Xiaomi has announced the Redmi 3, the latest version of its budget smartphone. The five-inch device, which sports a full metal body for the first time and a new diamond lattice design, goes on sale January 12 for 699 CNY, that’s around $107 and is the same price tag as its predecessor.
The Chinese phone maker looks to be upgrading its devices from plastic to metal casing. The phablet-sized Redmi Note 3 got the metallic treatment when it was unveiled in December, but, interestingly, while the Note 3 became Xiaomi’s first device with a fingerprint scanner — unlocking potential for payments and other services — the Redmi 3 doesn’t have a scanner. We asked Xiaomi why, but the company declined to comment. It’s certainly an odd move to omit that feature.
The other major change in the Redmi is a larger battery — 4100 mAh — which Xiaomi claims gives the device an additional 80 percent of juice versus the previous version. In terms of other specs: you can expect an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-device storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera and five-megapixel front camera.
Xiaomi has come under pressure this year for forgoing its annual tradition of revealing its total sales for last year. That’s almost certainly because it undershot its target of 80 million, which had been revised from an initial 100 million. (It sold 61 million devices in 2014.) The company has scaled at speed over the past few years, but growth is slowing down in line with lessening demand in China and a realization that replicate its domestic success overseas will take time.
What we can expect to see soon, however, is Xiaomi’s next flagship — the Mi 5 — which Hugo Barra, head of international, teased on Twitter. No sneak peaks at the device just yet, though.