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, making it good for content consumption as well. Its design is not only stylish, but also dust and splash resistant. Indeed, the Redmi 13C 5G seems to be the perfect starter phone for someone upgrading from a basic battery-life oriented smartphone. Or even for someone getting their first smartphone after years of using a feature phone. With this criteria in mind, let’s find out if the Redmi 13C 5G meets the fairly basic smartphone requirements of such a user.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Price in India

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

Of the three, it also offers the best value, as 6GB of RAM should help with basic multitasking and keeping apps in memory. Finally, there’s an 8GB RAM variant that comes with 256GB of storage. This option doesn’t break the bank with its Rs. Price 13,999, but it is at this price that buyers will find more attractive and competitive prices from Samsung and other brands.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Design

The Xiaomi 13C 5G has an elegant design with straight lines and flat sides. The back panel of the phone is made of polycarbonate, as well as its frame and chassis. However, it’s built well and feels pretty solid.

The phone has a 6.74-inch display with a waterdrop-shaped notch at the top for the selfie camera. Given the otherwise modern look, the waterdrop notch makes it look a bit dated once the display is on.

The back panel of the Xiaomi Redmi 13C’ 5Gs has a flat mint green appearance from afar

While most premium devices offer such large displays, these panels also have thin black borders. Being a budget phone, the Redmi 13C 5G doesn’t have these and so the large panel along with the thick bezel makes this phone too big to handle with one hand. At 192 grams, it’s also on the heavier side, but that’s not unusual 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) looks good in an understated way. It gives the back panel a lively look with subtle flowing lines that race 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’re not a fan of those animated back panels, then Starlight Black is a more subtle option.

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Hold it near a bright light source and you can see some running lines going from one side to the other

This modern and minimalist design also offers basic splash and dust resistance, but Xiaomi won’t confirm these ratings on its website, so they’re not official. So I don’t recommend submerging the phone in water or taking it out when it’s raining.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Specs and Software

The Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G has a MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ SoC, which is also found in some budget smartphones with slightly higher prices. The chipset is not performance oriented. It’s not built with gaming in mind, but it’s efficient at running everyday apps and provides solid 5G connectivity. And on that note, it offers support for multiple 5G bands (both NSA and SA) and also offers dual-band Wi-Fi for proper data connectivity in the home along with Bluetooth 5.3, which is more than enough to connect to your TWS headphones or other accessories. There is also support for common GPS navigation systems, so you won’t face any problems when using a map app for navigation. The phone has a 5000mAh battery and comes with a 10W charger in the box. The phone also offers microSD card memory expansion up to 1TB for those who need that extra space. Finally, there’s 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 preloaded third-party apps and games out of the box

What is a proper turn off (even at this price point) is the large number of pre-installed apps. And with that comes several duplicates like two web browsers (Chrome + Opera), two gallery apps (Gallery + Photos), two file managers (File Manager + Google Files) and many more. While I can uninstall and clean up the messes, they can become confusing and overwhelming for a first-time smartphone user. Add to that several spam notifications from apps like GetApp, Game Center and Theme Store on a daily basis and it really ruins the software experience.

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

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Performance

As far as software performance is concerned, our experience with the 8GB RAM + 256GB variant was quite smooth without any issues. Apps also stayed in memory, but we can’t say the same for the 4GB base variant as we weren’t able to test it.

The 6.74-inch HD+ LCD isn’t the sharpest we’ve seen at this price point. While its performance is adequate, showing the best colors in the standard display color scheme, I noticed a yellowish tint in the lower half of the panel when viewing it indoors.

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The LCD panel of the Redmi 13C 5G has a waterdrop notch at the top, accompanied by a thick bezel around the display

Since this is an LCD panel, it won’t be able to produce deep blacks like an AMOLED display. So you may find yourself squinting at the display when watching content with darker scenes. Surprisingly, there are phones like the Samsung Galaxy M34 5G that offer AMOLED displays around this price point.

While the Redmi 13C 5G’s display is bright enough indoors, I found it lacking when viewed outdoors, especially in direct sunlight. The content looks weak and the colors look a little washed out. If you spend most of your time outdoors or in the field (rather than in an office), then this might not be the right smartphone for you.

The screen’s 90Hz refresh rate, aside from making software animations and transitions look smooth, doesn’t really help in any other area, as games mostly run at medium graphics settings. While watching movies, this refresh rate stays locked at 60Hz and almost never drops to 30Hz.

I was happy to find Widevine L1 support on this phone, which means that streaming content is displayed in Full HD quality and everything looks sharp and clear. However, the single speaker, while decently clear, just wasn’t loud enough and I often ended up turning up the volume, which also resulted in some distortion.

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The bottom speaker of the Redmi 13C 5G is not loud enough for hands-free viewing

Battery life thanks to the energy-efficient processor, HD+ display and large battery was quite good. The phone easily lasts for a day and a half and this can be extended to two days with occasional use. Xiaomi offers 18W wired charging, but only comes with a 10W charger in the box, which is excruciatingly slow to charge this phone. The charger manages to charge 21 percent in 30 minutes and reach 40 percent in an hour, completing the charge in exactly 2 hours and 37 minutes. So if you end up buying this phone, add the optional 18W charger to your shopping cart.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G review: cameras

Photos taken using the main 50-megapixel camera in daylight lack detail and high-resolution sharpness. Objects in any given scene lack definition, so everything looks a bit bland. The HDR system also doesn’t do a good job of keeping highlights and dark areas under control, so I noticed a lot of clipped highlights in photos.

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

Shooting at 2X digital zoom only makes things worse, as most captured images look like paintings. Selfies captured by the 5-megapixel camera are just about acceptable in terms of overall quality, and portrait mode doesn’t see the edges of objects in the frame well. Things only get worse as most images are unusable when taken in low light or even with the dedicated night mode.

Crop with 2X digital zoom from the main camera (tap image to enlarge)

The second camera is only used to collect depth data for the main camera when portrait mode is used. However, the edge detection is also not good here. The same goes for the overall image quality. In short, despite the dual cameras and one selfie camera, you really only have access to one selfie camera and one rear camera.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G sample cameras: Top: Main camera in daylight, Bottom: Main 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 rich colors. They’re low on detail, have a choppy frame rate, and lack stabilization, so they look pretty shaky when panning.

Xiaomi Redmi 13C 5G Review: Verdict

Indeed, Xiaomi has taken a few steps with its Redmi 13C 5G to deliver 5G connectivity (often referred to as the ‘5G tax’) to this sub-Rs. 11,000 price point. This would include an extremely bloated and spammy software experience, poor camera performance (even for a budget phone), and very slow loading times.

At the same time, it ticks several boxes when it comes to style, content streaming (clearer videos), battery life, and a seamless (still dated) software experience. But it’s really hard to recommend, given that smartphones like the Motorola Moto G34 exist. It offers a smoother display, cleaner software interface (updated to Android 14), stereo sound and faster charging. And that’s assuming you can overlook 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 much better high resolution AMOLED panel with full HD+ 120Hz, updated software with OneUI 6.0 (Android 14), a better choice of cameras and a 6000mAh battery.

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