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Redmi 7A first impressions: a big upgrade

Xiaomi has finally launched the much-anticipated Redmi 7A in India, the successor to last year’s Redmi 6A. The company has been hyping the smartphone as the only device offering a 2-year warranty, Snapdragon 439 SoC and Sony IMX486 12MP sensor under Rs 6,000. Here’s my hands-on experience after spending a short duration with the phone.

The rear panel of the Redmi 7A is identical to the 6A, minus the antenna lines, speaker and the vertical camera placement. Since the smartphone now comes under Redmi branding, the Mi logo is absent and in its place, you get the laser-etched “Redmi Designed by Xiaomi” on the bottom left corner. The combination of the metallic and matte finish on the polycarbonate body makes the Redmi 7A looks classy. The even weight distribution of the phone also feels very ergonomic and it’s compact enough for a comfortable one hand usage.

As for the ports and other elements, you will find that the loudspeaker grill has moved to either side of the micro-USB port on the bottom. On the left side, you will the SIM card tray, which comes with a dedicated slot for a microSD card. Having the ability to be able to insert a microSD card is a good touch, because the Redmi 7A comes with either 16GB or 32GB storage, which is not much. The volume up and down buttons along with the power key is located on the right side. On the top, you will find the fast disappearing 3.5mm audio jack along with a noise-cancelling mic.

Display-wise, the Redmi 7A ships with a compact 5.45-inch display bearing a resolution of 1,440 x 720 pixels. However, the 18:9 aspect ratio with massive bezels all around, especially on the top and bottom makes the Redmi 7A look outdated in the era of waterdrop notch displays. As for the visuals, the display is sufficiently bright to be legible in direct sunlight, and is also pretty vivid, so no qualms on that front. The colourful interface of MIUI 10 looks pleasing on the display.

Speaking of the MIUI, the Redmi 7A comes with MIUI 10.2.3 based on Android 9 Pie. The interface comes with all the bells and whistles of MIUI along with revamped settings and recent panels. However, there is a fair amount of bloatware as well. The Redmi 7A manages to perform like a champ, thanks to the octa-core Snapdragon 439 SoC at its core. The processor is accompanied by 2GB RAM, and during my stint breezed through multitasking and basic tasks. Powering the smartphone is a hefty 4,000mAh battery, the largest on a Redmi A device yet.

The highlight of the phone is the 12MP Sony IMX486 sensor on the back. This is the same sensor that is found on the likes of the Xiaomi Mi A2, Redmi Note 7 and ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2. However, the Redmi 7A is the first phone to offer it under Rs 6,000 in India. For selfies, you get a 5-megapixel snapper with AI portrait and AI smart beauty modes. The camera app is pretty straightforward with all modes laid down in the bottom above the shutter button and toggles for HDR, filters and flash on top. The initial pictures I shot from both front and rear cameras were quite impressive for the price point.

The Redmi 7A ticks most boxes with a good camera, decent processor and two years of manufacturer’s warranty. At the introductory price tag of Rs 5,799, it offers good value for money as well. Moreover, the smartphone will also be sold offline at authorised Mi partner stores as well as Mi Stores, which makes it more accessible.

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