I ordered a Xiaomi Redmi 1S from Lazada during its first flash sale on September 4. After 4 days, it arrived here in Cebu and ready to be reviewed.

The Redmi 1S is a 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 smartphone with a 4.7-inch HD display, an 8MP camera, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. It runs on MiUI v5 on top of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and sells for ₱5,599 only.

The Redmi 1S came in a simple brown box with the Xiaomi logo on one side and details about the handset on the other.  It contains the phone’s charger, quick start guide, an orange colored battery and the unit itself. There was no earphones or headset included.

Even though the Redmi 1S is encased in plastic, the build quality is top notch. The back cover has a slight matte texture and its curved edges give the phone a good grip.

The capacitive buttons below the screen are colored red and don’t light up. That’s the same as the Zenfone 5 and not really an issue for me. The huge bezels are a setback though. It’s about 3mm plus an extra space of about 1mm.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Sideview
Sideview of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S.

The power and volume buttons are well placed on the right side although I sometimes press the power instead of the volume down. The phone is a bit too smooth that it sometimes slips from my hands. It once hit my nose while I was trying to set up an alarm before sleeping.

The Redmi 1S is the first smartphone I know to run on a 1.6GHz quad core Snapdragon 400 processor. Most Snapdragon 400 smartphones only have 1.2GHz clock speed.

This is immediately apparent when you turn on the Redmi 1S. The MiUI v5 user interface also contributes to the smoothness.

The biggest disappointment with the performance of the Redmi 1S is its limited amount of RAM. It has 1GB but only around 400MB is free. This is easily used up by Facebook, Gmail and other apps.

When playing a hard core game like Modern Combat or NBA2k14, I usually try to clean up the RAM first by pressing and holding the Menu button until the recent apps appear together with the memory cleaner.

Here are the results of the different benchmark tests that I conducted on my Redmi 1S:

Test Score Subject
AnTutu v5 20,098 General performance
Vellamo Browser 730 Web browsing
Vellamo Metal 525 Single CPU performance
Vellamo Multicore 678 Multi-core CPU performance
NenaMark v2.4 54.1 fps GPU performance

Right after taking it out of the box, I immediately played NBA2k14 on my Redmi 1S and what a big disappointment! The game was totally laggy and almost unplayable.

Then a notification that a software update is available popped up. I downloaded the OTA update and that was the solution to my problem.

NBA2k14 turned very smooth after the update. Asphalt 8 in highest display settings also rocked! You can check this video of me playing a few games with the Redmi 1S:

Casual games like Swing Copters and Candy Crush Saga are also very smooth on the Redmi 1S. If you experience any lags while playing a game, just press and hold the Menu button to clear the RAM and you should be good to go.

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S has an 8MP camera on the back and a 1.6MP Camera on the front. These might not sound too appealing but mind you, the Redmi 1S has one of the best cameras in this price level.

Aside from the high quality pictures and video, the cameras also shoot pictures without any lag in good lighting conditions. During the night, there’s a noticeable processing time as the camera tries to capture more light.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Sample Photo
Xiaomi Redmi 1S Sample Photo – HDR mode, 8MP and no flash.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Sample Photo Front Camera
Xiaomi Redmi 1S Sample Photo – Front Camera (1.6MP)

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Sample Photo - Auto mode, total darkness with flash.
Xiaomi Redmi 1S Sample Photo – Auto mode, total darkness with flash.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S sample video – set the video to 1080p.

The MiUI user interface of the Redmi 1S looks like that of iPhone’s iOS. However, it’s not really an exact copy and the resulting clean and intuitive user interface is what makes people hooked up with MiUI

Xiaomi has been present with the MiUI ROM for a very long time. That’s why they are very knowledgeable on what makes a good user interface for an Android phone. Even the lack of an app drawer feels alright as long as the interface is smooth, clean and intuitive.

Playing a movie or listening to a song is also a good experience with the Redmi 1S. It can play a 1080p video smoothly but the sound quality of its loudspeaker lacks a sufficient amount of bass. Of course it’s understandable for a phone but it just doesn’t sound that good.

Let’s not leave out the main function of a phone – make calls and text messages. Once again, the MiUI user interface improved the look of the Messaging app making it neat. There’s also a notification LED just below the home button.

Okay, let me just say this: I love MiUI! When it comes to customized Android UI’s, this is my number one followed by the ZenUI of Asus.

When it comes to voice calls, the quality is just how you expect it to be with a smartphone in this price level. There’s also a subtle noise cancellation that makes the call sound clearer. The Redmi 1S is perfect for recording audio!

I’ve tried browsing the net on my Redmi 1S via Wi-Fi and 3G data connection. Both connectivity options made browsing comfortably fast for reading the latest news, searching on Google and using Facebook and Instagram.

With some smartphones that I used before, I usually see objects with the {position:fixed} CSS style go erratic. That didn’t happen with the Redmi 1S.

I also tested the phone’s GPS using AndroiTS and it immediately got a lock on 19 out of 25 GPS satellites. It also pin pointed my location even while I’m indoors.

The Redmi 1S comes with 8GB of internal storage with 5.72GB free for your files like photos, videos and game files. You can’t install apps to the SD card but an update is already available that solves this problem.

I wasn’t able to test if the Redmi 1S can really read 64GB microSD cards. I did have a USB OTG adaptor and checked if the Redmi 1S can read files on my USB flash drive.

After connecting the flash drive, the Redmi 1S immediately recognized it and I was able to play videos and copy file to and from the phone.

Playing a 1080p trailer of Jupiter Rising on the Redmi 1S at 50% brightness, 0% volume and with the Airplane mode turned on made it last for 7 hours and 24 minutes before shutting down on its own.

Using it as my main smartphone makes it last around 20-23 hours. This includes occasional web browsing, opening emails, Facebook, a little game time, taking a few photos and using it for SMS and calls.

On the other hand, re-charging the Redmi 1S from zero to 100% battery capacity takes 2 hours and 30 minutes using its own charger.

The Redmi 1S also has a heating issue which is already reported by several users. In my experience, it only happens when I take pictures a lot or shoot a video during the day. The battery temperature on CPU-Z can go up to 45°C in some instances.

I haven’t observed the heating issue while playing a hard core game or using Wi-Fi and 3G. If there was any, it’s manageable. Using Wi-Fi doesn’t even make the battery temperature go up to 35°C.

I’ll repeat this again and again, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is exclusively available on Lazada. You can’t buy it in the malls or any other place but online. You might be able to find it somewhere but that will surely be above the official price of ₱5,599.

You have to register first before you can buy. Here’s a separate post for your guidance.

I ordered mine on September 4 and arrived here in Cebu after 4 days. I also chose the Cash on Delivery option and paid the delivery guy before he gave me the package.

Accessories are also available like the Mi In Ear Earphones, soft case and extra back covers in different colors.

The Redmi 1S is a very good choice given its specs and price. I recommend it for those who are looking for a gaming smartphone with a good camera for social events and clean user interface.

If you are picky when it comes to bezels, heating issue, lack of free earphones and the iPhone-like user interface, this isn’t for you.

Xiaomi has a very active community of developers so the heating and RAM issues should be solved in the coming weeks.