Report Card: Redmi Go: “Go” For Your First Smartphone

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Xiaomi is a company that often steps in a certain price segment and changes the rules of how smartphones are supposed to be like in that range, by offering relatively good specs at affordable price tags. This strategy has taken the brand to the top of the Indian smartphone market, and the brand is now aiming for the feature phone segment by introducing a super affordable smartphone, the Redmi Go. Priced at Rs. 4,499 , it is the first smartphone from Xiaomi to run on Android Go. But is it good enough to make people let “Go” of their feature phones?

Looks and design: A
It might not be in sync with the latest trends that today’s smartphones are following but the Redmi Go looks solid and really good for the price. Yes, it comes with thick bezels and a matte finish polycarbonate back, both of which are considered to be design blasphemy in today’s day and age. But the device is compact and sits beautifully in one’s hand. Although it comes with a polycarbonate back, the Redmi Go looks and feels very solid, as opposed to all the glossy-glassy backs that are in trend nowadays. Another positive of the matte back is that it saves the smartphone from those super annoying smudges and makes it slightly more resistant towards scratches. There is also a catchy blue shade apart from the standard black one. Most importantly, the smartphone looks like a smartphone unlike the Nokia 1 (another phone which is trying to lure feature phone users) which can be easily mistaken for a feature phone.

Hardware: A
The Redmi Go sports a 5 inch HD display with 1280 x 720 resolution. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset which is coupled with 1 GB RAM. The smartphone comes with 8 GB onboard storage which can be expanded upto 128 GB by using microSD card. The smartphone houses an 8-megapixel rear sensor with support for full HD video recording and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with HDR. It is powered by a 3,000 mAh battery and runs on Android Oreo 8.1 (Go edition).  The Redmi Go comes with dedicated space for dual nano-SIM cards and microSD card -something you do not sometimes see even on more expensive devices. The specs might sound modest to some, especially the Snapdragon 425 and 1 GB RAM but because the smartphone runs on Android Go, even these modest specs can sail through day to day tasks smoothly. Plus we think, Xiaomi has followed its basic smartphone strategy and has bundled the Redmi Go with good enough specs for the price.

Software: B+
The Redmi Go runs on the Go version of Android Oreo and not of Android Pie. While Android Oreo may need lesser space as compared to Android Pie (which is a huge thing in a smartphone with these specs), the fact that you do not get the latest version of Android is a slight step back in our book. The device comes preloaded with a number of Google Go apps like YouTube Go, Gmail Go, Google Go, which are basically lighter versions of the main apps, designed specially to run on Android Go smartphones. There are also a few Mi apps and a few third-party apps like Facebook Lite and the Amazon Shopping app to get you going. Even with all these apps preinstalled, the interface is pretty clean and clutter free and seems perfect for first-time smartphone users. It is not overwhelmingly elaborate and is pretty simple which means one can simply glide through the experience without getting too hassled.

Performance: B
The Redmi Go runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 coupled with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage. As the specs suggest, the smartphone is not meant for heavy duty work. Although it comes with Android Go which is supposed to make the smartphone surf smoothly on regular workload waves, the lack of spec power was often reflected in the Redmi Go’s performance. The smartphone mostly runs smoothly and works well when you are hovering over the general Go apps and the Lite ones but full-fledged apps often stuttered. The smartphone easily worked its way around casual games like Subway Surfer and Candy Crush but high-end games like PUBG and Asphalt Xtreme were not compatible with the device.

The display of the smartphone, although HD, seems pretty good for the price. The colours were slightly washed out but it definitely comes with one of the better displays in the price bracket. Sound on the smartphone is pretty average, both in terms of quality and volume. It is not super loud but can work for a small room. In terms of call connectivity, the smartphones worked well. We did not face any call drop issues.

Cameras: B+
Cameras are generally not the strong suite of smartphones priced under Rs. 5,000 and the Redmi Go is no exception. The smartphone comes with an 8-megapixel main shooter bundled with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The primary camera works well in good light conditions and is often able to capture details of the subject. The colours, on the other hand, can be a little off track and slightly too bright and oversaturated at times. The camera struggles in low light and the shots often turn out to be grainy and out of focus.  The front-facing camera on the phone is also substandard at best and is pretty inconsistent. The selfies look good at times but resist the temptation to zoom in. On other occasions, the smartphone decides to spend focus on a holiday and serves you with grainy, blurry photos.

Battery life: A-
The Redmi Go comes is powered by a 3,000 mAh battery which can easily see you through a day of usage. Yes, it not a big number but thanks to the rather modest specs that the Redmi Go comes with: the HD display, Snapdragon 425 and 1 GB RAM, makes up for the lost mAhs. The device does not come with support for fast charging which means the smartphone will take a while to get charged but other than that the battery of the smartphone does not disappoint.

Price: A+
Xiaomi has priced the Redmi Go at Rs. 4,499 which makes the smartphone super affordable and perfect for anyone looking to buy their first smartphone. It is very rare to find an HD display at this price point and the Redmi Go also has a very good design feel to it. It does not feel cheap.

Overall grade: A+
The Redmi Go faces competition from Nokia 1 but is definitely ahead of it in terms of overall performance, looks and user experience. At Rs 4,499, the Redmi Go is pretty much a no brainer choice for anyone wishing to switch from a feature phone or looking for a smartphone under Rs. 5,000.

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