Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Hands-on: The Snapdragon Edition: Software Overview

By 10:10 Mon, 16 Aug 2021 Comments


Software

The Redmi Note 3 is the first phone to launch with Qualcomm's recent Snapdragon 650 SoC. It also packs in 2GB or 3GB of RAM, depending on whether you go for the 16GB or 32GB model. We received the 3GB/32GB model.

There is a microSD slot, as mentioned before, should you need more storage, but then you'd forego one of the SIM slots.

The phone has LTE support on both SIM slots (band 3, 5, 40, 41 + VoLTE), along with Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.1, and even an IR blaster to control home appliances. There is no NFC, however, and the phone still uses a microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) connector (not that we object).

The Redmi Note 3 is also the first Xiaomi phone with a fingerprint sensor. The company claims it can unlock the phone in 0.3 seconds, which checks out but only if the display is already on. If you're waking up the phone, then it takes twice the time, which is still pretty decent but not as blazing quick as some of the other phones on the market (the one on the Lenovo Vibe P1, for example, is crazy fast).






MIUI 7

On the software front, the phone runs on MIUI 7 on top of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. The software would be familiar to anyone who has used MIUI before. For those who haven't, it's a bit of a mishmash between Android and iOS designs. The discontinue result is an attractive UI, which, for most parts, is user friendly, has more than enough features, and works well.

Some of the fine features include theme support, permission manager, ability to disable autostart for select apps, built-in blacklist for calls and messages, smart messaging app that automatically groups notification SMS together and highlights OTP codes, ability to utilize the fingerprint sensor to lock apps, child mode, hidden folders, one-handed mode, ability to go and uninstall apps in batches, and more.






MIUI 7

Things that aren't so remarkable about MIUI include a less than ideal notification system, frightful square borders around non-square app icons, utilize of the outdated menu button in some of the default apps, inability to quickly adjust media or alarm volume without digging into the settings, and a search option for the Settings app. The UI also shows a complete disregard for Google's Material Design, and prefers to do things its own way.

Honestly, none of the criticisms are particularly poor and mostly pale in front of all the things it does acquire right. We just wished Xiaomi was quicker to update the base Android version, as that's one area where the company has traditionally lagged behind.

Performance

Note: Our review unit was running the 6.2.18 Beta build of MIUI 7. All observations made henceforth are based upon this build and some things could change with the stable build on the retail units.

Being the first Snapdragon 650 device on the market, we were curious to see what the performance on the Redmi Note 3 would be like. Fortunately, it was quite impressive.

The Snapdragon 650 chip offers a hexa-core processor with 2x Cortex-A72 at 1.8Giga Hertz (GHz) and 4x Cortex-A53 at 1.4GHz. The Mediatek's Helio X10 has 8x Cortex-A53 at 2.0GHz. Naturally, the multi-core performance of six Central Processing Units (CPU) cores, even though two of those (Cortex-A72) are quite capable, is behind the raw power of an eight-core processor.

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GeekBench 3 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Meizu MX5

    5110

  • Meizu m1 metal

    4825

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

    4589

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Helio X10)

    4537

  • Lenovo K3 Note

    4067

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    3570

  • Sony Xperia M5 Dual

    3554

  • Xiaomi Mi 4c

    3321

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    2842

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note

    2435

Fortunately, the single-core performance is doubled, which really matters for a smooth Operating System (OS) and hassle-free task switching. Indeed, a Cortex-A72 core is twice as capable as the mainstream Cortex-A53 solution.

GeekBench 3 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    1573

  • Meizu m1 metal

    883

In terms of general usage, the phone performed admirably. Opening and closing apps was quick, scrolling was smooth, animations were fluid, and everything just seemed to work as it should. The Central Processing Units (CPU) on the 650 seemed well up to the task of everyday usage and the Operating System (OS) seemed to be well-optimized for it.

We decided to try our usual range of games on the phone. Again, the Adreno 510 GPU performed remarkably well with the phone's 1080p resolution, and all of the games we tried ran quite well.

The Adreno 510 turned out, in fact, twice better than the PowerVR G6200 within the Mediatek model. Here are the benchimprint results to prove it.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 4c

    15

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    14

  • Meizu MX5

    10

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Helio X10)

    8.5

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

    8.5

  • Meizu m1 metal

    8.4

  • Sony Xperia M5 Dual

    8.4

  • Lenovo K3 Note

    6.1

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    5.8

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 4c

    15

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    14

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    12

  • Meizu MX5

    9.5

  • Sony Xperia M5 Dual

    8.7

  • Meizu m1 metal

    8

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Helio X10)

    7.9

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

    7.9

  • Lenovo K3 Note

    6.1

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 4c

    10

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    9.1

  • Meizu MX5

    4.8

  • Sony Xperia M5 Dual

    4.5

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Helio X10)

    4

  • Meizu m1 metal

    4

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

    4

  • Lenovo K3 Note

    2.9

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 4c

    9.7

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    9.1

  • Sony Xperia M5 Dual

    4.9

  • Meizu MX5

    4.7

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Helio X10)

    3.9

  • Meizu m1 metal

    3.9

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

    3.9

  • Lenovo K3 Note

    2.9

Baseimprint X

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    14732

  • Xiaomi Mi 4c

    12096

  • Meizu MX5

    10403

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Helio X10)

    8540

  • Meizu m1 metal

    8526

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

    8518

  • Sony Xperia M5 Dual

    7780

  • Lenovo K3 Note

    5656

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    5108

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note

    2974

Luckily, while the Adreno 510 might be faster, you shouldn't worry - there is nothing either of the Redmi Note 3 models can't handle properly in real life.

The compound tests AnTuTu and BaseMark Operating System (OS) II 2.0 also put the Redmi Note 3 powered by Snapdragon 650 ahead of its Mediatek sibling, but also ahead of all competitors.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    75051

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Helio X10)

    45474

Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)

    1537

  • Meizu MX5

    1252

  • Xiaomi Mi 4c

    1233

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2

    1063

  • Meizu m1 metal

    1039

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Helio X10)

    1018

  • Lenovo K3 Note

    984

  • Sony Xperia M5 Dual

    860

  • Xiaomi Redmi 3

    804

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note

    479

Overall, we found the performance of the Snapdragon 650 to be well above that of any of the Snapdragon 600 series chipsets and actually quite close to that of the Snapdragon 808.

As for thermal performance, both elegant Qualcomm and Xiaomi have done a fine job to haged the temperatures in check. In regular utilize there is absolutely no noticeable incompatibility in the phone's temperature. Even while gaming, the back gets slightly warm, but it's never bothersome. It is possible to acquire the phone warm if you crank up the display brightness all the way up while playing heavy 3D games, but it's a fairly unlikely scenario and in our general usage and gaming experience the phone never got appreciably warm.

Shifting gears, the call quality and network performance was also pretty good, with the phone holding on to LTE network even in places where other phones would usually give up. The shift from 3G to 4G was also quick after a call ended, which is vital in markets like India that don't yet have VoLTE. One thing to note, however, is that the earpiece is a bit narrow, and if it's not positioned correctly directly in front of your ear the sound drops drastically.

The multimedia performance was also respectable. The phone supports a variety of formats out of the box, including AC3 audio codec for video. The phone has a decent video player built-in but it has to be accessed either through the Gallery or the file manager.

The headphone output is loud and clear but the loudspeaker is neither and the backward positioning also makes it sound worse.


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