Daring to compete against the Motorola Moto E, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is one value for money smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi3 packed in the specifications of a Rs 30,000 smartphone yet was priced under Rs 15,000. Xiaomi is now eyeing the under Rs 10,000 smartphone space by launching the Redmi 1S, which once again packs in smart specs and has a decent design.
Box packing: Similar to the Xiaomi Mi3, the Redmi 1S is packed in a plain cardboard box. The phone is on the top, along with the documentation, battery, USB adapter and a charging cable. Our box packed unit didn't have any headphone, a standard in all smartphones.
Build quality: The Redmi 1S does not feel as premium as the Mi3 as it has a plastic body. It feels like a rectangular slab. It has a 4.7-inch touch display. Three capacitive touch keys are placed below the display that are not backlit. There isn't any branding at the front. The only Mi branding has been placed neatly at the bottom of the back panel. A 3.5 mm jack is placed on the top with power key and volume controls on the right edge. Charging port is at the bottom. Unlike the Mi3, where one has to use the pin to access the SIM tray, the SIM slots are hidden below the back panel. One has to remove the back panel to access to two SIM slots and the memory card slot. Irrespective of its plastic body, it feels sturdy and durable.
Software: Although the Redmi 1S runs Android 4.3, the UI has been heavily customised. The MIUI places everything on the home page and there isn't any app tray. This has been inspired by the iPhone UI and one can create folders to arrange the apps. Users will regularly get updates of the MIUI too. Xiaomi plans to release Android KitKat update for this smartphone later this year.
Light mode: Considering a lot of Redmi 1S will be first time smartphone users or the elderly, Xiaomi has added a light mode to this phone. This changes the UI completely, making it look simple and easy to use. When entered into the light mode from settings, the phone reboots and shows the big tiles on the home page that are customisable. It also allows users to pin some of the favourite contacts. One can still continue to access this phone as a smartphone.
Hardware and performance: The Redmi 1S is powered by a 1.6 GHz quad core processor on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 400 chipset. It is coupled with 1 GB RAM. But one should not go by the number of cores as it performs, similar to the Motorola Moto E with a dual core processor. The phone managed to do the basics with ease. However, we did notice some lag while launching heavy apps or switching between multiple apps. The browsing experience was good. We were able to play some basic games, such as Temple Run 2. However, the phone started to heat after a few minutes of gaming. Also, don't expect it to handle heavy graphic apps.
Camera: Xiaomi has packed in an 8 MP camera to the Redmi 1S. It is the best when compared to other smartphones in this price category. The camera app is similar to the one on the Mi3. It offers various settings, including filters, image quality - standard, high and low, ability to scan QR code, etc. Other modes include panorama, HDR, close handheld twilight and audio. The images captured appeared to be crisp and offered natural colours. However, the camera app did slow down at times while focusing on the object.
Storage: The company claims that the phone comes with an 8 GB of internal storage.
Others: The call clarity of the smartphone was good. This is a dual SIM smartphone. It packs in a 2000 mAh battery, which lasted me over a day and a half on excessive usage. There are different modes too where one can choose economy mode for the battery to last a bit longer.
Availability: Xiaomi will be selling the Redmi 1S only on Flipkart through its flash sales that will go live on every Tuesday. So, one will have to register for the smartphone in advance and hit the 'add to cart' as the sales goes live.