Xiaomi’s Redmi Note series is back with the Redmi Note 5 being unveiled in the Indian market for a starting price of Rs 9,999. However, Redmi Note 5 is not the only device that the company is introducing; a new Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphone and the Mi LED TV 4 in 55-inches size with the company’s own PatchWall OS are also launching in India.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro is the first smartphone launching with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor. The original Redmi Note 5 series continues with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, which we also saw on the Redmi Note 4 from last year. The Pro variant sports a bigger 18:9 display which is 5.99-inches in size, a dual camera at the back, which is aligned horizontally and might remind some of the iPhone X. The front camera is 20MP on the Redmi Note 5 Pro and also has a selfie LED flash. There’s also a 6GB RAM variant as in the Pro series.
It would be fair to call the Redmi Note 5 Pro as the more beefed up variant of the Redmi Note 5 with a higher pricing as well. Redmi Note 5 Pro will cost Rs 13,999 for the 4GB RAM and 64GB variant, while the 6GB RAM and 64GB variant is priced at Rs 16,999. Redmi Note 5 Pro will go on sale on Flipkart from February 22. We’ve had the chance to use the Redmi Note 5 Pro for a few days ahead of the launch and here’s our detailed first impression so far.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Design, Display
Redmi Note 5 Pro sticks with metal unibody design that has become common on Xiaomi phones, but this time there is a big change. The display is 5.99-inches, but with an 18:9 aspect ratio and the buttons are now in-screen and not on the bottom bezel as was the case with the previous phones. This is not entirely a bezel-less display and you can see them on the sides, though they are very thin. On the top, there’s also the 20MP selfie camera with a flash along with IR blaster.
The fingerprint sensor remains at the back and this one still has a hybrid dual-SIM slot. Xiaomi has not gone for a dedicated dual SIM and microSD slot like we saw in the Redmi Y1 series. The dual rear camera is tucked away on one corner of the phone and it juts out quite prominently. The rear camera specification is 12MP+5MP for the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
This might be the Pro variant, but Xiaomi still sticking with the older micro-USB port. There’s also no fasting charging on this phone, though it has a 4000 mAh battery. The headphone jack and a single speaker are also placed at the bottom of the phone. Overall, the build quality of the Redmi Note 5 Pro feels premium and using this with one hand is not a problem. But, this is a bulky phone and not light given that it sports a 4000 mAh battery on board.
Coming to the display and the quality, the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s 18:9 aspect ratio display means a lot more viewing space for video. The resolution is now FHD+ (2160 x 1080) and videos on this look crisp and the display works well even in sunlight. Colour reproduction is mostly accurate, and the viewing angles are not bad. However, the Redmi Note 5 also has a similar display, so I wish Xiaomi had offered something extra for the Pro here.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Performance, Specifications, Software and Battery
In terms of specifications, Redmi Note 5 Pro will have a 6GB RAM variant this time, though I have the 4GB RAM one for review. The smartphone runs Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, which Xiaomi says comes with Kyro micro-architecture, which has previously been limited to the Snapdragon 800 series. The 800 series is usually seen on flagship phones. On Antutu, the Redmi Note 5 Pro scores around 100,000 plus for us, which is impressive for phone priced at under Rs 17,000. On the PCMark Battery test, Redmi Note 5 Pro last around 12 hours, which is expected given this has a huge battery on board.
Redmi Note 5 Pro has not given any cause for complaints in daily performance, though I am yet to play some graphics heavy games on this. When it came to video consumption, browsing multiple tabs on Chrome, the Redmi Note 5 Pro performed smoothly. Also it takes around 2 hours plus to get it to a full 100 per cent from under 20 per cent, which is not bad.
Redmi Note 5 Pro and Redmi Note 5’s biggest issue would be the software. Both phones are still on Android Nougat with MIUI 9 and this is 2018. Ideally I feel the company should have gone with Android Oreo for its customers, though there is no exact timeline on when an update will happen for both phones. Additionally, Xiaomi also plans to add features like Facial Recognition to the Redmi Note 5. This will be rolled out as a OTA update in March 2018.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Camera
Camera is supposed to be the highlight of the Redmi Note 5 Pro because it has two sensors at the back. This is also the first Redmi phone to sport a 20MP front camera, which also has a Portrait mode. Xiaomi even went on to bring in comparisons with Pixel 2 and iPhone X during the launch presentation. In my opinion, there are just one or two phones that can match the Pixel 2 in this department. Still, Xiaomi went there.
I have used the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s camera and I would say the Portrait mode is impressive when I’m considering the price. Is it perfect? No. The colours are definitely not as bright in some instances, I felt. In fact in my mind I kept comparing it to Mi A1’s rear camera which is fast and has an edge over this. Redmi Note 5 Pro’s camera could do with a few software tweaks to improve the performance.
The front selfie camera is not bad, and the Beautify mode now has customisations for India. For instance, it won’t blur out nose pins or bindis, when someone is taking a selfie. Still the Portrait mode on selfies works nicely when there is ample light, though in low-light, this is another story. The Redmi Note 5 Pro’s low-light performance is still not as good and details are missing from the pictures.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Early Verdict
There’s no doubt that for its price, the Redmi Note 5 Pro looks very promising. Performance will not be an issue considering the specifications, the display is excellent, and the camera should keep most users happy. Battery life is another highlight of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, and will easily last more than a day. But what Xiaomi has got right with the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the pricing. It is essentially offering the phone for under Rs 14,000 with sufficient RAM and storage and that could make a big difference in how people choose between this and Redmi Note 5.