In our quest to find the best smartphone under Rs.10,000 we shortlisted four of the most popular phones. Amongst the shortlisted phones was the Redmi Y1.
The Redmi Y1 is the upgraded version of the Redmi 4, which now boasts of a large 5.5 inch screen and a better selfie camera. The phone is advertised for its selfie capabilities and we decided to see how the phone fares in comparison to the other phones in the test.
Read on to know how the Redmi Y1 performed.
Redmi Y1 - Specifications
- Screen size - 5.5 inches
- Resolution - 1280 * 720
- 10 finger support
- IPS 2.5 D
- Gorilla Glass Type
Hardware and Software
- Snapdragon 435 Processor
- 3GB RAM
- 32 GB Internal Storage
- MIUI 9.1 (Android 7.1.2) with 1 October 2017 Security Patch
Connectivity & Expandability
- 4G Volte
- Bluetooth v4.2
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- 2 nano SIM card slots
- Dedicated SD Card upto 128 GB
- Micro USB and OTG Support
Camera, Video and Battery
- Rear Camera - 13 MP with single LED flash
- Front Camera - 16 MP with single LED flash
- Video Resolution - 1080p/720p 30fps
- Battery - 3080 mAh
- Charger - 10W
Sensors and Extras
- FM Radio
- White LED notification Light
- IR Blaster
- Rear Finger print Sensor
- Ambient Light sensor
- Proximity Sensor
- Magnetic Sensor
- Rear Fingerprint Sensor
Let us have a look at the Pros of the Redmi Y1
Decent Battery Life
Good Selfies in bright light
Good sized screen
Supports dual sim + memory card
Phone is good for gaming
The Redmi Y1 has a few cons as well
Lacks the metal build of the Redmi 4
Packs a smaller 3000mAH battery
Has an HD screen
Rear camera is not very good
Lacks slow motion video & full manual controls
No fast charging
Navigation keys lack backlighting
Better phones at slightly higher price
We spent over a week testing four of the best smartphones - including the Redmi Y1 - to see which one is the best for you. It wasn't the Redmi Y1.
We analyzed camera performance using professionals. We simulated heavy usage to test RAM and battery life. We even ran 3 popular benchmarking tests.
After our testing we found that the Lenovo and Infinix are better options for your budget. If the only thing that is important to you is the Selfie camera., then the Redmi Y1 might be a good fit. You can see our entire analysis here. If you still feel the Redmi Y1 is the phone for you then you can buy it here.
Redmi Y1 - In-depth review
Design & Build Quality
While the phone does looks like a metal one, it's made of Plastic. The build quality however is good and it doesn't feel cheap.
The Redmi Y1 is well built and feels great in the hand. The phones misses the metal body of the Redmi 4 which would further improve the feel of the phone. The plastic body feels less premium especially in comparison to the Redmi Note 4 and the Lenovo K8 Plus.
There is a slight bezel around the sides of the display along with a black border around the screen which you might find annoying.
The Gold color back is a more subtle light gold rather than a brash, bright gold color. The white color front is good to look at and gives the phone an iPhone like vibe.
The Hardware buttons feels nice to touch. The navigations buttons have haptic feedback but lack backlighting. The fingerprint scanner is placed at the back. Its position is far from the camera lens which is a great placement as it prevents you from accidentally pressing the camera lens. The speaker is placed at the bottom along with the micro USB port. The 3.5mm jack and the infrared blaster are placed at the top.
The sim tray holds 2x nano sims & 1x sd card and is to be mounted on the side.
One of the few devices in this price range with an HD display. The panel however is good and has Gorilla Glass too.
The Redmi Y1 has an HD display when its competitors have a Full HD one. The difference in sharpness of the screen can be felt between the Redmi Y1, the Lenovo K8 Plus and Infinix Note 4.
Despite the lower resolution the display is reasonably bright. The display temperature is somewhere between standard to cool as compared to the much warmer display of the Redmi Note 4. You can play around with the color temperature to get a much warmer or much cooler display in the display settings. The screen is decent under sunlight too.
The Redmi Y1 has a Gorilla Glass display to protect it against scratches and minor drops. The display also supports double tap to wake.
The phone can play 1080p movies on the default video player. The video playback is smooth without any stuttering.
Audio & Call Quality
The Redmi Y1 doesn't really do well in the audio department with its speaker lacking bass and getting shrill at the high end. The call quality however is decent but can be better.
The speaker of the Redmi Y1 isn't the best for music, the volume is decent, but the sound becomes shrill at max volume and lacks proper bass. We suggest you stick to earphones or headphones as it gives pleasing sound quality with them. Even bluetooth headphones work without any issues. You get equalizer control for earphones other than xiaomi ones also. The audio quality pales out when compared to the other phones in the test especially the Lenovo with its fancy Dolby Atmos support.
Phone calls work very well through Volte, and calls are reasonably loud too but we still preferred the Lenovo K8 Plus’ crisper phone audio quality.
If you still feel the Redmi Y1 is the phone for you you can get it here: Amazon. But keep in mind that you'll be leaving better options for the same budget.
Multi-tasking, Gaming & Benchmarks
Because of the HD display the Redmi Y1 manages to play most games without a lag its decent in multi-app usage too. But the Y1 is beaten in benchmarks by the Lenovo K8 Plus and the Redmi Note 4 which have much more powerful processors and much higher resolution screens.
The Redmi Y1 can open multiple apps nicely, we tried Asphalt 8, Subway Surfer, Instagram, Facebook and Feedly. The phone managed to keep them all running in background and switched between them quickly. Opening Google Maps caused the games to restart. So the Redmi Y1 earns a multitasking score of 5 apps. The multitasking score is not very high as the Lenovo K8 Plus manages to open 7 apps while the Infinix Note 4 manages 10 apps.
The Redmi Y1 with its HD display and octa-core processor manages to play Asphalt 8 at high settings without any frame drops, accelerometer control works perfectly. Subway Surfer plays very well and swiping is quick to respond. That is great for the price point. It also plays Pokemon Go flawlessly too.
The Phone does get warm especially during charging and after prolonged use, but we saw the temperature hovers around the 40-42 degrees marks which is not bad.
The Redmi Y1 doesn’t come with the most powerful processor in its range. Despite that it performs reasonably well in real life, managing to play games smoothly even at high settings, despite the benchmarks giving it low scores. This is due to the HD screen which means the processor/GPU has fewer pixels to push.
Despite the Redmi Y1’s decent performance we see that its competitors - the Redmi Note 4 and Lenovo K8 Plus - despite being just Rs.1000 more expensive are miles ahead in performance. With the huge difference in performance despite the much higher resolution screen we still feel the Lenovo K8 Plus is the better bet as even it doesn't heat up a lot.
- 3D Mark
The Redmi Y1 ships with Xiaomi’s MIUI 9 which is the manufacturer's custom spin based on Android. MIUI 9 comes packed with a lot of apps and features that many users will find useful.
MIUI 9 Home Screen, Notification Shade, App Folder (Left to Right)
Like most custom UI’s, MIUI too lacks an app drawer and hence all apps are dumped on the homescreen. But the phone being an android phone you can always customise with a third party launcher. There is a lot of bloatware on the phone like Microsoft apps, WPS office, UCWeb apps etc. Thankfully most of the bloatware can be uninstalled.
Being based on Android Nougat the phone also supports split screen app usage, although the number of apps supporting this features are limited for now.
There are a lot of features present like scrolling screenshot, one handed mode, screen record, themes app.. These are things that some users will definitely love but may not find fans with the others who will prefer the smoothness and simplicity of stock android.
Compass app, Scanner App, Mi Remote app (Left to Right)
Not once did the phone lag or hang during the testing despite the Phone having a non-vanilla android skin ‘MIUI’. What was further impressive is how well designed MIUI 9 is. It doesn't feel gimmicky, the apps bundled are very well designed and there are very fews rough edges.
File Manager, FM Radio, Sound Recorder (Left to Right)
The Lenovo K8 Plus with its stock android release is much smoother and faster than the Y1. App openings and closing felt much snappier on the Lenovo. One of the many reason why the Lenovo K8 Plus manages to beat the Redmi Y1 in our comparison test.
The Redmi Y1 was amongst the first few phones to get the MIUI 9 release and off late Mi is very good with updates. But what happens is the MIUI updates are not always based on the latest Android release. The current MIUI 9.1 version on the Redmi Y1 is based on Android Nougat 7.1.2 whereas the latest Android version out now is Android Oreo 8.0.
Camera & Video
The Redmi Y1 has a much better selfie camera than a rear camera. The camera does suffer under low light and lacks true manual controls, the video capture also isn't much to talk about.
The camera performed well for the most part, but our researcher noted that the colours were a bit dull, and HDR did not offer the usual brightness and sharpness. However, where the Y1 scores is in low light settings - the Redmi Y1 actually gave the best low light photo (see the rose photo).
Low light flash photo
beauty mode selfie
The front camera is simply miles better than other contenders due to the higher resolution and much better colour balance (including less skin burn with beauty mode selected). But the camera suffers in low light selfie despite having a front flash. We believe it's the small pixel size that doesn't capture enough light.
Low light flash selfie
The panorama feature, on the other hand, is acceptable at best, and the software could improve in terms of stabilising and processing the image to present a more non-pixelated final image.
The video quality of the Redmi Y1 a mixed bag with generally clear footage, but one riddled with problems in focusing, depth, and saturation.
Mi Camera UI
The front camera turns on the flash automatically in low light (even when your camera app is on and you are framing), so it’s easier to guess how the picture will turn out. The manual mode only allows you to play with the ISO and white balance settings, so it’s not a true manual mode in that sense. Photos can be taken by pressing the fingerprint scanner or the volume up button.
Despite all the focus on Selfie & Camera as claimed by Xiaomi, the Redmi Y1 falls behind the Redmi Note 4, Infinix Note 4 & Lenovo K8 plus in rear camera performance & video recording. Even the Night selfie isn’t as good as on the Lenovo K8 Plus or the Infinix Note 4. Also with the current trend of dual cameras we feel Xiaomi missed an opportunity to give the Y1 at least a dual selfie camera.
Battery and Charging
The Phone has the smallest battery in the test but still does well in our battery tests, Charging tests and PCMark battery benchmark.
The phone gave a screen on time of 3 hours 30 mins with heavy usage. The Y1 had the smallest battery in the test at 3000mAh but the HD screen means the processor has lesser pixels to push. The charging is however slow at 2 hours 15 mins but the decent battery life makes up for it. The Infinix Note 4 which was our budget pick managed to charge a 4300 mAh battery in 2 hours. With light usage you will easily get through a day or even more.
The phone earned a score of 5 hours 47 mins in the PCMark Work BAttery test at full brightness.
The phone does get warm during charging but its not an inconvenience also there is a white led to show the charging status.
Note: Each phone battery test is conducted with 2x sim cards, one with 4G & Hotspot turned on. The phone is also connected to a fitness band via bluetooth.
The Redmi Y1 is best at taking selfies. But even if we consider selfies the difference between the Y1’s front camera and the other phones’ isn't that much.
For most of the other things there are frankly better phones. We at HomeTop feel you can simply pick the Lenovo K8 Plus if you need a good overall phone. The price difference between the Lenovo K8 Plus and Redmi Y1 is just Rs.1000. Besides you get a much better screen, processor, battery, software, build quality and camera for that price. To read more about the Lenovo K8 Plus & the Redmi Y1’s competitors click here.