Xiaomi Redmi 1s Review: Best budget smartphone in India

Xiaomi Redmi 1s has become the darling of the Budget Indian smartphone market since it went on sale on September 2. Around 5,80,000 units have been sold so far via flash sales on Flipkart and another 60,000 units will be up for grabs today.


First of all, we would like to thank Xiaomi India for sending us a review unit of Redmi 1s. This is our 2nd smartphone review. We were half way through our review but Xiaomi pushed an OTA update for the Redmi 1s on October 14 which fixed almost all the software issues. So, we decided to test the phone for a fair bit of time after updating it to MIUI JHCMIBH45.0 version and then publish our review. So lets not waste any time and start with our review of the Xiaomi Redmi 1s smartphone.

Build Quality

The Xiaomi Redmi 1s is as basic as a smartphone can get. Well, that is not a bad thing at all. It has a strong and solid build quality which is ensured by the use of good plastic. It is a no-nonsense design from the biggest smartphone manufacturer in China and it doesn’t feel like any other cheap budget smartphone. Being a solid device, also comes with a drawback, the phone is quite heavy at 158 grams in comparison to its competition. As the Redmi 1s is little bulky, it adds up to the thickness of the device. It is 9.9 mm thick which is also above the industry standard in budget smartphones. Apart from the weight and thickness, the phone is very comfortable to hold and the back panel offers firm grip and is not flimsy as well.



The Xiaomi Redmi 1s features a 4.7-inch HD (1280 x 720 pixels) IPS display with 312 PPI pixel density. The smartphone is powered by a 1.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. It has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage which is expandable via microSD card. On the left top front we have the 1.6-megapixel front facing camera followed by the ear piece. Below the 4.7-inch display, there are red coloured capacitive buttons which are not backlit. The right side of the phone houses the volume rocker and power buttons while the left side is intact without any buttons. The top of Redmi 1s only has the 3.5 mm headphone jack on the right side and at the bottom we have the micro USB port and the primary microphone. At the back of the phone, we have the secondary microphone followed by the 8-megapixel primary camera along with the LED flash. We also have the primary speaker at the right and MI logo branding at the bottom.


Performance & Gaming

The Xiaomi Redmi 1s is powered by a 1.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor along with Adreno 305 GPU. It has 1 GB of RAM which was the main drawback until the new update was seeded. MIUI wasn’t optimized enough to handle multitasking and graphics intensive tasks with 1GB of RAM, so the phone used to lag or the apps would refresh automatically. These problems have been taken care off with the OTA update and MIUI utilises 1 GB of RAM properly now. The general performance is almost lag-free unlike their counterparts in the same price range with sluggish performance.

We tested casual games like Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers, etc as well as high graphics intensive games like Asphalt 8, Fifa 14 and found almost minimal lag. It performed a lot better than its competition. Although the device used to heat up a lot around the primary camera during gaming but as we said earlier, with the latest update there is now very minimal heat which is normal in most of today’s smartphones. With a great display and good viewing angles, the games and other rich media contents certainly looks good on the Redmi 1s.



The Xiaomi Redmi 1s sports a 8-megapixel rear auto-focus camera and LED flash. This is one of the best or we would say the best camera in a smartphone which is priced under Rs 6,000-10,000. The default camera app’s interface gives a lot of option to the user with features like exposure, ISO, white balance, a range of capture modes, self timer option as well as dedicated shooting modes. The Redmi 1s churns out great shots with good lighting conditions but is a bit sluggish with low lighting. The colour balance is perfect but highlights are slightly overblown. Xiaomi’s default camera app gives a lot of options to play around, so to take the best possible shot, one needs to experiment a bit. It also shoots Full HD 1080p videos along with Stereo input and does an above average job which is also class leading. Take a look at our camera samples below.
On the front, the Redmi 1s has a 1.6-megapixel camera which is average for taking selfies and occasional video calling purposes.

Display Quality

The Xiaomi Redmi 1s features a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display which is class leading again in this low-end smartphone market. It is the best display you can get in any smartphone in this budget or around Rs 10,000. It produces bright and vivid colours with good brightness levels and also has great viewing angles. The display gives a good overall performance but if you’re outdoors with bright sunlight, then there is a lot of reflection and visibility takes a beating. This is due to the big air gap between the AGC Dragontrail glass and the display. As it has a Dragontrail glass covering on top, it misses out on Gorilla Glass for better protection. Although, we cannot complain much about it at this price point and overall the display stands out among the crowd.


The Xiaomi Redmi 1s comes with Android 4.3 Jellybean with MIUI on top of it. The interface is quite smooth but it had RAM availability issues along with frame drops across the UI. But with the latest MIUI 5 v45 OTA update of 515 MB, things have become better and more responsive. Earlier free RAM available was around 150-200 MB which was the main reason for crashing of apps but now around 350-450 MB of free RAM is available. This helps in smooth performance across the UI but there is occasional frame drops which will be fixed in future updates. We also hope Redmi 1s gets the latest Android Lollipop update. As for the MIUI, it is has many similarities with iOS and is one of the most loved custom ROMs around the world. In fact, the company started its operation by developing MIUI and delivering it to millions of Android users. MIUI is not heavy like other custom skins and is really fast and zippy even on the Redmi 1s with lots of customization options. The music player app is a real beauty with many small tweaks across the UI which makes it easy to use.

Xiaomi will also come up with MIUI 6 in the near future which has flat design UI similar to iOS 8 and we hope the Redmi 1s gets it soon as well.


Battery Life

The Xiaomi Redmi 1s packs in a 2050 mAh battery under the hood to keep it going through out the day. With average usage, it easily lasts for one day but if you are using 3G data and also do some intensive gaming, you need to charge it twice a day. If you are using single SIM with moderate usage, you need to charge the device at the end of the day for sure. With Dual SIM it will get even worse for sure. Although we expected a better battery life but it is above average to be honest. With lots of customization options, you can prolong the battery life if you’re not a wall huger. In comparison to its competition, the battery life is more than decent in our opinion.


Final Verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi 1s is the best smartphone money can buy if you’re in the market looking to spend just Rs 6000. Its best features are its 4.7-inch 720p display and the 8-megapixel rear camera. They are both class leading in this price segment and you cannot ask for more. The Redmi 1s surely gives the Moto E, Asus Zenfone 4 and 5 series, and also the Moto G 1st Gen a run for its money. Even it competes and outperforms the Moto G 2nd Gen in some aspects.

Although it comes with a catch, it can only be bought from Flipkart and it is only sold via Flash sales every Tuesday at 2pm. Flipkart and Xiaomi has already sold close to 5,80,000 units of Redmi 1s in India and another 60,000 units will go on sale today. We are also not sure for how many days the Redmi 1s will be available as we know the Redmi Note will go on sale at some point of time in November.

So, if you are looking for a low-end Android smartphone or want to upgrade from a feature phone to your first smartphone, we would suggest you to register for the next sale on Flipkart and get this gem of a device.

Thanks Debjeet for the product images.

About the author

Bibek Saha

He is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Techolic. A tech enthusiast who is always found reading or writing on technology. An avid Manchester United fan and a big time foodie. If not writing, he can be found watching the latest movies and TV shows. Interact with him on Twitter and Google+


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