It was a rather busy year for Xiaomi, with many new device launches including the innovative Mi Mix and the powerful Mi 5s duo. Another interesting device that was launched by the company last year was the Redmi Pro, which was Xiaomi's first smartphone with a dual lens camera and a deca-core processor. It was also the most expensive offering in the Redmi series at a starting price of $225. I managed to spend some time with the smartphone and was quite impressed by it.
The Redmi Pro has three variants based on the CPU, RAM, and storage, which are as follows:
- 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, and Helio X20 chipset - RMB 1,499 (~$225)
- 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and Helio X25 chipset - RMB 1,699 (~$255)
- 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, and Helio X25 chipset - RMB 1,999 (~$300)
For someone familiar with other Redmi series devices such as the Redmi 3 or the Redmi Note 3, these may seem a bit too pricey. However, the device's pricing is similar to the Moto G4 Plus ($249), which is widely considered as a good value for money smartphone, while aiming to offer an affordable flagship level product. I received the base variant of the Redmi Pro with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, and the deca-core Helio X20 chipset clocked up to 2.11GHz. Read on to know more about the device.
- 5.5-inch Full HD (1920x1080) AMOLED capacitive screen protected with 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3
- CPU: Helio X20 MT6797 deca-core chipset with clock speed up to 2.11GHz
- 3GB RAM / 32GB ROM, microSD card support up to 128GB
- Dual 13MP + 5MP rear cameras with dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, f/2.0 aperture, supports 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second
- 5MP front-facing camera
- Lithium polymer 4,050mAh battery
- MIUI 8.0.1 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Hybrid dual-SIM support
- Home button with fingerprint sensor
- Network bands supported: 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, 3G: WCDMA 850/900/1800/1900MHz 4G: LTE 850/900/1800/2100/2600MHz TD-LTE 1900/2300/2500/2600MHz
- Bluetooth 4.2
- NFC Support: No
- USB Type-C connector
- Dimensions: 151.5 x 76.2 x 8.2mm
- Weight: 174 grams
What's in the box?
Like most of its smartphone packaging, Xiaomi has gone with an iPhone-like box with minimal content inside for the Redmi Pro. The company isn't providing any extra accessories such as adapter cables, screen protectors or back covers with the device.
Inside the box, there is the phone itself, a charging adapter, and a USB Type-C cable. Since the Redmi Pro is priced in the mid-range bracket, I was once again expecting Xiaomi to ship a pair of earphones with it. However, those were once again missing from the box.
Hardware & Design
The Redmi Pro looks great and feels even better in the hand. The metal unibody feels very sturdy and the brushed chrome finish helps the device look brand new all the time. On the front of the smartphone, it has a physical home button which is also the fingerprint sensor. This is a bit different from the Redmi 3S Prime, Redmi Note 3, and the Mi Max, which have rear-mounted fingerprint sensors.
However, in the case of the Redmi Pro, the rear side houses the dual-camera module and having the fingerprint sensor on the back would have made it look busy. The device looks a lot like the Galaxy Note 4 or the OnePlus 3 from the front, but the rear side looks rather unique due to the vertically positioned dual cameras.
The Redmi Pro is very slippery and slides off the palms often. Putting a cover on it is necessary, even more so if you have small hands like me. Other than this particular issue, the device is of top notch quality and I was very pleased with its build.
Unlike its other mid-range offerings such as the Redmi Note 3 and the Mi Max, Xiaomi has fitted the Redmi Pro with an AMOLED screen. The 5.5-inch display has a resolution of 1920x1080 (Full HD) which translates to a pixel density of 401 pixels per inch.
Xiaomi has done a decent job with the color calibration, but for certain colors such as orange and pink I felt that it was slightly off. The screen managed to brighten up significantly in direct sunlight and was quite visible until as low as 35% brightness. In normal conditions, the viewing experience with the Redmi Pro was very good. It is probably the best screen you would get in a mid-range smartphone and is an ideal one for watching photos and videos.
Cosmetically, the 2.5D curved screen doesn't look as rounded as the UMi Max or the Nubia Z11 Max smartphones. This is mostly due to the plastic lining around the Redmi Pro's edges. Overall, the display was pretty good and it's nice to see a decent AMOLED unit in a mid-range device. Samsung has already begun shipping AMOLEDs in its entry-level J series smartphones and other manufacturers might also increase adoption of OLED in the near future.
Audio & Call Quality
The call quality on the Redmi Pro was average and I had to move around to get clear sound on many occasions. It was at its best in outdoor conditions but deteriorated significantly inside buildings. I used the smartphone on Vodafone India's 4G network and Jio 4G throughout my time with it.
Since both carriers are still in early stages of 4G LTE rollout here, it's rather difficult to say who is at fault for the call quality issues indoors. The data connectivity was quite good on both the networks, even in places where it fell back on 3G. Anyone looking to order the smartphone for use in the US or Europe should look for the supported bands.
The audio quality for music and other media was quite good from both the loudspeaker and the headphone jack. The loudspeaker is very loud and even at the highest volume level there was no tearing or crackling. I used a pair of Sennheiser earphones for testing the audio output from the 3.5mm port which I found to be quite good.
Xiaomi offers custom presets for its own earphones and headsets, but since none of those are bundled with the device, I cannot comment upon how they sound.
The most hyped feature of the Redmi Pro is its dual-camera and rightly so, as it is quite a promising module for a mid-range smartphone. I enjoyed using the camera and features such as Stereo mode for selective focus, 3D mode, and manual focus are very well implemented by Xiaomi.
Specifications-wise, the dual-camera is a combination of a 13-megapixel camera and a 5-megapixel camera, which captures images simultaneously and processes them to give a sharper image with sufficient lighting and depth of field. It isn't an obvious difference from usual high-quality images, but zooming into some of the pictures reveals slightly more detail.
The rear camera is capable of shooting very good photos in most lighting conditions except very low light such as street lights. There is sufficient clarity in each of the images shot in daylight and the colors also look great. The Stereo mode allows the user to focus on certain objects and create a bokeh-like effect as well. Such images can also be seen in 3D mode, as in tilting the phone gives you an idea of the surroundings up to a very limited angle.
In case of video, the camera is capable of shooting at 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, with higher framerates available at lower resolutions. The video quality is quite good in both day and night conditions. However, for distant shooting in low light, the camera loses focus and is not that useful.
You can check out some of the camera samples below:
Images taken with the 5-megapixel front camera were also quite good. However, the color retention left a lot to be desired. I was happy with the images produced by the Redmi Pro in most cases, even more so with those captured by the rear camera and I'd certainly call it a good camera phone for its price.
Like the Redmi 3S Prime, the Redmi Pro also comes pre-loaded with Xiaomi's heavily customized MIUI 8 skin on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. However, this device is yet to hit global markets and comes with the Chinese MIUI build with basic English language support in Xiaomi's own apps and no Play Store. Google apps can be installed using a third-party installer. Once Xiaomi releases a global ROM, it should contain Google apps and services.
The OS itself was very smooth on the Redmi Pro and there were barely any issues in regular smartphone usage, despite the lack of full English support. Apps and games functioned smoothly without any force close prompts. Microsoft Exchange sync was a bit problematic for me as it never managed to update contacts that I edited on the phone. Other than this particular issue, I didn't have much to complain about the software.
It should be noted that the user experience is different from stock Android, and users who aren't familiar with MIUI will need some time to get used to it. You can read a bit more about MIUI in our Mi Max review from last year.
The Redmi Pro is one of the few devices that use MediaTek's flagship deca-core chipsets, the Helio X20 and X25. Our review device features the Helio X20 clocked at 2.11GHz and 3GB of RAM. Even though these are the lowest specs for this device, my experience with the device was very good. App load times and frame rates in games such as Clash Royale and Dead Trigger.
Benchmark results for the Helio X20 are also quite impressive as it managed to come close to some of the flagship chipsets such as the Snapdragon 801 and Snapdragon 810. This is not a bad metric at all, given the Redmi Pro's $225 pricing. The smartphone is capable of handling heavy multi-tasking with ease and I never managed to fully utilize its RAM as Xiaomi has implemented some optimization under the hood.
In Geekbench, I was quite surprised to see that the Redmi Pro scored higher than Snapdragon 820-powered Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note7 in single-core and multi-core tests. However, benchmark scores don't often give you the complete picture and the device might be slow in certain tasks. In the case of the Redmi Pro, that wasn't an issue either and its ability to perform regular tasks without slowing down is quite impressive.
The 4,050mAh Battery on the Redmi Pro lasts at least a day of heavy usage on a single charge, while moderate usage can keep the phone ticking for another half day. The same capacity battery on the Redmi 3S Prime lasts for two days, however, that smartphone is powered by the power-efficient Snapdragon 430 chipset and also features a smaller 5-inch 720p screen.
Xiaomi has added battery optimization features in MIUI, but these are often problematic since they stop push notifications from certain apps from going through. With the optimizations disabled, the battery life reduces by about a couple of hours. However, it is something the user might consider disabling if they are constantly missing notifications or experiencing delayed sync.
Like most smartphones available, the Redmi Pro too has a battery saver feature that can extend the standby time by up to three hours. It disables sync, background tasks and data connectivity, but can be configured as per priority and it works perfectly fine.
Charging the smartphone with the bundled charger takes about 2.5 hours, and there is no mention of support for any quick charging technology.
The Redmi Pro is a very good smartphone and once again Xiaomi has struck the perfect balance between features and pricing. Its top variants may be perceived as expensive by some, but they do have additional storage, RAM, and a better chipset in them.
While the Moto G4 and G4 Plus are highly recommended smartphones due to their availability in a majority of markets with guaranteed software updates, someone looking for a slightly premium smartphone with a dual camera, without spending a lot can consider the Redmi Pro. Another dual camera smartphone worth considering is the Huawei Honor 8, which is now available for $120 more than the Redmi Pro, but supports US LTE bands and is available in many markets.
The biggest problem with the Redmi Pro for now, is that it can only be imported through Chinese retailers, since it is not launched outside of the country yet. That also means there won't be any official support available for the device. If it launches in whichever country you live in, there shouldn't be any doubt in opting for the smartphone, but that is largely uncertain for now.
The review unit was supplied by Gearbest. If you would like to purchase the device, you can head here to purchase the smartphone which currently is priced at around $215 USD. You can check out more information about other Xiaomi products and other Redmi Pro variants at Gearbest.