Xaomi’s Redmi 3S starts at only $106 and is bound for China

xiaomi redmi 3s smartphone gsmarena 005
One Plus may have stolen this week’s smartphone spotlight with the One Plus 3, but it wasn’t the only company with new products to show. Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi took the wraps off a new variant of the Redmi 3 — the Redmi 3S — on Tuesday, and while the handset lacks the raw processing capacity of its top-end counterparts, its attractive price point and all-metal construction put it neck-and-neck with the budget phone competition.

The Redmi 3S may not represent the pinnacle of handset design, but there’s something about its shapely metal exterior that’s on some level alluring. The screen, unfortunately, is a different story — the 3S sports a lowly 5-inch, 720p display — but the Redmi 3S is unexpectedly well-endowed in other areas. It packs an octa-core Snapdragon 430 processor, 2GB/3GB of RAM, 4G LTE-compatible dual SIM slots, and a generous 4,100mAh battery. And it’s got respectable cameras in the form of a 13MP, f/2.0 rear-facing camera with an LED flash and phase detection auto focus and a 5MP, f/2.2 front-facing shooter, and internal storage of up to 32GB (expandable via MicroSD slot).

The Redmi 3S’s software isn’t anything out of the ordinary, though: It’s running Xiaomi’s divisive MIUI 7, a heavily customized skin atop Android 5.1 Lollipop. Xiaomi wasn’t clear on when the Redmi 3S might see an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, unfortunately, or if it ever will. Time will tell.

The Redmi 3S goes on sale exclusively in China starting in June. It’ll be available in dark gray, silver, and gold, and with two storage configurations: 16GB and 2GB for $106, or 32GB and 3GB of RAM for $136. Given the specs, that’s a bargain — the BLU Studio Energy, for instance, starts at $149 for 1GB of RAM, while the comparably equipped Huawei Honor 5X retails for $159.

Xiaomi is hoping for a bit of a turnaround with the Redmi 3S; the low-end market hasn’t been good to the company lately. An estimate by analytics firm IHS Technology pegged sales of the company’s handsets at 14.8 million globally in the first quarter of 2016, a decline from the 17.5 million it sold in the same period a year before. To be fair, lack of stock was a contributing factor — Xioami sold out of the both Redmi 3 and Redmi Note 3 models — but so was increased competition. Electronics giants like Huawei, Vivo, Oppo, ZTE, and LeEco are driving the Chinese smartphone market toward the point of saturation, according to IHS.

Xiaomi’s diversified in an effort to stem the bleeding — it launched a new Android TV set-top box earlier this year, for instance, plus a smart rice cooker — but it’s betting that budget phones sold on even narrower margins will help lift sagging sales. The wisdom of that approach remains to be seen.

Mobile

Is Sony’s smartphone business dead or can it be revived?

After its worst quarter ever, where Sony Mobile shipped less than 1 million smartphones for the first time, the future looks decidedly bleak. Can Sony’s smartphone business be turned around, or is it time to call it?
Product Review

Here's what we think after a weekend with Samsung's giant Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus is here, and it’s the biggest and best Samsung phone ever. Its key feature is its looks, as it has an attractive rear design, highlighted by the new Aura Glow color, but little else has changed.
Deals

LG’s flagship G7 ThinQ smartphone is now $300 less on Best Buy

The LG G7 ThinQ may not excite you in terms of design, but its robust set of features certainly will. What makes it even more attractive is Best Buy’s $300 discount, dropping its price to a healthier $450.
Product Review

A luxurious Chromebook? Asus' new 2-in-1 will surprise you

The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is a very well-built and attractive laptop for its price. It’s more than fast enough for Chrome OS, has a great keyboard and touchpad, and offers all-day battery life.
Mobile

Critical Bluetooth security bug discovered. Protect yourself with a quick update

Researchers have discovered a major new security flaw in Bluetooth, which could leave millions of devices at risk of a malicious hack. The attack allows a hacker to “break” Bluetooth security without anyone knowing.
Deals

Best smartwatch deals for August 2019: Samsung, Fitbit, and Apple Watch sales

Smartwatches make life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. If you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, here are the best smartwatch deals for August 2019.
Mobile

These fraudulent Android apps were downloaded 8 million times

According to a new report from security research firm Trend Micro, a hefty 85 Android apps have been caught serving fraudulent ads that take over the user's screen -- and those apps have been downloaded 8 million times.
Mobile

Learn how to make your iPhone play local radio in iOS 13

Find out exactly how to use the Live Radio in iOS 13: Our guide will explain how iOS 13 connects to live radio, what commands to give, and how to revisit past stations. Enjoy your favorite live radio right from your iPhone.
Deals

Looking for a good cheap phone? Get the Samsung Galaxy A10 for $145 on Amazon

Samsung's A-Series lineup features phone models from the low-end to the mid-tier. One of its cheaper ones, the Galaxy A10, is perhaps watered-down specs-wise but still boasts enough workable features that make it recommendable.
Deals

Score this Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus with a huge $101 discount at Amazon

If you're thinking about upgrading your phone and not willing to expend over $800 on the S10, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is a great option. It's discounted by $101 at Amazon, dropping its price from $700 to only $599.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.
Deals

Grab the terrific Samsung Galaxy A50 phone for $126 less on Amazon

Samsung is mostly known for its premium Galaxy S and Note Series phones, but it also manufactures cheaper phones through the A-Series. An example is the Samsung Galaxy A50 which not only looks great but also boasts a lot of features.
Mobile

Best alternatives to Google’s preinstalled Android apps

Want to get away from Google's preinstalled Android apps, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Maps? These are the best alternatives to the apps that come with your phone, which are pretty great, but not for everybody.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what do you do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether via an email client or Windows 10.