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Best Cheap Mobile Phones and Budget Smartphones 2016

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note 1

7 / 10

Reviewed by Damien McFerran

10 June 2016

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3

Read full Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 review

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Big and cheap: the perfect combo?

Key features
  • 5.5-inch 1080p display
  • Dual SIM
  • Fingerprint sensor
Xiaomi isn’t the biggest name in the UK or the US, but the Chinese brand sells a lot of phones worldwide. And most of them are good, some are even great. We’re huge fans of the Xiaomi Mi5, but the RedMi Note 3 is a good pick if you’re after something even cheaper.

It’s a big phone, but it has a Moto G4 matching 5.5-inch screen with a 1080p resolution and it looks good. It’s a strong performer, too, thanks to the MediaTek Helio X10 CPU and either 2 or 3GB RAM. In our tests it outranked the Samsung Galaxy S6 in benchmarks, which is quite impressive.

Like many of the phones on this list, the camera is one of the biggest differentiators between it and the flagships. It comes loaded with a 13-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture that is capable of taking social media worthy snaps – though colours are often a bit muted and there’s severe shutter-lag when the lights aren’t on.

Software could be an issue for some, especially if you prefer your phone running a light skin. Xiaomi is one of the worst offenders when it comes to completely reworking Android and almost all of Google’s Material Design has been covered up on the RedMi Note 3. It’s not ugly, but it feels more like iOS 9 than Lollipop.

The battery life is impressive and it’s one of the only all-metal phones in this round-up.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £189.99 | Amazon.com from $187.99

At time of review the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 was available for £219.

Our Score:

8

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