Xiaomi’s new Redmi 3, announced today, packs a 5-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor, giant 4100mAh battery, and 13-megapixel camera into one all-metal package: and will retail for just US$107.
The phone will also sport a dual SIM card slot and expandable SD storage. It will notably not have a fingerprint scanner – a bit of a weird choice, considering how Xiaomi has embraced the feature in many of its other recent phones – but at RMB 699 (US$106.93) it seems like some sacrifices had to be made. The phone’s ginormous battery can reportedly last 18 hours, although that may have to be tested to be believed.
2015 was not the victorious, epic year that Xiaomi had hoped it would be. The company was out-sold by domestic competitor Huawei, and the company has struggled to maintain its exciting, startup-y vibe – Quartz called it “the year Xiaomi became just another phone company.”
If Xiaomi hopes to avoid the mistakes of 2015 in the coming year (we say mistakes, but the company did sell somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 million smartphones last year) it will need to get its fans excited again.
The new Redmi 3 packs better specs at a lower price than most other phones on the market – and this will likely only be a shot across the bow compared to what Xiaomi has up its sleeve for the release of the Mi5 in the weeks or months to come.
It will take a lot for Xiaomi to become anything other than “just another phone company,” but selling ever-better phones at an ever-cheaper price is certainly a step in a good direction. The phone goes on sale in China on January 12. No word yet on a release abroad.