On two occasions even my heart was in my mouth, therefore, i ordered tempered glass and back cover.
8. Hybrid Slot:
Though the product specification clearly mentions that 2nd SIM slot is hybrid but many buyers fail to understand its implication till they received Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. In layman terms, it means that the unit has 2 slots. The first one is reserved for Micro SIM. The second slot can be used either for Nano SIM or Micro SD card for storage. If i am using dual SIM then i cannot extend storage or use the micro SD card. It came as a shocker for many buyers after purchase. On a neutral note, it is our mistake as a buyer and we cannot complain about the product. I am mentioning this point under CONS only because memory cannot be extended in case you are using dual SIM.
Common Issues/Concerns Reported by the Users and Solution
This is one of the most common issue reported by the users. The fact of the matter is that Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 has a metallic body and high capacity battery of 4050 mAh. The charger used is 2 Amp, therefore, heating will bound to happen. The best way is to check the temp of the battery during charging. If it does not exceed 40 degree Celsius then you need not worry. I checked battery temp of my Samsung galaxy S4 and it touched 41 degrees during charging. It is because of light weight plastic back cover with foam covering, the user does not feel the heat. As i mentioned, in Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 you feel more heat because of metallic body. I tested the same 4-5 times. The battery temp increased to max 39.2 degrees especially when the charging reaches between 60% to 70% and then it cooled off to 33 degrees. Normal battery temp is 31 to 33 degree.
To check battery status, please follow these steps
Settings >> About Phone >> Internal Memory (Tap 5 times) >> Battery Information
If you hate heating during charging then you can charge your Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 with Samsung Galaxy Charger of 0.7 Amp. There is Zero heating but it will take 5-6 hours to charge.
2. How to test all the functions of the device?
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 supports lot of functions like Magnetic Sensor, Gyroscope, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, IR etc. You might not be using all the features/functions immediately. Moreover, you have only 10 days for replacement in case of any manufacturing defect. Therefore, it is important to test all the functions without actually using them. You may follow these steps to test all the device functions
Settings >> About Phone >> Kernel version (Tap 5 times) >> QC Test
If all the tests PASS it means your device is working perfectly fine. Though it is Made in India but from the heart it is Chinese and China ka maal zyaada tikta nahin hain :).
3. Issues related to BSNL Connection:
Many users reported issues related to BSNL connection i.e. internet or mobile data not working. I also faced this problem as i am BSNL user. Four checks/quick fix solutions for this problem
(a) Please ensure BSNL SIM is inserted in Slot 1 i.e. Micro SIM Slot. Hybrid or Nano SIM slot does not support mobile data.
(b) Settings >> SIM cards & mobile networks >> SIM Card Settings (Select BSNL SIM) >> Access Point Names >> Select bsnlnet (BSNL GPRS) APN instead of bsnllive (BSNL Live)
(c) Settings >> SIM cards & mobile networks >> International Roaming >> Enable International data roaming
(d) Settings >> Sync >> Enable Sync option and disable Wi-Fi only option
Once you complete above mentioned 4 steps on your Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, the mobile data will work on BSNL Mobile.
4. Issues related to Whats app notification:
This is another common problem reported by users of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. I found solution, please follow these steps
(a) Settings >> System apps >> Security >> Data usage >> Allow background data option should be enabled
(b) Security >> Permissions >> Auto Start >> WhatsApp auto start option should be enabled.
(c) Security >> X MB Left (click this option at no 2) >> Restrict data usage >> Ensure that WhatsApp has permission for both Mobile and Wi-Fi option
(d) Settings >> Additional Settings >> Battery >> Manage apps battery usage >> Choose apps >> Select WhatsApp >> Select Custom, Stay Connected and Allow option on the screen
Once you follow above mentioned steps, the WhatsApp notification will work on Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is the best VALUE for MONEY Mobile under 10k. If you are a value seeker and don’t mind compromising on cons highlighted by me then you should go ahead without a second thought. At the same time, i am doing more research on security concerns and will share my findings if i find any definitive details. Lastly, the expectation from the mobile should be linked to the price of the product. I cannot expect the performance of 50k mobile from 10k mobile.
Personally, if Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 lasts for 18 to 24 months then i will be more than HAPPY. The golden words for those who think that Flash Sale on Amazon or MI is FAKE, i know many people who bought this beast/beauty in a flash sale. It’s like fastest finger first of KBC. You have to be fast to win the race. It has its own fun. After all, winner takes it all. I hope that shortly Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 will be available freely without a flash sale.
This post is my longest post till date i.e. approx 3500 words. I can write 3500 more words as i did thorough research. You might be wondering that i wasted so much time on this but my objective was to share a comprehensive review on Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 with my readers. The only reason for posting this review is that this product is value for money and a blog on personal finance will always cover value for money products and services. Thanks for your patience to read till last line :).
Copyright © Nitin Bhatia. All Rights Reserved.