Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Price starts at Rs. 9,999. The lowest price of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is at Flipkart, which is 29% less than the cost of Redmi Note 5 at Amazon (Rs. 13999). This phone is available in 32 GB, 64 GB storage variants.
What about the Redmi Note 5, though? Is it worth the upgrade over last year’s model? Let’s find out.
What’s inside the Redmi Note 5 box?
Design & Build Quality
While the rear design of the Redmi Note 5 isn’t different from its predecessor, there’s a striking difference in its frontal design and that’s mostly due to the larger screen and minimal bezels (brands like to call it a bezel-less design, but it’s far from bezel-less). The 5.99-inch screen covers most of the Redmi Note 5’s front, and the company has finally ditched traditional capacitive touch buttons in favour of on-screen buttons. There’s no change in the placement of the power and volume buttons or the fingerprint reader.
The Redmi Note 5’s body is made of a metal frame and metal back, with small plastic portions covering its top and bottom, act as antennae. The build quality is excellent and all the buttons offer good feedback when pressed. The position of the fingerprint reader is spot on. A few issues that I noticed while reviewing the Redmi Note 5 is its extremely slippery body and a 3.5mm headphone port that’s placed at the top. I personally prefer headphone ports at the bottom of the phone since the wire doesn’t get in the way while using the screen.
The 5.99-inch screen uses an IPS LCD panel with Full HD+ resolution, 1000:1 contrast ratio, and 450 nits brightness. Our review unit had a noticeable red tint, and although the Redmi Note 5 Pro has the same screen, it did not have a red tint. It could’ve been a one-off case with our review unit. We can’t confirm if the same problem would appear in retail units because the phone did not go on sale by the time we had finished our review.
The screen has a higher resolution compared to the Redmi Note 4’s screen, but the pixel density remains the same due to increased screen size. I did not face any issue related to touchscreen accuracy or response time. There’s no improvement in terms of brightness, contrast ratio, and viewing angles compared to the Redmi Note 4. While the screen is bright enough for most lighting conditions, harsh sunlight could be a problem, and it can be harder to clearly see what’s being displayed on the screen in such situations.
Watching videos on the bezel-less screen is a great experience, and the Redmi Note 5 could be the first bezel-less screen phone for many users in the Indian smartphone market. The phone didn’t support YouTube’s stretch-to-zoom feature at first, but it later started working after a small software update. Except the average brightness level, we don’t have any major issues with the Redmi Note 5’s screen.
There’s an all new rear-facing camera on the Redmi Note 5. The 12-megapixel single camera sensor is an improvement over last year’s 13-megapixel sensor, thanks to larger pixels (1.25µm). The phone can record 4K videos, which is an improvement over Redmi Note 4’s 1080p video recording. There’s no change in the front-facing camera sensor, but it is now accompanied by a front-facing soft-LED flash which should improve selfies in low light conditions.
There’s considerably more detail in the images captured using the Redmi Note 5 compared to the images clicked using the Redmi Note 4. The images exhibit good sharpness and low noise in daylight conditions. Focussing was mostly quick and reliable. Colours are not completely accurate, but they’re not too far off from reality. There’s a slight warm tone to the images, but most people like it that way, including me. Dynamic range could be limited in scenarios where there’s harsh light against the camera, but the HDR mode comes in handy during such situations. There’s no Auto HDR feature, though, so you’ll have to turn on the HDR mode inside the camera app. It improves dynamic range and recovers details from highlights.
The image quality drops in low-light conditions but it’s not as bad as images captured using the Redmi Note 4 in similar scenarios. Images appear softer. Using the HHT mode slightly improves the quality of such images but it also takes longer to capture images in this mode. Images captured in good lighting conditions appear slight better than even the Mi A1, but the camera can’t match the Mi A1’s camera in low-light conditions. It’s still an improvement over the Redmi Note 4, though. Selfies are strictly decent in good lighting conditions, but a lot of noise creeps in during low-light conditions. You can use the front-facing flash to remedy this situation, but the colours won’t be accurate.
The phone can record 4K videos at 30fps, but there’s no 1080p 60fps video recording mode. For the price, the quality of 4K videos is surprisingly good, but the audio capture could’ve been better. Quality drops when you shift to 1080p or 720p video modes. Overall, the camera quality of the Redmi Note 5 is slightly better than that of its prime competitor, the Honor 7X, be it still images or videos.
Performance & Software
The Redmi Note 5 doesn’t bring any improvements over the Redmi Note 4 in terms of processing chipset or memory. It still comes with the more-than-a-year old Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB/4GB RAM, and 32GB/64GB internal storage. The chipset comprises of eight ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at a maximum of 1.8GHz, Adreno 506 GPU, Hexagon DSP, dual-ISP, 4G LTE modem, dual-band gigabit Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, Qualcomm Aqstic audio processor, and support for Quick Charge 3.0 (but the Redmi Note 5 supports Quick Charge 2.0 only).
Although the Snapdragon 625 used to perform quite smoothly in the Redmi Note 4 when I reviewed it last year, I noticed a few stutters and frame drops in the Redmi Note 5. I think it could be fixed with a software update. If you are thinking to upgrade from the Redmi Note 3 or Redmi Note 4 to the Redmi Note 5 in hopes of achieving better performance, you should skip ahead to the Redmi Note 5 Pro. There’s considerable performance difference between the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro.
The auto rotate feature was too eager to kick in whenever the phone was even slightly tilted, which ended up frustrating me. Other than that, there weren’t any glaring issues. The new image editor and video player are impressive. Apart from regular image adjustment features, the new image editor offers a lot of additional features, including an option to erase objects, blur parts of an image, add stickers and text, and even doodle. The video player can group and arrange TV shows or movie series by identifying file names. It now supports multilingual subtitles, an option to hide private videos, ability to click screenshots of the video, and an option to switch between audio tracks.
The calendar app shows important events from history for the same day of the month. It even offers users an option to follow certain cricket and football teams, and automatically add reminders for their matches. Other options in the calendar include Panchang Calendar, Horoscope, News, and Health & Fitness. There’s a Google Now style shortcuts page on the left most side of the home screen, which offers shortcuts to sports scores, order a cab from Ola, calendar events, notes, and even pay using Paytm.
Since the phone is very similar to the Redmi Note 4 in terms of battery capacity, one would expect similar, or slightly worse battery life due to slightly larger display. However, I was slightly disappointed with the Redmi Note 5’s battery life. Since I used to get 10+ hours of screen-on time with the Redmi Note 4, I had high expectations from the Redmi Note 5. The phone lasted a day and a half on a single charge, with the screen-on time of anywhere between 6-7 hours.
I had two emails accounts synced, four messaging apps, and four social networking apps on the phone. The Redmi Note 5 Pro which we reviewed along with this phone offered us much better battery life, with screen-on time reaching 10 hours on a single charge over two days of usage. We think that the reason for Redmi Note 5’s relatively lower battery life could be due to unfinished software optimisation. We hope Xiaomi releases an update to improve the battery life.
The Redmi Note 5 is a good upgrade over the Redmi Note 4, and mostly because of the larger screen with minimal bezels and improved camera performance. The battery life is good, but going by what the Redmi Note 4 used to offer, we think that the phone can last even longer if the software is optimised further. If performance is your main concern for upgrading from an older phone to the Redmi Note 5, you should buy the Redmi Note 5 Pro instead.
There’s no Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, and we can’t know if and when the company would update the Redmi Note 5 to Oreo. Still, the software is leagues ahead of Honor 7X’s EMUI 8, which looks dated and filled with bloatware. The Redmi Note 5 could’ve been even an better phone if it had a USB Type-C port and a dedicated microSD card slot. Even with a few niggles, at Rs. 9,999, the Redmi Note 5 still emerges out to be the leader in the price segment.
|Seller(s) of Xiaomi Redmi Note 5||Latest Price|
|Display Type||IPS LCD|
|Size (in inches)||5.99|
|Pixel Density||403 pixels per inch (ppi)|
|Color Reproduction||16M Colors|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass|
|Screen to body percentage||77.4 %|
|Design and Build|
|Operating System||Android OS, v7.1.2 (Nougat)|
|Rear Flash||Yes, Dual LED|
|Bluetooth||v4.2 with A2DP|
|Wi-Fi||Yes with hotspot|
|Voice Over LTE (VoLTE)||Yes|
|SIM Configuration||Dual SIM (Nano SIM)|
|No of Cores||8 (Octa Core)|