Redmi 7A review: Great smartphone experience for feature phone users
The new Snapdragon 439 octa core processor is capable enough for all basic uses.
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Price: Rs 5,999 (2/16GB), Rs 6,199 (2/32GB)
Specifications: Snapdragon 439 octa core, 2GB RAM, 16/32GB storage (expandable, up to 256GB with dedicated slot), 5.45-inch HD+ LCD screen (18:9 aspect ratio, 1440 x 720 pixels, 295ppi), 12MP f2.2 rear AI camera (IMX486, PDAF, 1.25µm large pixels), 5MP f2.2 front camera, dual SIM (dual active 4G), WiFi n, BT4.2, FM, GPS + GLONASS, 4,000mAh battery, 165 grams
Pros: Smooth performance, triple card slot, fast face unlock, wireless FM (no headset needed) + FM recording, large battery, great camera (esp. for the segment), matte finish polycarbonate back panel, splash resistant P2i coating, unprecedented 2year warranty
Cons: No fingerprint unlock, skips the IR emitter port, supports 10W charging but only 5W charger included
The Redmi series spans a very wide price range – from Rs 4,499 (Redmi Go) going up to Rs 30,999 (Redmi K20 pro). The Redmi A series sits the lower end of this spectrum, designed primarily for first-time smartphone users. It needs to be the ideal stepping stone into the smartphone world: a device that can handle all the usual apps, calls, texts and multimedia consumption. This Redmi 7A does all that and more!
Even since the first Redmi 4A, the A series phone have sold in the millions. The company’s had time to perfect a basic smartphone formula that just works, despite having an entry-level set of specifications. The 7A is nothing extraordinary to look at but neither is it ugly. There’s a choice of three matte finish colours (blue, black or gold) and two storage options (16 or 32GB – RAM is constant at 2GB). You’ll find all the basics like a practical design, curved back, front + rear cameras and 3.5mm audio jack.
It also gets a large battery (4,000mAh), P2i splash resistant coating, wireless FM radio with recording (no headset needed for FM use), dual SIM with dual active 4G networks on both slots (important if both are Jio SIMs), a dedicated memory expansion slot and MiUI 10 based on Android 9.0. The only thing missing at first glance is the fingerprint scanner, which means there’s no secure way to unlock the phone apart from using a PIN/passcode. Face unlock is included and it works fast but you use it at your own risk since the phone will unlock with your photo.
The new Snapdragon 439 octa core processor is capable enough for all basic uses. In our time with the phone, we did not come across any major slowdowns. It works for all the usual apps/games and keeps MiUI running along smoothly. MiUI 10 also has all the features you would get in premium Redmi phones, such as call recording, theme engine, gesture operation, adjustable screen colour temperature, second space, dual apps, screen recording and a scanner app.
One of the things that Xiaomi has paid special attention to is the camera hardware. It may be an entry-level phone but it gets a Sony IMX486 sensor with PDAF, LED flash and 1.25µm large pixels. There’s also a pro mode with adjustable white balance, focus, shutter speed and ISO. Video capture is supported in 1080p at 30fps with a time lapse mode built in. We found that the camera hits well above the price point with a responsive shutter, good dynamic range, nice colour and a pleasing amount of detail. The front camera doesn’t fare so well, offering only adequate performance – its fine in a pinch but you won’t want to capture a lot of selfies.
The 5.45-inch display is basic with an 18:9 aspect ratio (read: thick bezels from a couple of years ago) but it does get bright enough, has wide viewing angles and offers things like adjustable colour temperature, sunlight mode, night mode and reading mode. There’s also a (surprise) dark mode and the display itself is TÜV Rheinland certified for eye protection. The 720p resolution is par for the course – we would have been shocked to find a FHD screen at this price. Having said that, the pixel density is a respectable 295 pixels per inch and it feels plenty sharp with images, text and video.
With the large battery, smaller display and adaptive battery saving tech, it’s no wonder that this is a 2-day battery life phone. The phone does support 10W charging but the included charger is 5W. You can supply your own 10W charger for faster charging though for anyone who charges the phone overnight, 5W charging is fine too.
After using the Redmi 7A for a couple of weeks we came to the conclusion that, in typical Xiaomi style, there’s a fair bit of value on offer. It gets all the basics right at a very nice price. Anyone upgrading from a feature phone will definitely like what’s on offer here. We would have still liked to see a 3/3GB RAM version on offer but that would have pushed the price up. If you can stretch the budget a bit, the RealMe C2 (Rs 6,999 for 2/32GB) offers a nicer design and dual camera. If you want to upgrade to the next level of performance, the Redmi 7 offers a Snapdragon 632, dual camera and a gradient back design for Rs 7,499 (2/32GB).