Xiaomi Redmi 7A Hands-On: The New Entry-Level King?

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Xiaomi Redmi 7A was launched in India last week at a starting price of Rs 5,999. The new entry-level smartphone from Xiaomi succeeds last year's Redmi 6A which did not impress many owing to its sub-par hardware. However, Xiaomi is changing that with the Redmi 7A as the phone sports hardware which we haven't seen on any smartphone in the similar price range. The Xiaomi Redmi 7A features a 12MP Sony IMX486 sensor, splashproof design and comes with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset. Before the launch of Redmi 7A, everyone expected the Redmi 7A to come with Snapdragon 429 chipset, but Xiaomi has gone with the powerful Snapdragon 439 SoC. For the unaware, the Snapdragon 439 is the same chipset which we saw on the Nokia 4.2 that was launched over Rs 10,000 in India. Hardware specs aside, how does the Redmi 7A perform in real life? Well, here are our impressions on the smartphone after using it for nearly three days.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A Hands-On: Design and Display

The Redmi 7A prices in India starts at Rs 5,999, so the design of the handset is very practical. The smartphone is entirely built out of plastic like its predecessors Redmi 6A and Redmi 5A, and it comes in three colour options- Matte Blue, Matte Gold and Matte Black. The variant which Xiaomi India sent us is the Matte Blue one and it looks decent; Thanks to the Blue paint job, you won't be able to notice fingerprint smudges on the rear side, however, I believe the Black variant will show them. Also, Xiaomi is not bundling any TPU case inside the retail box, so you'll have to be careful while handling the smartphone.

The phone offers decent in hand feel, nothing spectacular, but it gets the job done, which is more important than anything in the entry-level segment. Also, it doesn't feel cheap thanks to the Matte finish on the rear side. As for the button placements, the volume rockers and power button are placed on the right side, while the triple card slot (two nano SIM cards and one microSD card slot) is present on the left. The Redmi 7A ships with a 3.5mm headphone jack which is present on the top, and to the bottom, we have the Micro USB port along with two grilles. The phone measures 9.5mm in thickness and it weighs 150 grams.

The Chinese company has added a 5.45-inch Full-Screen display to the Redmi 7A with 18:9 aspect ratio and HD+ resolution. The phone comes with huge bezels on the top and bottom. The forehead of the phone houses earpiece and the single front-facing camera, whereas the chin has Redmi branding. We have seen the Realme C2 offering a 19:9 display with a teardrop at the same Rs 5,999 price point, so it's disappointing to see Xiaomi losing in this aspect.

The quality of the display itself is decent as it gets bright enough to read the text under direct sunlight. The Redmi 7A is for someone looking for a compact smartphone in a tight budget.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A Hands-On: Hardware and Software

The Redmi 7A is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset which is an octa-core chip clocked at 2.0GHz. This is the first Redmi A series phone to ship with an octa-core chipset and the performance will be much improved compared to the Redmi 6A and Redmi 5A smartphones. The chipset works in tandem with 2GB of RAM and 16GB/32GB of internal storage. There's a dedicated microSD card slot for storage expansion as well.

During my brief usage, the Redmi 7A performed really well. Switching between apps like WhatsApp, Dialler, Messaging and Instagram was so smooth. My only concern with the Redmi 7A is its 2GB of RAM as Xiaomi did not launch any variant with 3GB of RAM, so users will surely face memory management issues.

Software side of things, the Redmi 7A runs Android 9 Pie-based MIUI 10.2.3 out of the box. And guess what, the phone ships with system-wide Dark Mode, something which is not even available on popular phones like the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Note 7S. The software is pretty much the same and it felt well-optimised to me after the first boot itself.

Connectivity options on the Redmi 7A include Dual 4G, VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and GLONASS. As for the network bands, Xiaomi has added GSM: B2, B3, B5 and B8; WCDMA: B1, B2, B5 and B8, and LTE TDD B40, B41 & LTE FDD B1, B3, B5 and B8. With the help of Dual 4G, you'll be able to use two 4G SIM cards on the smartphone.

Lastly, the phone has a 4000mAh battery which is one of its highlights alongside the cameras and processor. When I opened the box, the phone had around 70% charge, and over a period of two days, I had charged it only once, so battery life should be on point.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A Hands-On: Cameras

The Redmi 7A is the first smartphone in its segment to ship with 12MP Sony IMX486 camera sensor which we have seen on the likes of Mi A2, Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Y3 in the past. The rear camera has a large 1.25um pixel size and PDAF technology for faster focusing. There's a single LED flash on the back accompanying the 12MP shooter. On the front, there's a 5MP shooter with AI Portrait mode. Notably, the rear camera lacks Portrait mode. The photos captured with the smartphone do look good to the eys. Check out the samples shot using the Redmi 7A. In-depth camera review will be covered in our full review of the product.

Xiaomi Redmi 7A Hands-On: Verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi 7A comes in two variants- 2GB+16GB and 2GB+32GB. The base variant is priced at Rs 5,999, whereas the 32GB variant costs Rs 6,199 which is surprising to see. Customers purchasing the Redmi 7A in July will get Rs 200 off on the smartphone which brings down the prices to Rs 5,799 and Rs 5,999.

The Redmi 7A is a phone to beat in this segment. Although it faces stiff competition from the Realme C2 which offers a bigger display, dual rear cameras and a trendy looking design, the Redmi 7A has a lot going for it in the form of cameras, MIUI software, and more importantly, Xiaomi is offering a two-year warranty with the Redmi 7A, which no other brand is offering right now. Our full review of the product will go live before the first sale that's scheduled for July 11.

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Managing Editor

Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

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