Xiaomi's Redmi 3 is pretty and cheap, but hard to get

The Chinese smartphone maker's latest device comes with a metal body, good looks and a very low price.

Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Aloysius Low
2 min read

Xiaomi's Redmi 3 is a budget phone with a pretty looking metal body.


Xiaomi's latest budget-friendly phone drops plastic for beautiful metal and doesn't compromise too much on its specs. It comes packing a huge 4,100mAh battery, which Xiaomi claims improves upon the Redmi 2's talk time by 80 percent.

Like most Xiaomi handsets, the Redmi 3 will come with dual-SIM capabilities. Based on our experiences with the company's previous phones, we expect that it'll support 4G networks everywhere except the US. That means that if you're an American thinking of getting one, you'll be limited to mostly 3G connectivity.

The phone was released in China today for the bargain price of 699 yuan, which converts to around $105, £75 and AU$155. Unfortunately, China is where the phone is currently officially limited to, though we expect to eventually see it being sold throughout the rest of Asia and in emerging markets like Brazil, where Xiaomi currently has presence.

For those particularly keen on getting the Redmi 3, my advice would be to hold off until Xiaomi launches it for the English speaking market. This will ensure that the phone comes with Google services installed, as most Android phones in China do not come with Google apps such as Gmail and Maps.

So it's cheap, what else is there?

Xiaomi is known for making quality products at affordable prices, and the Redmi 3 looks to live up to this reputation. Unlike its predecessor, it has a full metal body, a nice touch we're starting to see on lower-end phones from China.

Besides the cosmetic improvement, the Redmi 3 also has fast charging, and you'll need it given the phone's battery (as mentioned) is a lot larger now. While it only has 16GB of onboard storage, you can use the second SIM card slot as a microSD card, and the phone supports up to 128GB of storage. You'll never have to worry about running out of space, I wager.

Impressive guts

Xiaomi's Redmi 3 packs some impressive specs, especially considering its low price. Of note are the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor and the 13-megapixel rear camera with phase detection autofocus, which lets you lock onto your subject in a mere 0.1 seconds.

Here are the rest of the specs.

  • 5-inch, HD 1,280x720-pixel resolution screen
  • Eight-core Snapdragon 616 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • 128GB microSD card slot for external storage
  • 4,100mAh battery
  • 13-megapixel camera
  • 5-megapixel front-facing cameras
  • Dual-SIM
  • MIUI 7
  • 5.48 by 2.74 by 0.33 inches (139.3 by 69.6 by 8.5mm)
  • 5.07 ounces (144 grams)