The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is the successor to the very successful Redmi Note 4 from the company, but only with pumped up hardware as this is the “pro” version and not the regular Redmi Note 5. Although there are so distinct features in the device, it was successful in making its presence felt in the market by offering some of the best specifications at an unbelievable price. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 continues the legacy of offering the best value for money but now has a few distinct features that set the device apart from the competition.
The Redmi Note 4 was one of the complete smartphones that were available in 2017, and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro keeps the same approach by catering a simple design and targets an entirely different segment of audience compared to the Redmi Note 5 Pro that offers a unique design and feature set to allure new users on board. The new Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is completely revamped and isn’t just an incremental update, the device comes with everything from a new SoC to a dual camera setup that isn’t just for gimmicks. This, in our opinion, is the first time that the company has seriously geared up to offer more than just budget smart smartphones, the company now aims to offer devices that are genuinely liked by the users for the unique, powerful features that they come with.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 looked pretty similar to the previous year Redmi Note 4, but the Redmi Note 5 Pro completely chooses a different approach. While the devices come in at the same size, that’s probably where the similarities end. In terms of direct design, the front camera has been moved to the left of the earpiece and the headphone jack has crossed the road to reach the bottom of the device. Also, the rear camera has gone the new iPhone style and is now placed vertically as compared to the horizontal placement on the Mi A1. Although there are some significant changes in the devices, the device retains the principles imbibed by Xiaomi in every Redmi Note series phone.
The device comes with a premium design similar to the predecessors, the metal unibody design on the back now has smaller plastic antenna bands and the fingerprint sensor is very conveniently placed within the fingers reach for a convenient unlock. The top of the device houses nothing but the microphone and the IR blaster as even the headphone jack has been moved to the bottom where it sits in the left corner opposite the speaker grille that helps sandwich the MicroUSB port in the middle. The buttons, as expected come with a very tactile feedback and offer a quality feel when pressed, all the buttons are placed to the right of the device and the left only has the hybrid SIM tray.
While the design hasn’t changed a lot and is still recognizable as a Redmi Note series phone, the display on the front is where the company has made the leap. Both, the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro now come with a 5.99-inch 18:9 aspect ratio display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 that brings it to FullHD+. The company finally bids goodbye to the capacitive touch buttons on the bottom of the device and makes way for the on-screen navigation buttons that have been designed to take as less screen space as possible.
While the 18:9 aspect ratio does give more viewing space and improve the screen to body ratio while also eliminating the capacitive buttons, the device still comes with bezels that can be considered chunky for 2018 standards. The bigger display does add to the heft and the Redmi Note 5 Pro loses out on compactness and the device no longer fits in the same form factor.
The biggest difference between the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro is in the specifications, the manufacturer chose to include the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset making it the first ever device to come with the SoC. This new SoC from QUALCOMM is based on a 14nm process and uses custom Kryo 260 cores in an octa-core setup and is extremely powerful. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset comes with the Adreno 509 GPU and the Spectra 160 Image Signal Processor that helps the device perform better in terms of imaging ability.
The RAM on the device is either 4GB or 6GB based on the variant selected and the internal storage remains constant at 64GB across both the models. The device still comes with the same hybrid SIM slot and has a mammoth 4000mAh battery. Despite the Snapdragon 636 processor coming with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 support, the company hasn’t included USB Type-C or fast charging out of the box limiting the charge wattage to just 10W.
The device runs on the latest MIUI 9 version but the Android version is still stuck at Android Nougat 7.1.1. The company is already working on the Android Oreo update for the device but we don’t have any details on when it will be out. We’ve already seen MIUI 9 on the Mi Mix 2 and the Redmi 5A and there isn’t much difference in the software as such. The software has however been tweaked to make better use of the larger display. The software comes with the same unique features including inbuilt support for dual apps, block list and second space which are some very useful features in certain situations.
There is also an excellent security app that can come very handy in monitoring the status of the device while also making the required changes that can help boost the security. This device is more of an update to the Mi A1 than the Redmi Note 4, offering all the benefits of the Mi A1 with major improvements in the camera and hardware as a whole while still running the MIUI that a lot of people tend to like.
We’ve already talked about the specifications and it is evident that the device can be driven very well with that sort of specifications, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 was debuted globally via the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and the SoC comes with similar components borrowed from its elder siblings but is clocked slightly lower that constrains it from the same level of performance but also helps provide more efficiency. The Spectra ISP in the SoC greatly helps take advantage of the dual camera in the Redmi Note 5 Pro to provide the best possible images.
The games we tested on the device were Asphalt 8: Airborne and Riptide GP2, both of which gave us impressive results. We could see no drops in frames and the performance was very good for a Snapdragon 600-series device. Although the Adreno 509 GPU isn’t nearly as good as the more powerful graphics processors on the high-end chipsets, it still gets the work done with a few stutters. The multi-tasking on the device was very impressive as the device allowed us to run over25 apps simultaneously without having any performance issues.
The switching of apps was smooth with the context of the app being retained as we switched multiple apps at a time. The Redmi Note 5 Pro with the Snapdragon 636 chipset offers a perfect mix of performance, efficiency, and usability while also including the affordability factor making it one of the best performers at the price.
Coming to the most important part of the review, the Redmi Note 5 comes with a dual-camera setup for the back making it a key differentiating factor between the devices. The dual cameras are vertically camera and consist of a 12MP camera along with a 5MP camera for depth sensing. The 12MP sensor has a pixel size of 1.25-microns that help take in plenty of light. The secondary sensor is mainly for gathering the depth information that is required for portrait mode and the sensor also provides additional information to help the ISP process images better in the normal mode according to the company. The front camera on the device is a 20MP shooter with a lamp flash to aid in low lighting conditions, the front camera also supports portrait shots and implements software-based algorithm to offer a decent depth effect with a single camera setup.
Selfies are of prime importance to most Indian buyers and the front camera in the device has been chosen to serve just that, the company has very well boosted the performance of the front camera while pitting it against the other Xiaomi smartphones. The images captured on the Redmi Note 5 Pro are very impressive and the subtle flash greatly helps in taking low light selfies without causing a strain on the eye. The depth effect works pretty well and you have to follow the same rules as for the portrait mode in rear camera.
Check full camera samples: Link
The Rear camera on the Redmi Note 5 Pro is where the biggest upgrade is, the second sensor in the dual-camera setup is to enable the portrait mode. However, we couldn’t see much difference with the secondary sensor covered when the device is not in portrait mode. When in portrait mode, covering the secondary sensor didn’t trigger any warnings but the portrait mode didn’t offer any depth effect. The images in all lighting conditions turned out very impressive and completely satisfied us for the price. The images were bright, with pretty good contrast without washing out the images. The colors were more on the natural side of the spectrum without making it an overkill by extremely suturing the colors.
Talking about the Portrait mode itself, the camera performs very well in the portrait mode and the dual-camera setup helps detect the borders and outline them very well, the portrait mode did surprisingly well with hair and other more difficult borders. The credit of this needs to be shared between the camera that captures the information and software that processes the data so well.
Talking about the battery, the device can pull off between one to two days on a single charge based on the usage. During the initial stages of our review where we tested the device as a secondary device, we were easily getting about 2 days of usage with little battery left, for the latter part of the review where we chose to use the device as our primary device to get stronger and more in-depth opinion, the device pulled off about a days’ worth of usage with about 30-percent battery left after each day despite heavy usage with mobile data and Bluetooth on throughout the day. While the battery life did drop significantly on heavy usage while gaming, the Snapdragon 636 impressively balances performance and efficiency.
The only major downside in terms of battery is how slow the device charges, considering that the device comes with a 4000mAh battery and has no support for Quick Charging, the charging speeds are far from impressive. We had to spend a little over 2 hours to charge up the device that gave pretty close to two days of low usage. When using the device continuously, the battery dropped at about 21-percent for two hours of video playback on YouTube while using 4G.
Verdict – Is the Redmi Note 5 Pro good?
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro has one of the best overall performance to price ratio right now, as Xiaomi has finally worked upon the cameras to offer, what we consider, a very pleasing experience. The battery life, MIUI and other favorable characters of the previous Xiaomi Redmi Note series devices have been retained to the liking of users and is mixed with modern desirable features such as a dual camera and the 18:9 aspect ratio display. The build quality is still very good and both the front and the rear camera together steal the attention of the user.
If there’s some tough contenders to name in this price range, it would be the Honor 7x, Moto G5s Plus, and the Lenovo K8 Note, but Xiaomi’s Mi A1 isn’t bad either, though the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is an excellent phone excelling in several areas and making it hard for you to ignore as a choice.