Redmi 13C 5G First Impressions: Upgrades

 

The much-awaited upgrade to the Redmi 12C, which was launched just six months ago in June this year, has finally arrived. It’s called the Redmi 13C 5G and surprisingly, Xiaomi has also decided on retaining a 4G model of the same, which could be priced lower. As its product name clearly implies, the new Redmi13C 5G still remains an entry-level offering from the brand but adds 5G connectivity to the mix.

There is also a new design language and hardware, some of which seem to mimic the Redmi 12 5G, which is comfortably placed at the lower end of the budget smartphone segment. I’ve spent a few hours with the new and improved Redmi 13C 5G, and here are my first impressions.

Right off the bat, it’s easy to tell that Redmi 13C 5G follows a newer design philosophy that we have seen on more recent models like the Redmi 12 5G, which was released in August this year. Gone is the basic plastic appearance and feel of the Redmi 12C. The 13C 5G is still made of polycarbonate for its frame and rear screen but gets a modern appearance with flat sides and a flat rear panel.

This rear panel, although made of plastic, is quite the looker. It has this unique finish which Xiaomi calls its Star Trail Design. It shows two separate patterns, one with running lines, which seems to move when you tilt the phone off-axis. The second is a more familiar sparkle or shimmer. These give the phone a dual finish of sorts. While its colour remains the same, it’s nice to see Xiaomi get creative with an entry-level device.

The Redmi 13C 5G has this unique Star Trails Design, which appears to move or animate when titled from side to side

Unlike the 12C, which had an IP52 rating, Xiaomi states that its Redmi 13C 5G is splash-resistant and offers dust protection without giving it an official IP rating.

Despite its flat and chiselled appearance, I did find the phone quite large, but that’s probably down to its 6.74-inch, 1,600 x 720 pixels LCD panel. It’s protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, which is the same as on the Redmi 12 5G. There is a U-shaped display notch at the top and a thick bezel at the bottom, which differentiates it well from the budget Redmi 12 5G, which has a hole-punch cavity for its selfie camera and appears more premium. The display, too, has gotten an upgrade, now managing a 90Hz maximum screen refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate, which could be useful to gamers.

Despite its appearance, there’s only one user-accessible camera on this device

Inside, there’s an upgraded MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ SoC, which is a noticeable upgrade over the Redmi 12C’s dated MediaTek Helio G85 SoC. There are also plenty more RAM options to choose from.

There’s a 4GB RAM and 128GB storage variant, a 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant and even an 8GB RAM and 256GB storage variant, all of which offer 1TB of expandable storage. All of these variants also offer up to 8GB of expandable virtual RAM.

As for the cameras, things appear to remain the same as before. Xiaomi offers a 50-megapixel primary camera paired with a depth camera (which is not accessible by the user). So, this is still a single-camera experience. Selfies are handled by a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

The micro-USB port from the Redmi 12C has been updated to a USB-C port on the Redmi 13C 5G

What seemed less impressive is Xiaomi’s approach to software for its entry-level smartphones. There’s MIUI 14, which is a good thing, but it’s based on Android 13. There are plenty of preinstalled third-party apps, and it just took a few hours of use to understand how much of a mess the software is as I was constantly bombarded by spammy notifications from various preinstalled apps. There are also several preinstalled games along with numerous third-party apps.

The Redmi 13C 5G gets the same battery as its predecessor in terms of capacity, which was 5,000mAh. However, Xiaomi has managed to increase the charging speeds from 10W to 18W, which should be a lot faster. However, Xiaomi continues to offer a 10W charger in the box. And yes, this also means that there’s a Type-C port at the bottom instead of a micro-USB port on the previous model.

The U-shaped display notch does make the phone appear a bit dated despite its otherwise chiselled appearance

Sure, the Redmi 13C 5G seems like a well-rounded update. But it’s all expected to show up with a higher price tag, which is something Xiaomi will reveal in the coming days. Thankfully, it will appear justified given that the actual successor to the Redmi 12C is the Redmi 13C, which is the non-5G variant of the same device.

At the time of writing, Xiaomi has not provided us with details about its standard Redmi 13C (4G) model but did comment that it would have a lower resolution selfie camera, among other minor changes, versus the 5G model. So, do stay tuned for our review of the entry-level Redmi 13C 5G to find out if it’s worth the premium over the Redmi 12C or the 13C or whether it gets cannibalised by the budget Redmi 12 5G (Review) instead.

2 Comments

  1. […] Xiaomi’s Redmi 12 5G is the brand’s recent 5G budget offering after it launched the 4G variant in India. The smartphone starts at Rs. 11,999 for 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Going over the specs, keep in mind that this phone is focused on consumers looking to get 5G on a budget. I’ve been using the top variant which has 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage, which is priced at Rs. 15,499. Does Xiaomi succeed in delivering the claimed experience? Let’s find out, in this review. […]

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