The Redmi Note 4 was the best selling smartphone in India last year, so naturally, expectations have been high for its successor, the Redmi Note 5, which was unveiled by Xiaomi recently. While the Redmi Note 5 is a good upgrade from the Note 4, the Redmi Note 5 Pro (starts at ₹14,999) is the smartphone that looks like the true successor to the much loved Redmi Note 4. It’s powerful, it has an updated design, it’s got some great camera abilities. Yes, it looks like a winner, but how does it actually fare? Well, let’s find out.
Redmi Note 5 Pro Specifications
Before we get on with our review, let’s take a look at the specifications of the Redmi Note 5 Pro:
|Display||5.9-inch 18:9 Full-HD+ IPS display|
|Dimensions||158.6 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm|
|Processor||Octa-core 1.8 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 with Adreno 509 GPU|
|Storage||64GB, expandable up to 128GB using microSD card|
|Primary Camera||12+5 MP Dual Cameras with dual-tone flash
|Secondary Camera||20 MP with LED Flash
|Battery||4,000 mAh with QC 2.0|
|Software||Android 7.1.1 Nougat, with MIUI 9|
|Connectivity||LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, headphone jack|
|Price||₹13,999 for 4GB, ₹16,999 for 6 GB|
Display and Design
There are two major things I noticed when I first got hands on with the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Firstly, the 18:9 Full HD+ 6-inch display makes the smartphone look like a high-end phone. Just look at it next to the Mi A1, the Note 5 Pro looks beautiful and more modern.
It’s not bezel-less, but it looks great and very similar to high-end phones like the Pixel 2 XL or the LG V30. Plus, it helps that the display is great. It’s sharp, the colors look nice and the brightness is good enough for outdoors. I really like the display on the Note 5.
Okay, so moving on to second major design change, well, it’s the camera setup on the back. Yes, it looks a lot like the setup on the iPhone X but that’s okay, I guess. I mean, Xiaomi is clearly inspired by the Apple flagship here but it’s fine.
Apart from that, it’s the usual Xiaomi, with the IR blaster on the top, the fingerprint scanner on the back, headphone jack on the bottom, all the things to like. There’s one thing I dislike, and that’s the microUSB port. I mean, c’mon Xiaomi, it’s 2018, why no USB C? Your very own Mi A1 comes with USB C, so why the Redmi Note 5 Pro does not?
Anyways, there’s a lot to like about the Redmi Note 5 Pro design. The front looks beautiful, thanks to the new, big and beautiful 18:9 display and even with the iPhone X-like camera setup, I like the back of the device. The curves make holding the phone really comfortable. Yes, it’s a metal build but it’s surprisingly not so slippery. Also, another thing I like are the buttons, They are just so tactile.
So yes, at its price, the Redmi Note 5 Pro has an almost perfect design. No doubts about that. Yes, USB C would have made things perfect from almost perfect but considering everything that Xiaomi packs in this thing, I guess I can move past that.
Another big upgrade the Redmi Note 5 Pro brings is in the processor. The Redmi Note 5 Pro is the first smartphone in the world to come with the Snapdragon 636, which should really please fans, because the Snapdragon 625 in the Redmi Note 4 was kind of disappointing because the Redmi Note 3 came with the Snapdragon 650 processor. The octa-core Snapdragon 636 is only the second chipset outside the flagship 800 series to feature Qualcomm’s own custom Kryo CPU cores, and well, quite expectedly, the performance is top notch.
Using multiple apps, switching between apps, extensive games, no matter what, the phone handles everything like a champ. I just haven’t encountered any lag or stutter with the device so far. And we have the 4 GB variant of the device. In fact, I think this is one of the fastest Xiaomi smartphones I have ever used. Yes, it’s that good.
Moving on to the highlight of the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The camera. Let’s talk specs. The back features a 12 MP f/2.2 + 5 MP f/2.0 dual camera setup with a dual LED flash. The primary camera captures 1.25 micron pixels, which means the camera does capture more light when compared to the Note 5 and even the Note 4.
Note: We tested the cameras on the Redmi Note 5 Pro with the MIUI 9.2 Nightly build. According to Xiaomi, the stable build will bring better camera performance. We will be testing the camera again when the stable build arrives and update the review accordingly.
Here are some photos we took from the Redmi Note 5 Pro:
As you can see, the camera at times takes some great photos, with good colors and details, but at times, the camera fails to judge the white balance right or just produces photos with washed out colors, and that maybe because our review unit has a nightly build of MIUI 9. The same problem persists in low light photos as well. Some are good, some are okay. It’s strange.
Thanks to the dual camera setup on the back, the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with the portrait mode too but right now, the portrait mode is a bit of hit and miss. The photos just don’t look as good as the portrait mode shots from the Mi A1, which again is strange because both the phones are from Xiaomi.
Moving on to video recording, there’s EIS on the Note 5 Pro, so videos are stable but apart from the stability, the video quality is pretty average and there’s stutter and lag in the videos recorded. Also, there’s no 4K recording, which Xiaomi says is coming in a future update.
Well, overall, the camera performance on the Note 5 Pro’s camera is average. The word ‘inconsistent’ seems apt but I think the camera here is pretty capable, and I really believe that this average performance is due to the beta nature of MIUI 9 on our device. I am really hoping Xiaomi fixes things with the retail unit of the device because right now, the Mi A1 camera just seems better.
Anyways, moving on to the front because the Redmi Note 5 Pro also packs in a powerful front camera. A 20 MP f/2.2 camera with LED flash. Yes, a massive 20 MP camera. Here are some selfies we took. Yes, most of the selfies are very detailed and thanks to HDR, the 20 MP camera does a pretty great job. Plus, the front camera too has a portrait mode. Just like the Pixel 2, the Note 5 Pro uses AI for portrait selfies. Well, the portrait selfies we took were above average. Some are good, like really good, while some are okay-ish.
I think the pre-release software is to blame again here because at the launch, Xiaomi said the the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s portrait selfies are better than the portrait selfies from the Pixel 2 and iPhone X. Now that is one bold claim. Well, right now, that claim does not match up but well, we will be testing out the Note 5 Pro’s portrait selfies against the Pixel 2 and iPhone X’s, so I guess we will find out.
The performance really makes the Note 5 Pro a premium device and that performance also comes due to a well optimized MIUI 9. It’s the same old MIUI, which a lot of us love but it has gone under some refinements. There’s full screen mode to make sure all apps stretch to fill in on the new 18:9 aspect ratio, the App Vault page on the home screen that houses app shortcuts, notes, calendar events etc.
And then, there are our favorite MIUI features like native app locker, screen recorder, themes, second space, dual apps, etc. I can go on and on but there’s one problem, the MIUI 9 here is based on Android Nougat. Yes, Nougat at a time when Oreo has been here for almost 6 months now. Apart from that, MIUI 9 is well, MIUI, and I like it.
Next up, we tested the battery and that’s another area where the Redmi Note series excels and as cliched as it sounds, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is no exception. The 4,000 mAh battery on the Note 5 Pro should easily last you a day or even more than a day, even on heavy usage. I mean, it did last me more than a day on almost all occasions.
Plus, the sweet sweet thing with the Note 5 Pro is the fact that it supports Quick Charging 2.0. From what we have heard, the bundled charger does not fast charge the device but the device does support it. We tried to charge the Note 5 Pro with a fast charger and well, it worked. The Redmi Note 5 Pro went from 10 to 100 in around 2 hours 10 minutes. So, if you get a Note 5 Pro, you will have to get a fast charger.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with all the connectivity options one associates with a modern day smartphone. The device comes with dual SIM 4G LTE support but it’s a hybrid SIM slot, which means one of them can be used for a SIM card or a microSD card up to 128 GB. The smartphone also comes with Bluetooth 5.0, thanks to the Snapdragon 636 processor, along with an IR blaster, like most Xiaomi phones. There’s no NFC though.
Should You Buy Redmi Note 5 Pro?
Well, that was pretty much everything about the Redmi Note 5 Pro. With its 4 GB version costing ₹14,999, and the 6 GB version costing ₹16,999, how does it fare? Well, pretty good actually.
Here are the positives first. The design is great, thanks to the 18:9 display, the display itself is gorgeous, the performance is so so good, the battery life is amazing and MIUI 9 is refined. Phew, that’s a lot of positives. Then, there’s the much hyped camera, which in its current state, isn’t up to the standards we expected. I really think Xiaomi will better it with updates and I hope I am right. Apart from the camera, there aren’t a lot of negatives. No USB C, No Oreo and No fast charger in the box are all the I can think of.
So, should you buy it? Well, at this price, the phone competes with the company’s very own Mi A1 and honestly, the Mi A1 is still a good buy for someone looking for the stock Android experience with a capable camera. The Snapdragon 625 does seem outdated though. And if you are okay with MIUI and you can trust Xiaomi to improve the cameras, you can buy the Redmi Note 5 Pro without a doubt. It has a better design, better performance and more features.
There’s also the Moto G5s Plus, but honestly, the Moto phone can’t really match up to the Note 5 Pro. So, there you have it, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is really the true blue successor to the much loved Redmi Note 4. It will be the budget phone to beat in 2018 and if Xiaomi manages to improve the camera performance, it will be tough the beat the Note 5 Pro. That’s how good it is.
If you are okay with MIUI and you can trust Xiaomi to improve the cameras, you can buy the Redmi Note 5 Pro without a doubt. It has a better design, better performance and more features.
- Great display
- Modern design
- Fluid performance
- MIUI is well optimized
- Packed with features
- No USB-C
- No Oreo in 2018
- No fast charger in the box
Redmi Note 5 Pro Review: “Almost” the Best Budget Smartphone
Well, Xiaomi certainly has a winner on its hands with the Redmi Note 5 Pro and it should undoubtedly be one of the best selling phones of this year. So, will you be buying the Redmi Note 5 Pro? What are your thoughts on the new Xiaomi smartphone? Let me know in the comments section down below. Also, let me know if you have any questions regarding the Redmi Note 5 Pro.