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Xiaomi Redmi 3S review: Game of Iterations

Introduction

Xiaomi Redmi 3S is the last of the third generation Redmis, soon to be overshadowed by the expected Redmi 4 premiere. Some may say the Redmi 3S is an obsolete addition to the series, but yet Xiaomi managed to position it as one of the best offers on the market right now.

The Redmi 3S follows the footsteps of its predecessors – a premium metal shell jam-packed with features for a bargain price. Just like the Redmi 3 Pro, the 3S has a 5″ screen on top of an aluminum unibody, there is a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a 13MP main camera. The 4,100 mAh battery is a real treat and the Redmi 3S is among the first phones to offer the latest MIUI 8.

Xiaomi Redmi 3S review

What’s different though? Basically, Xiaomi opted for a different chipset -the Snapdragon 430. It has a true octa-core processor instead of two CPU clusters by four cores, and a new Adreno 505 GPU which supports all the latest graphic standards and should offer slightly improved performance.

The Redmi 2 was chosen for by GSMA for the best smartphone under $100 and Xiaomi obviously is running for a similar recognition next year with the Redmi 3 series. So, let’s see what the Redmi 3S is made of.

Xiaomi Redmi 3S key features:
Hybrid DualSIM/microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
5″ IPS display of 720p resolution; 294ppi
Snapdragon 430 chipset; octa-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 processor; Adreno 505 GPU;
13MP main camera with hybrid phase-detect autofocus; 1080p video capture at 30fps
5MP front-facing camera; 1080p at 30fps video recording
MIUI v.8 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
16GB of built-in storage, 2GB of RAM
4G LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps); Wi-Fi b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.1; GPS, GLONASS and Beidou; FM radio
IR port
Dual-microphone active noise canceling
4,100 mAh non-removable battery, fast charging
Rear-mounted fingerprint reader

Cons:
No scratch resistant front glass
No NFC
Battery not removable

The omissions are hardly a surprise – they have been there since the first ever Redmi 3. The phones that have spawned in the months to follow – the Pro, the S, and the Prime may have brought some new features and improvements, but the lack of NFC, the non-removable battery and the cheap screen glass are common across all models.

Xiaomi Redmi 3S review

But then again we are looking at a 120 smartphone, so our expectations have been exceeded by a mile already. If you want to know what got better, or worse, please follow us after the jump.