As we approach the end of 2023, Xiaomi, one of the prominent players in the market, has something special in store for tech enthusiasts. Enter the Redmi 13C – a smartphone that has been making waves even before its official launch. This smartphone’s release is particularly interesting, marking a departure from the traditional early-year launch schedule typically seen with the Redmi C series, it hints at a possible shift in Xiaomi’s strategy. But what sets the Redmi 13C apart from its predecessors and competitors? Is it worth the buzz it’s generating in the tech community?
In this review, we’ll explore whether the Redmi 13C sets a new standard for budget smartphones going into 2024. So, we will delve deep into this phone, exploring its various aspects, from design and performance to camera capabilities and everything in between. With upgraded features, it promises to set new standards in its price range and perhaps even beyond. Xiaomi has a reputation for offering feature-rich smartphones at competitive prices, and the Redmi 13C aims to follow suit.
Xiaomi Redmi 13C Features
- Slim Body & Premium Design
- MediaTek Helio G85 Octa-Core SoC
- 6.74″ HD+ display, 90Hz refresh rate
- Corning® Gorilla® Glass screen
- TÜV Low Blue Light & Flicker-Free certifications
- 50MP Al Triple Camera
- Up to 16GB RAM (4/6/8GB+8GB) + 128/256GB ROM
- MIUI 14 based on Android 13
- 5000mAh Large Battery + 18W Fast Charging
- Dual 4G Network, GPS, NFC, Bluetooth 5.3
Unboxing and First Impressions
As you slide off the sleek packaging of the Redmi 13C, you’re greeted with Xiaomi’s signature minimalist design. Opening the box, the first thing that catches your eye is the device itself, nestled securely within a protective casing. But the unboxing experience doesn’t end there. Xiaomi has included a thoughtful array of accessories to enhance your usage. Beneath the device, you’ll find a neatly arranged set of items. This includes a charger, a USB Type-C cable, a SIM card ejector tool, and a user manual. However, one notable absence is the lack of included earphones.
Design and Build Quality
The design of a smartphone can often be its most distinguishing feature, setting it apart from the competition. Xiaomi has taken a bold step with the Redmi 13C by giving it a design overhaul that makes it stand out in the crowded budget market. The transition from the Redmi 12C to the Redmi 13C brings significant aesthetic changes. Xiaomi has opted for a more mature and sleek design language.
The first thing that strikes you is the front design of the Redmi 13C with an expansive 6.74-inch IPS LCD screen, which dominates the front panel. The bezels have been meticulously minimized, particularly on the sides and top, to maximize the screen real estate. The inclusion of a U-shaped notch at the top houses the 8MP front camera, while not the latest trend in smartphone design, works well at this price point.
The back of the Redmi 13C is uncluttered, with clean lines and a matte finish, as it not only reduces fingerprints and smudges but also provides a comfortable and secure grip. This minimalist approach is a departure from the sometimes overly flashy designs seen in other smartphones in this price range. The choice of materials and textures is noteworthy. The matte finish not only gives the phone a premium look but also enhances the grip, making it comfortable to hold. What I like is also the camera frame, which is quite smart this time from Redmi.
The Redmi 13C feels solid and well-built in hand, a testament to Xiaomi’s commitment to quality. It provides a sense of sturdiness that can be lacking in some other smartphones in this price range. When you hold the phone, the back cover feels solid, offering reassurance that it can withstand daily wear and tear. This is in contrast to some budget smartphones that might feel slightly hollow or less substantial.
In addition to being compact and solid, the Redmi 13C is impressively lightweight, weighing in at just 192 grams. This relatively low weight makes it comfortable to carry in your pocket or bag throughout the day. It’s a significant advantage, especially when compared to some other smartphones in the same price range that can weigh 200 grams or more. The Redmi 13C’s weight distribution is such that it doesn’t become a burden during daily use.
The placement of buttons and ports has been thoughtfully executed. The tactile feedback of the buttons, including the power button with an integrated fingerprint sensor, is responsive. The phone’s compact size and the placement of buttons within easy reach make it user-friendly, even for one-handed use.
Also, It retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, which many users still appreciate for its versatility. Additionally, it features a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer. The Redmi 13C supports Dual SIM functionality along with a dedicated slot for an SD card, providing flexibility in terms of storage and network usage.
One noticeable feature of the Redmi 13C’s build is its mono speaker setup. While many users may prefer stereo speakers for an enhanced audio experience, it’s important to remember that the Redmi 13C belongs to the budget category, where compromises are expected. The mono speaker performs adequately, delivering clear sound for everyday tasks like calls, notifications, and even casual media consumption. However, for a more immersive audio experience, headphones or external speakers are recommended.
The Redmi 13C boasts a generous 6.74-inch IPS LCD screen. This screen size provides an immersive viewing experience, making it ideal for activities like watching videos, browsing social media, or playing games. The larger screen real estate allows for comfortable multitasking and improved readability. In terms of resolution, it opts for a standard 720p (HD+) display. While this resolution might not be in line with the trend of full HD or higher-resolution screens seen in some modern smartphones, it gets the job done for most everyday tasks. The colors appear vibrant, and the text remains sharp, making it suitable for general smartphone usage.
One of the standout features of the Redmi 13C’s display is its 90Hz refresh rate. While it’s not the highest refresh rate available in the market, it’s a significant improvement over the traditional 60Hz displays found in many budget smartphones. The 90Hz refresh rate enhances the overall user experience by delivering smoother animations and transitions. While the difference between 60Hz and 90Hz might not be immediately noticeable, it contributes to a more responsive feel when navigating the user interface.
Xiaomi has made a wise choice by incorporating Corning Gorilla Glass for display protection. This not only adds to the durability of the device but also provides some peace of mind against accidental scratches and minor drops. Gorilla Glass is known for its resilience and ability to withstand daily wear and tear.
The Redmi 13C’s display manages to strike a balance between color accuracy and vividness. Colors on the screen appear lively without being oversaturated, providing a pleasing visual experience. This is especially important when viewing photos or videos, as it ensures that the content is represented as intended by content creators.
Outdoor visibility can be a concern for smartphones with LCDs, especially in bright sunlight. The Redmi 13C addresses this issue reasonably well with a peak brightness of 600 nits. The display’s brightness levels are adequate for most outdoor situations, making it usable even under direct sunlight. However, it’s worth noting that it may not be as bright as some premium smartphones with AMOLED displays. Also, it includes adaptive brightness, which automatically adjusts the screen brightness based on ambient lighting conditions. Additionally, the Reading Mode reduces blue light emissions, making late-night reading sessions more comfortable for the eyes.
Playing Content & Audio
Playing the content on YouTube, was very smooth. You can play videos at a maximum of 720p at 30 FPS without any problems or lag, And this is the highest quality you can get. My major issue however is the lack of Widevine L1 certification which restricts the video resolution on most streaming services to a mere 480p. While this does not become an immediate deal breaker, if you like watching your content on your smartphone, this might be an issue. This level may be difficult to find in many entry-level smartphones without exaggeration.
Performance and Gaming
So, we now move on to the performance part, the most exciting part, because indeed, the SoC at the heart of the Redmi 13C still uses the Helio G85 SoC, like in the previous series, the Redmi 12C. I’m a bit disappointed, why didn’t it use the Helio G88? Even though in terms of specifications and performance, the difference is not too significant. But the Helio G88 is the upgraded version, the refreshed version of the Helio G85. At least it’s not too outdated, right? I’m confused, maybe because Xiaomi is running out of SoC stock or what. But clearly, the Helio G85 feels a bit old.
However, This chipset has become a familiar name in the realm of budget-friendly smartphones. While it may not be the latest and most cutting-edge processor, it brings a set of features and capabilities that make it a strong contender. This SoC is an octa-core processor, comprising two Cortex-A75 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz and six Cortex-A55 cores running at 1.8 GHz. This combination strikes a balance between power and efficiency, allowing the Redmi 13C to perform well in a variety of scenarios.
For most users, a smartphone is primarily a tool for everyday tasks, and the Redmi 13C handles these tasks with ease. Whether it’s browsing the web, checking social media, or sending messages, the device offers a responsive and lag-free experience. This is in part thanks to its 4/8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, which plays a crucial role in ensuring that apps stay in memory, reducing reload times when switching between them. The 128/256GB eMMC 5.1 storage respectively, while sufficient, may slow down as it fills up over time.
Multitasking is a breeze on the Redmi 13C, thanks to its capable processor and ample RAM. You can effortlessly switch between multiple apps without experiencing significant slowdowns. This makes it ideal for users who frequently switch between various applications throughout the day.
Gaming: What You Can Expect
Casual Gaming: If you’re into casual gaming, you’ll be pleased with the Redmi 13C’s performance. Games like puzzles, platformers, and 2D titles run smoothly and without hiccups. The processor, coupled with MIUI’s optimization, ensures that these games are a delight to play. Popular titles like Candy Crush and Subway Surfers are a breeze on this device.
Moderate Gaming: When it comes to moderately demanding games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile, the Redmi 13C can handle them, but there are some caveats. To achieve a playable frame rate, you may need to set the graphics settings to medium or low. During intense action sequences, you might encounter occasional frame drops. However, it’s commendable that a budget-friendly device can run these titles with some level of playability.
For the graphic settings, we set it at a high frame rate with Ultra graphics. The result was an fps range of 50 to 60 FPS. There were slight frame drops, especially when there was a lot of action, but it wasn’t too severe, dropping only to around 40 FPS, which I think is still quite good. However, the gyroscope is locked in this phone, so it doesn’t support gyro hardware.
Heavy Gaming: Heavy games with high graphics requirements, such as Genshin Impact, pose a challenge for the Redmi 13C. While it can run them, you’ll need to lower the graphics settings for a more playable experience. For games like Genshin Impact, expect 24 to 30 FPS on low settings; this phone is not recommended for such heavy games. Rather, it’s better for lighter games like PUBG Mobile or Mobile Legends. So, Keep in mind that this device is not designed to be a gaming powerhouse, and its performance in such games is limited.
Benchmark Scores: Putting Numbers to Performance
While synthetic benchmark scores don’t always directly reflect real-world performance, they provide a reference point for comparison. In terms of AnTuTu benchmark scores, it’s quite high. If I look here, it’s in the range of 280,000. These scores indicate the device’s solid performance capabilities relative to other smartphones in its price range.
Heat Management: Staying Cool Under Pressure
One aspect that deserves recognition is the Redmi 13C’s heat management. Even during extended gaming sessions, the device manages to stay reasonably cool. This is a testament to both the efficient chipset and Xiaomi’s thermal management system. The phone’s ability to dissipate heat effectively ensures that it remains comfortable to hold even during intense gaming sessions.
Software and UI Experience
The Redmi 13C comes with MIUI 14.0.1 based on Android 13, Xiaomi’s custom Android skin. MIUI has gained popularity for its feature-rich interface and extensive customization options. MIUI 14 introduces subtle visual enhancements, including refined animations and smoother transitions. The user interface feels polished, with attention to detail evident throughout the system.
Xiaomi’s MIUI is known for its customization options, and the Redmi 13C is no exception. Users can personalize their devices with themes, wallpapers, and icon packs from the MIUI store. With MIUI 14, customization reaches new heights, allowing users to tweak nearly every aspect of the interface to suit their preferences. MIUI 14 offers multiple navigation options, including gesture-based navigation and traditional on-screen buttons. The gestures are intuitive and responsive, adding to the overall ease of use.
Managing Ads and Bloatware
One aspect of MIUI that has garnered mixed feedback is the presence of ads and pre-installed apps, commonly referred to as bloatware. Xiaomi has acknowledged this concern, and MIUI 14 aims to strike a better balance between monetization and user experience. The Redmi 13C arrives with fewer pre-installed apps compared to earlier models. Xiaomi has been actively working to minimize bloatware and offers users the option to uninstall or disable many of these apps.
In recent MIUI updates, Xiaomi has taken steps to reduce the frequency of ads across the system. While ads may still appear in system apps, their intrusiveness has notably decreased. Users can further customize ad settings to their liking.
Xiaomi has a strong track record of providing regular updates to its devices. This includes security patches, bug fixes, and even major MIUI version updates. Redmi 13C users can look forward to a stable and evolving software experience. I’m not sure if the Redmi 13c will get HyperOS or not, but I hope it does, as it’s Xiaomi’s new smartphone in 2024. We just have to wait and see.
The camera capabilities of a smartphone play a pivotal role in the overall user experience. In this section, we will dive deeper into the Redmi 13C’s camera system, exploring its features, performance in various scenarios, and additional camera-related functionalities. The 13C boasts a triple-camera setup on its rear panel, consisting of the following lenses:
- Main Camera (50MP): The primary camera is the workhorse of the Redmi 13C’s camera system. With a 50MP sensor, it promises high-resolution images. However, it’s important to understand that megapixels alone do not define the quality of a camera. Xiaomi has implemented pixel-binning technology here, which combines information from multiple pixels into one. This technique results in brighter, more detailed, and well-exposed photos. The main camera is the go-to lens for everyday photography.
- Macro Camera (2MP): The addition of a macro lens is a nod to the growing popularity of close-up photography. This 2MP lens allows you to get up close and personal with your subjects, capturing intricate details. However, it’s worth noting that the 2MP resolution can be limiting when it comes to capturing fine details. This lens is best suited for well-lit scenarios, where you can explore the world of tiny objects.
- Auxiliary Camera (0.8MP): The inclusion of an auxiliary camera with a mere 0.8MP resolution may leave some users puzzled. It lacks clarity in its purpose and appears to be more of a marketing gimmick than a substantial addition to the camera setup. Its contribution to the overall camera capabilities is minimal.
The Photography Experience
The photos in daylight are standard for a Xiaomi smartphone at this price range, not too sharp but decently fast in processing. The colors are typical of Xiaomi – vibrant and colorful, though sometimes a bit pale and leaning toward warmer tones. At night, noise is quite apparent, and it’s better to use the Night mode for better results.
Low-light photography is a challenge that many budget smartphones face. The Redmi 13C, however, manages to hold its ground. Thanks to its larger sensor size and pixel-binning technology, it produces acceptable results in dimly lit environments. While it may not outshine flagship smartphones in low-light conditions, it’s certainly capable of capturing usable photos with acceptable levels of noise.
The macro lens is a unique addition that allows you to explore the world of extreme close-up photography. With the 2-megapixel macro lens, you can get remarkably close to your subjects, revealing intricate details that are often missed by standard lenses. However, it’s essential to manage your expectations. The 2-megapixel resolution can be limiting when you aim to capture the finest details seen in dedicated macro lenses of higher-end devices. Patience and good lighting conditions are key to achieving impressive macro shots with the Redmi 13C.
Video Recording Quality
Both the front and rear cameras support 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second. While the lack of stabilization is expected at this price point, the video quality is adequate for casual recording. The front camera’s performance is particularly notable for video calls and vlogging, offering decent clarity and color representation. The quality is not bad, but it lacks stabilization.
Additional Camera Features
Xiaomi has included several features and modes to enhance the camera experience on the Redmi 13C:
- AI Photography: The device utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to identify scenes and optimize camera settings for the best possible results. This feature can be handy for users who want to point and shoot without diving into manual settings.
- Portrait Mode: Portrait mode, which simulates a shallow depth of field, is available on the Redmi 13C. It allows you to capture stunning portraits with a blurred background, highlighting your subject.
- Pro Mode: For photography enthusiasts, the Pro mode offers manual control over settings like ISO, shutter speed, and white balance, giving you the flexibility to fine-tune your shots.
Battery Life & Charging
The Redmi 13C comes equipped with a sizable 5000mAh battery, which is now becoming a standard in mid-range smartphones. This substantial battery capacity translates into all-day longevity, even for heavy users. During my testing, I found that the 13C consistently delivered excellent battery life. For moderate users, you can easily stretch the battery to last a day and a half or more on a single charge. This means you can stream videos, browse the web, engage in social media, and tackle productivity tasks without constantly worrying about your battery percentage.
While the battery life is commendable, Xiaomi has also upgraded the charging speed for the Redmi 13C. It supports 18W fast charging, which is a step up from its predecessor, the Redmi 12C. This means that you can quickly top up your battery when needed, ensuring that you spend less time tethered to a charger. However, the inclusion of a 10W charger, means users might experience longer charging times. Investing in a faster charger could be a wise decision for those seeking quicker top-ups.
Charging from 0% to 50% takes around 30-40 minutes, and a full charge can be achieved in just under two hours. While this isn’t the fastest charging speed on the market, it strikes a balance between convenience and preserving battery health in the long run.
The Redmi 13C is poised to set new standards for Xiaomi’s 2024 lineup. Its solid build, improved design, and overall performance make it an attractive option in the budget smartphone market. Priced reasonably, it offers features like NFC, which are not always available in budget devices. The phone’s design is a standout feature, distinguishing it from other models in its price range. The drawbacks are the water drop display design, which feels outdated, and the use of the Helio G85 processor. I hope Xiaomi will update this in their future models.
The Redmi 13C is a commendable effort by Xiaomi to balance affordability with quality features. While it has some areas for improvement, its strengths in design, refresh rate, and performance make it a strong contender in the budget smartphone category. So, If you’re in the market for an affordable smartphone that doesn’t compromise on key features, the Redmi 13C is undoubtedly worth considering. This device showcases how budget-friendly smartphones are becoming increasingly capable, offering exceptional value for their price. In a limited-time offer, this smartphone is available for an incredibly low cost, particularly during a promotional period on AliExpress is priced at just $ 124.99.