The fans may be crying about the poor 720p resolution on the upcoming Xiaomi Redmi Note Prime,
but possible benchmarks suggest that the model may yet have an ace up its sleeve — the new and powerful Snapdragon 618 chipset.
UPDATE: The phone is based on the rather humble Snapdragon 410 processor, which, together with the HD display, would suggest that the Prime would be priced in the Rs 7,000 range.
Xiaomi has been unable to bring its Note 2 and Note 3 to India because of a Delhi High Court ruling that prevents it from selling non-Qualcomm phones in India.
This has made it difficult for the company to introduce these two devices despite strong demands from its fans in the country. (There is even a petition asking the company to launch them here.) India could easily be Xiaomi’s biggest market after China if the patent dispute with Ericsson is resolved.
However, as a temporary measure, the company has come up with Qualcomm-based models for India, including the Mi4i, powered by the Snapdragon 615 processorm, that was introduced in April.
Yesterday, Xiaomi said it will introduce a new handset in the country, setting off speculation about its name. The device, expected to be available on Amazon next week, will have a 720p 5.5-inch display, it added.
It has been reliably learnt that it would be a Qualcomm-powered Redmi Note with a lower-resolution display compared to its non-Qualcomm, international variant.
Almost on cue, a new device has been spotted on benchmarking sites sporting the name Xiaomi Kenzo. It comes with 2 GB of RAM, suggesting that this is indeed the Redmi Note Prime meant for India.
The Kenzo, the benchmarks reveal, contains a Snapdragon 618 chipset. If that is indeed the case, it would mean that the new Note Prime will have to be priced no less than Rs 9,999 as the Snapdragon 618 chipset is moderately expensive hardware.
That begs the question of why Xiaomi would bring out a relatively expensive device with just a 720p display, when the market is flooded with full-HD models in the Rs 9,000-10,000 price range.
There are also those who say that the Note Prime could come with the older and cheaper Snapdragon 615 and a price tag of Rs 8,999. The Snapdragon 615 powers models such as the Yureka Plus (also priced Rs 8,999), and would enable Xiaomi to price the new launch in the same range.
However, even if the Redmi Note Prime is pitched at Rs 8,999, it would still be a tough sell because of its 1 MP screen. Its predecessor, the Note 4G — currently listed at Rs 7,999 on the Xiaomi website — also sports 720p dsplay, 13 MP + 5 MP camera, 2 GB of RAM and just 8 GB of internal storage memory.
The Note 4G, launched late last year, won praise for its excellent build and display quality and saw extremely high demand from Indian consumers, with stocks constantly in short supply. It was the first mass-market 4G device in India.
However, the new model may not set the bell ringing in the same way, going by early social media responses.
Most fans are unhappy with the display resolution, especially since the non-Indian model (Note 2) graduated to a full-HD screen back in August. However, the need to keep costs low may have forced the Chinese company to go for a 1 MP screen instead of a 2 MP one.