-Astonishing battery life
-Impressive design and build quality
-MIUI feels very polished
-IR blaster is always nice to see
-Great call quality


-No U.S. availability
-Camera is mediocre
-Sunlight readability could be better
-Bootloader unlocking process is unwieldy
-Occasional performance hiccups are annoying

Our Rating
Bottom Line

It’s one of the best phones we’ve used in its price category, and its excellent design, great software, and crazy good battery life greatly overshadow its flaws.

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Xiaomi Redmi 3-14

It’s a new year and Xiaomi is not stepping down in the competition for releasing devices that offer the most bang for your buck. Only some months after the release of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, the Chinese manufacturer has released the Redmi 3.

I have been spending some time with the new handset and am ready to give you the full rundown, so let’s dig right into the details.

Also read:


In terms of aesthetics, the Xiaomi Redmi 3 takes many elements from the Redmi Note 3. Except they were able to fit all those goodies into a 5-inch form factor.

This time around Xiaomi has implemented a non-textured pattern on the back side that makes the phone look quite good. But the all-metal Xiaomi Redmi 3 doesn’t only offer a premium look. Its sturdy materials, smaller size and pronounced curves also make for a handset that feels great in the hand.

Xiaomi Redmi 3-13

You will find the power and volume buttons on the top-right side of the phone, offering excellent tactile feedback.

Also included is the IR blaster located on the top of the smartphone. It can be controlled with the included Mi Remote app, but keep in mind it offers very little support outside of China. The good news is there are plenty of third-party apps that can take care of the job just fine. Among my favorites is Peel Smart Remote.

There’s no capacitive key backlighting at the bottom, but there is a multi-colored notification LED, which is certainly nice to have.

Xiaomi Redmi 3-8


This is not exactly your high-end handset, so don’t expect the best display in the market. With that said, we can certainly tell you the 5-inch 720p panel is still a respectable offering for the price and size of the Xiaomi Redmi 3. I do believe the Redmi 3 has better contrast and saturation than the Redmi Note 3, though.

On the other hand, I did find a bit of a defect on this screen. There seems to be a minor shift in color when viewing the display from certain angles. Also, while the adaptive brightness feature worked very well during our testing, we found it difficult to view the Redmi 3’s display in direct sunlight, which may be problematic for some users.

Xiaomi Redmi 3-16


Under the hood we can find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor, which works pretty well (once again, considering the price). But yes, you will find the occasional hiccups, including unresponsive typing and choppy animations. But it did work pretty well while performing light tasks.

qualcomm-logo-aa-mwc-840See also: Qualcomm Snapdragon 212, 412, and 616 are official8

There’s also 2 GB of RAM in there, but that still offers reasonable multi-tasking capabilities. Remember, not long ago 2 GB of RAM was considered premium.

But the real test is done when you run those awesome games we all love so much. Can the Xiaomi Redmi 3 keep up? It can play most games reasonably well thanks to that Adreno 405 GPU backing the graphics up, but some higher-end games will exhibit frame drops and lag. The experience can vary a bit, though, as even games like Asphalt 8 ran with little hiccups.


You won’t find much lacking in terms of connectivity. Packed inside is 802.11n Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth 4.1, all of which worked just as we had expected.

This device is unlocked and does feature dual-SIM capabilities, which will be great for those of you who travel often or rely on multiple carriers. And if you aren’t in that situation, one of the SIM slots can also be used as a microSD card slot (up to 128 GB).

Xiaomi Redmi 3-9

Speaking of storage, there’s 16 GB of on-board memory here. Enough for plenty of casual users, but those who need plenty of songs, video sand other files will probably need to expand.

I was surprised to find that the Xiaomi Redmi 3 speaker is actually quite loud. But nothing is perfect, and the sound here does come with some distortion. Not much to worry about, though. I would say its biggest drawback is the back positioning, which muffles the sound when the phone is placed on a flat surface.

Xiaomi Redmi 3-6

But let’s talk battery life. Oh my… battery life. This little guy features a 4100 mAh battery. That battery power is hard to find, even on high-end, big handsets. Add the lower resolution and resourceful processor into the equation and you will be holding a winning handset. I was able to use it for over 2 days with moderate usage, but I am sure even the hardcore users will be able to get a full day out of it… and then some.

best-of-android-batterySee also: Best of Android 2015: Battery46


Display5-inch, 1280x720
Processor1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616
GPUAdreno 405
Storage16 GP, microSD support (up to 128 GB)
Rear camera13 MP, F/2.0
Front camera5 MP
Dimensions139.3 x 69.6 x 8.5 mm
Weight144 g
Battery4,100 mAh


The Xiaomi Redmi  3’s 13 MP f/2.0 rear camera is able to take some pretty good shots. Once again, though, this is no high-end performer, and that is something you will easily notice here. There’s a lack of dynamic range and a tendency for over-sharpened images. HDR helps a bit, but it also makes taking shots slower and often makes images look unrealistic.

Xiaomi Redmi 3-21

What I did like is MIUI’s camera app, which offers great manual controls. You can adjust things like white balance and ISO in manual mode, or use a variety of other modes like panorama.


The Xiaomi Redmi 3 comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box, skinned with MIUI 7. We know plenty of you don’t like MIUI’s similarities with iOS, but if you can get past its downsides you will find that it is an enjoyable UI to use.

MIUI is easy to use, but also offers a commendable amount of customization and extra features, which will appeal to Android enthusiasts. You can do special things like record calls, set scheduled battery profiles, change the LED color and modify the size of the one-handed display mode. 

There is one bad thing here, though. And sadly, it could be a deal breaker to many of you. It does not come with Google Apps out of the box. Installing them is an extra step, and there is no news of an international version of the device coming.

Xiaomi Redmi 3-17

Also bad news is the fact that Xiaomi has started locking more bootloaders. To our dismay, the Xiaomi Redmi 3 is one of the affected handsets. This is for your security, but tinkerers can still play around if they are patient.

Xiaomi is requiring users to apply for unlocking privileges and await an acceptance or denial response, which Xiaomi says can take up to 10 days to receive. It’s good to keep phones secure for the casual user, but we feel this process is a bit to inconvenient. And we feel that Xiaomi’s process for unlocking only invites malware to be preloaded on devices leaving China, as users will have a very tough time removing it.

You should probably not expect too many updates for this phone. We know that sounds pretty bad, but it is super affordable and does what it is meant to do, which would put it in the low-priority list in most cases. However, we should also note that MIUI does receive updates of its own, which are released relatively frequently.



Let’s talk money! I have been boasting the device’s price over and over, but you still don’t know just how affordable this device is. It is currently only available from China at just 699 RMB. That translates to about $108 USD!

Do keep in mind, however, that resellers and exporters will probably mark the price up to anywhere between $140 and $160.


Xiaomi Redmi 3-22

I find it hard to complain about the Xiaomi Redmi 3. It’s not the best build handset, nor does it have the best specs and it definitely needs performance improvements. But we must also keep in mind that very few other products can beat it at this price points. For about $108 this is one hell of a phone.

Its excellent design, great software, and crazy good battery life greatly overshadow its flaws. With that said, unless you have an unusually tight budget, want a smaller form factor or need the extra battery life, we recommend its older brother.

The Redmi Note 3 has a higher resolution display, faster processor, still great battery life and a fingerprint reader for only $30 more in China, and even less through resellers.

Buy it now
  • Charles

    Looked quite attractive until I got to ‘comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box’. There’s plenty of justifiable moaning about OEMs being slow to update last year’s phones, but releasing a _new_ one with Lollipop is unforgivable.

    • Raul

      Well in Mi’s defense the device has been out for about 2 months

    • 29

      on top of that Xiaomi is horrible with updates

      • Boleh

        I thought if you were on their Dev branch you would get minor updates every week?

        • EasyCare

          You will.

        • MaxPower

          Weekly updates for their developer ROM, updates every two weeks for their Chinese Rom, monthly updates for the international version.
          They are pretty punctual with them.

          They are a software company before being a smartphone manufacturer and MIUI was born before MI phones.

          • balcobomber25

            I always love the comments on Xiaomi articles on sites like these. “Xiaomi is horrible with updates”. Imagine if people like myself, Airyl and our Sensai weren’t around?

          • MaxPower

            I don’t get why they have this necessity to talk crap about the company at any cost even to the point to look silly.

          • balcobomber25

            It’s because it is Chinese. A lot of people here are either scared of China or have it in their heads that every Chinese phone is a shameless clone with bad support. What they don’t realize is that China is at the forefront of phone technology and value.

      • devilreaper

        I get updates every week. If you report a bug, they patch it really quickly. So they do care about software. The thing is, they make sure even if some devices cant be upgraded to M , it receives those features thorugh MIUI. All devices run the same MIUI version but have different android versions. and the best part is you cant tell the difference between different android versions as all phones have all the features.

        • DBS93

          Thats very nice, never knew that… wish samsung would do that. i have a note 4 and its not even two years old and i already know i wont get the theme store :( really a dick move from samsung as always… as much as i like samsung phones i might reconsider my next buy because of this

      • Airyl

        What? No. If anything, they’re great with updates.

      • balcobomber25

        Um they release a new update every single Friday (for their Dev rom). Maybe do some research first on topics you clearly know nothing about!

    • MaxPower

      According to Google’s last report (March 2016) Marshmallow is only installed on 2.3% of all Android devices.

      If you want the very last version of Android then you should consider a Nexus

      • Charles

        Just no.

        Marshmallow has been out for 6 months. Anyone releasing new phones that don’t have it deserves to be slapped. Shrugging and saying ‘get a Nexus’ merely gives OEMs an excuse to be lazy. That 2.3% figure is exactly the problem, and stuff like this just makes it worse.

        • Boleh

          Which phones released (and shipped) Jan 2016 came with Android 6.0? There is the Elephone P9000 but they actually won’t ship until April.

          • Sakib Mahmud

            Yeah, Charles should slap himself for being suck dumbass.

        • MaxPower

          I’m for a bug free functional rom rather than a half baked Rom based on last Android.

          Look at Lollipop 5.0 for example.
          That was simply a disaster and KK 4.4 used to run much better.

        • balcobomber25

          I would rather have working, stable Android than have the latest version just to say “I have the latest version”. It took Google almost 8 months to iron out all the disasters that Lollipop caused. Sometimes having the newest version isn’t a good thing. Xiaomi is far from lazy, if you did your research you would know they update their ROM every single week. They won’t upgrade to the newest version until it works best for their phones. They are one of the few companies that take software seriously.

    • EasyCare

      The way Xiaomi handles updates is different.

      They rather concentrate on their MIUI overlay than Android version, you’ll see lots of Xiaomi devices running the same MIUI version but with different Android version, which I think it kind of makes sense since additional features given in MIUI offset the one in newer Android. And they often release stable updates monthly, with developers ROM being delivered weekly.

  • Cavell Chance

    Most Chinese people think MIUI is great just like me,Google Survice is not suitable for us,as you know,it’s hard to connect Google in China.

  • CheeChee

    What’s the SAR of this phone?

    • MaxPower

      Hard to find infos from Teena due to Chinese language.
      The previous model has been approved from FCC though, and the SAR was below the limit.

      The highest SAR reported (using LTE band 7) was 1.1W/KG.

      The limit of FCC is 1.6W/KG

  • Ankit Kabeer

    Will Android Authority gonna Review the Xiaomi Mi5

  • george

    You see to forget that this phone sits in the 100-150 USD price range.
    Its no good to look at alternatives costing 3 time that. I see under 150$ stuff like three year old LG G3, Moto X etc. Branded bloated scratched scuffed with yellowtinted screen, half dead battery that you need to charge midday. No dual sim, no call recording, no easy blacklist options. Seriously this Redmi will leave dust to any think in its price bracket.

    • DBS93

      LG G3 is 2 years old -.-

      • balcobomber25

        Moto X will be 3 years old this year and the rest of his comment holds true.

  • Lalo

    How is a 7.0 “mediocre”?

    • balcobomber25

      Because it comes from China. If It was a Samsung or LG with the same specs/results it would be “great camera”.

  • osm

    This is what I call a sensible battery size. Should be the norm for a 5″ phone, or at least 3500 mAh.

    8.5 mm is not excessively thick.

  • Airyl

    Is the camera average or mediocre?

    • balcobomber25

      Have to take Chinese reviews on this site with a grain of salt. The scores and write up never seem to match up. They say the camera takes some pretty good shot but then call it “mediocre” because it is not a “high end” performer.

  • Danny

    Xiaomi Redmi phones are now on sale only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals;com

  • Григорий Иванов

    Я считаю, что читающий этот обзор возможный в будующем покупатель будет доволен смартфоном, если у него с самого начала будет какая-то тактика и он будет ее придерживаться

  • Arwen Telian

    I know it doesn’t come standard with Google apps, but can you download Google Play onto it?
    I just returned a Lenovo Vibe because it wouldn’t let me open google play, and it couldn’t be rooted. This phone is my next option, don’t really want to have to go through the same thing again.

  • AndrTech

    Happen to find out that the XIAOMI Redmi 3 has HD display, 2GB RAM and 13MP camera, it is all the same with latest released Bluboo Maya, but Maya’s price is much lower, it only needs $69.99. If price should be concerned, which will you choose?

  • Sakib Mahmud

    Not happy with metal body, it should be reserved to only Redmi Note 3.

  • Funky Brown

    Hi. I recently got this phone. I’m thinking of getting on the Nougat bandwagon and upgrade it’s os. Could you suggest me with links to good stable near stock roms, pls.

    Many thanks.