THE NEW LAUNCHES FROM XIAOMI ARE SURE TO TAKE THE MID-SEGMENT SMARTPHONE MARKET BY STORM.
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.