Xiaomi Redmi Go review: A true upgrade for feature phone users?
Product: Redmi Go
Key specifications: 5-inch HD display, 3,000mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor, 8-megapixel rear camera, dual SIM, microSD up to 128GB storage, Android Go (Oreo) Edition
Reliance JioPhone was an instant success in India. While the ultra low-cost played a big role in its popularity, the phone also successfully bridged the gap between feature phones and smartphones. Almost three years since the JioPhone, the feature phone users in India still don't have a phone that's truly smart and isn't expensive.
Xiaomi, which has established itself as a serious smartphone player in India, is now making a fresh attempt to woo the massive feature phone user base with a low-cost smartphone, Redmi Go. At ₹4,499, it's still expensive for many feature phone users in India. But for those who can afford, is Redmi Go the perfect first smartphone?
Two things Xiaomi has got right with its Redmi Go - display and software. Featuring a 5-inch display with HD resolution, Redmi Go is suitable for watching and streaming lots of videos. Note that a lot of phones at this price point cannot deliver HD display. During our usage, we found the display quality to be satisfactory. An 18:9 aspect ratio may seem little dated for modern smartphone users, but for those upgrading from tinier feature phones, it's a lot better experience.
As the name implies, Redmi Go is running on stripped down version of Android, called Android Go. The barebone version of Android ensures phones with low storage and RAM capacity can smoothly run. Backed by Google's a range of Go applications, experience is smooth if you stay within Google's ecosystem.
With Snapdragon 425 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of native storage, Redmi Go can handle your basic usage with ease. Xiaomi also allows users to shift memory usage to memory slot in a bid to keep the phone lighter. The microSD slot supports up to 128GB of storage.
The 8GB storage is way too low for even entry-level smartphone users. You cannot expect users to stay and rely on Google's ecosystem forever. Most of them will download Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger at some point. Note that the main versions of these applications get heavy after certain period. While Lite apps can fix this but at some point, third-party applications will take a toll on RAM and subsequently performance. MicroSD card is another buy for Redmi Go users. A 32GB microSD card costs around ₹400.
As far as Redmi Go goes (pun intended), it can only run a few basic games such as Subway Surfer with ease. It won't run PUBG Mobile and struggles to run other graphic intensive games. But that's alright considering the price point it's being offered at. We won't recommend you playing and downloading such heavy games on the phone anyway.
Redmi Go comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera with autofocus. It has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Both front and rear cameras take quite decent photos for an entry-level smartphone. Selfies and photos taken in daylight are clear and sharp. Lowlight photos, as expected, are underwhelming.
We really liked the battery life of the phone. Powered by a 3,000mAh battery, Redmi Go lasts more than a day if your use case is limited to basic browsing, instant messaging, making voice calls and watching a few videos on YouTube.
Xiaomi Redmi Go is a fine smartphone for its price point. Simple software, above average camera, and impressive battery life make it worth considering. It can also be a good back up phone. But for those looking to upgrade from a feature phone, you won't still get a complete smartphone experience in Redmi Go. Except for a larger screen, there isn't much compelling for you to upgrade.