Xiaomi has been the best seller in the budget segment for quite a while now and we often notice that their smartphone models pricing overlap either other. Until recent times their lower end device was the Redmi 4A which was a pretty good device for the price, now the Redmi 5A has come to replace the 4A with a few improvements.
In this review, we will be talking about some of the key aspects that makes this device one of the best ultra-budget smartphones.
The design on the Redmi 5A is very much standard and similar to what you’d expect from a budget smartphone, the rear panel is completely made of plastic, but it is given a metallic finish for a better appeal. The device will be available in Dark Grey, Gold, and Rose Gold colors.
The Redmi 5A comes with a 5-inch screen at HD resolution and is mainly made up of a plastic shell, the device is small and easily fits in the hand. The grip on the device is sturdy and the weight doesn’t feel very odd at 137g as the device is 8.35mm thick. The device has very similar dimensions to its predecessor, the Redmi 4A. There are three capacitive touch buttons for navigation purpose on the bottom of the phone, we would have appreciated a backlit capacitive button but can’t complain about it for the price that the device comes at. There is a notification light under the home button which is evidently visible only when it turns on.
To the left of the phone, you have two slots, one is for a single Nano sim and the other slot is shared between a Nano sim card slot and a microSD card slot. To the rear of the smartphone is the camera with a single LED flash that does add some light to the images. The speaker grill is big and runs through the rear bottom of the device, on the bottom of the device you will find a Micro USB slot and a 3.5mm headset jack.
As in the case of most Xiaomi devices, even the Redmi 5A comes with an IR blaster which you can use to control most of the Household items including your Set-top box and TV. Coming to the accessories, the device comes with a charger and a Micro-USB cable in the box, as expected at the price point, the company chose to exclude the earphone from the package.
The specs on the Redmi 5A are very identical to those on the Redmi 4A, the device is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor with four cores each running at 1.4GHz. The screen is a 5” inch screen at a 720p HD resolution and the rear camera is a 13MP sensor. The front camera is a 5MP sensor and the device supports all the regular Wireless standards including 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1LE, FM and GPS. The device comes in two variants, the base model is a 2GB RAM version with 16GM internal storage and the higher end variant has 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage. The battery on the Redmi 5A has been surprisingly cut down to 3000mAh from the 3120mAh on the Redmi 4A.
The dedicated microSD card slot on the Redmi 5A is a sheer bonus that was absent on the previous Redmi 4A, also the support for maximum size has been bumped up to 256GB from the previously limited 128GB.
The device worked well on our testing and we tried out a few games including Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat, the games did run on the Redmi 5A, but we could see a drop in the texture quality compared to other mid-range devices which is a very obvious thing. The RAM management is pretty good and that helps the device return an excellent battery life and a smoother experience.
Operating System, Interface
The device is shipped with Android 7.1.2 out of the box and the MIUI version is 9. The skin adds a lot of customizations and animations to the UI, MIUI gives its users a wide choice of themes that they can download from the store. The store also includes individual wallpapers, fonts, and ringtone which you can download for free as of now.
The MIUI interface gives some really good features including the Second Space functionality which lets you add a user profile to the device. You can also assign additional gestures to the capacitive Android navigation keys and set them to perform specific tasks. App lock and Dual apps functionality are also included right into the ROM, so you don’t have to install additional apps for these purposes. The device comes with some bloat from Microsoft including the Office suite and Skype Lite.
This device very well balances the pricing and performance, every day tasks like browsing and listening to music while messaging work effortlessly. AS mentioned in our previous section, we did play a few games on the device without much of an issue. However, one thing worth noting is that most of the time, there is hardly any RAM free on the device. On our review unit, we barely had about 400-600MB of RAM free at all points of usage. This only worsens when we enable the Second space functionality on the device where the device does find it difficult to manage the RAM efficiently.
We rand a few benchmarks on the device and Antutu benchmark returned a score of 36,232 and Geekbench 4 gave a score of 1862 on the Single score and 3689 on Multicore. This score is highly subjective and might vary based on the device variant and memory and thermal condition of the device.
The screen is pretty good for the price and text to look clear and crisp. The viewing angles are pretty good, and we didn’t find any specific issues with the display. The colors are good but they don’t pop out in a vivid manner. The speaker grill in on the rear bottom of the device, making it sound crumbled when facing downwards, when the speaker is faced upwards, the sound is still very weak and slightly distorts at higher volumes.
The Camera is just average on the device and isn’t something worth banking your expectations upon. The details in the captured images are low. The borders are not sharp, and the texture quality is lost in the capture. The colors weren’t the best when viewed on the phone which could partly be because of the display being dull.
Check full-res camera samples: Click here
The closeup shots turned out better than expected, but anything at a distance had little details being captured. Low light imaging of the device isn’t something to be proud of and we suggest you skip it. The video recording is supported up to 1080p FullHD and the autofocus works very well in daylight conditions.
There are several options in the camera app and you can apply some of the beautification options, there are three options when in the beauty mode. Off, Smart or Pro which lets you choose the effect intensity to be applied. Setting the beautification to the maximum does make it look very artificial and more like a poster painting.
Xiaomi doesn’t disappoint its users given the low pricing and although there isn’t too much difference in this year’s model compared to its predecessor, the subtle changes like the inclusion of a dedicated microSD card and the IR blaster add up to the make the device slightly better than its predecessor. The introductory offer price for the device is Rs 4,999 after which it will go on sale for Rs 5,999 which is still a great price for the device.
This might be a great device if you are getting a smartphone for the first time or if you need a spare phone for basic requirements like calling and other basic apps like WhatsApp. Having said this, there is no better phone in the market for this price.