Xiaomi Redmi A3 review: Affordable phone with a hot body

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Right from the first time that images and features of the Redmi A3 became available to me, I knew I wanted to review it. Some phones are like that: they are so striking that you really do want to get your hands on them.

You don’t have to read this full Redmi A3 review, if you don’t want to. I will summarise it here for you. The Redmi A3 has a display, design, and build that punches above its weight as an entry-level Android phone. You will be hard pressed to find another phone in that looks and feels this good for the same price.

Xiaomi Redmi A3 review

But the great design, display, and build aside, the greatest weakness of the Redmi A3 is the Helio G36 processor that runs things on the inside. And what a weakness it is. It feels like putting a Kia Picanto’s engine in the fine-ass body of a Mini Cooper. You have a powerful-looking smartphone that struggles with anything but the most basic of tasks. For roughly the same price, you will get a Redmi 12C; it doesn’t look or feel as great, but it runs much more smoothly. That’s the summary.

Now, if you want to read the details, you are welcome to proceed with me as I dive into it.

Design

The Redmi A3 has two build finishes for the back cover. One is glass. If you want the glass back cover, you have to buy the Black or Blue colour. The second finishing is eco-leather, which is plastic that is made to look and feel like leather; if you want that option, you have to buy the Olive Green colour. This is very important. What colour you buy determines the kind of back cover you get.

Our review unit is Olive Green, so we get to play with the eco-leather back cover. And it is beautiful. It looks great to the eyes, and it feels great to the touch. And until I get my hands on both types, I can’t say whether or not it looks better than the glass option. It is a subjective matter anyway: some will prefer the glass, while others will prefer the faux leather. To each their own; right?

Also, the large, round camera island adds a nice touch to the design. It makes the Redmi A3 look quite impressive.

Display

Xiaomi Redmi A3 review: display

The display is 6.71 inches big, making the Redmi A3 a big smartphone. What’s also really good about it is that it is protected with Gorilla Glass 3, and that isn’t common for phones in this price range. In addition, it has the option to run at 90Hz refresh rate, for smoother scrolling and animations. It makes for a good screen. There is no auto brightness, so you have to manually adjust the brightness when you change environment. For example, when I stepped out I to the sun, I immediately could t see anything on the screen till I manually changed the brightness to its maximum setting. At maximum setting, though, sunlight legibility is great.

Cameras

It makes sense to say that, with an imposing rear large camera island like that, the main camera of the Redmi A3 better shoot amazing photos; right? Exactly. So I was quick to try out the camera.

I like that colour reproduction is quite good. If you want good details, take shots within 1 metre of the object. I also got some pretty good shots in the night with the flash on. Use your flash at night and stick to within a metre of the object you are capturing. The further from it and the more details you lose. The same rules generally apply to video recording.

As for the 5MP selfie camera located in the waterdrop notch…. Sorry, it doesn’t take solid photos. The images are mostly low quality.

Of course, the Redmi A3 is an entry-level Android phone. You weren’t expecting magical photography; were you? The cameras are okay for the class of device it belongs to. Pretty average.

Performance

Immediately I began to setup the Redmi A3, I felt the struggle. With a Helio G36 chipset, the A3 feels underpowered. Don’t get me wrong: this is an entry-level Android phone. And our review unit is the 3GB RAM variant, meaning that it is the least capable variant of the phone. If you can afford it, I recommend the 4GB RAM variant. Of course, that will cost you more. Significantly more. Your bill will jump from ₦99,000 to ₦117,000. That’s ₦18,000 difference. You will also get double the storage space for your photos and videos, yeah?

In almost every task, the Redmi A3 cannot be rushed. This is like a city car with a 1.1-litre engine. It doesn’t have a powerful engine. It works; it takes you from point A to B, but you are not likely to ever be the fastest car on the road. Any road. But it gets the job done. That’s the Redmi A3.

Battery Life

The Redmi A3 is fitted with a standard 5000mAh battery. This is more than adequate juice for a full work day usage, if you leave home with a full charge – and if you are not addicted to your smartphone. If you are, good luck to you making it through to the end of the day. Us regular people do just fine with it for a full day, and sometimes for more.

Charging via the USB-C port is a modest 10W. Again, remember that this is an entry-level Android phone. 10W charging is just fine.

Other Stuff

Xiaomi Redmi A3 review: side fingerprint scanner

The side fingerprint scanner works fine. There is a 3.5mm headphone port for using wired headsets for your audio. No headphones are included in the box, though. You will have to use a pair you already own, or buy a new pair.

This is a 4G LTE phone and that works well. Audio is good for the price. The software on it is Android 14 Go Edition. No; there is no infrared (IR) blaster here. Xiaomi does not include that in entry-level models.

The Competition

For about the same ₦99,000, you can buy another Redmi smartphone, one that is over a year old but that has the more powerful Helio G85 processor, the Redmi 12C. It looks like a toy next to the Redmi A3, though, so it is a case of exchanging performance for design and build. Your call. Note that you will get the 3/64GB variant too. Oh, and the Redmi 12C has also been updated to Android 14 and Xiaomi’s new HyperOs. Higher memory configurations cost over ₦100,000. Have a look at my Redmi 12C unboxing and my Redmi 12C video review with the new HyperOS.

If you look toward TECNO, the Spark 10C is available for about the same price and gets you 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, and the slightly more powerful Unisoc T606 processor. The Spark 10C has been in the market since March 2023, though.

It is perhaps itel that provides the most interesting alternative to the Redmi A3. For about ₦3,000 less, you can have the itel S23 with the slightly more powerful Unisoc T606 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB storage. You will get far better performance from the itel.

Xiaomi Redmi A3 Review: Conclusion

You have read my verdict of the Redmi A3 already. And if you read the full review to this point, you should have made up your own mind about this entry-level Android phone by now. And it is here that my Xiaomi Redmi A3 review comes to an end. PS: You are welcome to watch the YouTube video review.

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