Redmi K50i review: The K series is back, but does it stand out?

When Redmi introduced the K20 series in India in 2019, there was no doubt that it was among the best value-for-money mid-range options in the market. It showcased a high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, had an excellent all-glass design, and even a pop-up selfie camera. At Rs 27,999, the Redmi K20 Pro had everything you could want in a mid-range flagship in 2019. But, the K20 series came at a time when the Redmi brand was known for its budget options. Some considered the price too high. And then the K-series — well for India at least — was gone for the next couple of years. With the Redmi K50i, it’s back of sorts. But the market you are entering is different.

Redmi K50i appears in blue. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)

First, the Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000 slide is where we are seeing the launch of several major brands. OnePlus, which until 2019 was limited to the Rs 40,000 and above segment, now has a completely separate Nord and R series for this price segment. And let’s not forget the newest subscriber brand “Nothing”. So where does the Redmi K50i fit in? Does anyone have what it takes to play this part? Here is our review.

Redmi K50i review: So what has changed this time?

Redmi K50i indicates some distinct changes compared to the K20 series. For example, this all-glass rear design is now gone. The whole body is now plastic, including the frame. The device now comes in three colors: Phantom Blue, Quick Silver, and Stealth Black. The blue, which we have for review, is a bit shiny at the back. And takes degrees of gold according to the light.

The Redmi K50i now has a Mediatek Dimensity 8100 Max processor. Dimensity 8100 Max is also used in Oppo Reno8 Pro, which has just been launched in the market. OnePlus 10R also has the same processor.

The Redmi K50i gets an LCD panel this time around, but with a refresh rate of 144Hz. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)

Redmi has also swapped out the AMOLED screen seen on the previous K20 for an LCD FFS (marginal field switching) screen. The screen refresh rate is 144Hz, and the phone comes with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certification. Redmi’s rationale is that the FFS screen for LCD screens is supposed to be better than traditional LCD screens. This should provide improved battery efficiency and wider viewing angles, according to the company.

Redmi K50i review: so what’s good?

Let’s start with the screen. Now, this is an LCD screen, not an AMOLED – a decision that will undoubtedly lead to many discussions. But the screen works fine, it has sufficient brightness. I’ve watched shows on Netflix on the device, including episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Love Death & Robots. The experience was good enough. Xiaomi allows users to switch between three refresh rate options: 60Hz, 90Hz and 144Hz. I switched to the top during the review – but keep in mind that this increases battery consumption.

The monitor comes with Dolby Vision certification as well. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)

There is no doubt that this phone is meant to be a heavy duty performer and geared towards those who are into gaming. This also explains why Redmi launched it in only two variants: 6 GB RAM + 128 GB and 8 GB RAM + 256 GB storage. I have an 8GB RAM option to review. There is no microSD slot here. This is a phone meant to handle heavy-duty tasks, and the Mediatek Dimensity 8100 Max is perfect for this. Games like Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9 (played at maximum graphics) ran without any issues or stutters. Playing Gensin for about 10-15 minutes, I noticed the back was getting a bit warm, but it wasn’t too concerning. Other games, switching between apps, etc. was not a problem. Redmi K50i does quite well in everyday performance due to the processor here.

Redmi K50i delivers good performance every day. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)

Redmi has packed this phone with a 5080mAh battery. This is good enough to pass your use for an entire day. During my daily use, which included taking photos, playing games, browsing on social media, and Netflix on the phone, the battery went from 100 to about 25 percent. A 67W charging will ensure that you can get your battery back to at least 50 percent in just 10 minutes (at 20 percent), which should be enough if you’re in a hurry.

The phone is running MIUI 13 based on Android 12. Redmi has not yet confirmed how many Android updates you can expect on this device. As always, MIUI 13 has bloatware preloaded, some of which you cannot uninstall, such as Mi Pay, GetApps, etc. I didn’t notice too many annoying notifications this time, but that’s because I learned to turn off many of those.

Redmi K50i gets a headphone jack with HiRes Audio certification. So, if you’re someone who still prefers the good old wired headphones, this phone has you covered.

The Redmi K50i gets a 64MP main camera on the back. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)

The rear camera setup on the Redmi K50i includes a 64MP + 8MP + 2MP setup. Now, the main rear camera is capable enough and can handle most shots well. Even in indoor lighting with night mode, the camera delivers good enough results with enough detail. Images look sharp and details are preserved. But they are not all perfect.

Sample photo taken with Redmi K50i in indoor lighting. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)
Camera sample captured with Redmi K50i in low light with Night Mode turned on. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)
Another low-light camera sample captured with the Redmi K50i. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)
Sample photo taken with Redmi K50i. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)
Sample photo taken with Redmi K50i. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)

Redmi K50i review: what’s not so good?

The screen certainly could be brighter, especially when used outdoors. The main camera struggles with skin tones and colors like pink and red. For example, when I tried to click pictures of a red flower on my balcony, I saw that the results were not accurate at all. Colors bleed, lose detail, and it’s not a great picture. Even indoors, when I took some pictures of my son, his skin tones were a bit darker, and his red shirt was oversaturated.

Another low-light sample taken with the Redmi K50i (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola / Indian Express)
The camera struggles to deal with red and pink. For example, in this image, the colors are completely off. (Photo credit: Shruti Dabola/Indian Express)

The 16MP selfie camera is good, and I used it with most of the beauty features turned off for my results. The ultra-wide camera leads to a noticeable drop in quality, and the macro remains as forgotten as ever.

I found the speakers and audio on the device disappointing. When watching Netflix, I had to keep the volume levels ramped up to hear every dialogue. I was expecting better in this series.

Redmi K50i: Verdict

The Redmi K50i has many expectations, and it will be compared to the Redmi K20 Pro. The truth is that it may not come close. But that doesn’t mean it’s a terrible phone. Performance is very good, especially compared to other options, there is fast charging, a headphone jack for those who prefer it, and the screen and battery are decent. But the camera leaves you wanting. The design doesn’t stand out either.

However, since Xiaomi has priced this at Rs 25,999, it may have an edge over some competitors given the price. If you want a more gaming-oriented device or just a phone that runs smoothly but don’t want to pay Rs 30,000 or more, this is one of the options to consider. But if you can pay more, Xiaomi’s own 11i Hypercharge or even the Poco F4 might be better, more refined choices.

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