Weekly poll: are the three Redmi K40 phones the kings of their price segments or not?

Peter, 28 February 2021

Xiaomi unveiled three Redmi K40 phones earlier this week. Or did it? If you look at just the screen and camera, there’s only one phone. If you look at the chipset, there are two phones. And if you look at the cameras, there are three phones.

That may sound like a magic trick, but a quick run through the specs should clear things up.

Redmi K40 series highlight features and differences in infographic form Redmi K40 series highlight features and differences in infographic form
Redmi K40 series highlight features and differences in infographic form

All three K40 phones use the same 6.67” Super AMOLED display (an E4 panel). It impresses with 360Hz touch sampling rate (one of the fastest we’ve seen yet) and 120Hz refresh rate (not the fastest, but still cool).

And it boasts HDR10+ and 1,300 nits peak brightness along with a perfect A+ score from Display Mate. The 1080p+ resolution and relatively old Gorilla Glass 5 are not as impressive, but are those deal breakers for you?

E4 AMOLED panel with DCI-P3 and HDR10+ S870 for the K40 S888 for the two Pros
E4 AMOLED panel with DCI-P3 and HDR10+ • S870 for the K40 • S888 for the two Pros

All three models use the same 4,520 mAh battery, which can be fully charged using the supplied 33W charger in 52 minutes. That’s pretty fast, almost as fast as some 65W chargers based on Xiaomi’s testing.

Now things start to diverge. The two Pro versions are powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset, the vanilla K40 gets the Snapdragon 870 (an overclocked 865).

Where the Redmi K40 Pro+ really shines is the 108MP main camera, a 1/1.52” Samsung HM2 sensor with 9-in-1 binning for 2.1 µm pixels. The K40 Pro is in the middle with a 64MP 1/1.7” sensor with 1.6µm pixels after 4-in-1 binning. The vanilla K40 is at the bottom with a 48MP sensor.

Main camera comparison: K40 Pro+ with 108 MP Main camera comparison: K40 Pro with 64 MP Main camera comparison: K40 with 48 MP
Main camera comparison: K40 Pro+ with 108MP, K40 Pro with 64MP and K40 with 48MP

The remaining camera modules are the same, including the 8MP 119º ultrawide cam, 5MP telephoto macro and a 5MP selfie camera. Yes, the three are very similar, so it all comes down to the chipset and main camera.

And price, of course, here’s how much each phone will cost. They will be available in China from March 4 and they might go global under the Poco brand.

6/128 GB 8/128 GB 8/256 GB 12/256 GB
Redmi K40 Pro+ - - - CNY 3,700
Redmi K40 Pro CNY 2,800 CNY 3,000 CNY 3,300 -
Redmi K40 CNY 2,000 CNY 2,200 CNY 2,500 CNY 2,500*
* special edition (pre-order only)

Let’s have a quick glance at the potential competition. If you’re looking for a Snapdragon 888 and a 108MP camera, most of the alternatives are either Xiaomis or high end Samsung phones.

The Mi 11 (CNY 4,000 for 8/128 GB), for example, boasts a higher resolution 1440p+ display and slightly faster charging – 55W fill the 4,600 mAh battery in 45 minutes. Not a huge difference with K40’s 33W charger, is it? The upcoming Realme GT (March 4) is said to bring a Snapdragon 888 chipset at a CNY 3,000 price point, so that may provide stiffer competition.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Realme X7 Pro Motorola Edge S Realme GT 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11 • Realme X7 Pro • Motorola Edge S • Realme GT 5G

What if you’re willing to settle for a lower resolution main camera? Well, then you’ll find that most devices under $600/€500 use Snapdragon 700-series chips and their screens usually top out at 90Hz.

Something like the Realme X7 Pro (CNY 2,200 for 6/128 GB) might split the difference between the K40 and K40 Pro. It has a 120Hz display and 64MP camera, plus its 65W charger is measurably faster (35 minutes to 100%). However, the Dimensity 1000+ is not on the same level as even the Snapdragon 870, let alone the 888.

The Moto Edge S is another option. This one has a Snapdragon 870, but the display refresh rate falls to 90 Hz (and it’s an LCD). Still, not bad for a CNY 2,000 phone (6/128 GB).

With no 1440p+ displays, telephoto cameras or mmWave 5G, the K40 trio are not flagships. But they cost half as much as a flagship (or even less). Looking at the premium mid-range segment, the K40 doesn’t have a lot of competition. Did Xiaomi win the segment or do you have better options in mind?


Reader comments

  • John

I thought that the vanilla Redmi K40 would be a good buy until I compared it with the Motorola Edge S. Just about the only two thing I would lose from the Xiaomi if I pick the Motorola is the 120Hz AMOLED screen and the 33W fast charging rate. But in...

  • Anonymous

Ugly, ugly punch hole selfie camera in an otherwise attractive package. What was Xiaomi thinking? No flagship phone of 2021 should have ugly punch hole selfie camera(s)! I'd take a perfect 100% hole free, all screen display anytime with 60Hz di...

Cameras suck. Yes if you're a performance freak, not otherwise.

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