If you may have noticed, all along the appeal of Xiaomi phones lay in being a complete offering, cheap, good features and reasonable performance. Then the market began to change with Oppo and Vivo and Gionee starting to cater to the youth with one demand in particular – selfies. The selfie mania is what Xiaomi has chosen to target with the Redmi Y1. So if buyers are seeking to get cool selfies then Rs 8,999 is not a bad investment.
Let’s get down to the basics then. Our review device is a 32GB Gold unit with 3GB RAM.
Place a Redmi 4 beside it and it will be difficult to tell the difference. Xiaomi continues with a metallic look of sleek rounded corners, but has a plastic body. What meets you at first glance is the 5.5-inch display to view those selfies. On the upper bezel, you will find the 16-megapixel front camera with a selfie flash. Hold it in your hand and you will be holding a device weighing mere 153 grams and it is quite lithe, fits well in the palm of the hand giving you a sturdy feel.
The company has released it in Gold, and Dark grey colours, with the popular Rose Gold in the pipeline. On the sleek sides – you have the SIM slot which has space for your memory card and two sims, unlike the previous ones which were hybrid with the memory slot doubling up as the SIM tray as well. On the right side, you have two sliver like long slender buttons, one is the volume control and the smaller one the power button.
Turn around and you are greeted by a chrome lined 13-megapixel camera and LED flash in the left top corner and unmissable is the fingerprint scanner at the centre. If you have tiny fingers like me, while holding the phone, you may end up keeping one finger on the fingerprint scanner and unlock the phone unknowingly. The bottom has the Micro-USB port in the centre for charging, and round vents on either side. It also has an IR emitter on the top of the phone along with a secondary mic and a 3.5mm headphone jack. In the box, you get a SIM ejector tool, a 10W adapter, and a microUSB cable.
The 5.5-inch display gets 720x1280 pixels of resolution. It has a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. The colours are bright and you can always adjust the brightness and contrast. However, when comparing it to offerings like Redmi Note 4, which comes with a 5-inch 720p and a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, the Redmi Y1 fits in somewhere in between. So, yes, the display could have been better.
Powering this phone is the Snapdragon 435 SoC that ensures smooth interface and performance. Unless loaded to the brim with apps, this device promises a lag-free browsing and the newly updated MIUI 9 helps your apps open in a jiffy. The phone can multitask and even playing games is a delightful experience, rarely does it get warm unlike the previous devices.
Take a look at some of the results of the benchamrk tests we conducted
Heavy usage is bound to be a drainer and it can give you less than optimal battery life (read 9-10 hours). On low battery one could find the phone flickering a bit. It comes with 3,080mAh battery and so you wonder why cut corners in this department, Xiaomi?
Well, the focus of the device is the 16 MP selfie camera with an LED flash. This new camera does not disappoint but seems like there is bit of a problem in the white balance department. The smart, pro and beautify modes help you get the ideal blemish-free selfie. At this price point, you cannot complain much. It does need a little make-up in the colours department, but for its primary use – it delivers good results.
You’d think it raises the expectations with the selfie camera so much that the rear-facing 13-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF and LED flash does give you the desired results. In bright light the photos are good with punchy colours, but there is some loss of details in low light.
We have photos collected in close up, low light, in house, external and morning light conditions. You can see the results for yourself.
Variants and price
The Y1 has two variants, one with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage, and the other with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage. Pick either and you still get the option to expand storage by up to 128GB using the dedicated microSD card slot. The 3GB/32GB version comes at Rs 8999 while the 4GB/64GB version comes for Rs 10,999.
In the sub- Rs 10,000 segment, this Xiaomi Redmi Y1 gives you decent and deliverable performance. A perfect tool to up your selfie game without breaking the bank, you can look over the little niggles if its budget you are after.