Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Price starts at Rs. 13,999. The lowest price of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is at Flipkart. Redmi Note 5 Pro is not available in other online stores. This phone is available in 64 GB, 64 GB storage variants.
Xiaomi is the perfect underdog story. It’s remarkable how the Chinese phone maker managed to shake off the undying notion that anything manufactured in China is cheap and made poorly. What’s even more remarkable is how the company achieved that without diverting resources towards marketing, fat sales commissions, and other offline distribution logistics like its other Chinese competitors. Xiaomi changed the way Indian consumers look at Chinese products the best possible way – by diverting most of its money towards R&D and ensuring consumers get the most cutting-edge hardware specifications for not a lot of money.
The rest is history because a great product sells itself and that’s basically how Xiaomi raised the bar for the budget and lower mid-range smartphone segment with its range of affordable products. Although you cannot disregard the engineering and R&D achievements of the likes of Samsung, Apple, and Motorola, what Xiaomi has done is nevertheless profound. By making smartphones affordable, it has provided the working class with a viable means to access the internet. And this will have a far-reaching impact on the nation as a whole.
The Redmi series is the cornerstone of Xiaomi’s Indian smartphone odyssey, with the Redmi Note 4 capturing the collective imagination (and wallets) of the Indian masses like few other phones could. In this era of bezel-less design, it’s not surprising that Xiaomi has refreshed its beloved Redmi Note series with swanky new and larger 18:9 displays, but what caught everyone unawares is the new addition to the Redmi Note family – the Redmi Note 5 Pro.The Note 5 Pro is essentially the same Note 5, albeit with a faster SoC to cope up with the 15 percent increase in resolution (up by 3 million pixels approximately) thanks to the 18:9 aspect ratio display and a dual camera setup that makes great use of the powerful Spectra 160 Image Signal Processor (ISP). Let’s put the phone through the paces to determine whether the Redmi Note 5 Pro lives up to our high expectations.
Design and Build Quality
One of the most significant changes to the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes in the form of its chassis itself, which now sports minimal bezels and a sexy new 18:9 display that makes the phone taller as well as narrower. That’s how you get 6-inches of screen real estate without making the phone any more unwieldy than its predecessor, which sports a smaller 5.5-inch display. The minimal bezels also mean that the capacitive buttons make way for customisable on-screen Android menu buttons.
However, the physical button layout stays the same, with the volume rocker and power buttons placed along the right-hand side edge and the left-hand side edge housing the hybrid dual SIM tray. The 3.5mm headphone jack, however, has been moved down to the bottom edge, where it sits to the left of the micro USB port with the monoaural speaker grille located at the opposite end.
The rear of the device is clean with the fingerprint sensor placed intuitively within reach in the top half, whereas the vertically oriented dual camera assembly resting along the right-hand corner. The camera assembly protrudes from the chassis to a considerable degree; enough for it to make the device wobble significantly as you operate it on the desk.Apart from the disappointing exclusion of the USB Type-C charging port, the metal back design of the chassis is a lost opportunity as well. It would have been nicer if Xiaomi would’ve adopted the sexy unibody metal chassis of the Mi Max 2, which would’ve visually set the Note 5 Pro apart from its cheaper variant sans the Pro moniker. Mind you, that’s not to say that the metal back design with plastic ends, which has been the staple for the Redmi Note series so far, is lacking in any respect. The phone is sturdy and has a decent heft, whereas the Corning Gorilla glass protected display did a good job fending off all of my attempts to go at it with a camping knife.
Face UnlockThe latest software update has now equipped the Note 5 Pro with the Face Unlock feature, which was one of the most beloved new additions in the OnePlus 5T. Setting it up is a breeze, and under the best lighting conditions, the Redmi Note 5 Pro manages to authenticate my face in approximately a second. While that number may not sound much, but it adds up over repeated usage. But most importantly, unlike the OnePlus 5T, the Note 5 Pro’s Face Unlock is not as fast as its own fingerprint sensor, let alone being remotely comparable to OnePlus’ implementation of Face Unlock.
Not surprisingly, I often found myself reverting to the phone’s relatively faster fingerprint sensor. This was compounded by the fact that the Face Unlock takes longer and often just fails to recognise your face under challenging lighting conditions such as natural indoor lighting in the evening or even mid-day when you standing against a bright window. While the Note 5 Pro’s Face Unlock feature is usable under right conditions, it’s neither as lightning quick as the one in the OnePlus 5T nor is it faster than its own fingerprint sensor.
As such, it’s a great feature to possess when your phone is placed on the desk and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor isn’t available, but I don’t see myself using it as a primary means of unlocking the phone like practically everyone did with the OnePlus 5T.
Display and Camera
Xiaomi has a knack for making bright displays with terrific contrast and great colour saturation. I personally own the Redmi 4 and the display in that budget phone is significantly better than smartphones costing more than twice as much. The 6-inch display sports the wider 18:9 aspect ratio that’s increasingly becoming de rigueur for bezel-less designs.
The pixel density is more or less maintained despite the larger screen, since the 18:9 panel itself has a larger number of pixels thanks to a resolution of 1080x2160 pixels. The IPS LCD panel is bright and sports an accurate white level, which further extends to a great colour accuracy as well. Sunlight legibility is decent and the inbuilt auto brightness function works surprisingly reliably even at night, when most other displays end up appearing too bright.
This is the part where I usually drone on about the camera specifications, and exactly how the 12+5-megapixel dual camera setup of the Redmi Note 5 Pro works in conjunction with the phase-detection autofocus feature, but this time we’re going to try something different. Right off the bat, I can tell you that the Redmi Note 5 Pro's camera is a quantum leap over its predecessor. This is perhaps the only camera in its segment that can snap some great photos of my indoor hobby projects, which is usually impossible unless I resort to using a flagship smartphone owing to the challenging indoor lighting conditions.
Shot with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro
Shot with the Motorola Moto Z2 Force
To put this into perspective, take a good look at the two similar snaps of the same subject shot with the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Moto Z2 Force. The latter costs twice as much as the Xiaomi phone and still leaves you with enough money to buy a Redmi 4. The Motorola should summarily kick Xiaomi's posterior then, right?
One look at the photograph and it’s clear as day that the Redmi Note 5 Pro has managed to get absolutely everything into focus, which incredibly also includes the hyperactive guppies at the top. Now compare the same with Moto Z2 Force's output and the stark difference just beggars belief. I'm genuinely impressed.
Then again, the most pedantic among you would protest that those two photos haven’t been shot at the same angle. Let’s forget for a moment the fact that the Moto Z2 Force is worth two and a half Redmi 5 Pros (and should therefore snap better photos at any angle), and perform another test under identical conditions and shot from the same position just a few seconds apart. And while we are at it let’s raise the stakes higher and compare it to the ₹89,000 Apple iPhone X.
One of these two photos was snapped by an iPhone
It definitely can’t be this one, can it?
In fact, let’s turn this into a game of sorts. Now, without skipping onto and reading the next paragraph, take a gander at the two photographs above. One of them has been shot with the ₹14,000 Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and the other with the ₹89,000 Apple iPhone X. This should be easy, right? Call out the shots now and then move onto the next paragraph to know if you’ve got it right.
Well, the topmost camera sample was shot by the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, whereas the bottom one was shot with the uber expensive Apple iPhone X. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Redmi Note 5 Pro has done a much better job rendering my planted aquarium compared to Apple’s flagship phone. This is truly remarkable.
Needless to say, the Redmi Note 5 Pro has it all in the camera department. Focusing is quick and always reliable, and the camera algorithm precisely nails exposure and white balance every single time. A 20-megapixel, LED flash-assisted front camera, great camera UI, fast and accurate portrait/background blur mode, terrific daylight photography, great low-light performance, and an astounding ability to get macro shots right are enough to overlook the lack of 4K video recording. I have zero complaints here.
Software and UI
While it’s disappointing that the Note 5 Pro doesn’t come with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, but, then again, Xiaomi is painfully slow at this for a reason. That’s because the Android Nougat based MIUI is packed to the gills with useful features and Xiaomi has achieved this without throttling performance despite MIUI 9 being a heavily customised and feature-rich Android fork. These additional features come in the same form as the updated version of MIUI we have witnessed in recent Xiaomi phones.
The features include App Lock for security, the ability to run multiple instances of the same apps, Second Space for multiple user profiles, in addition to a comprehensive photo editor, new Mi Video app, and split-screen functionality that’s further enhanced by the taller display among many other nifty additions. Then there’s the terrific SMS app that lets you copy OTP codes and creates cards from ticket confirmation messages, which can be viewed by swiping left from the screen along with notes, utility shortcuts, and a search bar. There are enough tools and utilities for most people to go without trifling with third-party apps.
The UI retains the same standard Xiaomi home screen elements with its trademark lack of an app drawer, with the app shortcuts being placed across multiple home screens. The bottomline is that although you won’t get the latest version of Android out of the box, the Note 5 Pro, however, makes up for it with a feature-rich and well-optimised Nougat fork. Nevertheless, the phone is slated to receive the Oreo update sometime later this year. Just don’t ask when.
The Redmi 5 Pro is the first phone to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 SoC. This is significant because the SD636 is a slightly watered down and underclocked version of the Snapdragon 660 and brings Kryo cores from the high-end segment down to budget phones for the first time. The SD636 achieves this by pairing four powerful Cortex-A73 cores with power-efficient Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz.
These cores are further complemented by the faster Adreno 509 GPU that significantly bumps up performance. All of this works with the faster LPDDR4X RAM, which is usually found in high-end phones, to deliver a huge performance wallop. The only gripe is Xiaomi’s decision to choose the relatively slower eMMC 5.0 storage over the faster UFS option. But let’s not get carried away and forget the Note 5 Pro’s modest price tag.
To put the Note 5 Pro’s stellar performance into perspective, we squared the SD625-powered Redmi Note 5 against the SD636-powered Redmi Note 5 Pro. This involved simultaneously opening a number of resource-hungry apps such as Facebook, Chrome, Google Play Store, in addition to processor-heavy applications such as Prisma. For starters, the Note 5 Pro powers up a good 8-10 seconds quicker, with all the apps too opening noticeably quicker than the Redmi Note 5.
The browser too was significantly faster in rendering challenging webpages, but the real performance difference was apparent in Prisma, with the Note 5 Pro zooming well ahead of its non-Pro sibling by rendering the filter effects in nearly half the time. And thats says a lot because, after all these years, Xiaomi has gotten pretty good at optimising the Snapdragon 625 chipset.
It goes without saying that our base-end 4GB version was able to handle multi-tasking with aplomb, without nary a lag or stutter when cycling through the many heavy apps. Having said that, fiddling with multiple picture and video uploads in Facebook would make the phone palpably slow – this is something that is never apparent with flagship phones equipped with Snapdragon 8-series chipsets, but we’re hoping Xiaomi manages to patch this out in a future performance update.
However, I won’t blame the Redmi Note 5 Pro since it’s more a case of the Facebook Android app being a stinking pile of unoptimised faeces than an indictment of the phone’s performance. Not surprisingly, even high-end video games such as Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt 8: Airborne ran without dropped frames at the highest graphics settings.
I couldn’t run any synthetic benchmarks because Xiaomi had disabled the review unit from running most popular benchmark apps. Unfortunately, Xiaomi ultimately either couldn’t (or perhaps didn’t intend to) unlock the review units for benchmarking. Therefore, we are unable to share synthetic performance scores, but the Redmi Note 5 Pro is easily the fastest budget phone going by the two weeks I spent putting the unit through the paces.
The 4000mAh Li-Po battery of the Redmi Note 5 Pro remained unchanged from the outgoing model. The review unit was equipped with Airtel (4G) and Vodafone (3G) SIM cards, with both services being known for abysmally poor reception in Hyderabad. This affects battery life adversely. Furthermore, I have two email accounts configured, with plenty of resource hungry social media and messaging apps, in addition to nearly a hundred other apps – all installed and logged in. We also spent the first few battery cycles adding certain files and performing certain tasks to emulate long term usage.
So when I saw a screen-on time of 11 hours and a total up time of 26 hours with moderate usage, I let the battery cycle a few more times before putting it through the paces with heavy HTML5 video, some 4G usage, significant GPS navigation, and some gaming, in addition to the usual messaging and social media app consumption. Even then, I could only manage to bring down the screen-on time to 9 hours, with the total up time remaining constant at 26 hours.
I can’t tell for sure what’s responsible for this astounding power efficiency – the new Snapdragon 636 SoC or Xiaomi’s optimisation, or both – but that’s matters little when the Redmi Note 5 Pro categorically delivers the best-in-class battery backup.
VerdictIf you head over to our Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review, it’s quite evident that the phone is the segment leader in itself. Why consider the Note 5 Pro at all then? Well, for a few thousand bucks extra, you get a significantly faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. It’s no secret that the increased resolution also puts a strain on the Snapdragon 625 underpinnings of the plain-vanilla Redmi Note 5. With the Note 5 Pro, you are guaranteed a lag and stutter free experience at all times, even in demanding games thanks to the Adreno 509 GPU.
The terrific dual-camera setup is another strong factor, because it not only blows everything in its segment out of the water, tbut it even embarrasses high-end phones costing many times more. Thanks to its terrific performance, phenomenal camera, modern bezel-less design, and overall polish and optimisation, it’s hard to recommend anything over the Redmi Note 5 Pro. In fact, just spend a few thousand extra and get it over the Redmi Note 5, because the value offered is simply unbeatable at its sticker price of ₹14,000.
|Display Type||IPS LCD|
|Size (in inches)||5.99|
|Pixel Density||403 pixels per inch (ppi)|
|Color Reproduction||16M Colors|
|Screen to body percentage||77.4 %|
|Design and Build|
|Operating System||Android OS, v7.1.2 (Nougat)|
|Primary||Dual (12 M.Pixels + 5 M.Pixels)|
|Wi-Fi||Yes with hotspot|
|Bluetooth||v4.2 with A2DP|
|Voice Over LTE (VoLTE)||Yes|
|SIM Configuration||Dual SIM (Nano SIM)|
|No of Cores||8 (Octa Core)|