Xiaomi RedMi Note 7 Pro –Annoying ads that outweigh good features

This post shares my recent phone upgrade story and quick review of recently launched RedMi Note 7 Pro. If you don't want to read the background/upgrade story, you can jump straight to the review here.

I’ve upgraded my phone after about 2 years. Honor 6X was my previous workhorse- it had good camera, so enabled me to abandon DSLR and travel light on international trips. [Details] Two years since then, following developments forced me to consider an upgrade:
  • A family member wanted a phone it was decided that I would buy a new phone and pass on Honor 6X to family member.
  • Honor 6X had good batter life, but during my trips, where I would use extensive navigation, battery would drain by evening. Had to take extra effort like turn off data, go to flight mode, use ultra power save mode etc to sustain till night time. When not using heavy duty apps battery comfortably lasts 2 days+ under normal usage.
  • The album developed an issue- it won’t show photos in chronological order- it would display photos in random order- couldn’t find fix for it, except restoring factory settings or using some other app for gallery
  • Night photos weren’t great as compared to modern day phones. Thus I was tempted to go for an upgrade, particularly since I am not carrying DSLR much these days.

As I was scouting for new phone, I set my budget around 15000- was not keen to spend lots of money on phone- they are susceptible to theft, damage and newer phones come in so quick, spending lots of money on 50-60K INR phone wasn’t a convincing proposition for me.
I was willing to stay in Honor family and consider a newer Honor phone in about 13-15k range, but Nirmal TV, who runs a very popular tech channel advised Redmi Note 6 Pro, as it had video stabilization. Back then Note 7 wasn’t announced.

I took my sweet time to decide. Meanwhile Note 7 Pro got announced, with some crazy specs like 48 MP camera and decent price of 14000 INR. But then buying it was not easy. One had to sweat it out during flash sales and try their luck. That was not my cup of tea- they get sold out within seconds- many people have mastered the art of buying during flash sales- like using various plugins that facilitate quick payment and so on- I wasn’t willing to do so much circus- nor I had the time and patience. 

So after few weeks, I almost abandoned attempt to buy Note 7 Pro. I had a long term trip coming up, so wanted to buy a new phone immediately. Now Poco F1 was available for ready purchase- earlier it had to be bought on flash sale- but it costs about 22k INR.

Only 4GB RAM, 64GB storage version is currently on sale (flash sale) for Rs 13999. There're other variants like 6GB RAM which are expected later.

While I was weighing my options, a good friend provided a F-Code, which could be used to buy Note 7 Pro on Xiomi’s website, bypassing flash sale process. Thanks to him, I could place the order and got the phone delivered within 2 days.

Now that is the story of purchase. Now that I have the new Note 7 Pro in my hand and have spent about 2 days with it, below are the initial impressions and some sample photos.

Xiomi Redmi Note 7 Pro 4GB/64GB Quick Review

This is my first notch phone. Note 7 pro gets a mini notch for the front camera- only 1 of it (some phones including my Honor 6x have two front cameras). I am not much of a selfie person and one decent camera is fine enough for me. I am happy it is not a popup camera like in some newer phones- popup camera needs extra motor, may suffer damage over time due to dust, heat and other factors.

Camera
The most hyped part of the phone, all of 48 mega pixels, AI, HDR and a secondary camera.

What to do with 48 mega pixels of a camera? My Nikon 5100 has only 9.1 megapixel. So can Note 7 Pro provide 5 times better photograph? How good is Zoom quality? How are the night photographs? What all the special controls available in it?

Above is an uncompressed 11 MB photo of a flower clicked with Note 7 Pro at 48 MP.

If clicked at 48 MP, each file will take about 10-11 MB. This way you will exhaust your 50 GB free space in about 5000 photos. Then you will need additional storage. There's an easy option to turn off 48 MP or select photo quality as high/medium/low, but couldn't figure out if there's any option to make it click at a lesser resolution like say just 24 MP. Hope to figure it out soon.

Naturally there's no Zoom at 48 MP. I tried clicking some pics of the full moon- tried at 48 MP, without 40 MP and a bit of Zoom- but not impressed with the photos- note that I clicked with hand, not tripod and there were some clouds. Obviously mobile cameras have long way to go when it comes to zoom and also night photography

Night Photo of a park was decent.
 Selfi camera- one on the left in standard mode, one on the right in Portrait Mode
I couldn't figure out how to take wide angle. Xiomi website showed it is possible to take wide angle (refer under the bridge picture). I guess I need to spend some more time to figure it out

How is the video?
Watch a sample blow (Youtube link here) of a slow motion video shot on Note 7 Pro- what was actually a swift, 30-40 second activity, the camera captures 3 to 4 times slower, giving us this slow motion video. No audio possible for slow motion. Sometimes it is fun to watch.

Standard videos are fine
Other Features
  • Note 7 Pro comes with latest Android Pie and MIUI 10
  • About 60 GB of usable space- once you install your regular apps expect about 50-55GB free
  • Finger print sensor is very good and fast
  • Haven't tried face unlock yet.
  • Battery: At 100% was showing 16 hours of life (data ON, normal mode). Overnight lost about 8% (10 PM to 6 AM), data ON. So I guess it is easy to manage up to 45 day trips without any difficulty if you can carry a power bank, avoid battery draining features where possible
Other things to note:
My phone, bought on Xiomi website, came with Amazon website pre-installed, not flipkart (where the flash sale is planned)

Major negatives/points to note at the moment about Note 7 Pro
1. Protruding Camera bulge
Camera portion protrudes the body. Even with a pouch, it still protrudes. So if we're not careful there's a chance of camera glass scraping the surface. The perforated pouch I bought on Xiomi website for Rs 350 isn't helping. I need to order a new shock proof pouch now that will set me back by INR 600

2. No screen guard in box
Honor 6X came with a pre-installed screen guard when I had bought it. Even after 2 years it is sticking super strong. Note 7 Pro didn't have any. Now I need to go to a shop and get a gorilla screen guard added for extra safety.
3. Type C charging
Note 7 Pro comes with a type c charging port, which is different from conventional phones. This means it will be hard to borrow someone else's cable and charge your phone. For my long trip I need to now order an additional cable as back up, in case I lose the primary cable or it develops any issue.
4. Be careful with default setting
Default setting prompts to show you 'personalized ads', send your usage data to Xiomi and so on. Be careful to turn these off. People usually do not read and leave default settings as is in their excitement of getting new phone. If you don't turn off these, you will see more ads, you'll lose more data and compromise on performance. Phone was also prompting me to download lots of useless apps, saying most other people are using these apps and I am 'missing them'.

5. Annoying ads and notifications
Xiaomi has its own UI optimized to show lots of ads, recommendations and make money for the company even after people pay for the phone.

There's one default Music app- Unable to uninstall it. I have disabled every permission to this app still it shows some notifications
There's one default browser- I want to uninstall it and use chrome as default- No way...
Some apps pop-up notification icon, but if I open them nothing inside- or I couldn't figure out what's the notification for.
I've turned off "show recommended ads" etc during installation- still Note 7 pro annoys by showing app recommendations, showing info you've never asked for (like cricket score) and so on.

Honor was lot simpler and didn't annoy me this much. I wasn't aware of this dirty trick of Xiaomi to milk its customers even more after the purchase by non-stop bombardment of ads, recommendations and useless notifications. If I can't find a fix for this, my next Phone will NOT be Xiaomi, however good or cheap it may be.

Summary
Overall RedMi Note 7 Pro is an excelled value for money in 14k INR Range. Its immediate competitors are Oppo F9, Vivo Y95, RealMe 2 Pro, Honor 10 Lite, Nokia 5.1. Broadly similar specs but few of them giving more mega pixels in front camera. I don't know the cons of each of these phones as I haven't used them. Use your discretion.

Similar: Yu Yuphoria review * Samsung Galaxy A5 review * Airtel 4G beta launch in Chennai * Intex Aqua Ace

10 comments:

  1. Read ET review( Gadgets & you of 21st March edition) about the same for more info & try out those features

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice review of Redmi Note Pro 7, Thanks for details. Now I'm using Mi A2.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am also looking for a new phone so that I can pass my current one to the husband. :)
    My budget is also same as yours but haven't decided on the phone. Somehow Xiomi hasn't impressed me in the past.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great!. after few days of usage I can see some advantage in Honor compared to Xiaomi.. Honor was less annoying in terms of unsolicited ads, recommendations and notifications

      Delete

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