[embedded content] Pros Bright and vivid screen Solid construction quality Excellent front camera Great value for the price Cons Run…
2017 was a great year for Xiaomi and the company crossed 100 billion RMB in revenue. In Spain, the company’s largest market outside of China, Xiaomi became the largest seller of smartphones by the end of the year.
Much of that success in the United States. It was due to the Redmi Note 4, the best-selling smartphone in the country last year. In February of this year, almost a year after the launch of Redmi Note 4 in India, the company launched Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro.
While the first is just a progressive, and a little disappointing, update of the Redmi Note 4, the latter is a more interesting device aimed at advanced users on a tight budget.
Xiaomi has carved out a comfortable space for herself in the crowded affordable smartphone market in the United States, although some accuse her of playing too confident with a ‘if not broken, do not fix’ approach. But the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a package where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Do you manage to offer something special? Let’s see in our detailed review of Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Along with the Note 5, the Note 5 Pro is Xiaomi’s first smartphone in its affordable Redmi series that features an 18: 9 screen. There is a decent size bezel around the screen, but the curved corners make up for the larger size. It adapts well to the palm, but at 181 grams, it is not very light and if you come from a smaller phone, it can take a few days to get used to it.
From the front, the Redmi Note 5 Pro looks like the Redmi Note 5, but on the back, there is a vertical configuration of double camera with a remarkable camera hole. The protruding camera is less a visual problem than a physical discomfort. On the one hand, the phone rests at an uncomfortable angle when placed on a flat surface and, secondly, care must be taken when placing the phone on a rough surface so as not to scratch the lens of the camera. Of course, it’s not an exclusive problem with this device, but we do not like it on any other smartphone either.
The design language of the Redmi series has been quite consistent for a while. Subsequently, the Redmi Note 5 Pro does not stand out. It looks good, but it is uninspired, and the most we can say is that it has a functional design. Competitors such as Honor have produced much nicer looking devices in the budget segment, so it is far from impossible at this price point. Xiaomi even achieved it in the past with the slippery Mi A1, so it’s a shame that the Redmi line has not followed his example yet. Apart from that, the Redmi Note 5 Pro looks good and has a solid build quality.
One of the highlights of the Redmi Note 5 Pro is its screen. Xiaomi adopts the latest trend of screens with an aspect ratio of 18: 9, a trend that became widespread in 2017 and has also been extended to the budget segment.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro has a Full HD + IPS screen of 5.99 inches, with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 which results in a pixel density of 403ppi. The screen is bright and the colors are quite vivid with deep contrasts. The text and images are clear and the color accuracy is of the first order. The screen is a bit reflective, although the readability of sunlight is still quite good. There is also protection against scratches from Gorilla Glass, although the generation has not been revealed.
In general, it is an excellent screen for a smartphone at this price and one of the best there is.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro is the company’s first smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 636 processor that was announced in October last year, with a new GPU that promises better gaming performance than the Adreno 508 on the Snapdragon 630 SoC.
In the use of the real world, the Redmi Note 5 works through whatever is thrown at it. Multitasking on the Redmi Note 5 Pro is very simple, and can handle intensive graphics games effortlessly. There is no performance lag at all, and the use of Redmi Note 5 (3 GB variant) and Redmi Note 5 Pro (4 GB variant) side by side for a week revealed a significantly better performance of the latter.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro comes in two variants of memory: 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM, although both have the same 64 GB of internal storage, expandable up to 128 GB with a microSD card.
I used the 4 GB variant for this revision, so I can not tell the difference that the 6 GB RAM variant would offer in daily use. A well-optimized software layer should provide an uninterrupted Android experience with 4GB of RAM, although there will always be a reason to want more RAM depending on how you use your smartphone.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro includes a non-removable 4,000 mAh battery, which allows it to deliver a day and a half battery easily. With the use of light, one can even squeeze in two days of battery life. Of course, your mileage may vary based on how many photos and videos you take, how much you play and transmit, and how often you are connected to mobile data instead of Wi-Fi.
With the integrated charger, it takes two and a half hours to charge the phone from zero to 100 percent. It hurts that there is no support for a fast charge with the included charger, even more important in smartphones with a large battery capacity. However, the phone does support it and when you connect it to a fast charger certified by Qualcomm from a third party, the phone indicates that it is charging fast.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro features a hybrid SIM tray, so you can use two SIM or a Nano-SIM card and a microSD card. You may want to keep this in mind if the 64 GB storage is not enough for you and if you want to use two SIM cards.
It is disappointing to find a micro-USB port instead of a USB Type-C port on a smartphone launched in 2018, and one with a nickname of ‘Pro’. But at least it will work with the old chargers you have in the house.
One of the highlights of the Redmi Note 5 Pro is its camera, one of the first Redmi devices to have a dual camera configuration on the back (the first one was the Redmi Pro), a trend that spread through the smartphone value chain last year. The Redmi Note 5, and the Redmi Note 4 last year were spoiled by average cameras, and the Redmi Note 5 Pro wants to be, well, Pro in that department.
There is a combination of 12 MP sensor with aperture f / 2.2 and a 5 MP sensor with aperture f / 2.0; the latter is used for the effect of depth of field while taking portraits.
The rear camera of the Redmi Note 5 Pro is quite good, especially in good lighting conditions. The reproduction of the color is quite good in most cases and there is a good level of detail. However, it is not very consistent. Some shots come out great, but there are few where the white balance is off or lack clarity. In low light conditions, there is not much degradation in the quality of the image and there is minimal noise, although the delay of the camera increases as expected.
In general, the rear camera is pretty good for a smartphone in this price segment, but it’s not as comparable to flagship smartphones as Xiaomi would like us to create.
However, the portrait mode in the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a winner. The depth effect comes out great in most cases and the sharpness is perfect. Edge detection is not always accurate, but it is more accurate than ever.
The marquee feature in the Redmi Note 5 Pro is its 20 MP front camera. You can capture some bright selfies with the right depth effect and the embellishment (through the latest Beautify 4.0 technology) is not overdone. There is also a flash of diffuse authorship that ensures that selfies taken in low light conditions in the pub crawl of the previous night look well lit. The front camera of the Redmi Note 5 Pro is impressive and can eliminate most of the higher priced smartphones when it comes to selfies.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro runs the latest version of the company’s patented UI layer, MIUI 9. But MIUI 9 is based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat, and it’s disappointing to have a smartphone launched in 2018 without Android Oreo out of the box or a schedule defined for the update. That’s not very ‘Pro’, Xiaomi!
That said, MIUI is one of the most popular customizations on Android, and although it is a little bloated, it has many features and many followers. With MIUI 9, the appearance of Android has improved, especially in terms of performance and application start times. With the hardware that packages, Redmi Note 5 Pro offers a smooth software experience without performance problems.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro has some pre-loaded applications: Amazon Shopping, WPS Office and Hungama. While these can be uninstalled, there are also Xiaomi music, gallery and browser applications that duplicate similar Google apps. There is also the useful application My Drop that allows you to send files through an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network whenever the receiver also has the application installed.
The overall experience of the software in Redmi Note 5 Pro is excellent, and there are many useful features that you will only appreciate once you start using them. But all that is disappointing by the presence of Android Nougat, without guarantees in the Oreo update .
|Redmi Note 5 Pro|
|OS||Android 7.1.1 Nougat |
|screen||5.99 “Full HD + screen (2160 x 1080) |
Aspect ratio 18: 9
2.5D curved glass
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1.8 GHz maximum) |
Kryo 260 CPU
Adreno 509 GPU
|Rear camera||12 MP + 5 MP dual |
|Frontal camera||20 MP |
Sony IMX376 sensor
|Battery||4,000 mAh |
5V / 2A load
|Dimensions||158.6 × 75.4 × 8.05 mm|
After the massive success of the Redmi Note 4, Xiaomi played safely with the Redmi Note 5 to maintain the momentum without balancing the pot. But the actual update to last year’s device is Redmi Note 5 Pro … one that offers many reasons to spend that extra amount of money on the Redmi Note 5.
If you are looking for an affordable smartphone with a good set of powerful cameras and innards, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is one of the best options at the table. Of course, you will also want to keep other options open because it is notoriously difficult to buy something in Xiaomi’s instant sales, where stocks are sold in a few seconds each week.
If the Pro updates here are not enough to convince you that it’s worth paying more, consider the Remi Note 5 with 3 GB of RAM for $ 156 and the 4 GB version for $ 187.
Despite the positive parts of the rear camera of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, some others still need some work. I hope that the next software updates will solve my problems, but there is no guarantee of that. The lack of Android Oreo or a Type-C port are disappointing faults and the design is a little outdated (although the quality of construction is first class), but at a price of $ 215 in US, the 4 GB variant of the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a smartphone with excellent value for money and an attractive device for advanced users. However, the variant of 6 GB to $ 261 is a little over the top for most users.