Is the Redmi K20 Pro really the “Flagship Killer” it claims to be?

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When the OnePlus 7 Pro was revealed about a month ago, there’s a chance that you may have come across ads or posters online that said something along the lines of “Flagship Killer 2.0”. In case you didn’t know, they were put up by Xiaomi to promote the reveal of their new phone, the Redmi K20 Pro.

The phrase, “Flagship Killer” was coined by OnePlus back when they launched their first phone, the OnePlus One. This was to signify how the company managed to provide flagship level specs in a phone for a much lower price. Over the years, as the technology advanced, the prices of these flagship killers also rose. To the point that the latest OnePlus 7 Pro starts at $669. This is a huge gap from the humble beginnings of the OnePlus One, which started at $299.


A lot of people aren’t happy with the gradual rise in prices from OnePlus, which is noticed by other manufacturers like Xiaomi. Needless to say, they have decided to take advantage of this and come up with a smartphone that rivals the mighty 7 Pro for a remarkably low price. This is exactly what the Redmi K20 Pro is. Does it overthrow the OnePlus 7 Pro from its best value smartphone title? Let’s find out.

Design & Display

Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
Image: Xiaomi

Like every other phone that coming out these days, the K20 Pro features a glass and metal design. The front and back are made of Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5 that are separated by a metal band sandwiched in between. However, unlike most phones featuring a similar design, there’s a lot more to the back glass.

If you choose to get the Flame Red or the Glacier Blue variant then you’ll be pleased to find that there’s a rather cool looking pattern at the back. It is more prominent on the outer edges of the device and gradually fades to black at the center. Believe me when I say that it looks absolutely stunning under direct sunlight. It’s definitely one of the best-looking glass backs on a smartphone, if not the best.

Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
Image: Xiaomi

Coming to the front, you have a 2340×1080 6.39″ Super AMOLED display which takes up most of the space. In fact, you get an incredible 86.1% screen-to-body ratio, which is just a hair less than that of the OnePlus 7 Pro. Unlike the 7 Pro, the refresh rate of this display is just 60 Hz and doesn’t support HDR10+.

Since there is no notch or punch hold, you may be wondering What’s the situation on the front camera. Well, it’s a motorized pop-up setup. Love it or hate it, it’s the new trend these days. One cool addition to that is that Xiaomi has added a notification LED to the camera housing, which may not be that practical but is definitely cool to watch. Coming to the bottom, I’ll have to appreciate the K20 Pro for retaining the 3.5 headphone jack.

Cameras

Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
Image: Android Authority

Like the OnePlus 7 Pro and almost every other latest flagship, the Redmi K20 Pro comes with a triple-camera layout. The three shooters consist of a primary, a telephoto, and a wide-angle unit. The main camera has a 48MP resolution with a 26mm focal length and an f/1.75 aperture.

The telephoto maxes out at an 8MP resolution but has a focal length of 53mm, giving it an effective 2x optical zoom. The aperture on this is f/2.4. The wide-angle camera has a slightly higher resolution, clocking in at 13MP. It has a 12mm focal length, allowing it to have an impressive 124.8° field-of-view.

Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro
Image: SoyaCincau

The cameras have impressive Laser autofocus, which is the quickest in the business. However, they lack OIS, which may be the worst omission in this day and age. While Xiaomi has made it up with electronic stabilization, it isn’t as good and that shows while recording video. Speaking of which, the K20 Pro can record up to 4K 60fps. It can also record in 1080p at 30,120 and 240fps, the last two of which are for regular slow-mo video. In addition to that, you can also record short bursts of super slow-mo at 1080p 960fps like on the Samsung Galaxy S10.

The pop-up front camera has a 20MP resolution sensor that’s wide up to f/2.2. It lacks both OIS and autofocus. Video recording is also standard at 1080p 30fps. There’s nothing special about the front camera except for the fact that it’s now motorized and is hidden away till you need to use it.

Performance

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Image: Qualcomm

Also like almost every other flagship coming out nowadays, the Redmi K20 Pro features the latest and greatest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855. Having 8 cores, a 7nm process and a clock speed of 2.84 GHz, this beast is one of the most powerful mobile processors out there. It is paired to the Adreno 640 GPU, which ensures that this will power through any game available on the Play Store right now.

As far as RAM and Storage are concerned, you have 4 configurations to choose from. They are 64GB/6GB128GB/6GB128GB/8GB, and 256GB/8GB. The base model seems a bit too low-end to be classified as a “flagship killer” as other rivals start at 128 GB when it comes to storage. In this day and age, 64 GB storage just seems inadequate especially when you don’t use cloud storage. The omission of an SD card slot doesn’t help much in this case either.

The battery, however, makes up for the disappointing storage situation. You get a non-removable 4000 mAh Li-ion unit that has an impressive standby time of 141 hours. The K20 Pro also has the ability to fast charge thanks to its 27W charger with Quick Charge 4+.

Software & Security

MIUI10 on the Redmi K20 Pro
Image: YugaTech

The Redmi K20 Pro comes, out of the box, with Android 9.0 (Pie). On top of that, it runs MIUI 10, which is Xiaomi’s custom user interface for its devices. It’s simple, clean, clutter-free, and easy to navigate, which is the perfect recipe of a good UI. It even had built-in features like Deep CleanSecurity Scan, and Dual Apps. The Chinese variant of the software also has its own app store.

As far as security is concerned, the K20 Pro, like the OnePlus 7 Pro, comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner and a face scanner. While the amount of security they provide is the same among both phones, OnePlus wins in overall speed. The pop-up camera mechanism is much faster on the 7 Pro, allowing it to scan your face much faster.

The in-display fingerprint scanner on the K20 Pro may be slower than that of the 7 Pro. However, that does not mean it is slow by any definition. In fact, it is just as fast as the Ultrasonic one on the Galaxy S10, though not as secure.

Price & Verdict

Starting at $399, the Redmi K20 Pro is the cheapest phone you can buy that comes with the all mighty Snapdragon 855 chipset. The features you get with this device and the performance it is capable of make it a bargain in this price range. Even though it does omit some features that the OnePlus 7 Pro has, it still is worthy of being called the “flagship killer 2.0” with that price tag.

Now I’ll admit that the base model only gets you 64 GB of storage, which isn’t the best choice if you intend to use this phone for over a year. However, the 128 GB variant isn’t that far off and can still be a great value for your money.

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