Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S first impressions: 48 MP camera at Rs 10,999? RIP Redmi Note 7

Redmi Note 7S is meant to plug the gap between the Redmi Note 7 and the Redmi Note 7 Pro

The first thought that came to my mind as I held the Redmi Note 7S in my hand was, "How is this different from the Redmi Note 7 Pro?"

Going at the rate at which Xiaomi, sorry Redmi, releases devices, it is difficult to tell things apart. But a one-word description of the Note 7S can be — You are getting the Redmi Note 7 Pro camera at a lower price point.

Here are the price points: 3 GB RAM + 32 GB storage comes at Rs 10,999 and the 4 GB RAM + 64 GB storage variant comes at Rs 12,999. It will start selling on Mi.com and Mi Home offline stores as well as on Flipkart from 23 May.

In effect, the Redmi Note 7S is a phone that is slotted between the Redmi Note 7 and the Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review). I spent some time with the device and here are my first impressions.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S first impressions: 48 MP camera at Rs 10,999? RIP Redmi Note 7

Redmi Note 7S. Image: tech2

Redmi Note 7S Build, Display

The Redmi Note 7S looks identical to the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Note 7. It's got the same 6.3-inch FHD+ tall display with a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection with a dot-notch on the top. The display comes with 1,080 x 2,340-pixel resolution which is the same as its Redmi Note 7 brethren. The earpiece speaker is located just above the notch and almost at the top edge. While the top bezel is thin, the one on the bottom is noticeably thick.

In terms of dimensions, it is identical to the other Note 7 devices with a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 back as well and a plastic frame. I have got the red coloured device for testing, and in the limited time I used it, I did notice fingerprint smudges on it on the rear side. Redmi claims that the P2i nanocoating on the back of the Redmi Note 7S prevents it from scratches. Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain, while launching the phone, demoed some scratch testing with a key and a blade and the Note 7S withstood it. But we will do our own testing to verify those claims. Redmi Note 7S also offers a splash-proof coating, but there is no IP certification on the device.

The dual camera is located in vertical alignment on the rear side and tends to protrude out a bit. There's a circular fingerprint scanner on the back. The top edge of the Redmi Note 7S comes with an IR blaster and a 3.5 mm audio jack. The bottom edge has the USB Type C port in the centre surrounded by speaker grilles on either side. The left-hand edge has the hybrid dual SIM slot whereas the power/standby and volume rocker buttons are on the right-hand edge.

Redmi Note 7S aims to plug the gap between the Redmi Note 7 and the Redmi Note 7 Pro

Redmi Note 7S aims to plug the gap between the Redmi Note 7 and the Redmi Note 7 Pro

Overall, the device feels sturdy and the 186-gram weight gives it the right amount of heft. It can be a tad bit slippery to hold, and to avoid that, Redmi has bundled a transparent silicone case inside the box. There are no bundled headphones in the box.

Redmi Note 7S Chipset, RAM, Storage

Redmi Note 7S comes with a 48 MP+ 5 MP rear camera setup. Image: tech2

Redmi Note 7S comes with a 48 MP+ 5 MP rear camera setup. Image: tech2

The Redmi Note 7S comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC which houses a quad-core Kryo 260 processor clocked at 2.2 GHz and a quad-core Kryo 260 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz. This is paired with either 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage or 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. The storage is expandable using a microSD card. On the graphics front, the Redmi Note 7S comes with Adreno 512 GPU. Now, can that play PUBG Mobile? Well, we will have to test the Redmi Note 7S to find that out.

These specifications are similar to the Redmi Note 7 in many ways. So what's changed you ask? Read on.

Redmi Note 7S Camera and Battery

Redmi Note 7S camera interface. Image: tech2

Redmi Note 7S camera interface. Image: tech2

The camera department is where things get interesting. While the Redmi Note 7 comes with a 12 MP + 2 MP camera setup, the Redmi Note 7S has gone with the same camera setup as seen on the Redmi Note 7 Pro ie. 48 MP + 5 MP dual rear camera with PDAF, EIS and AI Portrait mode. There's a 13 MP front-facing camera. The primary camera comes with 1.6-micron pixel size and the 48 MP camera has a f/1.8 aperture lens.

The Redmi Note 7S uses pixel-binning whereby it combines four pixels to form one detailed pixel, so in effect, you get 12 MP images from the 48 MP sensor.

In terms of video, the Redmi Note 7S can shoot up to 1080p at 60 fps and the slow-motion shooting can go up to 1080p at 120 fps. Here are a few photos shot using the Redmi Note 7S and they look pleasing in the daylight. But we need to do a detailed comparison of these photos in all lighting conditions to see how they hold up. That will be seen in our full review of the Redmi Note 7S.

Here's a quick look at some of the daylight shots and portraits shot using the Redmi Note 7S.

Redmi Note 7S

The Redmi Note 7S comes with a 4,000 mAh Li-Po battery that is the same capacity that was seen on the Redmi Note 7 and Note 7 Pro. The bundled charger is rated at 5V/2A (10 W) with QuickCharge 2.0 support. It supports QuickCharge 3.0 and QuickCharge 4.0 as well, but you will need to get a separate charger for that.

Redmi Note 7S OS

The Redmi Note 7S comes with Android 9 Pie with the MIUI 10.3 stable skin atop it. The phone does come bundled with a lot of bloatware which you can delete if you don't need it. The Mi system apps can only be disabled and cannot be uninstalled though.

Conclusion

As I said in the introduction, the Redmi Note 7S is meant to plug the gap between the Redmi Note 7 and the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Come to look at it, the Note 7S is really making fun of everyone who bought the Redmi Note 7 with the 12 MP + 2 MP camera setup as the Redmi Note 7S starts at Rs 10,999 and you get a 48 MP camera phone at that price. For just Rs 1,000 more, it makes no sense to go for the Redmi Note 7 now.

The Redmi Note 7S on the exact same specs of the Note 7, offers a 48 MP + 5 MP camera setup. While it is too early to say how that will affect the sales of the Redmi Note 7, it will surely mean more competition for Vivo V15 Pro (Review)Realme 3 Pro (Review), Samsung Galaxy M30 (Review), Honor 10 Lite (Review).

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