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Xiaomi has finally unveiled the successor of the highest selling smartphone of the year 2017- Redmi Note 4 in the Indian market. Priced aggressively at Rs. 9,999 for the 3GB RAM+32GB storage variant, the Redmi Note 5 comes with all bells and whistles and aims to write a new chapter in budget and mid-range smartphone segment.
Redmi Note 5 is a 'Made in India' product and will also sell in 4GB + 64GB storage variant at Rs. 11,999.
Besides the Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi also introduced a Pro variant of the fifth generation Redmi Note handset. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is the first smartphone to be powered by Snapdragon 636 CPU.
It is Qualcomm's latest 600 series chipset and brings some advancement in mid-range smartphone segment. The Pro variant also features a dual-lens rear camera setup, which you will not find in the standard Redmi Note 5 variant. Nevertheless, Redmi Note 5 still has a lot to offer to Indian consumers at a pocket friendly price-point. So without any further delay, let's find out what Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro bring to table.
Design and Build
Xiaomi has once again followed a symmetrical design approach with the new Redmi Note 5. The rear camera module, dual-LED flash light and the fingerprint scanner is centrally aligned that gives the handset a clean and minimal look and feel. Redmi Note 5 is also slimmer than the previous Redmi Note 4 and the design also looks more refined.
On the other hand, Redmi Note 5 Pro borrows design elements from iPhone X. The rear camera's placement is entirely copied from Apple's flagship device which might work for Xiaomi as consumers would not mind an iPhone X lookalike in budget price-point. However, Xiaomi should have come up with something new instead of simply copying the Cupertino giant. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is exactly the same size of Redmi Note 5; however it feels comparatively lighter in hands than the standard Note 5 variant even though both the smartphones have a 4,000 mAh battery unit.
The design of both the handsets is not entirely metal. The top and bottom of Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro have plastic ends that house the antennas for connectivity. Both the smartphones have rounded corners and curved edges for better handling. The buttons are placed ergonomically for comfortable in-hand feel.
I was expecting a Type C port; however Xiaomi has shipped the new handsets with the dated micro USB port, which is disappointing the current market scenario.
Vibrant 18:9 aspect ratio screens
Xiaomi's latest Redmi smartphones feature 18:9 aspect ratio displays. Both the handsets sport a 5.99-inch full screen display with 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution. The displays are vibrant and touch responsive; however the screen on Pro variant has better contrast ratio and seems more vibrant. The display settings allow you to change the contrast level as per your requirement. The displays on both the handsets have good brightness levels which make the new Redmi handsets quite usable in daylight. The displays also come with Gorilla Glass protection.
Capable Camera hardware
Xiaomi has made some significant changes in the camera hardware of both the smartphones. The Redmi Note 5 sports a 12MP mono camera setup that works on f/2.2 aperture and 1.25 μm. The camera also comes equipped with PDAF. Redmi Note 5 features a 5MP front-facing camera that comes with Beautify 3.0 mode and can record videos at 30fps. On the other hand, Redmi Note 5 Pro steps up the camera game by packing a 12MP+5MP dual-lens rear camera setup. The handset sports a 20MP front-facing camera that has Beautify 4.0 mode. Xiaomi claims that the selfie camera uses complex algorithms developed especially for Mi Fans in India to adapt to beards and accessories such as bindis and nose rings.
In our brief time, we found that the selfie camera on Redmi Note 5 Pro delivers impressive software-tuned images that will please consumers who are fond of Snapchat and Instagram stories. The rear camera also delivered images with ample detailing and good contrast ratio. The dual-camera setup captures appealing bokeh effect but on a closer look the camera seemed harsh at edges of the subject. I also tested the Redmi Note 5 image output and noticed that its camera is better at capturing accurate color tones as compared to Redmi Note 5 Pro. One reason can be the difference in color reproduction by the IPS LCD screens on the two variants. We will evaluate the images captured by both the smartphones in PC to better understand the camera output.
Hardware and Software
Redmi Note 5 Pro is the world's first smartphone to feature the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset. Xiaomi claims that the Redmi Note 5 Pro blows the competition out of the water with its eight Kryo 260 cores, Adreno 509 GPU, and up to 6GB of DDR4X RAM. On the other hand, Redmi Note 5 runs on the same Snapdragon 625 chipset that powered up the Redmi Note 4.
The CPU is paired with 3GB and 4GB RAM options. We were using both the phones side by side and found that the Redmi Note 5 Pro did feel pretty fast, even snappier than the Redmi Note 5 in app loading and general screen animations. We will evaluate both the handset's gaming, computing and multimedia performance in the coming week in our comprehensive review.
Both the handsets run on MIUI 9.2 custom skin deployed over Android 7.1.1 Nougat. While MIUI 9 is very feature rich and efficient, the choice of underlying Android version seems dated. Both the smartphones felt snappy and responsive in our brie testing. We will spend some more time with the new Redmi handsets to test their full software potential.
Battery and Connectivity
The new Redmi Note devices draw their power from a respectable 4,000 mAh battery unit. Redmi Note 4 performed really well in our battery tests and we are expecting the same battery backup from Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro. As far as connectivity is concerned, both the handsets support 4G VoLTE and have Wi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a micro-USB.
At a starting price of Rs. 9,999, the fifth generation Redmi Note devices look prominent on papers and gave a glimpse of capable everyday Android devices. Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro will give tough fight to Honor 7X, Honor 9 Lite, Samsung's latest budget and mid-range handsets and other smartphones priced under Rs. 18,000. We will soon give you a better idea of the device's camera, multitasking, gaming and software performance. Stay tuned on Gizbot.com.