Xiaomi Redmi 1S Review: Great price, but does it dazzle?

xiaomi-redmi-1s-review

Xiaomi has been creating ripples in India ever since it launched the Mi 3 in July. The smartphone, which promises top-of-the-line specifications at half the price, has been selling out in mere seconds. Xiaomi plans to take the battle even further with rival smartphone vendors with the Redmi 1S, which priced at just Rs 5,999 provides features that many smartphones around Rs 15,000 fail to provide. The first batch of the Redmi 1S goes on sale at Flipkart at 2PM today. But I have been using the Redmi 1S as my primary smartphone for a week and here are my thoughts about it.

xiaomi-redmi-1s-review_3The Redmi 1S isn’t your typical Xiaomi product. Yes, you do get top-of-the-line hardware specifications for the price point but the design is uninspiring and clunky. The phone is thick, heavy and prone to getting smudged with fingerprints. Thick bezels surround the display and you would either like the plastic used in the casing or hate it, there’s no middle ground.

Below the 4.7-inch 720p display are non-backlit menu buttons, which are useless in the dark. I can’t recall when was the last time I saw non-backlit buttons. What irritates me more is that the buttons have been marked in red that shine brightly under sunlight, when you least require them.

Having said that, the 4.7-inch 720p display is pure joy, especially when you consider what else is being peddled in the Rs 6,000 price segment. It is crisp, the colors saturation satisfactory, and bright enough to offer good visibility under sunlight. However, it is extremely reflective and prone to getting smudged with fingerprints easily.

xiaomi-redmi-1s-review_4Another area where the Redmi 1S scores over similarly priced smartphones is its 8-megapixel camera. Yes, the quality of photos won’t win you any awards but it provides better results than what even smartphones priced at Rs 15,000 usually don’t provide.

But things start going downhill from here. Beyond the display and the camera, the Redmi 1S has been a frustrating smartphone to use. A lot of the frustrations arise from its MIUI software interface, which drags its performance to the ground.

Saying the UI is buggy is an understatement. Just having a three-four apps running in the background induces lags and frequent app crashes. Certain games like Asphalt 8: Airborne keep crashing. I stopped using the phone’s alarm clock as it crashed every time I put the alarm into snooze mode.

What’s amusing is that the Moto E with its Snapdragon 200 dual-core processor offers a more fluid user experience than the Redmi 1S with its Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor. Thankfully, the problem seems to be with MIUI, which can be resolved with a software update. However, when that will happen is unknown at the moment.

xiaomi-redmi-1s-review_2Another area of sheer disappointment is its battery performance. The Redmi 1S has a 2,000mAh battery, which I assumed would be enough to see me through an entire day. During my week of usage, the battery has been unreliable in its performance. On some days it lasted me for about 12 hours while on other days if I stared at the display for a few minutes I could notice the battery percentage going down. On some nights, the battery discharged by about 20 percent overnight. The Motorola Moto G, which also had similar hardware, didn’t have any such problems. Even the battery issue could be related to something in MIUI that could be draining affecting the power management.

Throughout the week of my usage the only thought that kept crossing my mind was, “It is ok, what more can you expect from a Rs 6,000 smartphone?” Rather than being delighted with what the Redmi 1S provides in that price, I found myself constantly covering up for its shortcomings and poor user experience with its price tag. And that is where I feel Xiaomi has let me down this time. Yes, the Redmi 1S is a great value for money product. But it is not the best user experience.



  • samsungfan

    ya true! it’s not that good.

  • kgr varma

    what u r paid for giving this negative review?

  • http://www.mka.in Manish Arya

    moto rox !!

  • a4rocks

    I am disappointed with BGR and this review because its hardly quality writing and neither is the testing technical. Example – the battery test. The battery testing ideally should have been done by using a video loop and see low long it lasts rather than saying ‘Oh my battery went down on normal usage’. Some app might be eating it, your network in the area may not be good and so on. Even then, the conditions should be mentioned.

    Backlit buttons is another area. After a few days of usage, the backlit buttons aren’t a problem because everyone using the same phone then gets used to it. Probably initially yes but the way its been highlighted, seems like someone might trip over and fall for the lack of backlit buttons.

    And again at the end of the day, at Rs. 6000 I wouldn’t expect a Samsung Galaxy S5 performance, or the design of an HTC One or the finesse of an LG G3 but the reviewer seems to have gone away to another world expecting all that. For 6000 its for people willing to make compromises but make the jump to smartphones too. Come on guys, you have go to do better reporting and reviewing.

    • Suprem

      very true brother. About backlit buttons not lighting he said “I can’t recall when was the last time I saw non-backlit buttons.”
      I tell you I am using Asus Zenfone 5 and it don’t have backlit buttons

      • a4rocks

        A reason why I stopped writing for Indian tech publications and sites and why the world makes fun of us, its because as experts, we tend to show ourselves as idiots and then go on to explain to others that I know everything like Rajat here who wrote the review.

        So much personal bias that I have been unable to find a single instance in this review where this review felt like objective. And I had stopped following Digit and iGyaan because I thought they weren’t good enough. BGR has to be worse with this quality of writing.

    • a4rocks

      OH AND I TOTALLY FORGOT, where are the pictures of the actual testing done by you guys. What I see above are complete press renders. Which leads me to believe either this is a very poorly hashed up work or this has been done with the intention of discrediting the phone.

  • Auggy

    I lost you, was this about Redmi’s review… Nahhhh Heading is mis-spelt, Its Hail Moto E review….

  • cdrin

    Once a phone starts getting into imagination,rival companies may use all sort of methods to discredit the phone. This write up is not that of a tester but a layman user, with individual bias very evident. If you are writing on performance ,you have to test it.Or stick to copy paste from brochure. Very disappointing

  • Vijay Paidipalli

    Hey Rajat, LOL :) I agree with a4Rocks. you did a bad job of writing the review. Even the Tech first post have given a similar review. The guys below are Xiaomi fanboys, and you definitely disappointed them. Anyway, the reviews on Redmi are no different from one another. So Xiaomi is trying to trick the Indian market by giving out a great Mi3 and a substandard Redmi? They boast as if they are the apple of China. but now they come to india and becoming Micromax?

  • mkm

    Have you seen the advertisements for this article! All Micromax! If somebody assumes that this is a paid writing then he/she is likely to be correct.

  • Hugo Barra

    Hi Rajat,

    First off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to review Redmi 1S. We really appreciate all sorts of feedback and take it all incredibly seriously.

    Having said that, I was a bit surprised by some of the conclusions you drew.

    1) “MIUI software interface, which drags its performance to the ground.”

    2) “Saying the UI is buggy is an understatement. Just having a three-four apps running in the background induces lags and frequent app crashes.”

    MIUI has over 70 million users and is quite well known for being one of the highest performance Android ROMs you can find, consistently ranking much higher than other ROMs across the usual performance benchmarks. And this is definitely true on MIUI running on Redmi 1S when compared to similarly powered devices.

    Here are two performance side-by-sides between Redmi 1S and Moto G:
    http://en.miui.com/thread-3686
    http://youtu.be/smclvcBONfA?t=… (C4ETech)

    And here’s Asphalt 8 running smoothly on Redmi 1S (with all of the CPU-intensive visual effects such as lens flare and asphalt reflections):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

    If you’re seeing performance issues, it would be great if you could share more details, including which apps you were running and the behavior you saw.

    3) “Sheer disappointment is its battery performance”

    As you know, battery performance wildly depends upon specific usage conditions. So it would help if you could also share more details there (for example, the Settings > Battery Use screen). As you know, drawing real conclusions about battery life requires quite a bit of rigor, particularly if you’re running a side-by-side comparison.

    We take feedback very seriously and would love to understand your testing criteria and specific results.

    And if you feel you might have a defective unit, we’d be glad to swap it out. I’ll be in Delhi tomorrow, so can easily swing by in the afternoon to drop one off for you.

    Thanks once again for your support!

    • Madhu

      Dear Mr.Hugo Barra,

      I was surprised to see you replying. I assume your are the Xiomi’s real hugo barra not a person with user name of hugo barra.

      I actually booked Redmi 1S and before paying out the money, contacted cust.care and got to know that, I’ve to give the handset at service centre at mentioned service centres list only in case of any problems. Also, there are no collection centres atleast in my place. If at all any problems comes, i’ve to spend some money just for handing it to service centre and centre is also not sure of when they will get it backk.

      If this type of service is there, then definetely u will loose the customers like me who want a smoother servicing process.

      • Hugo Barra

        Hi there, Madhu. Thanks for your comment. Can you please tell me EXACTLY what you mean by:

        1) “I’ve to give the handset at service centre at mentioned service centres list only in case of any problems”

        2) “service centre and centre is also not sure of when they will get it back”

        Once you clarify your points, I can provide you succinct answers. I believe you may have been misinformed :)

        • It’s me

          Hi Mr.Hugh, my question was, if any issue or problem comes with the phone, I’ve to travel from Baroda to Ahmedabad to give the phone at service network shop and again come back(to n fro 300 kms) just to handover the phone. Once they attend the problem, I’ve to again travel 300 kms to & fro to collect the phone from service network shop. Atleast if any collection centre is there at my place means, I can give or drop the phone at that collection point which saves my time and money.

          Because of this only I’m still thinking to buy the phone.

          Now, pls tell me can u give me some percentage of gaurantee that phone will not give any problems.

        • Kapil Yadav

          . Just read the reviews on Flipkart for RedMi and you’ll see that the battery problem, unstable UI, heating etc are very real and being reported by actual users who bought the phone.

          And for that matter how does it matter what apps I use when something crashed? Is it supposed to crash? NO!

          If someone says the dialer will not crash if we don’t fire up any other apps along with it.. is that acceptable? NO!

          If I’m expecting a 2000 mah battery to last at least 24 hours, under real world use. Is it acceptable if someone tells me to keep it on standby to get 24 hours backup? NO!

          Using a phone is much more than running synthetic benchmarks, looping videos, and bragging about high-end hardware specs. A phone has to be useable, to make calls, send texts, browse, socialize, etc and if it can’t do that reliably, no amount crying foul over reviews is going to help!

    • Pradeep R

      Hi @hugobarra:disqus,

      Thanks for the great products.

      Can you please let me know whom should I contact for proposals relating to Mi service centres in Karnataka? I have been running an authorized service centre for a reputed global brand in Hospet (Pincode – 583201) for close to a decade now. I am impressed by the quality and pricing of your products, and thus very keen to start an authorized Mi service centre in Hospet.

      Please let me know if you require any other information from my side

      Regards,
      Vikrant
      lyf.hospet@gmail.com

    • sukant

      hi hugo
      can we update redmi 1s jellybin to kitkat in future

    • Dev Thaker

      hello sir
      pleasure to have u i have just ordered redmi 1s in ahmedabad and want to ask u that can redmi 1s get android L and kitkat update or only kitkat update only ,
      please sir reply and a very gadgets addicted person so sir can u please tell sir
      it would be request

      • Akshat Jain

        As for now, only Kitkat update has been confirmed with MIUI 6, the latest iteration of MIUI. There is no word for the Android L update.

        • Dev Thaker

          Thanks akshat Jain

    • YB

      Hello Hugo,

      I received my Redmi 1S yesterday from Flipkart – the battery is really terrible it can take upto 3 hrs to charge and might not go upto 12 hours with normal usage – highly disappointed with the battery.

    • Saif N

      Hi Hugo Barra,

      I was a huge fan of MI from the days it started operations in SIN. I couldn’t wait for its india launch. But I’m utterly disappointed with the product.

      Please confirm the below :
      The Redmi 1s sold in India is either factory seconds or cheapest quality phone ever made. I’ve purchased the phone in the first batch on Sep 2nd. This phone gave me the worst possible experience for an android phone.

      1. Battery heats up like fire.
      2. Hangs frequently even with games like Traffic Racer.
      3. Wifi/Data toggles on its own.
      4.restarts occasionally.
      5. I can’t believe it runs on Snapdragon 400 1.6 Ghz. Because Moto E is better both in terms of battery and handling games smoothly.

      the only thing i liked about software(MIUI) is Allow/Deny permissions to apps.
      Please stop cheating Indian customers with overrated and under performing devices.

      Please refer user reviews in Flipkart Redmi page. Several users have same/similar problems.
      I’ve already raised request for product replacement. Wanted refund but Flipkart is not giving the option.
      If you value customer feedback please replace all the defective phones.

      Best of luck!
      Saif.

      • Hugo Barra

        Saif, it sounds like you have a faulty device. We’ll take a close look at it. Can you contact me directly via email?

        • LAKSHMI Y

          Hi I’m also facing the same issues mentioned above.Please share your mail id to contact you directly and get my redmi phone work normally

    • mettusrikanth

      it is the worst phone i have ever seen.
      i bought it from flipkart on 24/09/2014
      and faced many problems
      1.PROCESSOR:we can’t handle more 3 apps.
      2.BATTERY:need to carry a power bank with u always……
      if u just use small applications for less than 5 mins am sure not less than 5% of battery will exhaust.if u r connected to wifi or inetrnet for 5 mins i mean just browsing atleast 7% of the battery is exhausted {now use safety while handling it.bcoz now the phone boils to a temp. not less than 75 deg.}
      3.USER INTERFACE:though it is good in some unnecessary aspects, worst in major useful aspects.
      always app. crashes …………………
      EVEN the same problem am facing after replacement on 04/10/2014
      am even not interested even to think about it but this review may some one in not getting deceived by REDMI 1S

  • Israel Magalit

    Strange, this is the first really negative review I’ve read about the Redmi 1S.
    I just placed an order, and hope to find out for myself in a few days ;-)

  • leomax999

    Would we get kernel sources of redmi devices as well?
    Also, Any plans to release rugged devices with an IP rating ?

  • Prasanna Venkt

    It is THE easiest way to gain popularity in short time by criticizing the best products. That’s what rajat did.

  • kumarneer

    Very unfortunate and negative review by BGR. Completely uncalled for. I have been using Redmi 1S (Singapore version) for last 4 months and none of these issues experienced in my phone. The writer needs to do better research before publishing such stories.

  • Ram

    Thanks for the eye opener. This phone is just to encash India’s typical obsession with low-price tag mindset. It is better to buy some good phone with a bit higher price than suffering by spending so much money.

  • rch

    hi, very surprised to see the top guy in a company respond to negtv feed back/criticism.
    way to go Mr hugo. keeping ear to ground n user feedbacks, v impressed n motivated to go fr ur products

  • Manikantan

    Hugo i will wait for meizu to come to india as you people are not capable to supply the phones on time and issue with the quality of phone check out the amount of complaints, i think better improve the quality and then launch phone do not throw scrap phone in india

  • waris

    Very honest review.
    thanks . your review stopped me from buying this.

  • Pradeep Kumar

    How can I resolve the problem of heating up when playing a game or using for long time in my Redmi.

  • Sarma

    I am not able to attend Calls also properly using Redmi 1s. Its worst…. I dont like this Mobile….. Dont know what to do

  • Akshat Jain

    Dear Rajat,

    The above review is for sure a disappointment! I have been using this device for a week now and so I can say that the frustration you have shown to MIUI is fairly wrong. Before this device too I was using the MIUI ROM and I am quite impressed. The tweaks and changes many a times comes handy, though I agree the interface is not very tidy. Also I want to correct you Redmi 1S is receiving the Kitkat update with MIUI 6 on top of it by the year end. MIUI 6 deals with the problem of neat interface and is expected to boost the performance quite a lot! So if you actually disliked the device, I am sure you will after the year end! Other then the design there is nothing to worry about the device. Design too is good but when compared to the likes of Moto G and Asus Zenfone series it feels quite shabby. Overall its a good phone and you please give this phone one more try without being biased!

  • sayshh

    If people here are feeling hurt about reading a somewhat negative review of the RedMi 1s it is not only the reviewer at fault. Just read the reviews on Flipkart for RedMi and you’ll see that the battery problem, unstable UI, heating etc are very real and being reported by actual users who bought the phone.

    And for that matter how does it matter what apps I use when something crashed? Is it supposed to crash? NO!

    If someone says the dialer will not crash if we don’t fire up any other apps along with it.. is that acceptable? NO!

    If I’m expecting a 2000 mah battery to last at least 24 hours, under real world use. Is it acceptable if someone tells me to keep it on standby to get 24 hours backup? NO!

    Using a phone is much more than running synthetic benchmarks, looping videos, and bragging about high-end hardware specs. A phone has to be useable, to make calls, send texts, browse, socialize, etc and if it can’t do that reliably, no amount crying foul over reviews is going to help!

    • Uday Chougale

      I am owning a Redmi for last 10 days & I totally agree with you.App like keyboard refuses to show up most of the time! I think I have bought a FEATURE phone disguised as a smartphone. Xiaomi is not addressing any of the issues/complaints raised by the owners(not USERS).They should have clarified these issues even before marketing this phone in India.Now I have to wait for an update from Xiaomi which is expected since Sept first week.

  • Abhi

    Very disappointed ..I am not able to attend Calls properly using Redmi 1s getting hangs frequently . Battery heats up like fire

  • Arrsh Mittal

    I have registered 4 this phone 4 the sale on 14th october
    please advice
    is it worth or not?

  • Abhay

    I somehow manage to get my hands on the elusive device in 4th attempt. Before this I’ve had
    2 moto e device. Compared to moto e the xiomi simply lags. The device gets overheated, the speaker quality is poor, battery takes forever to charge and the device memory usage is 76% or above even when no app is running. I’ve upgraded to the latest available version of MIUI and still the problems mentioned above persist. MotoE is defiantly a better device

  • ramya kumar

    idiotic method of purchase, the persons are buying in tricks not in straight way but many of them can’t buy the product