At an event in New Delhi, Xiaomi has launched a new selfie-focused branding to compete against other Chinese OEMs in this fast growing market segment in India. The Redmi Y1 and the Redmi Y1 Lite are the global variants of the Redmi Note 5A Prime and the Redmi Note 5A that were launched in China a few weeks ago. Xiaomi also chose this event to unveil the global version of MIUI 9, with features designed for India.
The Redmi Y1 is the first phone from Xiaomi’s latest series which focuses on selfie-camera performance on a budget. The phone comes bearing all the typical highlights of a Xiaomi device, boasting of a capable hardware package with a competitive price tag.
The device looks like a typical Xiaomi device with its 5.5″ HD display, front capacitive buttons, rear fingerprint scanner as well as overall product design. There are no particular risks on the device — Xiaomi plays it safe and that’s understandable keeping in mind the pricing and target audience.
The Redmi Y1 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 octa-core SoC, coupled with RAM and internal storage combinations of 3GB + 32GB or 4GB + 64GB. The phone does come with microSD expandability, and this time around, there is a dedicated slot alongside the dual nano SIM slots. While the phone may not shine when it comes to sheer performance value like Xiaomi’s other phones, it does have sufficient horsepower to keep the average consumer content. The phone comes with a 3080 mAh battery, and other extras like an IR Blaster and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The highlight of the phone is it’s 16MP, f/2.0 front camera that comes with a front LED as well. Features in MIUI like Beautify 3.0 augment the camera hardware to enhance your selfies. There is also a 13MP, f/2.0 rear camera with PDAF.
Redmi Y1 Lite
The Redmi Y1 Lite is similar in hardware to the Redmi Y1, except for a few step downs.
The Y1 Lite uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC, and comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The phone also lacks a fingerprint sensor, which is a strange decision to take for a device that is being launched in 2017 and will be sold in 2018 as well.
The front camera also gets bumped down to 5MP, and there is no front LED flash to boast of either.
The Redmi Y1 and Redmi Y1 Lite will be available in India from November 8, 2017 onwards across Xiaomi’s online and offline channels. Xiaomi also added in Reliance Digital as its newest offline partner, making its products much more widely available across India.
The Redmi Y1 costs Rs. 8,999 (~$140) for the 3GB RAM variant and Rs. 10,999 (~$170) for the 4GB RAM variant; while the Redmi Y1 Lite costs Rs. 6,999 (~$109).
Xiaomi’s Product Lead Jai Mani spent good time on stage to unveil MIUI 9’s Global ROM and highlight several of its features that have been designed specifically for the non-Chinese market.
Notably, notifications in the dropdown have finally received improvements to bring them closer to AOSP behavior. You can now expand notifications with a one-finger gesture, as well as use features like Quick Reply and bundled notifications.
Android’s split screen functionality also received an upgrade in the form of a quick window swap button. Double tapping the button on the split screen pane will quickly swap the position of the windows.
MIUI 9’s App Vault feature is similar in functionality to OnePlus’s Shelf feature on its own launcher. Users can swipe left on the homescreen to perform several quick actions, such as taking notes, scanning QR codes and booking a cab.
MIUI 9 also focuses on faster app launches and a smoother UI with reduced latency. We will have to wait for the experience to reach more users to comment on their claims.
MIUI 9 also focuses on India specific additions such as support for Lunar calendar complete with festival cards for 26 major festivals of India.
Xiaomi has also launched the Mi Calculator and Mi Explorer as standalone apps on the Google Play Store, with Mi Drop also on its way to the store in the coming weeks.
MIUI 9 will be rolling out to the following Xiaomi smartphones:
- 2017 – Mi MIX 2 / Mi Note 3 / Mi 6 / Mi Max 2 / Redmi Note 4 / Redmi Note 4X / Redmi Note 5A / Redmi 4 / Redmi 4X / Redmi Y1 / Redmi Y1 Lite
- 2016 – Mi MIX / Mi Note 2 / Mi 5 / Mi 5s/ Mi 5s Plus / Mi Max / Mi Max Prime / Redmi Note 3 / Redmi 3 / Redmi 3S / Redmi 3S Prime / Redmi 4 / Redmi 4A
- 2015 – Mi Note / Mi 4i / Redmi 2 / Redmi 2 Prime / Redmi Note 4G Prime / Redmi Note 2
- 2014 – Mi 4/ Redmi Note 4G
- 2013 – Mi 3
- 2012 – Mi 2
MIUI 9 Global ROM will begin its staged rollout to Redmi Note 4, Mi Max 2, and Mi MIX 2 from November 3, 2017. Other supported devices will get the update within a month.