Xiaomi has announced its latest Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphones in India. The Redmi Note 5 comes with a price tag of Rs 9,999 for the 3GB RAM variant, while the 4GB RAM option comes with a price of Rs 11,999.
While the Redmi Note 5 Pro has been launched exclusively for the Indian market and comes loaded with some solid specifications, the Redmi Note 5 can be considered as a modest update to the most popular Redmi Note 4. The company has tweaked some design part, but the internals largely remains similar. So, the question here is, does it make any sense? We spent some time with the device and here are our first impressions.
Design and Display
Starting with the design of the Redmi Note 5, it now bears a much more sleek profile as compared to its predecessor. The phone is a bit taller than the Redmi Note 4, but features a 5.99-inch screen as well. We got the black variant for the review and the smartphone is also available in Black, Gold, Rose Gold and Blue colour options. That said, the smartphone does gives a premium feel.
Talking about some design aesthetics, the front sports a large display and there are large top and bottom bezels as well. Though the thick bezels are not that bothersome in Black colour option, but it surely stabds out in the Gold and Rose Gold options. The navigation controls are on-screen, which is again an improvement over physical controls in Redmi Note 4. The front also features a selfie flash, front-facing camera and earpiece at the top. The right houses volume controls and power on/off button while the left sports hybrid dual-SIM slot.
The back panel of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, the phone features a single rear camera along with LED flash, fingerprint sensor and company’s logo all aligned in symmetry. The top houses a headphone jack along with IR blaster, while the bottom of the phone bears micro USB port flanked between two speaker grilles. That said, the smartphone does give a good look, but its design could have been better.
On the display front, the Redmi Note 5 comes with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display with a screen resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels, 2.5D curved glass and an aspect ratio of 18:9. Finally, Xiaomi has adopted to the latest 18:9 display with the Redmi Note 5. The phone will surely compete with the likes of Honor 7X and Honor 9 Lite as both the smartphones give almost similar specifications. During our initial testing, we found out that the smartphone does offer some vivid colour output and the viewing angles are great as well. We will talk more about this during our review.
Hardware and Software
This where you will get a bit disappointed. The Redmi Note 5 is powered by an older Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor along with Adreno 506 GPU. The phone will be available in 3GB RAM/4GB RAM option along with 32GB/64GB storage which can be further expanded up to 128GB via micro SD card slot. That said, it is no different from Redmi Note 4 in terms of specifications and this brings disappointment. However, the Snapdragon 625 processor gives a well-balanced performance along with some good battery optimisations and it would be interesting to see whether the smartphone will be able to compete with the others devices in this price range.
Coming to the software, the device runs on MIUI 9, which is still based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. At a time when brands like Honor are offering Android Oreo in their latest devices, Xiaomi is still stuck with Nougat. The MIUI 9 is lighter and faster than its predecessor. The major plus point of MIUI 9 is the ability to reply directly from the notifications, split-screen feature, bundling notifications and new themes. We will talk more about this in our upcoming review.
Coming to the camera, there is not much of a difference. The company has opted for the same 12-megapixel rear camera, which now comes with improved 1.25-micron pixel size and f/2.2 aperture. For the front, there is a 5-megapixel camera for selfies and video calling.
In our testing, the camera does a decent job in the broad daylight condition, though the low-light performance does not look great. You get a host of modes including HHT, Manual, Panorama, Scene, Straighten, Timer, Tilt shift, Beautify and Audio. The front-facing camera does an average job in capturing selfies when the lighting condition is low.
Battery and Connectivity
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 bears a 3,000mAh battery,similar to the Redmi Note 4. This means that the smartphone could deliver good battery backup. On the connectivity front, the device sports Dual SIM, 4G with VoLTE, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, a dedicated micro SD card slot and a micro USB port.