Xiaomi Redmi 1S Personal Review: a low-cost smartphone with mid-end specs

Posted by B. Johnson
Published on October 4, 2016 | 0 comments
Xiaomi Redmi 1S logo
I know that this website is mainly focused to talk about tablets, games and other stuff related to technology. But I hope you don’t mind if today I’m about to share to you my personal experience of using a smartphone from Xiaomi - Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

I actually bought this phone the very first time it made its debut in my country, in 2014. So it was a really long time ago. But weirdly, I still remember almost everything about this phone, from its UI, its cameras, its battery life and even its weight.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S was my first ever Android smartphone. So it was my first migration from an older-gen cell phone to a touchscreen smartphone.

My overall experience with this phone was a mixed between satisfied and disappointed because you can literally find these 2 things on Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

Okay then, if you’re interested to find out more about my experience of using this phone, especially my take on its gaming performance, then here check this one out, my personal review of Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

Introduction

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Personal Review: a low-cost smartphone with mid-end specs
The first time I got this phone in 2014, I’ve gotta say that Xiaomi did really make me impressed a lot with this device.

The main reason why I bought this phone was actually because I was quite impressed with the specs that it came with. I mean, at just $150, I got an Android smartphone with a 720p HD resolution screen, a Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, Adreno 305 GPU and 8MP rear-facing camera.

So when I heard that Xiaomi was planning to release this phone in my country, of course I didn’t think twice to order Xiaomi Redmi 1S straight from Lazada.

Design

My first impression when I got the hands-on with this phone was, I really dug its design and also build quality.

I know that Xiaomi Redmi 1S is made out of plastic polycarbonate, unlike iPhone that uses metal all over the place, but amazingly, this phone doesn’t feel cheap and it’s still nice to hold in the hand.

The matte finish used on the rear-cover of this phone is definitely the one that makes it look and feel great in the hand. And it’s also not prone to catch fingerprint or grease. So even if you leave your fingerprint all over the back cover, you can still clean them with your own fingers.

Unfortunately, despite having a sleek and thin design, Xiaomi Redmi 1S is actually pretty heavy especially when you hold it with one hand, compared to my recent smartphones – Alcatel Flash Plus and Alcatel Flash 2, which are really thin and light in weight and also ideal to use single-handedly.

The other thing that I don’t really like about this phone is its overheating issues.

So if you are using this phone for playing 3D games or watching movies in the long period of time, the rear-cover gets really hot easily. In fact, the heat will also flow to the front touch screen. So if you’re playing games, the screen will become very uncomfortable to touch.

I believe this problem is caused mostly by the heavy-customized MIUI that comes with this phone. It really gives a huge burden to its processor and GPU to work extremely hard every second.

So if you haven’t known about MIUI, this Xiaomi’s homemade UI is really heavy when it comes to features and visual interface. So there’s a lot going on over its UI, which is why Xiaomi Redmi 1S is plagued with this overheating issue.

But overall, I still love the design of Xiaomi Redmi 1S. Its boxy look with slight rectangular corners totally gives this phone a unique experience to users compared to other Android smartphones out there that mostly look generic.

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  • 3G Dual SIM (Mini-SIM)
  • Released in May 2014
  • Weight: 158 g (5.57 oz)
  • 4.7 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen 720 x 1280 pixels,
  • 16M colors (~312 ppi pixel density), Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Quad-core 1.6 GHz Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon Chipset
  • Cortex-A7 CPU
  • Adreno 305 GPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • MIUI 5.0
  • Android OS Jelly Bean 4.3 OS
  • microSD for up to 32GB card slot
  • 8 GB Internal storage
  • 8 MP rear-facing camera, LED flash
  • 1.6 MP front-facing camera, 720p@30fps video recording
  • Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Sensors
  • FM radio
  • GPS
  • Java
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • microUSB v2.0
  • USB On-the-go
  • Black, Chinese Red, Metallic Gray/ blue, green, yellow panels
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery
As a smartphone that cost only $150 in 2014, I think Xiaomi Redmi 1S was really mind blowing when it comes to specs. I mean, it already comes with an HD 720p display (which looks great by the way), a Snapdragon 400 processor, Adreno 305 GPU, 1GB of RAM, 2000mAh battery and an 8MP rear camera (that takes decent photos).

In 2014, this type of spec sheet can only be found on the mid-end smartphones that cost higher than $200 (like Moto G, etc).

I think it’s amazing to see a $150 smartphone already come with the specs that are normally found only on $200 smartphones. Not to mention, Xiaomi Redmi 1S also looks impressive with its design, making it one of the best cheapest smartphones in 2014.

Screen

The display of Xiaomi Redmi 1S is definitely one of many things that is so amazing about this phone. I mean, for a smartphone that costs around $150, the display of this phone doesn’t look disappointing at all.

The colors are popping out, the sharpness is good and impressively, the viewing angles are also pretty great. As a matter of fact, the screen of Xiaomi Redmi 1S is amazingly still better than the display of Acer Liquid E2, which costs more expensive than Xiaomi’s phone ($190 vs $150).

Anyway, Xiaomi Redmi 1S comes with a 4.7-inch IPS display sporting the 720p resolution (1280x720 pixels). So the screen definitely looks pretty sharp, especially for watching HD movies or playing HD games.

You can also see the great sharpness of this display when you’re on the homescreen. So app icons, the stock wallpapers and pre-installed apps all look really sharp on this display.

Overall, I’m quite impressed a lot by the screen of this phone. Xiaomi Redmi 1S may only cost around $150, but its 720p screen is definitely on the same level with other smartphones that cost higher than $200, which is amazing.

User Interface

Xiaomi Redmi 1S comes pre-installed with Xiaomi’s MIUI 5, which is based on Android Jelly Bean 4.3. But the last time I heard, this phone is upgradable to Android Kitkat OS through MIUI 6. So I believe there will be a lot of improvements and enhancements on its software.

Talking about MIUI 5 OS, I’ve gotta say that the UI of Xiaomi Redmi 1S really makes me impressed a lot. I love how the app icons and the stock wallpapers look sharp and popping out on the screen.

I’m also a huge fan of the features that it comes with. Not to mention, the visual interfaces found on all pre-installed apps also look quite attractive and pleasing to look at.

However, despite having a lot of great features, attractive UI and everything, I think MIUI 5 really gives this phone a huge burden, especially to its performance and battery life.

In fact, MIUI 5 even forces the manufacturer itself (Xiaomi) to level up the clock speed of its Snapdragon 400 processor from the original/standard 1.4GHz to 1.6GHz in order to improve performance and reduce lags over its UI.

As a result, Xiaomi Redmi 1S suffers a lot from overheating issues, on both rear-cover and front touchscreen. And its battery also drains really fast in one day, even when you’re not doing anything.

This is the reason why I don’t really like the MIUI 5 on Xiaomi Redmi 1S because it’s really heavy, it makes the battery life drain faster and it also has caused the overheating problem on this phone.

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Normally, a smartphone with a Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, Adreno 305 GPU and 1GB of RAM is ideal for playing games. And you can totally see that on Moto G that comes with this same exact type of hardware specs and it proved to be great for playing heavy games like Asphalt 8: Airborne.

Unfortunately, despite having the same exact specs just like Moto G, the story doesn’t happen to Xiaomi Redmi 1S. This Xiaomi phone is definitely not very ideal for playing games.

The most noticeable difference of performance between this phone and Moto G can be seen clearly when deployed with heavy games like Asphalt 8: Airborne. This game didn’t run really smooth on Xiaomi Redmi 1S and there were some consistent lags here and there in the gameplay.

To be honest, I personally didn’t have a chance to play many heavy 3D games on this phone because when I had this phone, I didn’t have a very stable internet connection to download huge games from Google Play Store.

But I did manage to play some great 3D games like Dead Space, Rayman Jungle Run, Need for Speed SHIFT, Dead Trigger, PES 2012 and Mass Effect: Infiltrator.

And they all performed really well on this phone, although Dead Space suffered some errors in the last levels which caused some enemies to disappear and prevented me from continuing to the next level.

One other thing that I really hate from this phone is its overheating issues. So everytime I’m using this phone to play 3D games like Dead Space, its rear cover gets really hot easily in just a couple of minutes.

And the heat is also spreading out to the front touchscreen as well, which makes this phone really uncomfortable to touch.

The good news is, Xiaomi Redmi 1S is upgradable to Android Kitkat through MIUI 6. And I heard the users of this phone experienced a much better performance and battery life on this new software. But I really hope MIUI 6 also fixes the overheating problem on this phone.

Anyway guys, if you want to know more about its gaming performance, including what games that will run on Xiaomi Redmi 1S, you can check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Camera

Camera is definitely one of the best things found on Xiaomi Redmi 1S. And that’s true because the rear-camera of this phone is capable to take decent and sharp photos.

Personally, I’m really amazed by the cameras of this phone, especially with the 8MP rear shooter. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, I think the rear-camera of Xiaomi Redmi 1S actually takes much better and sharper photos than the 13MP rear-camera of my current Alcatel Flash 2 smartphone.

And this is MIND BLOWING because Alcatel Flash 2 comes with 13MP rear-camera, which on paper looks better than the 8MP rear camera of Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

But apparently, that’s not the case here. The photos taken with the 8MP rear camera of Xiaomi Redmi 1S proved to be much better and sharper than the photos taken with the 13MP camera of Alcatel Flash 2.

So if you love photography, then the rear-camera of Xiaomi Redmi 1S can be reliable to accommodate your hobby really well.

Battery Life

Xiaomi Redmi 1S comes with 2000mAh battery inside. So it’s definitely not going to be long lasting especially if you love playing games or watching movies. And it’s true because based on my personal experience with this phone, I’ve gotta say that its battery life is totally disappointing.

I always found myself recharging this phone twice a day and even three times in one single day when I used this phone for playing games. So this phone is definitely not really ideal for playing games because its battery always drains really fast.

I believe this has something to do with its heavy-customized MIUI 5, which is a really heavy UI filled with many features and attractive visual interface all over the place. So even if you’re on the homescreen doing nothing, the battery keeps draining relatively fast.

My Personal Opinions

Based on my personal experience with this phone, I think Xiaomi Redmi 1S is still one impressive smartphone for its low price. I know that it’s plagued with many problems like overheating, heavy weight body, less powerful gaming performance and the short longevity of its battery life.

But despite all that, there are still some great things to appreciate from this phone.

It has a sharp and gorgeous looking HD display, an attractive UI, a sharp-taking rear camera, LED flash, an appealing design, a bunch of great features and on top of that, it only cost around $150 when it made its first debut in 2014.

So I believe you can get this phone at lower price right now.

And Xiaomi Redmi 1S is also upgradable to MIUI 6 OS. So probably all the problems found on MIUI 5 OS, like overheating, short-lasting battery life and laggy gaming performance will be fixed through this new OS update.

Overall, as a low-cost smartphone, Xiaomi Redmi 1S is still a pretty good device. In fact, this Xiaomi smartphone is one of the best cheapest smartphones in 2014.

But I strongly recommend you to buy the next-gen model of this phone, which is Xiaomi Redmi 2S because it brings a lot of improvements than the predecessor, especially with the design that is now much lighter than Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

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