It has been not been too long since Xiaomi entered the Indian smartphone arena but the Chinese brand has in this considerably small time, triumphed over all challenges and come out on the top. A lot of credit for the brand’s success goes to smartphones launched in the Rs 15,000 price bracket. And now the company is looking to expand its horizons across a new price segment – in the sub Rs. 5,000 category. Leading its charge here is the Redmi Go, with which Xiaomi is hoping to become the first smartphone for people who are using feature phones. But does it have what it takes to be a “Go” to budget smartphone?

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Refreshingly compact and solid

The minute you take the Redmi Go out of the box, the smartphone will take you a few years back in time. It comes with a 5 inch HD display which is surrounded with thick bezels all around. In the day and age of tall, taller and tallest smartphones, the Redmi Go is refreshingly compact and will sit beautifully in the smallest of palms. It might not look as glamorous and stylish as many smartphones today but it definitely feels solid. The matte finished polycarbonate back, makes the phone light while saving it from smudges and making it more resistant to scratches at the same time. This is a budget smartphone and while looks just like one, it is definitely more handsome than the likes of Nokia 1 which unfortunately looks more like a feature phone than a smartphone. For more details on the looks of the Redmi Go, read our first cut here.)

Decent specs… for the price

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The Redmi Go runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor coupled with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage. One can expand storage up to 128 GB on the smartphone via microSD card. The numbers might not seem as impressive but Xiaomi has paired the Redmi Go with Google’s Android Go initiative. For those who know it not, Android Go is developed especially for smartphones with low-end specs like the Redmi Go – it is supposed to run smoothly even on phones with 1 GB RAM so that smartphones walking on a tight spec rope can also have a relatively smooth Android experience.

It comes with a 5 inch HD display with 1280 x 720 screen resolution. The display looks slightly washed out and does not really thrive on a bright sunny day but is still one of the best we have seen in the price band so far – getting an HD display at sub-Rs 5,000 is a rarity. There is no fingerprint scanner or infrared port on the device but it does come with a 3.5 mm jack and dedicated slots for two nano SIM cards and one for microSD card. Other connectivity options on the device include 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB OTG.

Daily driver, but not a racer

The smartphone manages to walk through daily tasks without any major lags. Yes, it is not as snappy as smartphones that cost just a little more, but the Redmi Go performs basic tasks like switching between apps, launching apps, Web surfing, and texting, reasonably well. Yes, the device does take a moment to switch between apps but gets there without a very noticeable lag. The smartphone also works around casual games and will help you kill time. We tried games like Subway Surfer and Candy Crush and they worked smoothly enough. The case was not the same in the high-end gaming department. Many popular high-end games were not compatible with the device – forget about playing PUBG on this.

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Under the hood, there is a 3,000 mAh battery which runs the Redmi Go. Because the smartphone comes with a 5 inch HD display and not particularly high-end specs, even a 3,000 mAh battery sees you easily through a day with normal usage. There is a micro USB port for charging and other connectivity purposes. The smartphone does take a while to charge as it does not come with any kind of fast charging support, but then we were not really expecting it at this price point.

Go-ing with average cameras

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Xiaomi has equipped the Redmi Go with an 8-megapixel rear camera and has placed a 5-megapixel camera on the front. The numbers are modest and so is the camera performance. The main camera performs well in sufficient light and often captures a good amount of detail but the same cannot be said when it comes to colors, where it seemed a little inconsistent. Pictures taken minutes apart would have widely different color results. Some would have slightly oversaturated results while other times the camera delivered dull and washed out results. Low light performance of the device was not particularly impressive either. The shots often came out blurry and grainy in low light.

The story remains the same for the front camera. It captures good selfies in well-lit conditions but do not expect a ton of detail. The quality and color take a hit when the lights dim out and the results often turned out to be hazy and out of focus with a lot of noise. Yes, we get it that it is a super budget-friendly smartphone, but we know what Xiaomi is capable of offering even at the most humble of price tags. The company delivered smartphones like Redmi 4A and Redmi 5A, both of which had exceptional cameras for the price.

(Click here for full resolution version of the pics)

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The Android Go effect

Redmi Go is the first Xiaomi phone to run on Android Go. And with the kind of numbers the device brings to the table, it really is not much of a surprise – running MIUI or proper stock Android on it might have proved to be quite a task. The phone runs on by Android 8 (Oreo) Go edition. Some might be disappointed with the fact that Xiaomi has not delivered Android 9’s Go edition on the smartphone but it really is not a deal breaker in our books, not at this price point.

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The phone comes with a number of Google Go apps preinstalled like YouTube Go, Google Go, Google Assistant Go, which are lighter versions of the main apps. These apps are specially developed for smartphones with low-end specs. Because they are lighter, they work more smoothly with less well-equipped smartphones – no, they do not work as well as their full-fledged counterparts but they definitely give you an experience that is well ahead of anything you would get in a feature phone. The smartphone also comes with a bunch of third-party apps like Facebook Lite and Amazon Shopping app along with a few Xiaomi staples like Mi Drop and Mi Community. With all these apps preinstalled, it may seem like the UI is loaded but it actually is pretty clean and clutter free. It is simple and easy to get used to, which is perfect for first-time smartphone users.

On a tight budget? “Go” for it!

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Priced at Rs. 4,499, the Redmi Go is one of the best options for those who want to take their first steps into the dazzling world of smartphones. It is simple, humble and uncomplicated, which is exactly what one needs from a super budget-friendly smartphone. Redmi Go will make your transition from a feature phone to smartphone very smooth and it will definitely deliver a smartphone experience without too many problems. It is meant to be used, not set benchmarking or speed records. Competition in the shape of Nokia 1 is around for the exact same price but with an FWVGA display, inferior cameras, a smaller battery and a MediaTek processor, and well, as we said before that one really looks more like a feature phone. Performance and looks wise, the Redmi Go is pretty much the best ambassador Android Go has in India right now.

Want to switch to a smartphone? “Go” for Redmi (Go).

  • Compact design
  • HD display
  • Clean and uncluttered UI
  • Inconsistent cameras
  • Lags in performance
  • No Android Pie Go
Review Overview

Xiaomi’s first Android Go device, Redmi Go, is looking to convince feature users to switch to a smarter phone world. Literally. But does it have what it takes to be the smartphone of the masses? We find out.

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