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Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review: A well-packaged smartphone

Check out our detailed review of Xiaomi’s latest smartphone, Redmi Note 5.

tech Updated: Mar 21, 2018 11:54 IST
Marcia Sekhose
Here’s our review of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Here’s our review of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5(HT Photo)

Xiaomi enjoys a strong hold in the budget smartphone segment in India. Thanks to some solid phones such as Redmi 5A, Redmi Y1 and its top-selling Redmi Note 4, the company has increased its base, including online and offline, in the country. Xiaomi is now getting more aggressive with its latest offering, Redmi Note 5.

Redmi Note 5, the successor to Xiaomi’s one of the most successful phones Redmi Note 4, launched earlier this week at a starting price of Rs 9,999. The top-end model featuring 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will retail at Rs 11,999.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is a big upgrade over the predecessor and one of the most noticeable changes is the inclusion of a full-screen display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, Xiaomi’s first such smartphone in India.

We have been using Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 as our primary smartphone for some time, and here’s our review of the smartphone.

Design, Display

Unlike its premium phones such as Mi 6 and Mi MIX series, Xiaomi’s budget smartphones aren’t known for their spectacular design. Redmi Note 5, however, is a pleasant change. Thanks to the full-screen display, it looks quite different from other Xiaomi smartphones.

It’s also good to see Xiaomi, a major player in the budget smartphone category, joining the full-screen bandwagon. Of late, a number of smartphone companies have included the full-screen display on their phones, including some budget ones as well.

That being said, Xiaomi’s 5.99-inch full-screen display doesn’t entirely consume the front panel and has a fair amount of bezel on the top and bottom. The smartphone felt quite too big for one-handed navigation although the volume and power buttons were well within the reach. For someone like me with tiny hands, big phones are usually a difficulty, but this again depends on one’s choice.

In addition to having a taller display, Redmi Note 5 is also quite slim in comparison to Redmi Note 3 and Note 4. This slim factor also adds on to the more appealing look of Redmi Note 5.

The 5.99-inch full HD+ display on the Redmi Note 5 produces a bright and smooth image quality. The display is quite impressive when watching high resolution videos on the smartphone.

Camera

The Redmi Note 5 features a 12-megapixel rear camera with f/2.2 aperture. The smartphone’s rear camera takes good pictures in bright light and normal conditions.

Image resized and optimised for web (Marcia Sekhose)

However, it was quite difficult getting a good shot at night with the camera struggling to get the focus right on the subject. But looking at the overall price point , Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 camera seems good enough.

Image resized and optimised for web (Marcia Sekhose)

The selfie camera, however, was quite impressive. I’ve always been a fan of Xiaomi’s Beautify feature as it doesn’t give a very artificial white look. The 5-megapixel camera has an LED flash for selfies at night. Some results were bit underwhelming as some photos came out grainy.

A selfie from Redmi Note 5 (Marcia Sekhose)

Performance

Reliable performance has always been the USP of Xiaomi’s Redmi phones. I’ve used the older Redmi Note 3 and it hasn’t disappointed performance wise, even after having used it for a very long time. Fortunately, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 doesn’t disappoint either.

Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 4GB of RAM, the smartphone is no slouch. There were no lags during my normal usage of the phone. This includes using applications such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook extensively, watching videos, and listening to music on-the-go.

Multi-tasking on the smartphone is pretty seamless. We also played games like Asphalt Nitro and Mobile Legends on the smartphone. The graphics were really impressive and the experience of gaming on the full display was even better. The smartphone did heat up a little bit when additional data of around 300-400MB had to be downloaded for some games.

Redmi Note 5 continues the legacy of Xiaomi’s long-list of phones with excellent battery life. The 4,000mAh battery onboard lasts for almost two days on a single charge to full. Even on prolonged use, the phone easily survives for a day and a half. With Redmi Note 5, battery life isn’t something you will worry about.

Verdict

Overall, Redmi Note 5 is a well-packaged smartphone. While there are a few areas of improvement but looking at the price point, Redmi Note 5 is worth our recommendation. Redmi Note 5 may not have the same premium look and feel like Honor 9 Lite, but its performance prowess gives an edge over the competition.