First off all, a really BIG thank you for ibuygou for sending me a red rice so i could make a review of this phone. If you need a phone, buy it on there shop, they have good prices, often special deals and are really nice people who take the time to answer people.
I really meant this.
Even if i do a review of their materiel, i still say the thruth, if i find bad point, i say it.
As some of you already know, xiaomi recently put out a new phone. It was not a Mi3 or a new Mi2 declination, but a new cheaper model: the red rice.
What are the main changes of this phone?
The CPU is still a quad core, but not a qualcomm. This time it is a mediatek CPU (cheaper and a bit less performance)
The Ram is only 1GB (whereas Mi2 had 2GB)
The Memory is 4GB whereas Mi2 had 16 to 32GB.
It contains a micro SD slot, so you can extend the memory to maximum 32GB
The screen size is bigger than the MI2, indeed it went from 4.3“ to 4.7“. The resolution stay the same : 1280x720 (720p)
The back camera is like the 32MB Mi2s a 8MPX model (we will see if the pictures are better or not)
The front camera is a 1.3 MPX model
Of course it runs under MIUI V5 (I didn't find any translation right now... well because the phone is quite rare.. Indeed xiaomi sold them out in 90 seconds, so a big thank you to ibuygou that managed to get some or at least one ^^)
Why was it sold out? Quite easy, the specs are still good, and the price is really cheap
But if it is a super phone, why doesn't it have it own category?
First of all, like I said, it is rare... Only the luckiest people got one
Second, there is one bad point for this phone. Xiaomi decided to make a TD-SDMA/GSM phone and not a W-CDMA/GSM phone. Now you think: What the hell does this meant???
Quite simple: it will not work on 3G outside china You can only use it in 2G or in WiFi
Once again you think: But in this case, why are you reviewing this phone?
First off all, not every one uses his 3G. I know people who almost never use 3G or people who don't use them at all... It may not be your case, but it may be the case of a person you know.
You could have the advantages of a smartphone (nice screen, taking pictures, play games, having a phone) Most people use their phones at home, at work, at friends, at restaurants.... and at tease places you often have WiFi. So you may live without 3G. But i agree, having 3G would be better.
Thant leaves us to my second argument: People over the world (even in china) where so disappointed, that Xiaomi promised to do a W-CDMA red rice
So why not showing you the new Xiaomi phone right now, and maybe you may even find it interesting for someone you know, even without 3G.
2. How does it look like?
Well when I open the DHL package, I was thinking: ohh... same box as my mi2, and indeed the box is the same size, but when you open it you directly see that it is NOT the same phone
The phone is bigger, the screen is bigger, the android buttons are red, the corners are less rounded and the phone has another design... Less iPhone looking
Personally I find that a red phone is horrible, Celline knows that ^^ and she sent me a phone with a color I prefer
Here a picture side by side with my wife’s Mi2 (yeah I have one and she has one ^^ and we love our phones )
The red rice a little big thinner, but not that much (0.3mm on paper) this is not really visible...
Like my mi2, the user manual also says that the SAR value is below or equal 2W/kg. So it respect the European law (if the value is right)
Like the Mi2 the battery is 2000Mha, but don't even think to switch batteries ^^ there are not the same
One good point for this phone is that xiaomi made an access for making the cover removal easier (well it is still not so easy to open ^^ but at least you don't need long solid nails like the Mi2 ^^
Here you see that the red rice has indeed 2 normal SIM slot and a micro SD slot.
I find the micro SD system not so good... You need to push to the up to open it and push to the bottom to open it... That’s weird...
Here a picture of the Red rice booting (unfortunately the android buttons are not backlight ... that was indeed one bad point of the Mi2, wasn't corrected for this one either :/
The screen is indeed bigger, but the resolution is the same, so you loose some DPI compared to the Mi2, but it is still very good. Full HD may (this is not sure, because for so small screens the resolution difference will be dificult to see at least not when holding the phone in the hand) have a better picture quality, but would cost more money and would need more power.
Here are two picture of the phone information, as you can see android 4.2, 1.5Ghz quad core, 1GB Ram and 4GB Memory
The application mobile uncle also confirmed that there is no W-CDMA on the sim card, but only TD-SCMA
Of course i did some tests, and i always got Edge :/ so no 3G with this phone outside china
PS: even with W-CDMA, some manufacturers does not enable it over the 900Mhz frequency and in France if you are outside town, the 3G is mostly over 900Mhz frequencies... In other countries this may be another frequency, I can only speak for what I know.
3) Dual SIM Feature
In the phone preferences you have now a SIM management menu, where you can name your SIM card (by default it has the carrier name) and where you can set the 3G (for this red rice the edge connection) for one SIM (SIM1 or 2)
On the status bar you'll see the two carrier names and the two-signal level. Other dual SIM phone has also color code (blue/green) but here there are both the same color.
I hope that xiaomi will also customize this a bit
If I set the Data connection over the other SIM card, the logo on the header also changed ^^ so the E, 3G or H(+) sign will be on the appropriate SIM slot
The dial pad was a bit redesigned for the dual SIM
Even when dialing, the phone tell you witch SIM card it uses
When you press a line at the phone history, the phone will ask you witch SIM you want to use
for sending SMS/MMS there was also a little redesign, there is no more send button but one button per SIM
Of course if you put just ONE SIM in the phone, the design will be the same as the Mi2... So no double buttons or disabled button but a real Single SIM interface
4. Performances & GPS
Testing this device is quite complicated.
Indeed I was used having a phone that had a ROM from the community, where you can already have the Google apps. (Some roms has them, some other removes them) but I was used having the Google apps. So installing software is painful without the Google play store. So I tried my best to test the phone with some apps. Currently i did not suceeded installing gapps, so i need to find the application apks first :/
The fix was quite fast (about 3 seconds indoor) and it founds a lot of satellites even without a glonass support (the Russian GPS alternative that Mi2 find).
Indeed these Russian Satellites should be shown as triangles in GPS Test. So the GPS of this phone is not using both systems.
This could be helpful for faster location, but like i said i was impressed that it was so good
I also tested the GPS in my car for going to work (about 25km or 40 min) there were no issue. I also drive through another direction because of blocked street, the gps dectected and calculated the new way in about 4 seconds
I didn't see any difference between the red rice and the Mi2, both react fast without any lag.
So the cheaper Quadcore from mediatek isn't so bad
But what does the benchmarking tools says
First Quadrant: the Red rice is a little better than a HTC One X, not so bad for a cheap Chinese phone ^^
Epic citadel : here we see that the CPU/GPU is not as good as the Mi2, but this is also another price ... We can't wait for a low cost phone to have the same specs as the high end phone
c) The audio volume
I tested the volume directly on the device, indeed testing with a headset would depend of the headset quality.
When I tested with the cover, the sound was low and strange... I meant it was like something was vibrating again the speaker.
I turned on my Mi2 and to have the same volume loudness I had to put my mi2 volume to the half :/
Then later, I tested it without the cover (I had the cover dismount because i took out my SIM card and I tested it without closing it and then I had a BIG difference the sound wasn't strange and the loudness was as loud as the Mi2.
I guess this comes from the metallic part of the cover that is here to prevent dirt going in the phone...
I then remove this metal looking part, the sound was better, but the volume difference between with and without cover is still here.. I guess that the red rice cover should had 2 holes for the sound like the mi2
d) Photo quality
I don't know if Xiaomi use the same components as the Mi2, but the photo quality does not seams better or worse
Unfortunately it is already night when i did this review, so i use the flash
Here is a picture I made of my dog (click on in for full size)
The red rice is OTG compatible, i succesful tested it with a PS3 controller
If you don't need 3G (if Wifi + 2G from time to time) is enough for you, this phone is certainly the cheapest smartphone with great quality out on the market.
Chinese people who order it had done a great deal.
Indeed the only negative points, in my opinion, for this phone are:
A: the sound quality/volume with the cover could be better
B: the need of an sd card. Indeed xiaomi could have included 16GB or 8Gb because 4Gb will be filled pretty fast. But if you already have an sd card, this is not a big deal ^^
C: of course the missing 3g, but like I said, if you don't use it that often or if you don't need it, it would make a perfect smartphone for you. If you need 3G, you could wait for the W-CDMA revision of this phone, but here I don't know how long you may wait.
In my opinion, if Xiaomi quickly made a W-CDMA version of this phone, it would certainly be exported as good as the Mi2
But maybe they did this on purpose so the Mi2 and Mi3 will be exported more ... who knows..
Unfortunately i you need further tests i can't do them. Indeed i gave this phone to a Miui fan site to help to help the french translation.
So if your are interested in this phone, you’ll find it at ibuygou
They may also make some crazy deal like they often do with xiaomi products, so it may be possible that you get this phone for a really good price