[First Cut] Talking to the Redmi Note 7 Pro

Camera beast says “dude, I am a fast phone!”

by: - Last updated on: March 4th, 2019

How do you talk about your first impressions of a phone that made everyone’s eyebrows fly right into their hairlines when its specs and price was announced a few days ago? We are referring to the Redmi Note 7 Pro, which stunned everyone by delivering a half-inch 48-megapixel sensor and a Snapdragon 675 processor at a stunning price. Well, instead of talking about the phone, we decided to slip on our creative caps and talk TO the phone itself, based on what we had been told about it and our own impressions.

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So if the Redmi Note 7 Pro could speak, this is what it would have said to us about our first impressions.

(Note: the conversation is totally fictional)

It’s great to be talking to you again. Actually sooner than we expected. This is the third time we are talking to a Redmi Note in about a year I think?

Yeah, it’s been busy. Grandad – the Note 5 and Note 5 Pro – arrived in February last year and then, dad (the Redmi Note 6 Pro) hit the market in November. And well, yeah, here I am.

And you are looking very different too…

Oh yeah, that’s the Aurora finish on the back. I have got the honour (hey, no pun, that’s honour with a ‘u’) of being the first Redmi Note to come with a Glass back. Three colors – Nebula Red, Neptune Blue and of course, there’s me: good old black.

You are the plainest of the lot, aren’t you? I mean, no offense, but the others are sort of shiny and glittery and you are just solid black.

Space Black, actually. But, well, yeah. Someone’s gotta be the strong solid types. There is an audience out there that really likes good old black – ask Steve Jobs, if you don’t believe me. But you gotta check out the others, especially the Red one. They have got that gradient finish and that basically lets the light play off them in crazy patterns. They look gorgeous. Mind you, I look handsome too. Whatcha think?

Oh absolutely. Very Tuxedo, we would say – the suit! Although there will be some concern about scratches and smudges…

Understandable, that’s proper Glass, you know. Not plastic, unlike some of my “friends” out there. But hey, that’s Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back. And the protective layer is about 0.1 mm thicker than in most other models, so I think I will get up pretty well when I fall, with fewer chances of cracks. The smudges and scratches bit is, of course, understandable, but well there’s a clear cover in the box. There is a special spotted edition also of the cover, which I really think you should be checking out too. Don’t go by me – I am the most plain of the lot – Red and Blue are pretty… pretty.

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And you are handsome, we repeat.

You are too kind. It’s a whole new look for me. Truth be told, I was tired of all that metal and glass, going all the way back to 2016.

The front is also a little different, isn’t it?

Oh yes, the dot notch instead of the older one. Smaller and fewer bezels. So I have a slightly bigger display than dad (the Note 6 Pro) – 6.30-inches as compared to 6.26. And the same resolution, full HD+, but without a BIG change in size or weight. I am slightly taller at 159.2 mm as against 157.9 mm but am just 4 grams heavier at 186 grams. And before you ask, I am slimmer: 8.1 mm against 8.3 mm. So you see, better design outside, bigger display and without a big change in size.

Of course, all the talk has been about the massive sensor on the back and the new processor. We did not expect either, to be honest.

No kidding? Your Tech Auntyji was dropping hints about the Samsung sensor edition not being ready for India if I remember…

She is a rumor person. No one actually expected a Sony sensor and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675!

Well, that’s good for me. But actually, both are sort of correlated. The 48 megapixel Sony sensor…

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It sticks out from the back!

Well, the case will even it out. And cameras in so many devices stick out for God’s sake. Stop being so 2014!

Well, the camera unit is still what one of our colleagues calls “capsule shaped.” But the innards are different, right?

Absolutely. The main sensor is a Sony 48-megapixel sensor and is half an inch in size. That would make it one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sensor on a camera right now. And it has got a large f/1.79 aperture too.

But can one take a 48-megapixel shot from it?

Yes, you can. Just go to Pro mode and you will have the option to take a 48-megapixel shot. And before you ask what you can do with it, well, you can take massive print outs if you wish. Or just zoom in to see details you did not know existed in the original shot.

What about auto mode?

Well, auto mode will give you a 12-megapixel shot, but it will basically be a result of pixel binning – four pixels are combined from the 48-megapixel sensor to create one super pixel, and so even that 12-megapixel shot would have a tonne of detail. Much more than you would expect from a normal 12-megapixel shot.

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No optical image stabilization, however?

No, but there is electronic image stabilization, and a special steady mode for night shots, which will get you awesome detail even if you do not use a tripod. You will find out when you use it!

Interestingly, you seem to have taken a bit of a step back in the selfie camera department…

What are you saying! I have a 13.0-megapixel front-facing camera, with AI Beauty and studio lighting.

Yes, but the Redmi Note 6 Pro had dual front-facing cameras – 20 and 2 megapixels – and they had studio lighting as well…

Well, it is not purely a spec game. You are going to get great shots from this one too. Just find out for yourself.

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Apart from the 48-megapixel sensor on the rear, there is also has a 5-megapixel second camera. Doesn’t that seem a little…underwhelming?

The role of the second sensor is to collect depth information. And to be honest, I sometimes get surprised at some cameras that have massive secondary cameras. It is all right when you use them also for ultra wide shots or for zoom but for just depth sensing, well, as you will see, 5 megapixels is more than enough. You are going to get some amazing pictures from this camera. As I said, the 48-megapixel sensor is one of the best out there and perhaps one of the biggest to have been placed in a phone!

Would it not have made sense to have placed a dedicated camera button, since you are a “camera beast”?

Look, you can use the volume button to take snaps if you wish. And hardly any phones now come with dedicated camera buttons. You can even ask the Google Assistant to take a picture!

Which gets us to the processor. You are the second phone in India to come with a Qualcomm 675 chip. And you said that this was because of the Sony sensor?

Yes, it was. My non-Pro bro, the Redmi Note 7 was launched in China with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chip, which was pretty good but was unable to really handle a 48 megapixel shot – the 48 megapixel shots you get on my Chinese bro is a result of some software processing (the shot was compressed and then expanded, although all 48 megapixels were used). The Snapdragon 675, however, can handle a 48-megapixel shot right out of the box, so the 48-megapixel snap you get from me is an original 48-megapixel shot. So yes, the camera resulted in the processor, I think.

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And it is a pretty good processor otherwise too, isn’t it?

You will find out. It is better than the Snapdragon 710, actually, and its benchmark scores are super impressive…

This is TechPP. We do not believe in benchmarks. We look at real-world performance…

Well, it is pretty close to the flagship level in terms of performance, I would say. PUBG and Asphalt play smoothly. Even the images and videos you take will be processed in a jiffy. Dude, I am a fast phone. And I give you 4 GB and 6 GB RAM options, with 64 GB and 128 GB storage, respectively. There’s also expandable memory…

But you still use a hybrid SIM card slot?

Well, yes. But there is plenty of storage onboard to go around really. Even if you take full 48-megapixel shots – and those can be heavy at around 15 megabytes each!

And every connectivity option that most users can want?

(recites) 4G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and yeah, unlike a lot of folks out there, an infrared port too, so you can use me as a TV and AC remote if needed. Cool, eh?

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And a headphone jack?

Absolutely. Hang on to your wired earphones and headphones, folks!

A big battery as always?

4000 mAh – so close to two days if used carefully. And with support for Quickcharge 4.0 as well. And hey, I have finally moved to a USB Type C port. Hooray.

But the charger in the box is a 5V/2A one and that does not support fast charging 4.0, does it?

Well, you can get a charger for faster charging from the Mi Store. It does not cost much, really.

Could you not have bundled it in the box?

Look, if it were possible, I would love them to bundle wireless earphones in the box. Everything is not possible with honest pricing. Just ask Manu Jain.

Software then. Served with Pie…

Android Pie with a topping of MIUI 10. And well, believe me, you are going to love the camera application in particular. Yes, I know the Mi A bros love stock Android, but hey, we Note fellas have always been MIUI freaks.

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No IP rating for water and dust resistance, though…

Wait a minute, I am splash resistant. I have a p2i certification so yes accidental splashes and light rain do not faze me. A lot of my innards are also protected by rubber so I think I can handle water better than many.

Also, no under display fingerprint scanner, given that the feature is coming to the mid-segment.

There is face unlock and the fingerprint scanner on the back is fast enough, take my word for it.

All for Rs 13,999 for 4 GB/ 64 GB and Rs 16,999 for 6 GB/ 128 GB. Which puts you up against the likes of the Oppo K1 which has an AMOLED display and in display fingerprint scanner, Nokia 6.1 Plus which has stock Android and regular updates, and of course, the Samsung Galaxy M30 which has triple cameras, a bigger battery, and an AMOLED display too. Stiff competition?

I have one of the biggest sensors ever seen on a phone, a terrific processor, and a really snazzy design (you gotta see red and blue). Stiff competition? We Notes are used to it. Bring it on.

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You sound confident…

Hey, my parents were among the bestselling phones in the country. I have reason to be confident. Go ahead with your review. I am waiting.

And so are our readers. Thanks for your time.

You are welcome. Am just a call away. In your pocket!

And that was the Redmi Note 7 Pro, folks. Stay tuned for our detailed review.

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