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Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review
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Xiaomi’s Redmi 13C aims to offer a solid 5G experience coupled with an interesting-looking design and good battery life. It even adds a large display to the mix which makes it good for content consumption as well. Its design is not only stylish but is also dust and splash resistant. Indeed, it seems like the Redmi 13C 5G is the perfect starter phone for someone who’s upgrading from a rather basic battery-life oriented, entry-level smartphone. Or even for someone who is getting their first smartphone after years of using a feature phone. Keeping this criteria in mind let’s find out if the Redmi 13C 5G caters to the rather basic smartphone requirements of such a user.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Price in India

The Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G is priced from Rs. 10,499 in India. At that price tag you get 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which basically is entry-level hardware to keep the software experience and apps chugging along. However, it’s also nice to see 128GB of base storage, which should be enough to cater to the app requirements of most smartphone buyers at this price point. The phone is also available in a more future-proof 6GB RAM variant, which is attractively priced at Rs. 11,999.

Out of the three, it also offers the best value, as 6GB of RAM should help with basic multitasking and keeping apps in memory. Lastly, there’s the 8GB RAM variant, which comes with 256GB of storage. This variant does not break the bank with its Rs. 13,999 price tag, but it’s at this price point that buyers will find more attractive and competitively priced options from Samsung and other brands.

The Xiaomi 13C 5G has a slick-looking design with straight lines and flat sides. The phone’s rear panel is made out of polycarbonate and so is its frame and chassis. However, it’s built well and feels quite solid.

The phone has a 6.74-inch display with a water drop-shaped notch at the top for the selfie camera. Given the otherwise modern appearance, the water drop notch does make it look a bit dated once the display is switched on.

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The Xiaomi Redmi 13C’ 5Gs rear panel has a flat mint-green appearance from afar

While most premium devices offer such large displays, these panels also have skinny black borders. Since this is a budget phone, the Redmi 13C 5G does not have these, and so the large panel, along with the thick bezel, makes this phone a bit too large to handle with one hand. At 192 grams, its weight is also on the heavier side, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary, given its size.

I’m not a fan of flashy rear panels, but the Startrail Green finish (which is similar to the Startrail Silver finish) does look nice in an understated way. It gives the rear panel an animated appearance with fine running lines which race across from side to side. These lines animate when light hits the phone at an angle. Otherwise, the phone appears to have a mostly flat and solid green finish. If you aren’t a fan of these animated rear panels, then Starlight Black is a more subtle option.

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Hold it under near a source of bright light, and you can see some running lines going from side to side

This modern and minimalist design also offers basic splash and dust resistance, but Xiaomi won’t confirm these ratings on its website, so they aren’t official. Therefore, I do not recommend dunking this phone in water or pulling it out when it’s raining.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Specifications and Software

The Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G has a MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ SoC, which is also found in some budget smartphones that are priced a bit higher. The chipset is not a performance-oriented one. It’s not built with gaming in mind, but it is efficient when running day-to-day apps and delivers solid 5G connectivity. And, on that note, it offers support for numerous 5G bands (both NSA and SA) and also offers dual-band Wi-Fi for proper in-home data connectivity along with Bluetooth 5.3, which is more than sufficient for connecting to your TWS earphones or other accessories. There’s also support for the usual GPS navigation systems, so you won’t face any issues when using a maps app for navigation. The phone has a 5,000mAh battery and comes with a 10W charger in the box. The phone also offers microSD card storage expansion of up to 1TB for those who need that extra space. Lastly, there is a fingerprint reader for secure biometric authentication, and it worked reliably during the testing phase of this review.

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The Redmi 13C 5G has plenty of pre-loaded third-party apps and games out of the box

What is a proper turn-off (even at this price point) is the sheer number of pre-installed apps. And with this come several duplicates like two web browsers (Chrome + Opera), two gallery apps (Gallery + Photos), two file managers (File Manager + Google Files) and plenty more. While I could uninstall and clean up the clutter, these can get confusing and overwhelming for a first-time smartphone user. Add to this several spammy notifications from apps like GetApp, Game Center and the Theme Store on a daily basis and it does end up ruining the software experience.

The phone runs MIUI 14, which is based on Android 13. Even for a budget phone in 2024, this feels a bit dated. The software experience is typically MIUI, which is a bit dated, but the upcoming HyperOS update should improve this experience.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Performance

As for software performance, our experience on the 8GB RAM + 256 GB variant was quite smooth with no hiccups. Apps also remained in memory, but we cannot say the same about the 4GB base variant, as we did not get to test that one out.

The 6.74-inch HD+ LCD display is not the sharpest one we have seen at this price point. While its performance is adequate, showing the best colours at its Standard display colour scheme, I did notice a yellowish cast in the bottom half of the panel when viewing it indoors.

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The Redmi 13C 5G’s LCD panel has a water drop notch at the top accompanied by a thick bezel all around the display

Since it is an LCD panel, it will not be able to produce the deep blacks like an AMOLED display does. So you may end up squinting at the display when viewing content with darker scenes. Surprisingly, there are phones like the Samsung Galaxy M34 5G which offer AMOLED displays around this price point.

While the Redmi 13C 5G’s display is bright enough indoors, I found it insufficient when viewed outdoors, especially under direct sunlight. The content appears dim, and the colours appear a bit washed out. If you spend most of your time outdoors or out in the field (instead of an office), then this might not be the right smartphone for you.

The 90Hz screen refresh rate apart from making the software animations and transitions appear smooth, does not really help in any other area, as games mostly work at medium graphics settings. While watching movies this refresh rate remains locked at 60Hz and almost never drops to 30Hz.

I was happy to find Widevine L1 support on this phone, meaning that streaming content appears at Full HD quality, and everything appears sharp and crisp. However, the single-speaker, while decently clear, was just not loud enough, and I often ended up maxing out the volume level, which also led to some noticeable distortion.

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The Redmi 13C 5G’s bottom-firing speaker is not loud enough for hands-free viewing

Battery life thanks to the power-efficient processor, HD+ display and the large battery was pretty good. The phone easily lasted a day and a half, and this can be stretched to two days with casual usage. Xiaomi does offer 18W wired charging but only offers a 10W charger in the box, which is excruciatingly slow to charge this phone up. The charger manages a 21 percent charge in 30 minutes and reaches 40 percent in an hour, completing the charge in exactly 2 hours and 37 minutes. So, if you do end up purchasing this phone, do add the optional 18W charger to your shopping cart.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Cameras

Photos captured using the primary 50-megapixel camera in daylight don’t pack in much-resolved detail and sharpness. Objects in any given scene lack definition, so everything appears a bit soft. The HDR system also does a poor job of keeping the bright spots and dark areas in check, so I did notice plenty of clipped highlights in photographs.

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The phone offers two rear cameras, out of which only one is accessible to the user

Shooting at 2X digital zoom only worsens things, as most images captured end up looking like paintings. Selfies captured by the 5-megapixel camera are just about passable in terms of overall quality, and the Portrait mode cannot see the edges of subjects in the frame well. Things only get worse with most images not being usable when captured in low light or even with the dedicated Night mode.

A 2X digital zoom crop from the primary camera (tap image to expand)

The second camera is only used for gathering depth data for the primary camera when using the Portrait mode. However, edge detection isn’t great here, either. And the same goes for the overall quality of images. In short, despite the dual cameras and a selfie camera, you really only have access to one selfie camera and one rear camera.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G camera samples: Top: Primary camera in daylight, bottom: Primary camera in low light (tap images to expand)

The Redmi 13C 5G maxes out at 1080p 30fps when recording video. The quality of these videos is mostly average, with decent dynamic range and saturated colours. They are low on detail, have a choppy framerate, and lack stabilisation, so they appear quite shaky when panning.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Verdict

Indeed, Xiaomi has cut a few corners with its Redmi 13C 5G to deliver 5G connectivity (often referred to as the “5G tax”) at this sub-Rs. 11,000 price point. This would include a supremely bloated and spammy software experience, poor camera performance (even for a budget phone) and very slow charging.

At the same time, it does check a few boxes when it comes to style, content streaming (clearer videos), battery life and a smooth (yet outdated) software experience. But it’s really hard to recommend, given that smartphones like the Motorola Moto G34 exist. It offers a smoother display, a cleaner software interface (updated to Android 14), stereo sound and faster charging. And this provided you can ignore its average camera performance.

If you are looking for more value and don’t mind spending Rs. 13,999, then the Samsung Galaxy M34 5G is a solid contender. It offers a far superior high-resolution full-HD+ 120Hz AMOLED panel, updated software with OneUI 6.0 (Android 14), a better selection of cameras, and a 6,000mAh battery.

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