Update (November 18): Added leaked live images of the phone
Update (November 19): Added Chinese launch date
Update (November 25): Added more live images with specifications
Update (December 5): Added final design, camera and specifications
The Xiaomi Redmi K20 was a unique device that brought a lot of firsts to the market. Not only did it bring high-end specifications to a new, lower price point, but it was also Xiaomi’s first affordable flagship under Redmi.
Flagships from other brands weren’t getting any cheaper, and Redmi’s entry to this space shook things up, while also starting a price war.
In the post-launch press conference, Manu Kumar Jain, the VP of Xiaomi India, said that there was nothing more they could’ve added to the Redmi K20 series at that price. That’s a statement most people would agree with, considering that it shipped with the then industry-leading Snapdragon 855 chipset, brought an AMOLED display with no notch, a big battery with fast charging, a premium glass design, triple cameras on the back and a headphone jack! All of that for a starting price of under Rs 30,000.
But as it is with smartphones and tech in general, making the right product is only half the story; succeeding it with an even better product in the time that follows is what shows a brand’s commitment to a product line and the market. With the bar set high, Xiaomi will need to bring another killer flagship to the ruthless sub 30K segment. Let’s evaluate how well the Redmi K30 is poised to do that.
Back in October, during the Redmi 8 press conference in China, Xiaomi’s GM Lu Weibing went on to confirm that the Redmi K30 was already in development, and shared a few specifics about what to expect from their next flagship.
Cut to the Chase
- What is it? The successor to the Redmi K20 Pro
- When is it out? Early 2020 (December, for China)
- What will it cost? Should start at under Rs 30K in India
Redmi K30 release date in India
The Redmi K30 is said to debut sometime in early 2020 and will be one of the first flagships of the year. It will eventually make it to India in the following months. A clear launch timeframe is yet to be confirmed, so we’ll have to wait for more clarity on this.
The Redmi K20 series had a 6-week difference between its Chinese and Indian launch dates, and that could continue with the K30 as well.
Update (November 19)
At the Xiaomi Developers Conference, CEO Lei Jun revealed that the company would launch the Redmi K30 in December with 5G support. Redmi General Manager Lu Weibing earlier indicated that the Redmi K30 would be announced in 2020, but it seems like that's not going to be the case. However, it could be possible that the company announces the Redmi K30 in December while it's Pro variant might break cover in early-2020.
In China, the phone will be unveiled on December 10.
Just a week before the launch, we have our first official look at the device. The back seems to be made out of glass, with four cameras placed vertically along the spine. Decorative circles can be seen around the cameras as well, but those are likely just for aesthetics.
The slide shows the phone to have fairly slim bezels on the sides as well as the top. While the Redmi K20 had no notch, it seems like the Redmi K30 will do away with the pop-up selfie camera mechanism in favour of a punch-hole notch with two selfie cameras. It will be Xiaomi’s first device with a punch-hole display.
The AMOLED construction and in-display fingerprint scanner should make a return. With a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080, it is also confirmed that we are looking at a 20:9 aspect ratio spread across 6.67-inches.
The bezel over the display also seems to house the earpiece. No renders of the back are shared, but we expect it to continue offering a curved glass panel with multiple cameras.
Update (November 18)
Live images of the purported Redmi K30 made rounds on the internet, which showed a phone with a dual punch-hole camera. Take this with a grain of salt, but there are no other mainstream smartphones in the market with a pill-shaped notch on the right corner with a flat display. This could very well be our first look at the device.
Update (November 25)
Additional live images of the device surfaced on Weibo, but clad in a pre-production embargo case. However, the front is still visible which shows the tall display with the dual punch-hole notch.
The display also confirms a few more elements of the Redmi K30 (Pro?). The display can switch between 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rate, which is going to be a big trend for 2020. The internal specifications as recognized by the AIDA64 benchmark suggests the use of an Adreno 618 GPU, which implies that at least one of the variants is powered by the Snapdragon 730 GPU. The last screenshot reveals that it will run on MIUI 11, but it's unclear if it will be based on Android Pie or 10.
Processor and performance
The Redmi K20 Pro was the cheapest phone with the Snapdragon 855 chipset, while the Redmi K20 was the first to be powered by the Snapdragon 730. Earlier rumors suggested that Xiaomi will opt for the Snapdragon 865, but a new leak mentions that Xiaomi will opt for a MediaTek chipset this time.
If the leak is to be believed, this will be the second major device by Xiaomi to be powered by a MediaTek chipset instead of a Snapdragon one, with the first one being the Redmi Note 8 Pro. The chipset’s name has not yet revealed, but it will be manufactured using a 7nm node.
MediaTek has a flagship chipset in development that will be even more powerful than the Helio G90T and is expected to go into mass production later this year. Considering that the Snapdragon 865 platform is yet to be officially unveiled, it might not be ready in time for the Redmi K30, or might be too expensive in the beginning.
Update (November 25)
At least one of the variants will be powered by the Snapdragon 730 chipset. Leaked AIDA64 benchmark results mention the inclusion of the Adreno 618 GPU, which is the only compliant GPU.
Update (December 5)
With Qualcomm having announced the new 5G-enabled Snapdragon 765G, we could see it being implemented on one of the variants.
Another teaser confirmed that the phone will house a big 4,500mAh battery with support for 30W fast charging, which will charge the phone entirely in an hour.
The other reason to go for the upcoming MediaTek chipset is 5G compatibility. The yet-to-be-named chipset is said to be significantly cheaper than the competition’s 5G offering, and the Redmi K30 could thus be one of the more affordable 5G flagships to come out in 2020.
The phone will support Dual 5G, making it compliant with both SA (Standalone) and NSA (Non-Standalone) modes for theoretically better connectivity relying on existing LTE infrastructure where 5G deployment might not be up to the mark.
The same chipset will also be available in a non-5G flavor for markets such as India where 5G could take a few more years to be mainstream, to keep the costs down. MediaTek has confirmed that the SoC will debut in European and Chinese markets in the first phase, before coming to India.
Update (November 19)
Xiaomi's CEO Lei Jun stated that starting 2020, all of Xiaomi's phones priced over CNY 2,000 (Rs 20,000) will have support for 5G networks. He went on to reveal that the company is eyeing at least ten smartphones with 5G support for launch next year.
Update (November 25)
The Redmi K30 has supposedly passed through the Chinese CCC certification, where it was listed as a "5G digital mobile phone". The listing also states the inclusion of a 30W fast charger.
For the first half of 2018, including the Redmi K20 series, most Xiaomi phones had a 48MP primary, implementing the Sony IMX 586 image sensor. However, the following months saw them bring 64MP image sensors to the budget segment and even 108MP sensors with phones such as the Mi Note 10/Mi CC9 Pro. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Xiaomi bring one of these to its upcoming flagship.
The Redmi K20 was also the cheapest phone of its time to bring a triple camera setup consisting of a wide, an ultra-wide and a telephoto lens, completing the focal length trifecta. The Redmi K30 should logically build upon this with a telephoto lens with a higher optical zoom.
A fourth camera in the form of a depth sensor or a macro shooter could also make an appearance, as most of Xiaomi’s new phones have also pivoted to that.
As for the dual selfie cameras, expect a 32MP primary shooter alongside an ultrawide camera for groufies.
Update (December 5)
Official images of the Redmi K30 Pro show a quad-camera setup. The primary camera is going to be the new Sony IMX686 image sensor which has a resolution of 60MP before pixel-binning.
Redmi K30 price in India
With the Redmi K30, Xiaomi might once again move to a single smartphone, not launching a ‘Pro’ variant with better internal specifications. The only difference we might see would be a 5G variant and an LTE variant for the other markets.
The Redmi K20 Pro was launched at Rs 27,999 for the 6GB + 128GB variant and went up from that. Considering that the competition has since crowded the Rs 35K segment, the Redmi K30 is once again expected to start at under Rs 30,000 for the non-5G variant in India.