2017 was a good year for Xiaomi. The Chinese smartphone maker launched several smartphones that literally displaced a number of other smartphone brands. One of their launches was Redmi Note 4, which was one of the most popular and best-selling smartphones of 2017.
To further capitalise on Redmi Note 4’s success, its successor, Redmi Note 5, was launched on Valentine’s Day 2018, in the Indian markets, at a starting price of ₹9,999. The distinctive feature of the Note 5 is the fact that it is Xiaomi’s first smartphone with a bezel-less display and a selfie flash in this price segment.
Here are my thoughts on Redmi Note 5.
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The Redmi Note 5 is a dual SIM smartphone that accepts Nano-SIMs in both slots. The phone features a 5.99-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080 X 2160 pixels. The handset weighs 180 gm and measures 158.50 x 75.45 x 8.05 mm.
The device is powered by a 2GHz octa-core processor, paired with a 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage that is expandable. The camera setup includes a 5MP front camera and a 12MP primary camera on the rear. The phone runs on Android 7.0 and is fuelled by a 4000mAh non-removable battery.
Connectivity options on this device include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, USB OTG, FM, 3G and 4G, while the sensors on-board are the proximity sensor, compass/magnetometer, accelerometer, ambient light sensor and gyroscope.
Display Size: 5.99-inch touchscreen
Screen Resolution: 1080 X 2160 pixels
Processor: 2GHz octa-core processor
Front Camera: 5MP
Back Camera: 12MP
Display and Looks
Portrayed as an upgrade, Redmi Note 5 does not look any different from the Note 4 at first glance. However, the Chinese smartphone major has given the back a slightly different look. On further inspection, you’ll find that in comparison with Redmi Note 4, the Note 5 flaunts a much lighter and slimmer profile.
Coming to the display, the device features a 5.99-inch full-HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio and 1080 x 2160 pixel resolution, which has been touted as the major highlight of the phone. The display is sharp and the colours are vivid. The colours reproduced in images and videos is great too. However, under direct sunlight, the display becomes a bit reflective.
You must know that the Note 5 is the first smartphone in the Note series in which Xiaomi has included a full-screen display. To protect the display from scratches and damage, the 2.5D curved glass display is coated with Corning Gorilla Glass. To protect the eyes from strain, it features a Reading mode to reduce the emission of blue light. I really liked the metal unibody with matte finish. The round edges give the Note 5 a highly comfortable grip.
On the left of the handset, you’ll find the SIM card tray, while on the right, there are the volume rockers and power button. On the top are the infrared sensors and audio jack, whereas the speaker and charging port are located at the bottom. Turning the handset around, you’ll find the 12 MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and a fingerprint sensor.
Overall, you won’t find anything revolutionary in the design of Redmi Note 5. However, for a smartphone in the less than 10K bracket, it does offer a display that is worth the investment.
Performance and Battery
For the processor, Xiaomi has opted for the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor as in the Note 4. It seems that the Chinese smartphone brand has become a bit lazy on the hardware front. However, I will not question their choice, since the processor is able to manage most tasks efficiently, even with heavy gaming.
Redmi Note 5 is available in two variants, one with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage and the other with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The storage in both variants can be expanded using a microSD card. I used the 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant for the review and I didn’t find the device slow or lagging at any time.
Redmi Note 5 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat OS, topped with Xiaomi’s MIUI 9. You’ll find every features of Android Nougat on the phone. The device comes pre-loaded with Xiaomi’s standard apps like Amazon, Hungama and WPS Office. I am eagerly awaiting the Android Oreo Update for Redmi Note 5, which is expected to roll out soon.
A few weeks ago, Xiaomi had updated its Redmi Note 5 Pro to Android Oreo 8.1 with MIUI 9.5, which supports full-screen gestures.
Redmi Note 5 is powered by a 4000mAh battery. Compared to the Redmi Note 4, which houses a 4100mAh battery, this is not too bad. The battery in the Note 5 can last for a day on average use, just like Note 4. The device doesn’t feature fast charging. However, I liked that the phone didn’t take too long to get fully charged, unlike other Xiaomi phones.
Camera and Apps
In the photography department, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 offers a 5MP front camera with a Selfie Light and a 12MP primary camera with dual tone LED flash at the rear. Needless to say, the camera specifications are similar to that of Redmi Note 4.
However, there are a few alternations you should know about. In the 12MP rear camera, the Chinese smartphone maker has chosen a larger pixel size of 1.25um pixels, which made the device deliver pretty amazing shots under good lightning conditions. I really liked that even in low light, the photos were detailed and there was no grain or noise.
Talking about the selfie shooter, Redmi Note 5 features a 5MP snapper with selfie flash. The front camera claims to capture good selfies even in low light, which I found was true. You can also record HD quality videos with this phone.
The Redmi Note 5 phone is a Flipkart exclusive. The 3GB/32GB variant is available for ₹9,999, while the 4GB/64GB variant is available at ₹11,999.
Reasons Why I Like This Phone
- Bezel-less screen
- Large display
- Good rear camera
Reasons Why I Hate This Phone
- Same processor as Redmi Note 4
- Less battery capacity
For a smartphone falling in the sub-10K category, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is a decent smartphone. The only thing that is disappointing is that apart from some minimalistic design tweaks and larger display, Redmi Note 5 cannot technically be called an upgrade to Redmi Note 4, which is what Xiaomi says it is.
If you do not want to buy a mimic of the Note 4, but are looking for better specifications and can go for slightly higher budget, it is advisable to opt for Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 Pro with dual rear camera setup and better performance, available for ₹14,000.