Redmi Note 13 5G: A powerful choice for seamless 5G connectivity and immersive display

Affordable Smartphone with Good Display and IP54 Rating

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Xiaomi’s Redmi Note series has been known for bringing upgraded tech at not-so-high prices ever since the company entered the Indian shores. The latest Redmi Note 13 series tries to capture three different price segments, with the Redmi Note 13 5G being the most affordable in the series – priced at Rs. 17,999 to Rs. 21,999 (before any offers). Does it pack enough to be a great option in this highly competitive segment? Let’s try and find out.

Design: The Redmi Note 13 has a 6.67-inch display with decently slim bezels, though it would have been better if these were symmetrical, but it isn’t very common in this price range. The display has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top and also carries the front-facing camera in a punch-hole format at the top middle. The phone is made of polycarbonate with a glossy, patterned, and shiny back, and more matte-finished sides. The back houses the triple camera system on a protruding rectangle cutout, while the Redmi branding sits near the bottom.

The right side locates the volume buttons and Power/lock key (which also houses the physical fingerprint scanner) near the middle, while the left side carries the dual SIM card plus microSD card tray. The bottom has the primary mic, USB Type-C port, and loudspeakers, and the top carries the secondary mic, 3.5mm audio jack, and the infrared port. Being IP54 water and dust resistant, the phone comes in Arctic White (the one I tried), Black, and Golden color options. It weighs a little under 175 grams, measures 7.6mm in thickness, and feels decent and grippy enough in the hand.

Display: The phone boasts a 6.67-inch pOLED Full HD+ (2400x1080) display that supports 120Hz refresh rates. When turned to high brightness, the screen is usable under direct sunlight without much problem. The display has good viewing angles and sharpness for watching high-resolution videos or viewing images. I wouldn't say its HDR output is excellent, but it's fine for watching something on Netflix. The higher refresh rates also help in playing games or scrolling inside apps. Its color calibration could have been a bit better, in my opinion, but it's still a fine display for a phone at this price point.

Camera: The device features a triple camera system on the back, consisting of a 108MP (f/1.7) main camera, an 8MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP macro camera. The camera app is quick to open and responsive, allowing you to take shots efficiently. In good lighting conditions, you can expect to capture detailed and well-stitched shots with good dynamic range. The camera also performs decently in portrait shots. However, in low light situations, you may need to experiment with different angles and modes to capture a correctly exposed shot of your subject.

The front-facing camera of the device is a 16MP (f/2.45) camera. It is more than sufficient for video calls and can capture sharp selfies with minimal grain. With filters and beauty mode turned off, the front camera produces more natural tones .

Software and Performance: Running on MIUI 14.0.1 based on Android 13 with the November security patch in place, the phone offers a smooth user experience. The device is powered by MediaTek's Dimensity 6080 chipset, which includes a 2.4 GHz octa-core processor and a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU. It is equipped with 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB UFS 2.2 internal storage. The phone is available in three configurations: 6+128GB, 8+256GB, and 12+256GB.

Xiaomi has said that the much-awaited HyperOS upgrade will be released soon. However, it has not yet been rolled out to all devices, and the user is still waiting for it. Xiaomi has mentioned that the upgrade will be available for devices released after the Xiaomi 13 Pro and Pad 6.

The phone handles day-to-day tasks such as messaging, background playback of YouTube Music, and running Google Maps without any issues. Users can switch between these apps smoothly without experiencing any hiccups. However, the phone may struggle with intensive gaming, causing stuttering or lags. The phone supports a 90Hz refresh rate, which allows for smooth scrolling within social media apps. While the chipset is not designed for high-end gaming, it can handle games like Shadow Survival Premium without any problems.

The phone features a side-mounted physical fingerprint scanner, which is reliable and quick to unlock the device on a daily basis. Xiaomi has committed to providing three major OS updates, including the HyperOS upgrade, as well as four years of security patches.

Battery life: The phone is powered by a 5,000mAh battery unit and comes with a 33-watt charger in the box. The phone needs to be charged again within a day if the display settings are set to a high refresh rate, but generally lasts about one day when set to auto refresh under similar task loads. The phone takes about 90 minutes or so to charge from 1% to full using the bundled charger."

Other bits: Call quality, GPS, and WiFi reception on the phone weren't something to worry about throughout my usage. The 5G reception is also pretty good, although not as reliable as a high-end smartphone. Nevertheless, it is still reliable enough for you to use the phone as a hotspot and go about your business on the go. The loudspeakers are sufficiently loud and clear for your occasional video and gaming needs.

Verdict: The Redmi Note 13 5G is a good performer when it comes to display and 5G reception. I would have liked to try HyperOS on it already, but hopefully, that won't be too long away for this device. Having showcased its performance across different aspects, I would say the Redmi Note 13 makes more sense with a base price of Rs. 15,000 for the base model. However, taking it above Rs. 22,000 for its highest model might be a little bit of a stretch considering the chipset and competing products. Having said that, if you're looking for an IP54 rated 5G smartphone with a good display that also has a 3.5mm audio jack, priced under 20k, and importantly, offers are available for purchasing this device, the Redmi Note 13 would be a viable option.

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