Redmi 7 Review: Best budget phone right now?

The decision to get a phone now is like a scale with specifications and price at each end. The scale varies with each price point, and the best options find a place right around the middle. On a budget of 12-14 thousand taka, the Redmi 7 might be the phone to go for right now.

First Impression

While the Redmi Note and Note Pro stand out the most among the Redmi series, the Redmi 7 is a good deal for a lower budget as well. While it is cheaper, it doesn’t feel like a cheap phone in your hands. The phone has a glossy plastic finish on its body that makes it appear fancy. The body itself comes with rounded edges, making the phone more wieldy. It has a very distinguishable feature in the P2i nano hydrophobic coating, which keeps water on the phone running. Although this effect is visible on the display and the back, some water does stick to the corners. And of course, we like that the phone has a 3.5 mm audio jack. We just, like that.

While the issues with glossy finishes such as smudge and scratches persist with this phone, all you need to get rid of those is a good casing. Xiaomi’s reputation for implementing high-end offerings at a budget is retained in the form of a Gorilla Glass 5 display, very unusual for a phone of this price.  It has a fingerprint scanner conveniently placed at the back along with a water drop notched 6.26 inch LCD display. The screen does have a rather large bezel, but it is utilized in the form of an LED notification light.

Performance

The basic features like fingerprint sensor and scrolling are very responsive. As they should be as the phone is powered by a snapdragon 632 processor. We recommend getting the 3/32 GB variant, as those specifications complement the processor better. And it is quite the leap in marginal utility compared to the price hike. The phone also has a large 4000 mAh battery.

The camera has a 13mp primary sensor with a 2mp additional depth sensor. For the price, it is a good camera as the pictures appear smooth, but not quite that natural. Fair warning, the color tone is a bit colder than usual, and the pictures aren’t quite rich in sharpness. But the color saturation on this camera is very natural compared to other budget options. Nighttime images and pictures with visible light sources are average to good. Selfies can be taken via an 8mp front facing camera, which actually produces decent pictures. The phone surprisingly supports full HD 60fps video capturing, with limited stabilization.  What we’re saying is it’s just better than the price point would suggest.

The Verdict

Although it is likely to remain in the Note series’ shadow, the Redmi 7 makes for a good option for people opting for a lower budget.

So if you’re unwilling to cross that 15k threshold, this might just be the phone you can settle for.

Samsung Galaxy M10: The phone designed to win Bangladesh back

When getting a phone, the price is the most important aspect to almost everyone residing in and around Bangladesh. This is evident from the sales of local brand Symphony, and more recently that of Xiaomi. They simply offer more for less, and for us, that’s usually more enticing than brand value. And thus, the Galaxy M10. Samsung’s response to losing a foothold in the Indian subcontinent’s market. I’ve used the phone for about a week, and this review will be based on my somewhat extended experience with it.

The look and feel

Designed to win back the market lost to Xiaomi, the M10 had to offer more for less. And it does.

The phone has a 6.22-inch Infinity V display with a waterdrop notch, offering almost 82% screen-to-body ratio.

It’s also a very slim and wieldy device, having 7.7 mm in thickness and just 163 gm in weight (check out the full specs). Personally, I have an issue with glossy finishes or glass bodies because of the smudge your fingers are prone to leave. But the finish on this phone works really well and doesn’t smudge much. The overall design is very lush, especially when you take the price into consideration.

The performance

It’s got a headphone jack, so you know it’s already 40% better than other phones. The M10 has an Exynos & Octa 7870 CPU and 2/3 GB of RAM. That’s not substantial in terms of Samsung. But take into consideration the price of the phone, and you will see that the power it packs is something you expect from local brands or Xiaomi. Not out of worldwide market leaders like Samsung. The phone performs smoothly and seamlessly. Someone at the office tried playing PUBG on it after I refused. I played Injustice 2 instead. Both games ran very well. It has got very decent battery life. The phone has a loud and clear speaker, if you’re into using phones like that. Basically, the phone runs everything just as well as it should. There isn’t anything to complain about.

The Camera

The camera is sort of a mixed bag.  It doesn’t have autofocus options. It does however have HDR and continuous shooting modes. The 13MP back camera allows for smooth, sharp and natural looking images to be captured in a few different modes like Pro, beauty and live focus. The selfie camera is average. It doesn’t have optical image stabilization, which doesn’t play into taking photos as much as it does with capturing videos. The captures tend to stutter a bit, but retain the right amount of exposure and lighting you would expect on a Samsung phone. Again, good value for the money.

Distinguishing Features

Does the headphone jack count?

The M10 has a very responsive face scanner unlock in place of a fingerprint sensor. Then again, a fingerprint sensor wouldn’t be feasible at this price point. The most impressive feature is the Widevine L1 support on this phone. This feature allows HD streaming from Netflix and other services. This is a feature unique to a phone at this price and wasn’t even on the Pocophone F1 at release.

In conclusion, the Galaxy M10 is a great get for the price.

It offers fine specifications with the added value of the Samsung brand. If you’re trying to get a phone on the budget, consider the M10. You probably won’t be disappointed.

Anticipated Samsung Galaxy M10 hits the Bangladesh market

The Galaxy M10 smartphone, designed specifically for the millennial lifestyle, has been made available in the Bangladesh market by Samsung Bangladesh. This highly anticipated affordable smartphone comes with the best-in-class infinity-V display and powerful features such as a dual camera with ultra-wide lens, long-lasting battery, high-performance processors and a new Samsung Experience UX.

Priced at BDT 11,999, the Galaxy M10 (2GB+16GB) will be available at a special price of BDT 10,999 from pickaboo.com starting 12th February. In addition, customers can get up to 500 taka cash back on bKash payment alongside Pickaboo club points. This special deal also comes with 02 years extended warranty, worth BDT. 1500. Matching the online lifestyle of the millennials, the smartphone will be available with multiple payment options, cash-backs, exchange facilities and countrywide home delivery. Data bundles with all major mobile operators will also be available.

Focusing on the millennial lifestyle, Md. Muyeedur Rahman, Head of Mobile of Samsung Bangladesh stated, “We believe that Galaxy M10 will be an iconic breakthrough catering to the aspirations of today’s tech savvy millennials. These users of the modern age want a smartphone that is lightning fast, runs longer and comes loaded with latest innovations. Samsung, as a trusted brand, hopes to continue delivering all the demands of the users.”

Galaxy M10 comes with 6.2” HD+ infinity-V display ensuring truly immersive viewing experience. It comes with Widevine L1 certification for seamless streaming of HD content through popular apps.

Powerful dual camera is another major highlight of Galaxy M series, as today’s millennials love to click photos and make videos on the go. The Galaxy M10 sports dual rear camera, with an ultra-wide feature. Its 13MP primary rear camera has F1.9 aperture. The secondary rear camera has a 5MP ultra-wide feature. The ultra-wide mode lets users capture more expansive photos with complete ease. It is perfectly suited for capturing landscapes, cityscapes, group photos, etc. when users want to fit a lot into one single frame.

To ensure non-stop streaming of music and video, Samsung has packed a powerful 3400 mAh battery in Galaxy M10.

To support the flawless entertainment, Galaxy M10 is powered by Exynos 7870 octa-core processor. Additionally, Galaxy M series comes with a new Samsung Experience version 9.5 UX which is optimized for a fast and smooth user experience.

Samsung has also prioritized the security for the users as the Galaxy M10 comes with face recognition unlock feature.

Do you really need a flagship smartphone?

Smartphones are very much a necessary part of the modern citizen’s life now. There’s just no way around it. Almost every service nowadays, from education to transport to even food, is based around the usage of smartphones. This has facilitated the opportunity for companies to capitalize on the growing demand for smartphones, and offer their “unique” packages to the market. Thus, flagship phones; luxurious, expensive, peerless and with a price to match the hype. But are they really necessary?

Do you really need a phone more expensive than an actual high-end camera to take photos? Is a screen bigger than your hand can hold making all that difference in your life? Are you in dire need of a bezel-less screen, animated emojis and other novel (read pointless) features?

A very personal opinion on the negative will be explored in the following paragraphs.

Market saturation and basic features

It would be relevant to mention now that the smartphone market had reached a plateau quite a while ago and continues to fall even today. This is attributed to many reasons, primary of which is oversaturation in the market. There are too many companies making smartphones now. And that is actually a good thing for consumers. Since the competition is so high, the producers are compelled to add more features to phones at any given price range to maintain their market share. This means more features for less money.

One can now get features on a mid-range phone we could only dream of just a few years ago.

The performance of basic features like the camera or CPU isn’t anything to sneer at. You don’t want to throw your phone at the wall anymore because the Facebook app is taking too long to load on a no-name CPU. You don’t need to point a torch at something to take a picture because the phone’s camera resolution and lens are worse than a built-in laptop webcam. That’s not to say there isn’t any noticeable difference in performance, quality of pictures taken and other basic attributes when it comes to flagships.

Do you really need a flagship phone?

But as mentioned before, it doesn’t add much value compared to the price hike. People in need can get a great camera and lens for 40 thousand and 8 thousand takas respectively. They don’t need to get a 60-thousand-taka camera phone. The mid-range options are perfectly viable for the rational consumer, especially in our country. This effect is evident, as local producers Symphony, famous for their low-mid budget phones are the market leaders in Bangladesh.

The durability myth

Do you really need a flagship phone? 4

A common argument flagship defenders make is that these phones are built to last longer. That is almost entirely false. Samsung phones are well known for their performance fluctuations beyond 1.5-2 years of use; they tend to get slower and consume more power. Apple is infamous for its lack of customer care. This is magnified after the launch of their new yearly device, as the previous generation becomes effectively obsolete. Moreover, to add to their aesthetic value, flagship phones tend to have glass bodies as opposed to plastic or metal. This means they tend to get damaged worse, and servicing costs for them is significantly higher. Of course, you can carry some of them into the shower, waterproof/resistant and all. But why would you carry a phone into the shower?

That’s a rhetorical question. Please don’t answer that.

Price vs Innovation: Where actually is progress being made?

Compare an iPhone X to an iPhone 7. You’ll see that they have almost the same specifications. Of course, the newer iPhone X is faster, wielding a 6 core CPU against the 7’s four cores. It has a 1gb RAM advantage, fewer bezels and a bigger screen, and it has face identification and wireless charging capability. It’s twice as good in the price department though, sporting a whopping $1000-dollar price tag against the iPhone 7’s mere $550 dollar one. Does that deal sound especially enticing? What justifies the 90% price hike?

Do you really need a flagship phone? 1
Does “innovative” features take the focus away from primary functions a phone should serve?

And that’s just one company. Try taking any company’s current flagship and compare it to the previous edition. There will be some difference, a performance increase, a slightly enhanced image processing system, better stabilization. The common point of these “innovative” new features is they are all marginal. And while performance development is minimal, the price hike is anything but. Try going back just two years in time and telling someone that a consumer smartphone is going to set them back 1000 dollars. What seemed borderline impossible so little time ago is reality today, and I am not talking about facial recognition. That is a very diminutive and honestly pretentious feature that was around a long time before it was implemented into a smartphone. Companies take these minute and showy features, put them on a device and charge you a kidney. Sounds like a good deal for half a year of showing off.

Software: Something that actually matters

It has been more apparent than ever this year. You can run the same things on a budget phone as you can on a flagship option. So much so that the development on premium options of 2018 seemed almost exclusively cosmetic. There were still companies that implemented useful features to make their product a more bang-for-you-buck option. But what actually matter on a phone, the operating system and software platform were almost the same. You will encounter some problems running newer Android and iOS versions that come with flagships on budget phones, but to me at least they seem minimal; while the price difference is almost a deal breaker for many.

So, unless you’re a very busy person who needs to be productive most of the day, or part of a very niche class of consumer, the marginal enhancement offered in flagships isn’t something you require. The budget options offer everything a normal consumer might need. Thus, a completely personal opinion (with the added benefit of having a platform to share it on), don’t buy a flagship phone unless you absolutely need to.