There are phones you need to compare with others and weigh the pros and cons. And there are phones you know you can get right away with no second thoughts to follow. The Xiaomi Redmi 3 is of the latter kind, and if you've followed our review so far, you probably know it already.
Just like the Redmi Note 3 and the Mi 4c, the Redmi 3 offers a lot more than its price suggests and you can tell Xiaomi has put lots of efforts building it. The attention to detail is noticeable immediately when you open the retail box - the Redmi 3 metal body and premium design can't be matched by any sub-€150 smartphone.
But the Redmi 3 is not all about the looks. It is the whole package - an excellent display, snappy hardware, a good camera, decent battery life, and the latest MIUI 7 interface. It ticks all the right boxes, and you would find it hard to resist its attractive bargain price.
The Redmi 3 is currently sold only in China, so almost every international store is offering gray imports, which may or may not come with the language you need. And now that Xiaomi locks its bootloaders changing the ROM down the road may not be as easy. You would also have to rely only on your store for hardware or software support, so that's another consideration to keep in mind.
We couldn't find a phone to match the design and power of the Redmi 3 at this price point, so we increased our limit a bit to find matching competitors.
So, the first device to match the Redmi 3 is the recently launched Oppo F1. It has the premium looks, the same display, and chipset, but focuses on the camera department - it has a 13MP rear snapper and an 8MP selfie shooter. The battery capacity is less impressive, though, and the F1 costs about €230.
The plastic Meizu's m2 hit the shelves last July and is slightly cheaper than the Redmi 3. It has a similar 5" 720p display but runs on a less powerful quad-core processor. The rest is pretty much the same as on the Redmi 3. The Flyme launcher has a strong user base, so you may want to check it out.
The 5.5" Meizu m1 metal will offer a bigger, and higher-res display, more powerful Helio X10 hardware and a metal unibody for some extra €55. We found it quite a capable device.
ZTE's Nubia Z9 mini offers a 5" display with higher 1080p resolution and runs on a very similar Snapdragon 615 chip. It has the looks and even offers better cameras, but the Snapdragon 615 can choke in graphic-intensive tasks when powering a Full HD screen. The Z9 mini costs €50 more, but we aren't sure if the extra screen resolution is worth the halved performance.
Finally, the Redmi Note 3 is what you need if you are after a bigger screen. For the extra €30, you will be getting a larger version of the Redmi 3 with more powerful hardware and a higher resolution screen.
The verdict is quite easy - if you want a 5" smartphone, and you are on a budget, then the Xiaomi Redmi 3 seems like the perfect choice and we can recommend it in a heartbeat.
Special thanks to HonorBuy for providing the review unit.