Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi resurrected its Redmi K-series line in India with the launch of Redmi K50i 5G. Priced Rs 25,999 onwards, the MediaTek Dimensity 8100 system-on-chip powered smartphone is cheaper than rivalling smartphones powered by the same chip such as OPPO Reno 8 Pro, OnePlus 10R (review), and Realme GT Neo 3 (review). The Xiaomi Redmi K50i has a price advantage, but is it also a better one? Let’s find out:
The last of Redmi K-series smartphones in India, the Redmi K20 Pro (review), was one of the fancy looking smartphones of its time that easily stood out from the rest because of its shimmering gradient reflective design on the back cover and motorised pop-up camera. Unfortunately, it is not the case with the Redmi K50i 5G. It has a rather boring design with the colour shifting property of the back cover the only saving grace. Made mostly of plastic, it is not just the design Xiaomi has cut corners on but also the construction material. However, the Redmi K50i 5G is not the only smartphone using plastics in construction. Its peers in the same segment and even higher up have a plastic body. For what it is worth, the smartphone has protection where it matters – Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and seals on ports for protection against minor water splashes and dust (IP53).
Display and audio
The Redmi K50i 5G has a 6.6-inch fullHD+ LCD screen of 144Hz dynamic refresh rate. The screen has optimal colours and contrast, but subdued brightness. It works fine on most counts but the limited brightness scale hampers the experience while watching high dynamic range. Considering the phone’s midrange price, however, the screen quality and performance is acceptable. As for the experience, the screen is smooth and responsive. It is set to vivid colour profile by default, but can be tuned for natural colours from display settings. For personalised experience, there are other colour profiles and option to customise colour temperature in the display settings.
Coming to the audio, there are Hi-Res certified dual stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos. The speakers are loud, balanced, and clear. Bass response is weak, as the case with most midrange phones, but there is no reason for complaint otherwise. Besides speakers, the Redmi K50i 5G has 3.5mm audio out port. A small thing, but worth appreciating because it is scarcely available in smartphones.
The Redmi K50i 5G sports a triple-camera system on the back, featuring a 64-megapixel primary sensor of an f/1.89 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor of an f/2.2 aperture and 120-degree field of view (FoV), and a 2MP macro lens. On the front, the phone has a 16MP sensor of an f/2.45 aperture.
The primary camera captures a good amount of details and decent dynamic range. It tends to saturate the colours, which might not please everyone, but retains highlight and shadow details. The ultra-wide-angle camera, with 120-degree FoV, is good for landscape shots. It works well, but could not match the quality of the primary camera in terms of detailing and dynamic range. The macro camera is nothing to write home about. It lacks autofocus and is a bit tricky to use.
The front camera is good for selfies and video calls. It is not the best, especially with regard to low-light performance and portraits, but works fine otherwise.
Adding to the imaging experience are several value-added features, which open new ways for one to explore and experience. Vlogs, for example, lets you create social media-ready short videos with background music and multiple frames. Likewise, there are features like long exposure, clone, focus peaking, etc. and each of them offer something new to experience.
As for the videos, the primary camera is capable of recording up to 4K resolution at 30 frames-per-second, whereas, the ultra-wide-angle camera does 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 30fps by the macro. Videos taken from primary camera are usable but not the best in terms of detailing, stabilisation, and colours. Ultra-wide-angle sensor is good for videos, but only in well-lit conditions. Like photos, recording videos from a macro sensor is tricky and nothing to write home about.
Performance and battery life
The Redmi K50i 5G ticks all the right boxes on the performance front. It delivers consistent performance and top-notch experience. Importantly, the phone does not get warm even when used to the max of its potential. It handles regular operations with ease and the performance does not throttle with power-intensive workloads. Likewise, gaming performance is good. Lifting the experience is the Android 12-based MIUI13 user interface, which is a heavily customised skin loaded with several useful tools and features such as Mi Remote, Compass, Scanner, Recorder, etc. Interestingly, the phone has FM Radio too. The UI is optimised and has no snags. However, there are many bloatware apps preinstalled, including some that cannot be removed from the system such as Mi Pay.
Coming to battery life, the Redmi K50i 5G survives a day on moderate usage but requires a quick 10-15 minutes charge towards the end of the day if used extensively. Speaking of charging, the phone ships with a 67W fast wired charger. It tops up the battery from 10 per cent to 100 per cent in about 45 minutes. Not the fastest, but the charger is still one of the best you get in its segment.
The Xiaomi Redmi K50i 5G is a well-packaged smartphone in the midrange segment, but it falls short of proving itself as a competitive alternative to peers. Its design, display, camera, and battery life are all good, but not the best. Performance, however, puts it on par with expensive smartphones and several notches above those in its segment. On top, there is 3.5mm audio jack, IR blaster, fast wired charging, and IP53 rating. These things may look small on paper, but have a big influence on the overall experience.