Chinese giant Xiaomi offers a dizzying number of affordable smartphones, each with multiple variants. If you look at the current smartphone market in India, Xiaomi is constantly dominant in the sub 15k market. Recently Xiaomi launched the Redmi 5 which slots in between the Redmi 5A and Redmi Note 5. The smartphone covers all the basics and delivers a lot of in-demand features, in a sleek, well-built package. Xiaomi’s USP is it’s Honest pricing, and we’re keen to see whether it do so again with the Redmi 5.
Redmi 5 design and Build
In terms of design, the Redmi 5 looks similar to the Redmi Note 5, which was launched in India just last month. It would be quite difficult to spot the difference between the two, when placed side by side but yes there is difference. However, just forget about the Note 5 for a moment. So the Redmi 5 as the name suggests is the successor of the Redmi 4. While the design elements are similar but there are alterations. The phone is taller, wider, heavier and sleeker.
The Redmi 5 is dominated by a 5.7-inch HD+ 18:9 aspect ratio screen. It does look plush; but for an 18:9 screen device, there are still fairly prominent borders on the sides, and the forehead and chin are quite thick as well. Xiaomi claims to have used 2.5D curved-edge glass for the front, but the curve is barely visible.
The screen is bright and vivid. However, the HD+ resolution in the 5.7-inch screen looks pixelated. But for a budget smartphone, the screen works satisfactorily to deliver content such as photos and videos. The touch response of the device is smooth.
The sides, top, and bottom of the Redmi 5 are made up of plastic and there’s a metal plate across most of the back. The main camera is placed at the top of the rear, and sticks out by about 1mm. Below it is a single-LED flash and the circular fingerprint scanner which is easy enough to reach and is quite responsive too.
The power and volume rocker buttons are on the right, and there’s a hybrid dual-SIM card slot on the left, so you’ll have to choose between your secondary SIM and a microSD card. On the top, you’ll find a 3.5mm headset socket, secondary mic, and Xiaomi’s trademark Infrared Blaster (IR Blaster) for controlling electronic appliances. At the bottom you have a Micro-USB port on the bottom rather than the newer Type-C. Another feature that’s common with budget-oriented smartphones is that only one of the two symmetrical grilles on the bottom is actually a speaker.
The Redmi 5 houses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 450 SoC, which is an octa-core processor built on 14nm processing plant. The processor is mated with the MIUI 9 operating system built on Google Android Nougat 7.1.2. We’re a little surprised and disappointed to see that Xiaomi is still using Android 7.1.2 for this device. But Xiaomi’s custom skin is up to date with MIUI 9.2.7.
You have three choices when it comes to storage and RAM – you can buy the Redmi 5 with either 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. However, other specifications remains same across all variants. We have the middle one in for review, and we suspect that this will be the most wiser option. Potential buyers will be charged by a minor price difference between the base variant and this one, but the top variant is a bit too expensive and overlaps with the Redmi Note 5 which we feels is far better than the Redmi 5.
The smartphone performs most day-to-day tasks seamlessly. All the regular apps and games we tested ran quite well, with no lag. Only the heaviest games struggle a little when loading, but not during gameplay. We were also happy to note that the Redmi 5 didn’t get very warm when doing anything intense. However, switching apps or using multiple apps in background and multitasking leads to a noticeable lag sometimes. Yes, sometimes!
As we mentioned earlier, the screen is not that good. Videos and games still looked fine, but we could tell that photos weren’t looking their best on this screen. The single speaker is extremely loud and good too but at higher volumes the sound is harsh.
The Redmi 5 is armed by a 3,300 mAh battery, and there’s no support for fast charging. The battery is able to lit the screen throughout a full day of casual usage involving some gaming, video streaming, camera use and Web surfing, and applications use, on a single charge.
Our HD video battery test ran for 13 hours and 36 minutes, which is impressive. Fast charging would have been nice option, but that might be asking for too much, considering the price point. Half an hour of charging only gave us 32 percent, and a full hour gave us 62 percent. The battery takes almost 3 hours to recharge itself from zero to 100 percent.
The Redmi 5 sports a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 5MP selfie camera. The 12-megapixel camera sensor comes with PDAF and an f/2.2 aperture plus a single-LED flash. The front camera has an aperture of f/2.0. The cameras on the Redmi 5 are decent. Photos clicked by the Redmi 5 are good but not great. Both the cameras offer a satisfactory performance in daylight but suffers a lot during low-light conditions. Pictures clicked in daylight are a little grainy, and the edges of objects can be rough. However, pictures look far better and sharper on the device’s own screen than they do on a computer screen. When you check them out at full size, you’ll see that details are lacking and textures aren’t reproduced well. Shutter speed is good too.
Some Camera Samples :
- Front Camera Samples
- Back Camera Samples
“Smart Beautification” mode is on by default when you take selfies. But sometimes the pictures look over-processed in beauty mode. But they’re far better than the noisy shots you’ll normally get. Videos are recorded at 1280×720 (HD) by default but can go up to 1920×1080 (FHD), but it isn’t impressive either.
Should i buy one?
Well, if battery backup is your first priority and you can manage with the cameras, then this device is for you. We were impressed with the Redmi 5’s battery life and the overall usage experience. The processor too, is powerful and you get the 18:9 screen. We recommend you the 3/32GB RAM variant (Rs.8,999) of this phone to you as 2/16GB (Rs. 7,999) of RAM doesn’t seem like much for even low-end Android phones these days while the 4/64GB RAM (Rs. 10,999) variant is overpriced.
If you want a device with good cameras then this one is not for you, instead you can choose the Redmi Note 5.