Earlier this year, Xiaomi introduced the first mid-range 48-megapixel camera smartphone, the Redmi Note 7 Pro starting at Rs 13,999. Alongside, the company also introduced the Redmi Note 7 for Rs 9,999, with slightly watered-down specifications, sans the high-resolution rear camera. Since then, a lot of users had been asking for a Redmi Note 7 with a 48-megapixel camera and a lower price point. Xiaomi did listen to the users, and the Redmi Note 7S aims to cater to those audiences. I’ve been using the Redmi Note 7S since a day, and here are my first impressions.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S: Design

The Redmi Note 7S, Note 7 and the Note 7 Pro, all share the same design and screen size, what changes are the internals. Up front, you get a 6.3-inch FHD+ display that runs at a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels, and aspect ratio of 19.5:9. At the top, you get a dot notch (waterdrop style) that houses the front camera and sensors. The earpiece slit is present just above the notch, whereas the notification LED is at the bottom. The display is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection, and you have tiny bezels around the sides.

Turn to the back and you have the Gorilla Glass 5 panel, which is something interesting, considering other smartphone makers are going to laminated plastic back. On the top left, you have the vertically placed dual camera modules and the LED flash. The camera modules have a slight bump, which makes the phone wobble if placed on the table with back down. You can avoid that by putting a back cover on the phone.

The frame is made from polycarbonate, which feels solid and durable. On the left, you have the hybrid dual SIM card slot, the power button and volume rocker is on the right. The 3.5mm headphone jack is at the top, along with IR blaster, whereas the USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer is at the bottom. Type C port is a welcome addition, and not a lot of smartphone makers are doing so.

Watch: Redmi Note 7 Pro first look

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S: Cameras

The highlight of the smartphone is of course the 48-megapixel AI dual camera at the back. The camera has an aperture of f/1.8, and Xiaomi is using Samsung’s GM1 sensor, which is a bit different from the Sony IMX586 sensor used on the Redmi Note 7 Pro. Even the Honor View20 comes with the same Sony sensor, and while it allows capturing photos in full 48-megapixel resolution, the Xiaomi phone captures 12-megapixel photos by default.

There is an option to click full 48-megapixel photos, but the company is using pixel binning that combines adjacent pixels into one super pixel, thus giving higher resolution photos. I clicked a few photos, and they seemed good, but I’ll hold on my verdict till I review the smartphone. The main camera is backed by a secondary 5-megapixel sensor for depth, and it is helpful in clicking portrait shots. Up front, you get a 13-megapixel snapper for selfies and video calling.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S: Specifications

Under the hood, the Redmi Note 7S is powered by a 14nm Snapdragon 660 SoC paired with 3GB / 4GB RAM and 32GB / 64GB storage. There is a hybrid card slot for further storage expansion. To keep thing ticking, the Redmi Note 7S is armed with a 4,000mAh battery with support for 18W Quick Charge 4 tech. Sadly, Xiaomi has included a 10W charger in the box. On the software front, the smartphone runs Android 9 Pie with MIUI 10.3 UI on top. It also comes with April 2019 Android security patch.

Initial impressions

At a starting price of Rs 10,999 for the 3GB RAM and 32GB storage model, the Redmi Note 7S tries to bridge the gap between the Redmi Note 7 and Redmi Note 7 Pro. The higher model with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is priced at Rs 12,999. Xiaomi will be phasing out the Redmi Note 7 and the Note 7S will be taking its place.

Sure, the Note 7S is the cheapest smartphone with a 48-megapixel primary sensor, but there will be some questions raised on whether the Samsung GM1 sensor is better or as good as the Sony IMX586 sensor. I will only be able to tell more as I review the smartphone soon, so stay tuned for that.

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