Two Much


Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - FIRST TAKE - By Nidhi Singal

Xiaomi’s Redmi Note phones have been the best-sell­ing smart­phones in the sub

` 15,000 cat­e­gory. This is hardly sur­pris­ing given their great de­sign, per­for­mance, cam­era, bat­tery and mostly, com­pet­i­tive pric­ing. The com­pany has launched two suc­ces­sors to the Redmi Note 4 – the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro, of which the lat­ter comes with a bet­ter pro­ces­sor and a dual cam­era.

The Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro look sim­i­lar from the out­side but are dif­fer­ent in­side. The Redmi Note 5 runs on the Snap­dragon 625 pro­ces­sor but has an im- proved sin­gle cam­era and more RAM. The base vari­ant, priced at ` 9,999, comes with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of on­board stor­age, whereas the one priced at ` 11,999 has 4 GB of RAM with 64 GB in­ter­nal stor­age. The Redmi Note 5 Pro fea­tures a dual cam­era at the rear, Qual­comm 636 pro­ces­sor and 64 GB of in­ter­nal stor­age. The Redmi Note 5 Pro is also avail­able in two vari­ants – 4 GB and 6 GB of RAM, priced at

` 13,999 and ` 16,999, re­spec­tively.

De­sign: Both the new phones sport a premium look; the 5.99-inch dis­play on both phones is wrapped in a metal cas­ing. With a res­o­lu­tion of 2,160x1,080 pix­els, the dis­play looks rich and colour­ful, has wide view­ing an­gles and good sun­light leg­i­bil­ity. There is a fea­ture called au­to­matic con­trast which is on by de­fault; one can switch to ‘in­creased con­trast’ or ‘stan­dard con­trast’ from the dis­play set­ting. The Redmi Note 5 houses the 3.5-mm port on top and speaker grills at the bot­tom panel. The cam­era along with flash and finger­print scan­ner at the rear are all placed in a line. The ver­ti­cal cam­era has been placed to­wards the left, and the finger­print scan­ner to­wards the cen­tre. Redmi Note 5 Pro also has the Face Un­lock fea­ture, which works well but is not as se­cure as Ap­ple’s FaceID. It can be un­locked us­ing a pho­to­graph as well.

UI and Per­for­mance: De­vices in the Redmi Note se­ries run on MIUI 9, which is a cus­tomised An­droid ROM. Un­like stock An­droid, there is no app tray. All apps are placed on the home screen. Other than the reg­u­lar Google apps in­clud­ing Play Store, there is also a Mi Apps store to down­load apps. The Se­cu­rity app helps in op­ti­mis­ing the per­for­mance and gives ac­cess to data us­age, block list, dual

apps and more. Amongst all the pre-in­stalled apps, the Mi Re­mote is our favourite. It turns the phone into a uni­ver­sal re­mote con­trol that can be used for TV, air-con­di­tioner and other ap­pli­ances. On the per­for­mance front, both the Redmi Note de­vices man­aged to im­press us. Even though they run on dif­fer­ent pro­ces­sors, both are equally good when it comes to launch­ing apps, brows­ing the web, stream­ing videos and more. How­ever, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a bet­ter de­vice for gam­ing. We would like to high­light that our Redmi Note 5 re­view unit had 4 GB RAM with 64 GB on­board stor­age, of which 51.15 GB was user ac­ces­si­ble. Even the Redmi Note 5 Pro unit we re­ceived for re­view had 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB in­ter­nal stor­age, and 52.39 GB was ac­ces­si­ble.

Cam­era: The 12-MP sen­sor at the rear of Redmi Note 5 is quick to fo­cus and cap­ture pic­tures. The im­ages shot in well-lit set­tings are sharp and of­fer a great amount of de­tails. Low-light pho­tog­ra­phy, although much bet­ter than Redmi Note 4, could be even bet­ter – im­ages still have vis­i­ble noise. The cam­era UI con­tin­ues to be the same with man­ual mode, panorama, scene, beau­tify and other fea­tures. How­ever, the dual cam­era (12 MP and 5 MP) on the Redmi Note 5 Pro is stel­lar. While cap­tur­ing im­ages in the por­trait mode, the cam­era soft­ware gets a lit­tle shaky; but cap­tures great im­ages with depth ef­fect. Us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial al­go­rithms, the 20-MP front cam­era also cap­tures self­ies with depth ef­fect. The Redmi Note 5 Pro has one of the best dual cam­eras in its price cat­e­gory.

Bat­tery: Both the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro come with 4,000 mAh bat­tery, which can last more than a day, depend­ing on us­age. We went crazy click­ing pic­tures with the Redmi Note 5 Pro and it lasted a day with still 30 per cent charge left.

Ver­dict: The Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro are great value-for-money de­vices. If your bud­get is un­der 10,000, the Redmi Note 5 should be your pick. If you can spend more the Redmi Note 5 Pro, even if it is the 4 GB RAM vari­ant for 13,999, is a great buy. Redmi Note 3 or Redmi Note 4 users could con­sider up­grad­ing to Redmi Note 5 Pro. While the Redmi Note 5 is the new best smart­phone un­der 10,000, the Redmi Note 5 Pro wins hands­down in the sub-`20,000 seg­ment.

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