Xiaomi Redmi 1S review: Captain China

Xiaomi Redmi 1S review: Captain China


4 out of 5
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Battery backup
4 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
Value for Money


4.1 out of 5


  • Pros:

    Affordable price
    Solid built
    Scratch resistant glass
    Mi Cloud integration
    Impressive camera

  • Cons:

    Heats up a bit
    Old Android version
    High RAM consumption

  • Conclusion:

    Xiaomi Redmi 1S has all good things to lead such as impressive specifications, solid built and an affordable price but its Chinese brand and limited availability is taking customers forward towards its competitors.

In Depth

As we have observed so far, Xiaomi Redmi 1S has a solid built and an impressive camera to take on the competitive entry-level smartphones but it’s not the end of our story. We are now getting deeper into the Redmi 1S to bring out all its pros and cons.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Xiaomi Redmi 1S with 4.5-inch HD IPS display

Xiaomi Redmi 1S has a 4.5-inch IPS LCD panel with 1280 x 720 pixels (HD) resolution that makes 312ppi pixel density. On the top of the display panel, there is a digitizer which simultaneously supports up to 10-point touch input. The color production and contrast ratio of the display is acceptable, considering its price, and the presence of the ambient light sensor helps the display to give fair amount of brightness under different lighting conditions. As far as the sunlight legibility of the display is concerned, it is decent enough when looking at its competitors. The main con that we noticed on the display front is its poor viewing angles but it is quite a common issue across all the entry-level smartphones.

The Redmi 1S, on the software front, runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system which can be updated to Android 4.4 KitKat in future though there is no confirmation from the company. The presence of Jelly Bean Android is something that making customers inclined towards its competitors. However, Xiaomi has provided its MIUI v5 skin on the top of stock Android to give an upgraded experience. The presence of MIUI gives fresh look to the users but it consumes a large part of the memory.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Xiaomi Redmi 1S with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS and MIUI v5 skin

As there is MIUI skin on the top, users cannot easily judge the Android version by going through the interface of the Redmi 1S. The interface of the Redmi 1S has a lockscreen which has an unlocker at the center and allows users to directly go to dialler, messages or camera even without unlocking the screen. These four cardinal directions transform into audio controls when Music player is running in background. After lockscreen, there are by default two homescreens which are the home of apps as well as of folders and widgets. This means that there is no app drawer available within the interface to hold apps. Additionally, users can set transition effects and can also change the theme to suit their taste. All the installed apps can also easily be uninstalled right from the homescreens.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Xiaomi Redmi 1S with tweaked lockscreen and homescreens

The completely tweaked MIUI skin has a notification panel which comes with a list of toggles such as Aeroplane, BT, DND, Screenshot, Rotation, Wi-Fi, Data and Brightness among others. Users can alter the number of toggles by visiting settings and a Brightness bar is also available beneath these toggles for manually controlling the amount of brightness. The notification panel also provides network name and information on current time and date. User can get into settings by tapping the gear icon from the top-right side of the panel. Lastly, there is an option to change the layout of toggles from page to bar.

Xiaomi has not only provided its MIUI skin on the Redmi 1S to give a fresh feel over stock Android, but it has also given some pre-installed apps to give an all-new experience on the entry-level smartphone compared to its competitors. In this regard, there is Security app which bundled with a list of important tools to make the smartphone usage private and secure. This app has tools, namely Cleaner, Data usage, Blocklist, Power, Virus scan and Permission, which work in background to give users a safe smartphone experience. Users have the option in their hands to enable or disable any of the available tools.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Xiaomi Redmi 1S with Security app

Apart from Security app, the Redmi 1S comes pre-installed with Mail, Clock, Recorder, Torch, Calculator, Compass, Music, Explorer and MiTalk. The smartphone specifically available outside China with Google Apps package which includes Gmail, Google Chrome, YouTube, Google Maps, Hangouts, Play Music, Play Newsstand, Play Books and Google Drive.

The Chinese company is aiming to take on the market leaders with its Mi Cloud and thus it also available pre-installed on the Redmi 1S. With Mi Cloud integration, users can easily store their content as well as personal data on a cloud storage. Though Mi Cloud requires a Mi Account, users can signup for the same simply by using their email account or phone number. There is also Mi Cloud Messaging feature available which helps the users in texting their friends for free, just by using an active data connection.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Xiaomi Redmi 1S with Mi Cloud integration

The Redmi 1S has proprietary telephony and messaging support which does not give any stock Android feel. On the telephony front, there is a smart dialler for dialing numbers and a wide list of in-call options which include call recording, call forward and note taking. Users can also set answer gestures as well as choose options such as Flip to silence ring, turn on/off the proximity sensor, Mute unknown numbers and Prevent pocket dials. For typing, there is SwiftKey keyboard as well as Google keyboard which are the two best keyboards available for Android devices. We have not found any issue such as call drop or in-call voice crack even after using the Redmi 1S on multiple networks and its dual-SIM support is just an icing on the cake. The signal strength also remain equal to full all the time, regardless of different locations.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Xiaomi Redmi 1S with proprietary telephony and messaging

For browsing web content, the Redmi 1S has a proprietary browser and Google Chrome. Both the web browsers come with features such as multi-tabbing and incognito browsing. In addition, there is HTML5 to support all the latest websites without any issue. Users can open several webpages at once on the Redmi 1S and kinetic scrolling is also there for smoothly swiping up and down the webpages.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Xiaomi Redmi 1S with proprietary Browser and Google Chrome

The Redmi 1S, on the multimedia front, comes pre-installed with Music app and FM Radio for audio entertainment and video playback is also supported. We tested its multimedia performance by playing a variety of audio as well as video formats. The smartphone supports almost all the audio and video formats out of the box and gives acceptable graphics for playing 720p (HD) and 1080p (full-HD) video content. The available loudspeaker produces sound a bit lower than its competitors but users can opt for an external source through the available 3.5mm jack.

As most of our readers are quite keen to know the benchmark results of the Redmi 1S, we tested the smartphone on some of the popular benchmark apps. These benchmark apps include AnTuTu, GFX Bench, Quadrant Standard Edition, Vellamo, NenaMark 2 and RealPi Benchmark. On AnTuTu v5.1, the Redmi 1S scored 17380. When tested on GFX Bench, the smartphone failed to give results on high-level tests due to its low RAM space but on low-level tests (ALU), it resulted 35.1fps. On Quadrant Standard Edition version 2.1.1, the smartphone scored 10838 total scores. With Vellamo version 3.0, the total Metal scores were stood at 869. On NenaMark 2, the smartphone shown 57fps frame rate. When used RealPi Benchmark, the smartphone taken 20.99 seconds elapsed time to calculate the digits of Pi.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S

Xiaomi Redmi 1S benchmark results

We also tested the real-life performance of the Redmi 1S by playing some of the renowned games. These games include Asphalt 8: Airborne, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Subway Surfers and Temple Run 2. The Redmi 1S gave acceptable performance on these games, however, some heat was felt from the rear side after a long playtime. We additionally observed that some of the high-end gaming titles are not in reach of this smartphone as most of the RAM is consumed by the heavy MIUI integration.

The Redmi 1S, on the hardware front, taking on all its competitors. Even with an affordable price, the smartphone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8228) chipset with a 1.6GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU and Adreno 305 GPU. There is 1GB of RAM and of the total RAM, there is 873MB available for end-user operations. For storing content, there is 5.72GB free storage available to the end-users along with microSD card support for expansion up to 32GB. The smartphone comes equipped with a list of sensors to brighten its smartness, including accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, proximity, ambient light, gravity, linear acceleration, motion detector, rotation vector and an orientation sensor. In terms of connectivity, the smartphone has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and a microUSB port with USB OTG (USB On-the-Go) support for connecting with peripherals and external storage sources such as mouse, keyboard and pen drives among others.

Xiaomi has provided a 2,000mAh battery pack for the Redmi 1S which, on our testing, gave more than a day backup against mixed usage of telephony, web surfing and multimedia playback. This states that the smartphone has an acceptable battery life though some of its competitors have even more juice.

On a closing note, Xiaomi Redmi 1S is one of the best option in the current entry-level segment. The presence of MIUI skin makes the smartphone a bit different from the competition.


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Categories: Mobiles
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