Redmi K50i First Impressions: Updating a Classic


Xiaomi hasn’t been too consistent about launching its power-packed Redmi K-series smartphones in India. The Redmi K20 and K20 Pro were popular with power users in 2019, and both stayed relevant for quite some time. Now, the company has launched its new Redmi K50i, which promises to give gamers just what they’re looking for. Let’s unbox this phone and go over the specs so you can decide whether it strikes the kind of balance you’re looking for.

The Redmi K50i has just been announced with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage priced at Rs. 25,999 in India, or with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for Rs. 28,999. It arrives in a fairly plain box, with not even a picture on it. This phone’s big selling points, its MediaTek Dimensity 8100 SoC and support for Dolby Vision as well as Dolby Atmos, get huge shoutouts on one side. A few other specs are highlighted on the back as well, and we’ll talk about those soon. The ‘Made in India’ logo really stands out here.

It takes only a few moments to peel back the tape and slide the lid off. Inside, you get a fairly standard set of accessories. There’s a SIM eject tool and a transparent plastic case in a paper folder. The Redmi K50i itself is below that, wrapped in plastic for protection. The body is made of plastic but there’s Gorilla Glass 5 on the front for protection. We have the Quick Silver colour here, and Xiaomi calls the finish “crystalline”. There’s a slight colour shift, and this phone looks icy blue under indoor lighting but metallic silver outdoors. There’s also a Phantom Blue colour option with the same texture, or a matte Stealth Black.

The K50i feels alright in terms of construction quality but definitely doesn’t feel as slick as others you can find in this price segment which are made of metal and glass. It’s 8.87mm thick and weighs 200g which is relatively chunky by today’s standards. You get a pretty hefty 67W charger with a USB Type-A port, and so you’ll also find a Type-A to Type-C cable as well. Both of these will be needed for fast charging.

You can see the prominent triple camera setup at the back. The cameras on the rear protrude quite a bit and this phone won’t stay flat on its back on any hard surface. A scratch protector is pre-applied to the front, but unfortunately gets smudged easily.

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The Redmi K50i has a fairly simple design and everything is where you’d expect it to be

 

The power button on the right has an integrated fingerprint sensor, and the volume buttons are right above it. The dual Nano-SIM tray, USB Type-C port and main speaker are on the bottom. The left side is blank, but it’s nice to see a 3.5mm audio socket on the top, along with a speaker grille and IR emitter.

On booting the Redmi K50i for the first time, you’ll be taken through the setup process, in which there’s an option for Glance lockscreen advertising. You can choose between a flat UI and one with an app drawer. This unit shipped with MIUI 13 based on Android 12. There’s a bit of preinstalled bloatware, and we’ll see how well MIUI and its many customisations work when we do a full review of this phone.

Coming to hardware, there is of course that MediaTek Dimensity 8100 SoC, which is 5G capable and said to deliver flagship-level performance. We will of course test this in our full review. Xiaomi has designed a graphite and vapour chamber cooling system since this phone will likely be used for gaming. The Redmi K50i will be available with either 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, like this unit. The battery capacity is 5,080mAh and 67W charging is supported with the included brick, or you can use any USB-PD charger up to 27W.

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The body and rear panel are made of plastic, and you have a choice of three colours

 

The display of the K50i is 6.6 inches diagonally and has a full-HD+ resolution plus a 144Hz refresh rate. Dolby Vision and HDR10 support are noteworthy features, and we’ll try various streaming apps and types of content in our full review. Brightness goes up to 650nits.

The 16-megapixel front camera is centred at the top of the screen. On the back, you’ll get a 64-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Photo and video quality will be part of our review process, but here are some early samples that we can share with you.

The Redmi K50i should appeal to a niche audience. If you care about raw power and gaming performance, you should stay tuned for our full review. We’ll also see how well this phone does in terms of battery life, software, usability and of course cameras, compared to others that cost around the same amount.




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