Xiaomi, which is now the top smartphone vendor in India, has officially launched the Redmi Note 5 in India at a starting price of Rs 9 ,999 for the 3GB RAM and 32GB variant, while the 4GB RAM and 64GB version will be priced at Rs 11,999. The smartphone is a successor to the company’s ‘best selling’ Redmi Note 4, which was launched at a starting price of Rs 9,999, though there was a 2GB RAM variant in last year’s edition. This year Xiaomi is sticking with just two variants for the Redmi Note 5, though there is a Redmi Note 5 Pro that has launched as well. Clearly Xiaomi wants to replicate Redmi Note 4’s success with its new devices.
The big change in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the display, which is a 5.99-inch Full View display with 18:9 aspect ratio. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is powered by the same Snapdragon 625 processor that we saw on the Redmi Note 4 and comes with a similar 4,000mAh battery, which made the previous version of the phone so popular. There’s also improvement to the rear camera with a larger pixel sensor and the front camera now has a LED flash for selfies.
So what has really changed with the Redmi Note 5 from Xiaomi and is it worth the upgrade? Here is our review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 after having used the device for a over a week.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 specifications: 5.99-inch FHD+ display (2160×1080 pixels), 403 ppi | Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor | 4GB RAM+64GB storage | 12MP rear camera + 5MP front camera | 4,000 mAh battery | MIUI 9.2 with Android Nougat
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 price in India: Rs 9,999 for 3GB RAM+32GB, Rs 11,999 for 4GB RAM+64GB storage option
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review
The smartphone trend these days is a phone with bezel-less display, dual cameras even on budget devices, and Xiaomi does not want to be left behind. While the Mi A1 had dual cameras on the back, the Redmi Note 5 is the first budget smartphone from the company to feature a Full View display in India. Xiaomi has kept the dual rear camera limited to the Redmi Note 5 Pro series for now.
The new Redmi Note 5 sports a 5.99-inch Full HD+ screen with thin bezels on the top and bottom. The bezels on the sides are extremely thin, though not entirely invisible. There are no capacitive buttons on the front like Redmi Note 4, and Xiaomi has gone for in-screen buttons with the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro series.
Redmi Note 5 sticks with the same metal unibody design that we saw on its predecessor, except of course the Full View display. The back cover has prominent antenna lines on top and bottom with a circular fingerprint sensor right below the camera lens. The power button and volume rocker keys are placed on the left. The bottom houses dual speakers along with a USB Type 2.0 charging port. A 3.5mm headset jack is placed at the top of the device.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review: What’s good?
The Redmi Note 5 scores high when it comes to design, and credit goes to its Full View display. The phone appears to be stylish, and I liked the minimalist design. Frankly, the budget and the mid-budget segment is flooded with smartphones that sport metal unibody design and there’s little scope for variation, but the Redmi Note 5 does stand out for its tall, bezel-less display.
The Full HD+ display is a delight to use. It is vivid in terms of colour reproduction, crisp and I did not struggle while using this phone in bright sunlight, which is great. The viewing angles are good and Xiaomi continues to do well in the display department. A Full View display means there’s more space for videos, games. Coming to the fingerprint scanner on the phone, this is fast and would unlock the phone almost instantly each time I tried.
For its budget pricing, the camera on the Redmi Note 5 is impressive. In fact, I would say better than the competition and definitely an improvement over Redmi Note 4. The colour reproduction was close to natural and the camera was able to capture enough details in pictures. It handles reds and yellows quite well as the colours do not look over-saturated or overly sharp.
With low-light, the Redmi Note 5 is a bit of a hit and miss, I would say. I got some good results in low-light, while others turned out to be average. The camera takes a little longer to focus in low-light and the pictures have too much noise in some cases. But keeping in mind the price, I would say it does a pretty good job for low-light.
Redmi Note 5 aces the performance front, especially from the perspective of daily usage. I could open multiple tabs and switch between them seamlessly. The phone can handle graphics-heavy games like Asphalt-8 quite well as I did not encounter any shutters or lags. Like most other Xiaomi smartphones, battery on the Redmi Note 5 does not disappoint. The phone easily lasts for a day and a half with long hours of video binge watching, endless sessions of Candy Crush Saga, etc. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is a phone that will not let the user down when it comes to battery performance. The phone takes about three hours to fully get charged from 15 per cent.
Redmi Note 5: What’s not good?
The front camera is average I would say, despite Xiaomi talking about a new flash option. In bright outdoors, the front shooter tends to brighten selfies a little too much, which I did not like. While most users should be happy with details in pictures in bright light, do not expect too much from photos taken in dim light.
Thanks to a large screen, some users might find it difficult to use the phone with one hand so keep mind. Of course, like other larger screen-sized phones, the Redmi Note 5 can be customised for one-handed usage. You can switch on the one-handed mode from Settings menu. A protective case is recommended with the Redmi Note 5 as it is quite slippery. We got a matching black colour plastic case in the box along with the review unit, which should be good enough. Xiaomi is providing one in the box.
The most disappointing aspect of the Redmi Note 5 has to be that this phone is still on Android Nougat 7.1 with MIUI 9. Xiaomi says Android Oreo will launch later on, but there’s no definitive timeline that has been given. A smartphone launching in 2018 should ideally have the latest Android version running out-of-the-box, but sadly Xiaomi has not fixed this problem.
Redmi Note 5 Verdict
Redmi Note 5 is a 2018 smartphone with a Full View display, though it doesn’t have dual cameras. For some users, especially those on Redmi Note 4, the new phone might seem like an upgrade given the processor is the same and the major change is the display. Still Xiaomi has made improvements to the rear camera.
Still this is not to say that the Redmi Note 5 is not a capable phone. The Redmi Note 5 is an excellent option to consider in the sub-12k price range, especially if you’re looking for an overall performer. It comes with a dependable battery, likeable design, a good camera and stunning display. However, those who want dual camera and Android Oreo for under Rs 14,000 can consider Honor 9 Lite which starts at Rs 10,999 and comes with quad cameras and a glass body design. There’s also Xiaomi’s own Mi A1, an Android One phone that comes with dual cameras, priced at Rs 13,999 which is also on Android Oreo now.