Xiaomi Redmi K20 review: For premium phones its natural for buyers to turn to brands like OnePlus, Samsung or Apple. Xiaomi isn’t essentially a name that comes to your mind thanks to its focus, so far, on affordable Android smartphones. But Xiaomi, which is now India’s largest smartphone brand, wants to shed the “budget” phone maker image with its new K20 range.
At Rs 21,999, the Redmi K20 has the look of the flagship K20 Pro and the price of a standard premium mid-range smartphone. Design, performance, camera, and battery are all superior. In fact, the price of the K20 falls nicely in between the top-end Redmi Note 7 Pro and K20 Pro.
But in terms of what it does, the Redmi K20 is a well-thought-out product for which most people wouldn’t mind paying Rs 21,999. In a typical Xiaomi tradition, the Redmi K20 shows good phones don’t need to cost too much.
Here’s our review:
Xiaomi Redmi K20 specifications: 6.39-inch FHD+ AMOLED display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 | 6GB RAM | 64GB/128GB storage |in-display fingerprint scanner |48MP+8MP+13MP triple rear cameras | 20MP pop-up selfie cameras | 4000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 | MIUI 10 | Type-C | 3.5mm headphone jack | Dual SIM slot
Xiaomi Redmi K20 price in India: Rs 21,999 for the 6GB RAM/64GB storage option
Xiaomi Redmi K20 review: Design that clicks
In the Redmi sub-brand, the design wasn’t given that much priority given the focus on churning mid-range devices. The Redmi K20 changes all that.
The Redmi K20 is basically an identical twin of the K20 Pro, a more premium version which retails for Rs 27,999. From a design point of view, there are no distinctive differences between the two phones. Like the K20 Pro, the K20 has the 3D glass back with a flame-like design and an all-screen display thanks to the pop-up camera, curved edges and an anodised aluminum frame. On the right-hand side, there’s a volume rocker and power button. That button has been painted red reminding one of the Mate 20 Pro.
The left-hand side of the device is button-free. The bottom of the phone houses a USB-C port, a SIM card tray, and a mono speaker. The top edge of the device has a pop-up camera and, thankfully, a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Redmi K20 has a P2i rating, meaning the phone is splash-proof. Keep in mind that this is not equivalent to IP67 which stands for dust- and water-resistance, like the iPhone XR.
The phone is 8.8mm thick and weighs 191 grams, which is slightly heavier than the Samsung Galaxy A70 (versus 7.9mm and 183 grams). I believe the pop-up camera module added weight and thickness to the phone. Despite that, the device feels comfortable to hold for longer periods. Also, I didn’t face any issues slipping the phone into my jeans pocket. Though I would like to mention here is that the glass back can be slippery at times, but thankfully the phone comes with a premium case that protects the device from external damage.
I reviewed the Glacier Blue colour variant of Redmi K20, but the phone also comes in Carbon Black or Flame Red. Overall, I found the K20’s design an attention grabber for various reasons.
Xiaomi Redmi K20 review: Beautiful AMOLED display
The K20 is also the first smartphone introduced under the Redmi sub-brand to feature an AMOLED display instead of the standard LCD display, which means it offers richer colors and better contrast. The phone has a 6.39-inch AMOLED screen with a 2,340 x 1,080-pixel resolution, and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. It’s covered in Gorilla Glass 5 for protection.
Xiaomi calls the screen “Horizon AMOLED display”, and it’s certainly impressive. Although a bit reflective, the always-on display is better than many other phones in the same price bracket. Yes, this is no match to SAMOLED panels on the Galaxy A-series, but it’s still good.
Watching movies on the AMOLED panel is nothing short of joy. I watched Gully Boy on Amazon Prime Video, and the HDR-certified screen was vibrant with stunning colors and impressive contrast. That’s not all. You will also find an option to change the screen colour and contrast, plus there’s a system-wide dark mode and as well as a built-in reading mode, which is really helpful when browsing the web or reading ebooks at night.
Xiaomi Redmi K20 review: Likable performance
The Redmi K20 is one of the first phones to launch in India featuring the Snapdragon 730 processor which improves performance and introduces a flagship camera experience. This is Qualcomm’s newest processor and is two-tiers below the flagship Snapdragon 855. For comparison, the Realme X runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710.
With 6GB onboard RAM, the phone performed well above my expectations. All of my apps, Facebook, Twitter, OLX, Spotify, and Google Docs, open quickly. The Snapdragon 730 is a powerful processor that can handle any game. I played Asphalt 9, Dungeon Hunter 5 and Alto’s Odyssey; there was no lag or jitter while playing these games, although the phone did warm up after a long gaming session which is normal.
It’s worth noting that the Redmi K20 doesn’t have expandable storage. The 64GB non-expandable storage is a deal-breaker for some, especially those who like to store a lot of games, movies and MP3 files on the phone. For them, it’s a request to buy the 128GB storage model, but for that be prepared to shell out extra Rs 2,000.
In terms of battery life, the K20’s 4,000mAh battery promises plenty of juice. I used my phone mostly for listening to music, watching videos, taking pictures, checking emails and social media. On a typical weekday, the Redmi 20 lasted from 8.30 am through to about 11 pm at night and still had some juice left. The phone supports 18W of fast-charging, which refills the battery in less than an hour.
The Redmi K20 runs on Android 9 Pie with the MIUI 10 overlay on top. If you are familiar with MIUI, then you know there are a couple of additions and nice touches to Android, including Mi Video, Mi Music, Mi Pay, Notes app, screen recorder, and a file manager.
You won’t find a fingerprint sensor on the back of the K20. Instead, this resides underneath the display panel. I found it fast and easy to use. Audio from a single-bottom firing speaker was surprisingly good. The inclusion of a headphone jack is a big plus.
Xiaomi Redmi K20 review: Excellent triple cameras
Another plus point of Redmi K20 is its cameras, three of them to be precise. A 48MP Sony IMX582 F1.75 aperture main lens with 4-in-1 Super Pixel technology, a 13MP ultra-wide lens, and an 8MP telephoto lens.
The Redmi K20 is capable of taking crisp and colorful photos. As you can see above, the Redmi K20 has a detailed photo of Ganesha. When you zoom in the photo, there is no loss when it comes to details and colour accuracy. In the shot (below), I managed to click a close-up picture of a pigeon in focus and sharpness that’s hard to ignore as you enlarge the file on your monitor. It just shows how quickly the camera focuses and captures an image.
Bokeh shots weren’t great, though. I hope a camera update can fix the issue. The wide-angle lens is solid. It takes shots with a wider field of view, which makes it easy for shooting landscapes or group photos. The K20 also excellent in taking night shots, plus there is a night mode for improved low-light shots.
Take a look at some photo samples below.
Selfies are kind of okay. The 20MP pop-up camera, even though feels sturdy and takes half a second, processes images so much that it loses detail.
Video can be captured at 1080p resolution and 60/30 frames per second (fps), plus there’s the standard slo-mo mode as well (720p at up to 960 frames per second). The phone doesn’t support 4K video capture at 60fps, though. Still, if you do care about video recording, Redmi K20 is a nice option.
Xiaomi Redmi K20 review: Conclusion
Many say Xiaomi is overcharging for the phone, some even say the phone should be priced at par with the Realme X, which starts Rs 16,999. I beg to differ. The Redmi K20 is a superior smartphone for Rs 21,999.
I am not the biggest admirer of Xiaomi phones, but the Redmi K20 has caught my attention. I genuinely liked the phone. The Redmi K20 shines in many areas, particularly in design, display, battery and user interface. Camera performance is decent, too.
If you can afford, get the Redmi K20. No one is stopping you from buying the Realme X, either. If you don’t care that much about the best display or processor, the Redmi Note 7 Pro is still your best bet. It starts at just Rs 13,999.