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Launched early last year, the Redmi Note 4 brought some success to Xiaomi, thanks to the smartphone’s value-for-money positioning. However, a lot has changed since, and the budget smartphone segment is now flooded with specification- and feature-rich devices.
To stay relevant in the budget segment, Xiaomi has now launched the Redmi Note 5 with modern features, such as 18:9 aspect ratio screen, and priced it lower than the launch price of its predecessor. The Redmi Note 5, being an upgrade of the Redmi Note 4, has striking similarities with the predecessor.
Business Standard reviewed the Note 5 to test its overall performance and here are the observations:
The Redmi Note 5 looks similar to the Redmi Note 4. Yet, it has certain distinct features like a tall stance, narrow width and enhanced curved metal back that feels plush and improves the overall design theme.
The front of the device is covered with Gorilla Glass, curved from the sides, blending in the chassis seamlessly. The back side looks similar to the predecessor, with camera and fingerprint scanner placed at the same spots.
The Redmi Note 5 sports a 5.99-inch fullHD+ screen in 18:9 aspect ratio, covered under Gorilla Glass of an unspecified version. The screen, though an IPS unit, lacks both the maximum brightness levels and vividness. The Gorilla Glass on top of the screen is reflective in nature and hampers sunlight legibility.
On the positive side, the rounded corners of the screen look better than pointed edges, and the curved sides of the glass are easy to operate. There is no shift in colours when looked from angles and the slim side bezels leave enough space to hold the device without accidentally touching the screen area – something common in next-generation bezel-less smartphones.
The Redmi Note 5 features a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 5MP selfie camera. The primary camera is an improved unit. Though it has fewer megapixels than the predecessor, it performs much better and, therefore, addresses the weak side of the Redmi Note 4.
The primary camera is loaded with features such as beautification mode 4.0, manual mode, HDR, etc. While the beautification mode and HDR mode work satisfactorily, the manual mode is limited to ISO and white balance settings only.
The 5MP front camera is on a par with the predecessor in terms of performance. However, the addition of LED flash on the front helps in low-light photography. The beauty mode, which smoothens the output, might not impress everyone. Also, it needs a steady hand to capture balanced and detailed selfies.
The Redmi Note 5 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, similar to the predecessor. However, the Note 5 boots Xiaomi’s Android Nougat-based MIUI 9 operating system, which is butter smooth and offers a lot of scope for customisation.
In terms of performance, the Note 5 handles everyday tasks without lag or stutter. The user interface looks neat and the phone handles processor-intensive apps well. The phone gets warm but not so much as to make phone unstable. The performance of the Note 5 is almost on par with the Note 5 Pro, which is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC.
The phone uses a 4,000 mAh battery, a good 100 mAh less than Note 4. Yet, it manages to outperform the predecessor in terms of on-battery numbers. The phone easily goes on for a full day, and some more. The phone supports quick-charge technology. But the charger supplied in the box does not support the technology, so the phone charges slowly and takes more than two hours to replenish from zero to 100 per cent.
Available in two storage and RAM variants – 32GB/3GB and 64GB/4GB – the smartphone costs Rs 9,999 for the base model and Rs 11,999 for the premium model. Known as the Redmi 5 Plus in China, the Note 5 would have been a successful Redmi device without the Note moniker. The phone offers smooth performance all across but falls short of the ‘Note’ benchmark. The Redmi Note 5 Pro, on the other hand, seems like a real upgrade over the predecessor and the device should have been the true successor.