With the rollout of 5G networks throughout the nation, the Pakistan market for low-cost smartphones is getting more competitive. Companies are keen to capitalize on pent-up demand among cost-conscious Pakistani consumers who want speedier connectivity without breaking the bank following a very lackluster 2022 for low-cost phones.
Seeing a vast potential, Xiaomi, a Chinese phone company, has been flooding the market with two new, low-cost 5G phones: the Redmi 12 5G and, more recently, the Redmi 13C 5G. I’ve been using the Redmi 13C for more than a week, and in this review, I’ll let you know if Xiaomi’s most recent effort to rule the low-cost 5G market is a success or just more of the same.
Display and Design
Having evaluated the Redmi 12 5G, I wasn’t too shocked to hold a nearly identical design in my hands once more. Not much has to be changed in terms of design, as Xiaomi is adopting minimalism lately. The dual camera array on the rear and the flash on the right are still present. There is, however, one modification that detracts from the Redmi 12 5G: the reintroduction of the ugly camera specs writing surrounding the lenses, which I never understood. The bezels appear to have enlarged, and a waterdrop notch has taken the place of the punch hole up front. Apart from that, the very elaborate plastic back panel detracts from the simplicity. You would be completely bewildered by how much is going on—there is glitter, as well as vertical, horizontal, and even diagonal lines. You might only be able to see a few of these components at once, depending on how you’re holding the phone. Although it’s visually appealing, I find it to be far too flashy. Other than these minor flaws, the Redmi 13C 5G feels heavy and substantial in the palm. However, I would have preferred Xiaomi to have curled the edges because the squared-off sides irritate your palm over extended phone conversations.
The LCD has a pleasing pop of color and enough brightness, but the 720p resolution is not very impressive. In order to reach that alluring pricing point below the Redmi 12 5G, Xiaomi obviously made some compromises. Fortunately, smooth scrolling and animations are provided by the 90Hz refresh rate, which is still a significant improvement over jittery 60Hz displays.
However, since the 13C 5G runs the same tamed version of MIUI software Xiaomi employs on its other low-cost phones, it is unable to evaluate the chip’s UI capabilities fully. In order to conserve processing resources, the animations have been designed to be simple and devoid of flashy effects or blurs. The notifications panel is a rather unsightly shade of grey. I’ve always thought Xiaomi overdoes the downsizing, and this impression is reinforced with a respectable chip like the Dimensity 6100+.
The Dimensity 6100+ is comparable to the Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 in terms of gaming performance. BGMI has no option for Extreme (60 FPS) and maxes out at Smooth + Ultra framerates (~40 FPS).
Software and Performance
The two leading companies in smartphone chips are MediaTek and Qualcomm, and their products are often quite similar. The Snapdragon 4 Gen 2 in the Redmi 12 5G is well matched by MediaTek’s Dimensity 6100+ chip, which is included in the Redmi 13C 5G. Although it’s not the fastest processor available, it performs admirably and coolly considering the price. Generally, jitter-free day-to-day use, smooth scrolling, and fast app opening are all present.
Though it hasn’t been on many devices yet, Xiaomi recently debuted its brand-new HyperOS skin, which boasts improved performance and some UI tweaks. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the Redmi 13C 5G lacks it. What’s more infuriating is that, despite Android 14 being ready for several months, it comes with Android 13. Things like this reduce the support for software updates if Xiaomi ever gets around to revealing how many the 13C 5G will receive.
Snapshot Since 5G chips are still somewhat expensive, certain other expenses had to be reduced.
The camera system is one area where Xiaomi cut corners. Despite having a 50MP primary sensor, pictures seldom ever seem to reach that high resolution in real life. Additionally, there is a nearly worthless 0.08MP auxiliary camera (no ultrawide here), and you can guess what Xiaomi plans for it to perform.
The Redmi 13C 5G isn’t a bad phone for the price it costs. The performance is satisfactory, and the design is passable. Since many young people want a taste of such fast 5G speeds, some compromises are made in order to keep it affordable. While there is room for improvement, the primary objective of this phone is to increase the number of people who have access to 5G.