REVIEW - Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime

phonefan

Standard Member
Hi All,

Might be useful for some. I bought my Redmi 3S from Gearbest, it comes with the Google suite preinstalled, so no messing around with ROMs or trying to sideload Google Play Store.
It was very reasonably priced at around £115 and was delivered within 3 weeks with no import duty to pay.

Good Points
Fantastic build quality and performance for the price
Decent camera
Amazing battery life

Not so Good Points
Fingerprint scanner was a little temperamental
Buttons not back lit
Problem setting UK as location

Design and Build Quality
The Redmi 3S takes the same form factor as the original Redmi 3. It's a fairly standard phone design with volume controls and power button on the right side, sim tray on the left side (dual sim or 1 sim + micro SD card)
At the top of the phone is the headphone jack, secondary mic and an infra red sensor - I was able to pair the phone with my Samsung TV but not my Freesat box. The bottom of the phone has the main mic and micro USB charging port.

The main body of the phone is made of aluminium, and at the back there are plastic sections at the top and bottom to improve phone signal. The top plastic section also has the camera and flash, with the fingerprint scanner just below, and the bottom plastic section has the speaker grille.

The phone feels robust to hold and definitely does not feel cheap.

Hardware & Performance
The Redmi 3S is a budget device but even still it has the relatively recent 8 core Snapdragon 430 processor and 3GB of RAM. These are specs that you are not going to get at this price point unless you buy from a Chinese retailer like Gearbest. At this price in the UK you'd get 2GB RAM and an older processor.

The performance was fine. Bear in mind this is not a flagship phone so if you are a hardcore mobile gamer then this is probably going to struggle but for myself in daily usage I had no issues at all.

Software
This runs Android 6.0.1, but features Xiaomi's MIUI 8 overlay.
Some people may not get to grips with this as it gives a more 'iPhone' feel than standard Android, your apps are installed directly to the homescreen and not put in the 'app drawer' so you'll need to make a lot of folders to group similar apps together.

One of the things that irritated me when I set the phone up was that you could not pick the UK as a 'locale' but as far as I can work out this is only for the Time Zone, and I picked Morocco which runs the same as GMT anyway.

There are a lot of built in features in MIUI which is great if you're a bit of a geek like me who enjoys fiddling with things, but if you don't then it works fine left alone :)
One of the good features for me was Child Mode, I could select a bunch of games and You Tube Kids app and set the phone so it only allowed access to these, so I could happily let my 5 year old free on the phone during a long car journey. It needs your password or fingerprint to revert the phone to 'normal' mode.

Camera
The camera was pretty good actually. For some reason it was only set to 'medium' quality by default, but when I put it into 'high' quality mode I was happy enough with the results. The photos were not as good as my old Honor 7 but again that phone was twice as much as the Redmi.
To put it into perspective, I've done a photo calendar as an Xmas gift and the photos from the Redmi look absolutely fine on this.
The Video camera wasn't the best to be honest, the clips takes looked decent enough but the sound quality was definitely not great.

Battery
The Redmi 3S has a massive 4100mAh battery which is just huuuuuuge, and it showed. In my daily usage, which is about 30 mins calls, a couple of hours browsing and about an hour streaming bluetooth audio I got by on about half an hour charging a day! I think there would be very few people that use a phone that much that would require them to charge this before bed time.

Other points
GPS was fine, I used Android Auto to pair this to my car and the GPS was quick to lock on and accurate with my location and directions.
The Bluetooth was fine for music and calls.
The screen is only 5 inches which is nice and compact, and although this is a 720 resolution screen it looked fine to me.
4G coverage - please bear in mind that this does not have Band 20/800 MHz, so if you are on O2/Tesco/GiffGaff etc you won't be able to get 4G and will have to make do with 3G. Other networks will work fine with 4G, I'm on Vodafone and had no problems.

So I hope this has been useful to some of you. I know Xiaomi have just released the Redmi 4 but this has a 1080 screen so the battery is not likely to last as long, and the other specs seem broadly the same.

1476916524341638129.jpg


Full phone specs below.

Main Features:
Display:
5.0 inch 1280 x 720 HD screen
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Octa Core 1.4GHz
System: MIUI 8
RAM + ROM: 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM
Max Storage Expansion:
128GB
Camera: Back camera 13.0MP + front camera 5.0MP
Bluetooth:
4.1
Feature: Fingerprint Scanner, GPS, A-GPS
SIM Card: Dual SIM dual standby, one is micro SIM card, the other is nano SIM card
Network:
2G: GSM 900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz CDMA 2000 BC0
4G: FDD-LTE 1800/2100/2600MHz
 

techno12

Active Member
I agree with most of the review.

Mine arrived last week from Geekbuying. £105 ish (no customs as they'd marked it as a $20 gift) and is the Global edition, so has bands 7 and 20 that I need for 4G on Vodafone here in the UK.

I updated it OTA to MIUI 8 as soon as I got it - a smooth process.

Speaking of MIUI - it's totally different to stock Android 6. I'm getting used to it though, and there are some nice features (2nd screen etc). Shame there's no 'adoptable storage' for SD cards though, as this encrypts the card.

Super impressed with it so far. The battery life was the main reason I bought this, as I'm sick of all my previous phones not lasting more than 3 hours screen on time. This one currently is 6 hours 10 mins and is down to 15%. Amazing!

The missing locale is odd, as there's no UK, USA, Ireland etc but has Germany, Spain etc. I set mine to Falkland Islands (!). It gets the time from the network anyway once the SIM is installed so the locale doesn't appear to affect anything, but it's a little strange.

The only disappointment is the awful sound quality when recording videos. They start near silent, then after a couple of seconds the sound kicks in, but is highly compressed. I suspect the 2nd microphone (used for noise-cancelling) may be to blame, so I'll have a look in the settings or try another camera app. Not a deal-breaker for me though.

A pleasing bonus is the notification LED. My old phone never had one and I really missed it (phone before that had one). Essential to stop me polling the phone all the time to see if I've missed anything.

The other surprise was how well it holds a signal. I live in a basement flat and the 4 phones over the years that I've owned have all struggled to pick up any sort of a signal. I have to go to specific rooms to make calls. Not so with the Redmi - I'm getting signal all over the flat, often showing 4G. Perhaps it due to the size of the phone (larger antenna?) as my previous phones were all much smaller. Nice bonus for me as wasn't expecting any change.

Overall, unbeatable value and I'm even more of a Xiaomi fan now. (I'd previously bought one of their 10000 mAh power banks for £8 and used that loads. Top notch build quality. I suspect it won't be required now with this phone!)
 
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Ghostleader

Well-known Member
Cracking phone, bought one for the missus, the battery life is amazing, I heard the Mi4 that's just out has even better battery life again!!
 
I think this is the same sony sensor and f2.0 lens Im looking for in the redmi pro 3

13 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, LED flash

If so, go to DPreview and look at the redmi pro 3 review, pretty damn good.
 

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