Xiaomi Redmi 5 review: Impressive but not a clear winner like Redmi Note 5
Xiaomi’s new smartphone has the spark to light up the budget segment, but it still doesn’t tower over rivals
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After the Redmi Note 5 (Rs9,999 onwards) and Note 5 Pro (Rs13,999 onwards), Xiaomi has added a slightly more affordable Redmi 5 to the line-up of phones. Starting at Rs7,999, the Redmi 5 looks like a smaller variant of the Redmi Note 5. It is available on Xiaomi’s Mi.com and Amazon.in through weekly flash sales.
We take a look at the key highlights of Redmi 5 and see where it stands against rivals such as 10.or E (Rs6,999), Smartron’s srt. phone (Rs8,490) and Xiaomi’s Redmi Y1 (Rs8,999).
■A lot has been said about the thin-bezel design and how it has allowed phonemakers to offer big screens without making the phone very large to hold. However, the new design language is still limited to smartphones priced above Rs10,000. The Redmi 5 is one of the first smartphones in the price range to Rs-7,000-8,000 to offer the convenience of a big screen in a compact form factor.
■The Redmi 5 is 151.8 mm tall and weighs just 157g. Its biggest rival, the 10.or E (Rs6,999), which offers a 5.5-inch screen with bigger bezels, stands 155mm tall and weighs 159g.This makes the Redmi 5 a lot more reassuring to hold than the Redmi Note 5, which offers a slightly bigger 6-inch screen but feels a bit hefty at 181g.
■The new smartphone comes in four different colour options gold, black, rose gold and lake blue. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the back, similar to the Redmi Note 5. It is fast and easily accessible at the back.
■While Xiaomi has managed to accommodate a big 5.7-inch screen, it overlooked the screen resolution. The Redmi 5 has a resolution of 1,440x720p. This gives the screen a slightly dull look compared to a 10.or E which offers a 5.5-inch screen with a resolution of 1,920x1,080p or the Redmi Note 5 which packs a resolution of 2,160x1,080p on a 6-inch screen.
■Xiaomi is yet to offer the latest version of Android on its smartphones. Redmi 5 runs Android 7.1(Nougat) with MIUI 9 on top. Like the Redmi Note 5, the navigation keys are integrated within the interface and can be a bit disconcerting, at first, for someone used to touch sensitive navigation keys on the lower bezel of the earlier Xiaomi smartphones. It is an impressive looking UI with lots of custom themes, and features which are not available in plain Android. 10.or E also runs Android 7.1 but with stock Android interface.
■The Redmi 5 runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 octa-core chipset clocking at 1.8GHz, which is superior to the 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor, which drives the 10.or E, but not more powerful than srt.phone’s 1.8GHz Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor. The entry-level variant of Redmi 5 offers only 2GB RAM, which is adequate for most basic tasks. The 10.or E feels slightly underpowered compared to the Redmi 5 when it handling new games.
■The Redmi 5 offers 16GB internal storage with the option to expand it further with microSD cards in the entry-level variant, while the 10.or E offers 32GB internal storage. It accepts microSD cards too. The srt.phone offers 64GB internal storage and has a separate slot for microSD cards.
■What gives the 10.or E an edge over the Redmi 5 is the superior battery backup. It packs in a 4,000mAh battery which lasts a day and half, while the Redmi 5 has a 3,300MAh battery which can eke out a day’s backup at most on a single charge.
The Xiaomi Redmi 5 is a notable addition to the sub Rs10,000 segment, but unlike the Redmi Note 5 or the more expensive Redmi Note 5 Pro, it is not an outright winner in this category. The lower screen resolution, smaller battery, hybrid SIM tray with no dedicated slot for microSD cards are some of the elements which take some sheen away from it. The 10.or E is not as powerful but there is more going for it than the Redmi 5. The srt.phone is another solid alternative to Redmi 5. It offers a superior-looking 5.5-inch screen with a resolution 1,920x1,080p, runs on an equally fast processor, weighs just 155g and offers plain Android interface.
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