Xiaomi Redmi K50i hands-on review
Xiaomi’s Redmi launched the Redmi K20 and K20 Pro in India back in 2019 and those were quite popular back in their day. And after a hiatus of three years, the company finally launched a K series smartphone in India, dubbed Redmi K50i.
The Redmi K50i is not an entirely new smartphone, though. It’s a version of the Poco X4 GT that’s available outside India. We already reviewed the Poco X4 GT, and you can read its detailed review here, but let us tell you that there are some differences between the two smartphones since the Redmi K50i isn’t an entirely rebadged X4 GT. Read on to find out about the differences.
Let’s check the Redmi K50i’s retail box first. Unlike the Poco X4 GT, which comes in a black-colored box with yellow fonts, the Redmi K50i comes in a white box with a few smartphone features mentioned on one of the lid’s sides.
The box contents are the same, though. You get a protective case, a SIM ejection tool, and the usual paperwork. It also includes a USB-C cable and a 67W charger.
The Redmi K50i is built around a 6.6″ FullHD+ Field Fringe Switching (FFS) LCD (X4 GT has IPS LCD) protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The panel has 144Hz 7-stage adaptive refresh rate and a 270Hz touch sampling rate, which can be only achieved at a refresh rate of 90Hz or less. The display also supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
However, unlike the Redmi K20 and K20 Pro, the Redmi K50i doesn’t come with a pop-up selfie camera. Its selfie camera – using a 16MP sensor – is inside the screen’s centered punch hole.
Turn the Redmi K50i around, and you have a polycarbonate back sporting a rectangular camera island and Redmi branding. The back cover is made of plastic, so you don’t get a premium in-hand feel that you would from a glass back. However, the panel has a matte finish to make up for it. It did a good job at preventing fingerprint smudges, but made the phone slippery at times.
We received the Phantom Blue version of the Redmi K50i which looks nice with its subtle glittery pattern and changing hue as light hits from different angles.
The island on the back, which also has a matte finish, houses LED flash with three cameras. It sticks out a bit, with two cameras protruding further, causing the smartphone to wobble when used on a flat surface.
The Redmi K50i has flat frames, with the one on the right side housing the volume rocker and power button. They are plasticky but have decent feedback.
The power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner, and we found it to be fast and accurate. It also supports double-tap gestures to let you perform different actions, including taking a screenshot, launching the default camera app, and opening the control center.
At the bottom, the Redmi K50i has a USB-C port, flanked by a speaker grille and a dual-SIM card slot. Up top, we have another speaker, joined by a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR blaster.
The Redmi K50i is 8.9mm thick and weighs 200g. Considering the screen diagonal of 6.6″, these are reasonable dimensions, but of course it’s no small phone.
The Redmi K50i’s 6.6″ LCD has a peak brightness of 650 nits. It comes with DC Dimming and supports HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG standards. It also has Widevine L1 certification, meaning you can stream FullHD videos on supported OTT apps.
For an even better multimedia experience, you get Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. The latter is not present even on the more expensive Xiaomi 12T, powered by the Dimensity 8100-Ultra.
The Redmi K50i’s display has nice haptic feedback. It is bright enough to read textual content under bright conditions, and it comes with adaptive colors, which adjust to the ambient light. But what impressed us the most about the Redmi K50i’s screen is the high refresh rate implementation.
The K50i has 60Hz, 90Hz, and 144Hz refresh rate options in the custom refresh rate menu and supports seven refresh rates in total – 30Hz, 48Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz. These change automatically depending on the content and your settings.
At the default setting, the refresh rate is 120Hz for most of the system menus and apps, whether you are interacting with the screen or just looking at it, except for YouTube (60Hz) and Google Photos (90Hz).
The refresh rate expectedly remained at 60Hz in the 60Hz mode for everything, while 90Hz mode was basically the default mode with the refresh rate down from 120Hz to 90Hz, except for Google Photos, which remained capped at 60Hz.
Things change with the 144Hz mode, though. The display refreshed at 144Hz even for Google Photos, and while YouTube remained capped at 60Hz, in full-screen mode it matched the refresh rate of videos recorded at a lower FPS. Some videos played at 30Hz, 48Hz, and 50Hz in full-screen mode, and the panel switched to 60Hz when you interacted with the screen.
As far as games are concerned, we tried Call of Duty Mobile, Dead Trigger 2, Real Racing 3, and Sky Force Reloaded on the Redmi K50i. Except for Call of Duty Mobile, we were able to play all other games at 90FPS (in 90Hz mode), 120FPS (in default mode), and 144FPS (in 144Hz mode).
The HRR implementation on the Redmi K50i is definitely better than the Poco X4 GT, which only played Real Racing 3 and Sky Force Reloaded at 120FPS, and the system never went up to 144Hz, no matter what. There’s no point in selling a phone with a 144Hz screen if the system won’t go up to 144Hz.
But the HRR implementation on the Redmi K50i is easily one of the best for a smartphone packing a non-LTPO type screen. And if you are someone for whom battery life is more important, then we suggest you stick with the 60Hz mode or maybe 90Hz mode for a more balanced approach.
Software and Performance
The Redmi K50i has the Dimensity 8100 SoC at the helm, joined by the Mali-G610 MC6 GPU to handle graphically intensive tasks such as gaming and video editing. The smartphone has 6GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB memory variants. We received the latter, and regardless of which one you pick, you get LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage.
On the software front, the Redmi K50i boots Android 12-based MIUI 13.0.2 Global with the June 2022 Android security patch and is currently running MIUI 13.0.7 with the October 2022 security patch, which is not appreciated since December is almost over. The smartphone comes pre-installed with some third-party apps, but fortunately, most of them can be uninstalled if you want.
The software experience you get on the Redmi K50i is similar to what you get on other Redmi devices running Android 12 and MIUI 13.
The Redmi K50i offered snappy, smooth everyday experience, talking web browsing, app switching, and playing games with ease. There were hardly any stutters. The smartphone also remained reasonably cool even after over an hour of heavy gaming.
Camera and Battery
The Redmi K50i has four cameras in tow – a 16MP selfie shooter on the front, with the 64MP primary camera on the rear joined by 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro units. The selfie camera has f/2.5 aperture and can shoot videos in up to 1080p resolution at 30 FPS.
The 64MP primary camera, on the other hand, has an f/1.9 aperture and can record videos in 1080p at up 60 FPS and in 4K at 30 FPS. The 8MP ultrawide unit has an FOV of 120-degree and an f/2.2 aperture, while the macro camera is f/2.4.
Since the Redmi K50i’s camera system is the same as the Poco X4 GT, you can check our camera tests of the Poco X4 GT here to get an idea of what to expect from the Redmi K50i in terms of photography.
The Redmi K50i, like the Poco X4 GT, has a 5,080 mAh battery under the hood with 67W wired charging support.
We couldn’t run our standard battery tests on the Redmi K50i, but anecdotally speaking, we consistently got at least 6-6.5 hours of screen-on time on a single charge in 144Hz mode on Wi-Fi connection, with the usage including web browsing, using social media apps, streaming 1080p YouTube videos, and gaming.
In our testing, the Redmi K50i’s battery charged from flat to 35% in 15 minutes, 50% in 22 minutes, 64% in 30 minutes, and 100% in 53 minutes. The Poco X4 GT charged more in 30 minutes (75% vs. 64%), but it also took more time for a full charge (57 minutes vs. 53 minutes) as it throttled far more aggressively.
The Redmi K50i is offered in Stealth Black, Quick Silver, and Phantom Blue colors. Its 6G/128GB model is currently priced at INR23,999 ($290/€272), and the 8GB/256GB version at INR26,999 ($326/€306) – that’s INR2,000 ($24/€22) less than the launch price. It’s a really good phone at the price for what you are getting – snappy performance, good battery life with fast charging, and impressive HRR implementation. The cameras also take decent pictures during the day.
The plastic back and LCD panel of the Redmi K50i could be a deal-breaker for some, and if that’s more important to you, then you might want to look elsewhere. The Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge, known as Redmi Note 11 Pro+ outside India, is one of the options.
The Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge is currently priced at INR24,999 ($302/€283) for the 6GB/128GB version and INR26,999 ($326/€306) for the 8GB/128GB model. It packs an AMOLED screen and flaunts a glass back while also having 120W wired charging support, 108MP primary camera, and an IP53 rating.
However, the 11i HyperCharge is powered by the 6nm Dimensity 920 chip and comes with a 4,500 mAh battery, which translates to a lower battery endurance than the Redmi K50i. You can read our Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge review to learn more about it.