April 20, 2019 By King
Price: Rs 4499
Specifications: 5-inch IPS LCD (1280 x 720 pixels), Snapdragon 425 quad core, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage (expandable up to 128GB, dedicated slot), 8MP f2.0 rear camera, 5MP f2.2 front camera, dual SIM, WiFi n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, FM, USB OTG support, 3,000mAh battery, 137 grams.
Pros: Good Android experience for less money, optimized software/apps, ideal stepping stone for cost-conscious consumer, good camera performance, excellent battery life, good quality HD screen.
Cons: Near identical to a phone launched in 2017 (with several omissions), limited internal storage (most users will need to buy a memory card eventually), experience suffers with regular apps not optimized for Android Go, two 4G networks cannot be used simultaneously, no gyroscope.
India has a lot of feature phone users and that number is growing, bucking the usual trend. A lot of these users may want to switch to smartphones eventually but there are barriers. Price is a barrier and so is the complexity of smart operating systems. Plus no one can deny that entry-level Android phones are pretty frustrating to use.
Addressing these concerns is a simpler, lighter version of Android — simply called Android Go Edition. And that’s where this Redmi phone takes its name from. When it comes to using a smartphone, there are so many advantages for a first time user.
Things that veteran smartphone users take for granted (multiple free communication options, shopping, groceries, weather, cab aggregators etc) are suddenly available with just a few taps. These are the basic smartphone necessities that Android Go wants to provide. The operating system has simpler requirements. It doesn’t tax the hardware much, it occupies lesser space in the memory and the apps are smaller (lite) versions. And all of this means that the devices can be cheaper too. Xiaomi and Redmi have built a reputation of disrupting the market so this is a natural fit.
This phone itself has a very conventional design: plastic back and 5-inch 720p display with the older style thick bezels and a 16:9 aspect ratio. It still has all the essentials though: a decent processor (4G capable Snapdragon 425 quad core), cameras in the front and back, dual SIM slots, a dedicated memory expansion slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, FM, 3.5mm jack and a large enough battery (3,000mAh). The experience of using it is good because everything is optimized for the hardware. Apps open and run smoothly and the interface is fluid.
So for the low price of Rs 4,499, you get a device that can work wonders for a first time user. It will work better than a majority of the phones priced between Rs 3.5 to 4.5k. And it provides an ideal platform to jump to a more powerful phone in the future. But there are some drawbacks.
For instance, you can get older Android phones with twice the amount of RAM and storage for about the same price. It’s going to create some confusion in the minds of buyers. The ‘lite’ apps designed for Android Go are far smaller in number and have limited functionality compared to the regular apps (though you can still install regular apps). And finally, one can’t ignore the fact that the Redmi Go is basically the same phone as the Redmi 5A that launched in 2017. If you compare the specs side by side, you’ll see that it has the same processor/GPU, same screen and the exact same dimensions.
However, Redmi Go is a stripped down version of the 5A because it skips the IR emitter, drops camera resolution down from 13MP to 8MP, drops RAM down to 1GB and storage down to 8GB. The launch price for the Redmi 5A (2GB/16GB version) was Rs 4,999. Suddenly, that seems like a great deal now that we’ve jumped ahead by a year and a half. That being said, the Redmi Go still serves its purpose just fine — shows you how little the basic requirements have changed even in two years. Get it for someone who needs to step head first into the wonderful world of apps.