comscore Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Review: A worthy successor to the Redmi Note 4?
Review

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Review: A worthy successor to the Redmi Note 4?

The Redmi Note 3 and the Redmi Note 4 were Xiaomi's best-selling smartphones in the past two years. But with competition from the likes of the Infinix Hot S3 and Honor 9 Lite, can the Redmi Note 5 outshine? Read our review to find out.

redmi note 5 review lead

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Highlights

  • The Redmi Note 5 prices start from Rs 9,999.

  • The smartphone comes with a 5.99-inch full HD+ 18:9 display.

  • Xiaomi has equipped a better 12-megapixel rear camera, with support for 4K video recording.

Ever since Xiaomi entered the Indian smartphone market, it has achieved great success, especially with its affordable and mid-range smartphones. The Redmi Note 3 was a game changer with metal unibody, a Qualcomm hexa-core SoC, and a 4,000mAh battery. It s successor, the Redmi Note 4 got some incremental upgrades, and that also turned out to be the company s best-selling smartphone in 2017. The success also helped Xiaomi to dethrone Samsung to take the crown as the leading smartphone maker in India. Also Read - Best gaming phones under Rs 25,000 to buy in India in October 2021

Also Read - Redmi Note 11 series to cost cheaper than Redmi Note 10 Pro Max?

Now, starting 2018 with a bang, Xiaomi has launched more than one product in India. These include the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The successor to last year s Redmi Note 4, the Redmi Note 5 continues with Xiaomi s philosophy of offering good design and hardware at an affordable price point. With prices starting at Rs 9,999 for base variant and Rs 11,999 for the higher storage variant, the Redmi Note 5 brings minor changes compared to its predecessor. It comes with a taller 18:9 display, a slightly better camera along with more RAM and storage on the base variant. But do these factors make the Redmi Note 5 worth buying? Also Read - Are Chinese brands making the Indian government jittery?

The Redmi Note 5 will face tough competition with the recently launched Infinix Hot S3, which comes with a 20-megapixel front camera and Android Oreo out-of-the-box. The other competitor is the Honor 9 Lite, which comes with a premium front and back glass design, along with a dual-camera setup both at the front and back. Does the Redmi Note 5 have enough to outshine the competition? Read my detailed review to find out.

Design and Display: Growing tall

In 2017, tall displays with the 18:9 aspect ratio became quite common, and we have seen them right from budget smartphones such as the Micromax Canvas Infinity, Infinix Hot S3 and Honor 9 Lite, to high-end flagship smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8 and the iPhone X. Xiaomi was the first one to introduce the tall display on the Mi MIX in 2016, but the MIX series is a premium one. Now, the Chinese company wants to recreate the same magic on its affordable and best-selling Note-series too.

The smartphone still comes with a metal unibody that looks premium, and the build feels solid too. Up front, you have the earpiece, front camera module and LED flash above the display. While the Redmi Note 4 came with capacitive keys below the display, Xiaomi has now gone for an on-screen implementation. However, the chin below the display still exists, and it is a bit thick too.

The back of the Note 5 looks pretty much similar to the Note 4, with the camera, LED flash and fingerprint sensor symmetrically placed at the center. There is, however, a slight camera bump too; something that was not present on the Note 4.

In terms of port placement, the hybrid dual-SIM card slot is placed on the left side, whereas the power button and volume rocker are placed on the right side. At the top, you have the 3.5mm audio jack and an IR blaster that lets you control your TV, AC, set-top box, Blu Ray player and projector, among other devices. The micro-USB port for charging and data transfers is placed at the bottom.

The Redmi Note 5 comes with a 5.99-inch full HD+ display running at a resolution of 1080×2160 pixels, and aspect ratio of 18:9. The display has rounded corners too, adding to its ergonomics. Due to the tall display, there is a slight change in the dimensions too. The Redmi Note 5 is slightly narrower, but also taller compared to the Redmi Note 4. It also weighs more at 180grams, compared to the Note 4 that weighs 165grams.

The display is not just tall, but it is better too. The screen looks brighter compared to the Redmi Note 4, and the color reproduction is slightly punchier too. Legibility under direct sunlight is no issue either. Whether it is watching videos or playing games, things look pretty good on the screen. Text and icons also look sharp, and it is definitely a big improvement over the previous generations.

Software and UI: Sorry, no Oreo yet!

Xiaomi phones run Android OS, and the Chinese smartphone maker has always focused on its custom MIUI. The Mi A1 is the only exception, being a part of the Android One program that pushes the stock implementation of Android. If you thought the Redmi Note 5 would also run stock Android, you re going to be disappointed. And even though Google has released the source code for Android Oreo over five months ago, there is no word on when most Xiaomi devices will be treated with the latest Android offering.

The Note 5 runs on Android 7.1.2 Nougat OS with the December security patch. And you get Xiaomi s MIUI 9.2 custom skin running on top. The interface is pretty much the same as we ve already seen on other Xiaomi smartphones. There are a lot of Xiaomi specific apps, such as the Mi Community to keep in touch with the latest happenings and interact with forum members, and the Mi Store app lets you buy Xiaomi products directly from the manufacturer.

Then there are also apps such as Mi File Manager, Music and Mi Video. Xiaomi has also included Mi Drop, an app that uses Wi-Fi direct to let you quickly share music, photos and videos with other Xiaomi smartphone users. Lastly, there is also the Mi Remote app, that lets you control your TV, air conditioner and other appliances using your smartphone.

Xiaomi has also preloaded Microsoft apps such as Skype Lite, Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, all of which can be uninstalled if you don t want to use them. You also get WPS Office, Hungama and Amazon apps that pre-installed, and they can be removed too. And lastly, you have Google apps such as Photos, Duo, Play Music, Chrome, Gmail, Drive, YouTube and Maps too. Sadly, you can t uninstall them.

MIUI 9 also supports gestures, such as double tap to wake, three finger swipe down to take screenshot, long press the home button to invoke Google Assistant, and more. There is also a Quick Ball that quickly brings virtual keys such as home, back, menu, screen lock and screenshot on any screen. And lastly, there is a one-handed mode that lets you swipe on the capacitive Android buttons to shrink the display on the left or right side. It helps to make single-handed use easier.

Cameras: Minor, but much-needed improvements

The photography department was never the strong point of the Redmi Note-series, something that we have discussed in our Redmi Note 3 and Redmi Note 4 review too. This continues with the Redmi Note 5 too, but given the price point of the device, it will be unreasonable to compare the quality with other smartphones that are priced higher.

The Redmi Note 3 featured a 16-megapixel rear camera of aperture f/2.0 and a pixel size of 1-micron. With the Redmi Note 4, Xiaomi lowered the megapixel count to 13-megapixel with aperture f/2.0 and 1.12-micron pixel sensor. Now, with the Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi has tried to improve things further and the smartphone now comes with a 12-megapixel camera of aperture f/2.2 and 1.25-micron pixels. Yes, the resolution has decreased and so has the aperture, but the larger pixel size should help in delivering better results. Does it help in real-world usage?

Yes, the camera quality has definitely improved over the Redmi Note 3 and Redmi Note 4. The sensor is able to capture photos with better details and colors outdoors in better lighting conditions. In low-light, the camera struggles and some grain is visible, but for a budget all-rounder, the Redmi Note 5 still does a very good job. Below are some camera samples.

The front camera quality has also been improved a bit. Selfies captured on Redmi Note 4 used to make skin tones a bit reddish, but the ones captured on the Note 5 retain the skin tone to a good extent. We now also have a front-facing LED flash to capture better selfies in low-light conditions. In absolute darkness, selfies look blurry and are completely grainy, but when shot indoors with dull lighting conditions, they look a little better.

Another interesting addition is the support for 4K video recording at 30fps for the rear camera. The video quality is just acceptable, but even having the ability to record 4K on an affordable smartphone is a big plus.

Performance and Battery Life: Does the heavy lifting

The Redmi Note devices have been known to offer good performance at the price, and the Note 5 won t disappoint you. The smartphone is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC built on 14nm process, as the one on the Redmi Note 4. And instead of going for a newer chipset, Xiaomi has taken a tried and tested approach, along the lines of “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”.

It’s worth noting here that there is a newer, more capable chipset in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, while only the more affordable Redmi Note 5 features the familiar Snapdragon 625. This helps to separately position the two new devices, with the Redmi Note 5 serving as an affordable, reliable option, while the Redmi Note 5 Pro appeals to power users.

The Note 4 was a solid performer, both when it comes to day-to-day performance and battery efficiency, and the same continues with the Note 5 too. Xiaomi had seeded us with the higher end variant with 4GB of RAM with 64GB onboard storage, and I absolutely had no issues with the performance. I ve been using the phone for close to a week now, and it works as smooth as butter.

Those who love stock Android may find the interface a bit annoying, but I ve been flashing MIUI ROMs on my previous smartphones, even when Xiaomi had not entered the Indian smartphone space. Some may say it resembles iOS; the menu is confusing, but it really needs you to get used to it. During my usage, I did not come across any issues where I felt the device was slowing down. Even with a few apps running in the background, the smartphone runs very smoothly.

My only complaint is that MIUI is resource-hungry. Even with all recent apps cleared, the UI uses around 2.3GB of RAM with only 1.7GB available out of 4GB. And with about 10 apps running in the background, only 700MB of RAM was left. To give things a try, I started Asphalt 8: Airborne – which is a graphics intense game – and to my surprise, it ran smoothly without any hiccups. After one race, I exited the game and again looked at the RAM usage, and MIUI had intelligently put some apps to sleep to make more room for the game, and free RAM then jumped to 1.4GB. In short, you don t need to worry much as MIUI will handle memory usage based on how much power apps need.

Lastly, it s time to talk about the battery life. Redmi Note 3 offered battery life of over a day-and-a-half with moderate usage, and the same was with the Redmi Note 4 too. And now, the Note 5 s 4,000mAh battery offers enough juice to sail through the day with heavy usage, and over a day with moderate use. The battery doesn t support fast charging, but the bundled charger is good enough to take the smartphone battery from empty to full in two-and-a-half hours.

During my time with the phone, I had two SIM cards in the device, the smartphone was continuously connected to Wi-Fi and 4G, and I also had two personal and one official email account in sync continuously downloading my mails. Even social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were continuously connected, fetching notifications all through. And with all of this usage, the battery easily lasted for a day or more, depending on the way I used it.

Verdict: Should you buy the Redmi Note 5?

All said and done, the Redmi Note 5 is still a budget smartphone, just like its predecessors. The smartphone comes with a better, brighter and taller display, along with improved cameras. Xiaomi has also upgraded the base storage and RAM, while keeping the price intact. Besides the pros, if I had to nitpick anything, it would be the fact that Xiaomi isn t shipping the smartphone with Android Oreo out-of-the-box.

Overall, if you ve been using the Note 3, then the upgrade to the Note 5 will be completely worth it. And in case, you are using the Note 4, and don t care much about the minor camera improvements and the tall display, it would be worth waiting for another year, or you could spend a little more and get the Redmi Note 5 Pro. That phone comes with a 20-megapixel front camera, and a dual-camera setup at the back, as well as the more capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC and up to 6GB of RAM.

In case you re not sold on the idea of going for a Xiaomi smartphone, the Honor 9 Lite could be a better choice. It comes with a similar 18:9 display, front and back glass design, dual cameras at the front and back that let you add DLSR-like bokeh effects to your selfies, and ships with Android Oreo out-of-the-box. The Honor 9 Lite starts at Rs 10,999.

The Infinix Hot S3 with its18:9 display, 20-megapixel front camera and Android Oreo OS isn t a bad choice either. The base variant is priced at Rs 8,999, while the higher storage and RAM variant is priced at Rs 10,999.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: February 14, 2018 12:36 PM IST


You Might be Interested

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

9999

Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with MIUI 8
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-Core 2GHz processor
13 MP with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF
Infinix Hot S3

8999

Android 8.0 Oreo
Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 Octa Core 1.4GHz 64-bit Processor
13 MP with LED flash, Auto Focus
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5

9999

Android 7.1.2 (Nougat) with MIUI 9
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-Core Processor
12 MP with 5-element lens, ƒ/2.2 aperture
Honor 9 Lite

10999

Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0
HiSilicon Kirin 659 Octa Core 2.36GHz Processor
13MP + 2MP dual camera with Bokeh Effect

new arrivals in india

Realme GT Neo 2
Realme GT Neo 2

31,999

Vivo X70 Pro Plus
Vivo X70 Pro Plus

84,990

Vivo X70 Pro
Vivo X70 Pro

51,990

Poco C31
Poco C31

10,999

Nokia C30
Nokia C30

12,499

Samsung Galaxy F42 5G
Samsung Galaxy F42 5G

17,999

Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G
Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

31,999

Samsung Galaxy M52
Samsung Galaxy M52

29,999

Oppo F19S
Oppo F19S

19,990

IQOO Z5
IQOO Z5

29,990

Realme Narzo 50A
Realme Narzo 50A

11,499

Realme Narzo 50i
Realme Narzo 50i

7,499

Oppo A16
Oppo A16

16,990

Infinix Hot 11S
Infinix Hot 11S

13,999

Infinix Hot 11
Infinix Hot 11

11,999

Realme C25Y
Realme C25Y

11,999

Nokia C01 Plus
Nokia C01 Plus

6,999

Nokia G10
Nokia G10

13,999

Apple IPhone 13 Pro Max
Apple IPhone 13 Pro Max

1,29,900

Apple IPhone 13 Pro
Apple IPhone 13 Pro

1,19,900

Apple IPhone 13 Mini
Apple IPhone 13 Mini

69,900

Apple IPhone 13
Apple IPhone 13

79,900

Realme 8i
Realme 8i

13,999

Realme 8s 5G
Realme 8s 5G

17,999

Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime
Xiaomi Redmi 10 Prime

12,499

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G

35,999

Samsung Galaxy M32 5G
Samsung Galaxy M32 5G

20,999

Vivo Y33s
Vivo Y33s

17,990

Realme C21Y
Realme C21Y

8,999

Vivo Y21
Vivo Y21

15,490

Realme GT Master Edition
Realme GT Master Edition

25,999

Realme GT 5G
Realme GT 5G

37,999

Itel A48
Itel A48

6,399

Motorola Edge 20
Motorola Edge 20

29,999

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion
Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

21,499

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

84,999

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

1,49,999

Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)
Samsung Galaxy A12 (Exynos)

13,999

Nokia C20 Plus
Nokia C20 Plus

8,999

Vivo Y53s
Vivo Y53s

19,490

Tecno Pova 2
Tecno Pova 2

10,999

Infinix Smart 5A
Infinix Smart 5A

6,499

Micromax In 2b
Micromax In 2b

8,999

Vivo Y72 5G
Vivo Y72 5G

20,990

Tecno Camon 17
Tecno Camon 17

12,999

Tecno Camon 17 Pro
Tecno Camon 17 Pro

16,999

Realme C11 2021
Realme C11 2021

6,999

Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G

39,990

Oppo Reno6 5G
Oppo Reno6 5G

29,990

Samsung Galaxy M21 2021
Samsung Galaxy M21 2021

12,499

OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus Nord 2

27,999

Poco F3 GT
Poco F3 GT

27,999

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

19,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F22
Samsung Galaxy F22

12,499

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

21,999

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Best Sellers