Xiaomi recently released their much-anticipated successor in the Redmi Note lineup, the Redmi Note 5 Pro. With a price tag of Rs. 15,000, the device goes head-to-head with their current best mid-range budget offering, the Mi A1. As such, a lot of us were wondering if the latest offering from the Chinese giant actually better than the Android One device that is already selling like hot-cakes in the country? Well then, let’s find out, as we compare Xioami’s best budget offerings, the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Mi A1:
Redmi Note 5 Pro vs Mi A1: Specs
Before we get to the actual comparison part, let us first get the specs out of the way. The Redmi Note 5 Pro, being the more modern of the two, features the latest processor as well as the new 18:9 screen.
|Redmi Note 5 Pro
|5.9-inch 18:9 Full-HD+ IPS display
|5.5-inch FHD LCD display, with 1920 x 1080p resolution
|158.6 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm
|155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3 mm
|Octa-core 1.8 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 with Adreno 509 GPU
|Octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, clocked at 2.0GHz
|64GB, expandable up to 128GB using microSD card
|64GB, expandable up to 128GB via MicroSD card
|12+5 MP Dual Cameras with dual-tone flash
|dual 12MP wide-angle + 12MP telephoto lens, with two-tone flash
|20 MP with LED Flash
|5MP, with f/2.6 aperture, beautify and facial recognition
|4,000 mAh with QC 2.0
|Android 7.1.1 Nougat, with MIUI 9
|Stock Android 7.1.1
|VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, headphone jack
|VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS
|₹13,999 for 4GB, ₹16,999 for 6 GB
Design and Build Quality
While both the devices follow a different design language, they’re both the same at the core. Both are Xiaomi devices, and they both feature the same bands on the top and bottom, with the same fingerprint sensor. However, personally, I’d give credit to the Mi A1 for having an original dual camera setup design, as opposed to the copy of the iPhone X sported on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. On the front side, however, it is the Redmi Note 5 Pro that shines, having a more modern 18:9 near-bezel-less display, while the Mi A1 looks more like a device from 2016.
As for the build quality, both the devices feature the same aluminum build. The 5.5-inch Mi A1 feels grippier than the Redmi Note 5 Pro, as well easier for one-hand usage. Also, despite being the more recent of the two devices, the Note 5 Pro has a micro-USB while the Mi A1 features a USB Type-C port. All in all, while the Redmi Note 5 Pro certainly looks more modern of the two, the Mi A1 scores more is the overall design and build quality.
The display is one factor where the Redmi Note 5 Pro clearly has the supremacy over its counterpart. The 5.99-inch with an 18:9 resolution is a beauty to look at, and the Mi A1 doesn’t hold a candle to the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Don’t get me wrong, the Mi A1’s 5.5-inch display is great, but the device just doesn’t hold a candle to the much modern Note 5 Pro.
Colors are vibrant, and the Full HD+ resolution looks pretty crisp. Sure, it may not match the level of 1440p displays, but then again, one has to remember it is a budget device. Clearly, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the clear winner here.
This is probably the segment that most of you are most interested in – the camera performance. While Xiaomi’s devices have always offered the best hardware in a budget-friendly device, the camera segment has always been their downfall. This all changed with the Mi A1, which had a very good camera. Now, with the Redmi Note 5 Pro being touted as the “Camera Beast of India”, does it have what it takes to beat Xiaomi’s personal best?
In our in-depth testing of the camera performance, both the devices had a neck-to-neck competition. There were cases where the Redmi Note 5 Pro proved to be a better performer, and then there were instances in which the Mi A1 reproduced better colors. Overall, both the cameras have an inconsistency to their performance, with a marginal difference between the two. The portrait mode is great on both devices, and video recording is also decent, considering the price point of both the smartphones.
Effectively, if the camera is your main preference, you can’t go wrong with either of the devices. That being said, Xiaomi has promised to deliver new updates for the Redmi Note 5 Pro which will bring forth more camera improvements. As such, it might be better to just go with the Redmi Note 5 Pro only.
Now this one comes down to one’s personal preference. On one side, you have the Stock Android OS, which comes straight from Google’s AOSP. On the other hand, you have the heavily skinned MIUI, which although is Android only, gives a completely different user experience.
Personally, I’ve always admired MIUI for the plethora of customization options it offers to the end-user as well as the superb battery optimizations for a longer shelf life. However, the only issue I’ve had with MIUI has been the memory optimization, with the heavily skinned OS occupying a butt-load of RAM. However, considering that there is 4GB of RAM onboard, things shouldn’t really matter that much.
That being said, I still prefer the stock Android experience. It is the way Google imagines Android to be, has zero bloatware, and lets the user use their device the way they wish to. Furthermore, one major advantage of the Mi A1 is that it is an Android One device, so it will be amongst the first devices to run the latest versions of Android. In fact, the device is already running on Android Oreo 8.0, while the Redmi Note 5 Pro is still on Android Nougat. Also, if you’re one of those who likes to tinker with their devices, stock Android is compatible with every mod out there.
All in all, the software part comes down to one’s personal preference. Do you want more features, a better battery life? Go with MIUI 9 on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. And if you prefer the cleaner interface with zero bloats, get the Mi A1 with stock Android.
When it comes to performance, I guess we already know who the winner is going to be. Pitting the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s Snapdragon 636 against the Mi A1’s Snapdragon 625. The newer processor undoubtedly outperforms the latter one. As you can see from the benchmark results, the performance increase, while not being humongous, is definitely noticeable.
As for the day to day usage, both the devices work equally well. However, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is obviously the winner here, providing a snappier performance, with quick app load times and fast processing.
While the stock Android on Mi A1 does not have accompanying bloatware with it, the MIUI 9 on the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with superb battery optimizations. In our test results, while both the devices did last an entire day on medium usage, the 4,000mAh battery on the Redmi Note 5 Pro certainly outlasted the 3,080mAh battery on the Mi A1. In fact, even on day 2, the Redmi Note 5 Pro had enough juice left to go strong for another few hours.
The new Snapdragon 636 SoC is quite power efficient and coupled with a huge battery and MIUI’s optimizations, prove to be a battery-friendly package altogether.
Which One Should You Buy?
At this point in time, you’re obviously wondering which device is right for you. Well, in all honesty, Xiaomi has outdone itself this time with the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Sure, there are a few things to dislike, such as the micro-USB port and the copied rear-camera design, but other than that, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is an absolute beast. You get a beautiful 18:9 display, a more powerful camera setup on both sides of the device, a bigger battery, a faster processor, the snappiest MIUI till date, all for the low price of just Rs. 15,000. Clearly, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the absolute winner in this battle of the budget beasts from Xiaomi.
But then again, that is what we think. What about you? Do you agree or disagree with our comparison? Share with us your opinions in the comments down below.