We're used to seeing manufacturers take a green stand with packaging made of recycled materials and Xiaomi's retail box is by no means a novelty. The phone comes with just the basics - an A/C adapter and a USB cable. There is no headset in the box, which isn't ideal but is much easier to swallow at this price point.
The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is by no means huge but perhaps it could've been a little more compact for its screen size. At 137 x 69 x 9.9mm, it is about the size of the flagship Xiaomi Mi 4, but thicker.
To be fair though, there're more relevant points of reference. Sony's Xperia M2 is of similar dimensions and the Moto G itself isn't impressively compact either. The weight of 158g is perhaps a little above average.
When it comes to design Xiaomi Redmi 1S is by no means a head-turner and doesn't get carried away trying to pull off a premium look. The red capacitive key icons are a nice accent, while the matte plastic rear cover is practical and looks durable, well in tune with the overall design that's sensible rather than captivating.
With fancy materials and finish hard to come by in that price range , the Xiaomi Redmi 1S gets the right things right. It is indeed a very well built smartphone, no squeaks when handled and everything seems to fit tightly in place. The only bit we are not particularly fond of is the love for fingerprints that the whole body shows and that surprisingly includes the matte plastic back.
The front is entirely covered by AGC Dragontrail glass, something which the high-end Xiaomi Mi 4 fails to offer. The screen ends on a slim frame of glossy black plastic, the sides are actually covered by the matte battery cover.
While the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is by no means compact, it's easy enough to handle and carry. The build is solid and the simple finish looks like it'll last and that can't be said for too many phones in this price range.
The Xiaomi Redmi 1S has a pretty standard set of controls. The smartphone uses capacitive buttons beneath the display, marked with a rare red tint.
The 1.6MP front-facing camera is next to the earpiece, where you'll also spot the ambient light and proximity sensors.
The left side of the phone is completely bare. On the right, we find the silver volume rocker and the power/lock key.
The top of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S only features the 3.5 mm headphone jack. The bottom is where the microUSB port and the primary microphone are.
The 8MP camera lens, accompanied by a single-LED flash and the secondary microphone are at the back. The loudspeaker grille is a bit unusually placed near the top. Perhaps the idea was for the projecting camera module to help it not get muffled when the phone is lying flat on a table.
The rear cover of the Redmi 1S is user-removable and lets you reach the 2,000mAh battery, the hot-swappable microSD card slot and the two SIM compartments. The Xiaomi Redmi 1S uses standard mini SIM cards.