It is no secret that Xiaomi is the number one smartphone brand in the country. And a lot of credit of the brand’s success is often given to the very popular Note series. But along with the Note series, there is a super affordable series that has helped Xiaomi bring in the numbers, not just in India but globally. This humble, always-in-the-background series is the Redmi A series from the company. It may not make as many headlines as the Note series but smartphones like Redmi 4A, Redmi 5A, and Redmi 6A have collectively sold more than 20 million smartphones in the country (the Redmi 5A and 6A were in fact among the highest selling phones globally). To add to these numbers, Xiaomi has released another A smartphone – the Redmi 7A.
A design from the past
Remember how smartphones looked before notches, bezel-less displays and glass backs invaded the design world? Well, if you do not then, taking a look at the Redmi 7A will take you right back in time. The smartphone very unapologetically manages to stand outside of the “what today’s smartphones must look like” box, but being different is not necessarily a good thing. The Redmi 7A is a budget phone and looks like one – smart enough, but not designed to stand out.
It comes with a 5.4-inch display on the front which is surrounded by thick bezels. There is no notch, so you have to make do with the basic thick above-the-display bezel head that carries the front camera and the earpiece. The chin of the smartphone carries the Redmi branding. The phone comes with onscreen buttons for navigation. In the age of glossy, shiny, reflective backs, the Redmi 7A brings a matte look to the table. We received the blue variant of the smartphone, it is very similar to the blue that is very popular in smartphones these days, only minus the shine.
The main camera is placed on the top left corner along with an LED flash. The back also has Redmi branding placed vertically near the corner left side of the base. The top of the device holds the 3.5mm audio jack while the base carries the speaker grilles and the micro USB port. The top left side of the houses the dual SIM card slot and space dedicated to the microSD card. The right side carries the volume rocker and the power/lock button.
The phone misses out on one of the Xiaomi staples which is an infrared port and there is no fingerprint scanner on the device, so you will have to depend on the basic password locks for security, although Face Unlock is supported (but is, as in most Android devices, not the most secure).
The smartphone measures 146.30 x 70.41 x 9.55 and weighs 150 grams. And while it may not be a looker, the Redmi 7A, thanks to its comparatively small size, sits beautifully in hand. It has a great grip and does not really slip out accidentally (which can be an issue with them glass backs). Also because it is not all shiny and glossy, you do not have to worry about the back getting smudged or scratched as much. It also means that it does not HAVE to be kept inside a case at all times. The phone is also splash proof, so you can live life slightly more on the edge, as long as you do not end up at the deep end!
Modesty, thy name is the 7A spec sheet
The Redmi 7A comes with budget looks and the case is not all that different in the specs and numbers department either. The device comes with an 18:9 5.4-inch HD+ IPS display.
It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor which is paired with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. The storage on the device can be expanded up to 256 GB by using a microSD card. The 7A is also available in a 2 GB + 16 GB version. There are no 3 GB or 4 GB RAM options here.
The most notable spec of the phone, however, is its 12 megapixel Sony IMX486 sensor with PDAF primary camera. Xiaomi claims the Redmi 7A has the same primary sensor as the one present on the Mi A2, which could actually make it the best camera phone in the segment. On the front, there sits a 5 megapixel AI selfie camera which comes with AI Portrait mode support. Significantly, the 7A comes with a 4,000 mAH battery (the first phone in the Redmi A series to sport one). As the phone’s display is not too big and comes with HD+ resolution, we expect the battery to last easily for more than a day.
Powering the phone is Android 9, topped with Xiaomi’s in-house UI, MIUI 10. Connectivity options on the device include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, 4G VoLTE, and FM radio.
Could this be your first smartphone?
Priced at Rs. 5,799, the Redmi 7A is largely predictable at best (that camera aside), both in terms of design and on paper. But we do not think that is any reason for the brand to worry as it has used a similar strategy in the past when it comes to the A series – modesty has always been the policy of the series. The results really speak for themselves.
We are not expecting a path-breaking performance from the device but it should be able to handle most basic daily chores with ease. What we are really looking forward to is trying the camera on the 7A, as it is the only Sony IMX486 sensor in the price range. The Mi A2, which featured the same sensor, was one of the best camera phones in its price segment, which means the 7A has some really big shooting shoes to fill in the camera department. Yes, some people will mutter about the absence of a fingerprint scanner, but we think the camera and large battery definitely compensate.
But that is all on paper, just how well it does on the ground and whether it lives up to the “smart desh ka smartphone” (“the smartphone of a smart country”) tag or is worthy of being your first smartphone, will be revealed in our review. As of now, we can definitely say that the Redmi 7A fits perfectly in Xiaomi’s A series mold. It is designed not for expansive benchmarks but for tight budgets.