Xiaomi Redmi 5 is another addition to the Chinese player’s popular Redmi series in India. With a starting price of Rs 7,999, Redmi 5 will succeed last year’s Redmi 4 and comes with a modern 18:9 display.In India, it is the Redmi series which drives volumes for the Chinese company, which is now the number one smartphone vendor in the market. For Xiaomi, Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4 and Redmi 4A were all best-sellers last year.
With Redmi series, the company has cultivated the niche of offering good design, specifications and a steady performance all for a budget price. While Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro are targeted at users who can afford to pay more than Rs 10,000 and want more on the performance front, the Redmi 5 is for those with a budget under Rs 10,000. So how does the new Redmi 5 fare? Here’s our first impression.
Redmi 5 First impressions: Display, Design
Redmi 5 might sport a bigger display now, which is a 5.7-inches with the new 18:9 aspect ratio, but this is still a fairly comfortable phone to hold and use. Xiaomi’s USP has been offering well-designed products at affordable pricing, and with Redmi 5 this is remains true as well. Redmi 5 has thin side bezels, though the front and bottom bezel have not entirely disappeared. The display resolution is 1440 x 720, and this is an HD+ display, which might not be as sharp compared to say the Redmi Note 5, but works well in bright sunlight and indoors.
On the design front, Redmi 5 looks very different from the front compared to previous variants in this series. This is thanks to the taller display. Xiaomi has introduced in-screen buttons for this as well. Redmi 5 continues with the circular fingerprint scanner at back, which is placed below the camera module.
Redmi 5 also comes with dual bottom firing speakers and a micro-USB port between them. The phone also has a headphone jack on top. From the back, the Redmi 5 might not look very different compared to previous variants of the phone. Still this is a budget phone and to expect a revolutionary design change would be asking for too much.
Redmi 5 First Impressions: Processor, Specifications
Redmi 5 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor coupled with 2GB/3GB or 4GB RAM. Storage options are 16GB/32GB/64GB. The review unit we have is 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. Setting up the phone and downloading of apps like popular gaming apps has been smooth. Is the fastest phone in the Redmi arsenal? Probably not, but that does not meant there is lag or the phone is buggy. Switching between multiple tabs on Google Chrome or multiple apps is smooth and given its price, the performance is good to see. We will have more on the performance after our full review.
Redmi 5 First Impressions: Camera
The Redmi 5’s camera is 12MP and the front camera is 5MP. It comes with a claim of improved low-light performance, which I would say is hard to deliver on a budget phone. The noise in low-light photos is still there, even though the overall picture composition is not bad. The camera is quick to respond, though I feel it takes that extra few seconds to focus. With colours like pinks and reds, the Redmi 5 does struggle and they look washed out in some instances.
The Redmi 5 camera does deliver some nice shots, provided you have ample lighting. Below are some samples I took with the Redmi 5. More on the camera in our full review, especially the selfie camera which now includes a LED flash on the front.
Redmi 5 First Impressions: Battery
Xiaomi is touting this one as the Compact PowerHouse, though Redmi 5 has a battery of 3300. The Redmi Note 5 series has a bigger 4000 mAh battery. Redmi 5 comes with the standard 5V/2A charger like other Redmi phones. The battery should last a day with minimal use as it has done so far. However, I will have to wait and see how it performs with more extensive usage. On charging, I would say it takes more than two and half hours to get it to a full 100 per cent from zero.
Redmi 5 First Impressions conclusion
Redmi 5 launch takes place soon after the Redmi Note 5 and for many users there will be some confusion on which one to pick. For those with a flexible budget, the Redmi Note 5 or even the Redmi Note 5 Pro variant will make better sense considering they offer more powerful performance, better cameras and an bigger 4000 mAh battery on board. Redmi 5 will appeal to those who cannot afford to pay more than Rs 9,000 for a phone and still want performance that is good enough for regular use. Redmi 5 might not look very exciting in terms of design, but the overall package is still good value for money.