Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro Review: Fashionable and fast
Although most of us usually associate Redmi with mid-range phones that are usually offered on a budget, now independent brands have come up with a flagship that sounds quite believable. It boasts of most flagship features, except for a few important ones like water resistance, high refresh rate display and preferences. And then there’s the price that makes the Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro one of the sweetest deals of the year. Then again, even a low price raises the question of whether you should know about any significant compromises. More importantly, does cheap mean faster? Find out.
Competition vs. Redmi K20 Pro
In terms of price, the K20 Pro’s rivals lag far behind in terms of performance, but not so much in design and camera. The original Challengers of the phone are priced above Rs 30,000 and most of them offer the same level of performance. This is how the software of your choice and the type of user you come down to. K20 Pro will delight users because battery life, display and performance are the best out there. The camera, however, needs a lot of improvement. It’s not as reliable as the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom or the OnePlus 7 Pro. Performance will be similar for the Zenfone 6z and OnePlus 7 but each of them has its own unique features, and as a result, what you like on a phone will stand out.
TL; DR: K20 Pro is an effective candidate for this year’s flagship killer, but not without flaws and compromises.
Performance and battery
First things first, let’s check the performance of Redmi K20 Pro. Xiaomi claims it is the fastest smartphone on the market. This is a long statement to make, and really, there is nothing in the real world to back up the claim or cancel it. Depending on the benchmark, some tests like Redmi K20 Pro AnTuTu and Geekbench are significantly faster but some tests like 3DMark and GFXBench are slower. Based on that, the K20 Pro’s CPU seems to be much better optimized than the OnePlus 7 Pro but the GPU works much better later.
In real world usage, you won’t find any significant differences compared to other Snapdragon 855-powered flagships. Powered by a flagship processor, this is the most affordable phone that makes it stand out, but otherwise, there’s nothing new here in terms of functionality. Everyday tasks like taking photos, browsing the web and launching apps are all happening fast and happening without any hindrance. What was interesting to note was how well Xiaomi manages resources. In the 8GB RAM variant, the apps launched a few hours ago where I put it.
We also tested the gaming capabilities of the K20 Pro but unfortunately, we could not find the matrix clock on the gamebench. Using the phone’s in-game FPS counter, PUBG Mobile runs at a maximum frame rate of 40 FPS on the K20 Pro, and Asphalt 9 also runs out at a maximum of 30 FPS. We do not have a number of stabilizers, but based on experience, it should be stable at most peak frame rates.
The software of Redmi K20 Pro is completely different from Xiaomi in one sense. There is an app drawer! A swipe up from the home screen will bring up the app drawer and it automatically splits the apps into sections that are accessible by swiping to the right. There are also some new additions. A game turbo mode, which puts all installed games on a carousel, gives you some granular access to game settings. PUBG Mobile, like most phones nowadays, has received some special treatment. You can control a marked area as well as touch and repetitive touch latency to prevent accidental touch.
In terms of batteries, the K20 Pro’s 4000mAh battery lasts 9 hours 46 minutes on Geekbench battery test, which is quite impressive and should be easily converted to more than one day of use. In the real world, PUBG drains 5 percent of mobile phone’s 15-minute battery and Netflix’s 30-minute battery drains 4 percent.
The Redmi K20 Pro has a triple camera setup on the back and a 20MP pop-up shooter on the front. While there are a few more triple camera phones on offer in the segment, no one else offers a flagship chipset with it. For example, the triple camera setup is the same as the Vivo V15 Pro or the Oppo F11 Pro, with one exception. The K20 Pro also packs an 8MP telephoto lens with 2X optical zoom. It comes with a 13MP wide-angle camera and a 48MP Sony IMX586 primary sensor. Considering the price of the next phone is Rs 40,000 (Oppo Reno 10X Zoom) to offer something similar, it is quite impressive.
How does it all work? This camera sample can help answer –
In ordinary daylight, the Redmi K20 Pro is actually quite good. The details come out sharp and, as the phone tends to complement a certain amount of colors, they look quite aesthetic. The camera highlights the tendency to clip and the shot often does not reveal much although it is not at all perfect. Also, the 48MP mode on the K20 Pro is much better than the Redmi Note 7 Pro, although both phones have the same Sony IMX586 sensor. The difference is probably due to the ISP of Snapdragon 855, which applies Xiaomi’s sharpening and noise reduction algorithm to 48MP mode. As a result, 48MP shots are no longer blurry and lack detail. They are much sharper now, and when 100 percent zoomed in, the sharpening algorithm is quite clear. Nevertheless, it is quite impressive that the sensor is finally showing some remarkable results.
HDR mode, on the other hand, manages to retrieve details from shadows and highlight highlights better, but if we compare, Honor View 20 has done it better in our previous experiments.
The Redmi K20 Pro has a better wide-angle camera in this range. Samsung and Vivo have made ultra-wide cameras mainstream, but most phones that offer the feature are subject to excessive distortion. The Redmi K20 Pro’s ultra-wide angle shots not only get exposure and sharpness, but also modify the shape in post-processing, leading to a narrower field-of-view.
The K20 Pro comes with a dedicated night mode that performs simple multi-frame processing and the results are quite impressive. It gets lighter and makes things very sharp. But there are also some limitations. Night mode only works with the primary lens and you cannot zoom in. There is also a short wait time when taking and processing photos.
There’s also 960 fps slow-motion recording that’s not close to what the Galaxy S10 has to offer since it was made using software and the camera stack lacks any kind of stability.
Design and display
Although the performance and camera are quite impressive for the price it is offered, the design of the phone will catch your attention first. This is one of Xiaomi’s best designed phones. Duration. The design and color dual-tone play of the company called Ara Prime looks attractive. We’ll let the back panel photo speak for itself. The front is all screen, with a very thin bezel all around. Xiaomi is not new to the bezel-less trend. In fact, it was a pioneer with the MI Mix series. The K20 Pro, however, achieves a full-screen design by sticking the front camera to a pop-up module. It’s fairly fast and pops up when unlocked, but not as fast as the OnePlus 7 Pro.
The in-display fingerprint sensor is also quite accurate. This will unlock four times out of five and will probably be your default mode of unlocking because the pop-up Face Unlock only works when you swipe from the lockscreen. There is one more annoying aspect of the design, but it can only be a personal pet. Since there are no navigation buttons in gesture mode, the keyboard now starts from the very bottom. This led to many mistakes and typo and I had to retrain my hands to pick up the phone in new ways.
In terms of display, the Redmi K20 Pro has an impressive AMOLED panel that extends up to 6.39-inches without interruption. This is the first Redmi phone to come with an AMOLED display and it brings the expected boost to the contrast level. It is also a bright panel with 724 lux registered in our test. At the bottom, the brightness drops to 7 lux, which is quite impressive. The display is also HDR rated, but we’re not sure if it’s a standard. Currently, HDR videos only run on YouTube and not on Netflix, Amazon Prime, but Xiaomi has stated that they are working with streaming services to enable HDR playback.
The last row
The Redmi K20 Pro has all the bells and whistles of an affordable flagship. We wouldn’t call it a premium flagship outright because there are still some features that make a device premium. Nevertheless, the K20 Pro incorporates all the features in vogue this year – a bezel-less display, a pop-up camera on the front and a triple camera on the rear, a gradient design and flagship performance. If you are thinking, much more than the Redmi K20 Pro and Poco F1. The Poco flagship only focuses on performance while the K20 Pro is an all-rounder. Although the price comes close to other Snapdragon 855-powered flagships, it is still the most affordable flagship you can buy right now with all the traditional bells and whistles of this year.