Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: Review
Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro – two almost identical names for the same make of smartphone. Today we are going to look at this potential candidate for best mid-range buy. Why potential candidate? Because Xiaomi is introducing almost identical devices in the market in terms of specifications and design, with only slight variations. Let’s find out what the Pro has to offer.
Pretty typical packaging both in terms of appearance and accessories. It’s a red cardboard box, with the name written on the front and the logo on the top – specifications are on the back.
Inside we find the Adapter (5V / 2A), the USB 2.0 Cable, a User Manual, the SIM removal needle and an ultra-thin cover.
There are no headphones, but there is a dark transparent cover, cable and adaptor.
|Processor||Snapdragon 636, octa-core a 1,8 GHz|
|Display||18:9, 5,99″, FHD+ (2160 x 1080), 403 PPI|
|Rear Camera||Double 12MP+5MP camera. 12MP, 1,4μm, aperture f/1.9. 5MP, 1,12μm, aperture f/2.0. Dual-tone single flash, PDAF.|
|Front Camera||13MP, 1,12μm, aperture f/2.0, front flash|
|Sim Card||Dual Nano SIM, optional micro-SIM instead of regular SIM|
|Connectvity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 & 5GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS + GLONASS + BeiDou|
|Battery||4000mAh, Carica QC2.0 a 5V/2A|
|OS||8.1 Oreo, MIUI 9.5|
|Other||Fingerprint reader, infrared port, Electronic compass, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Light sensor, Gyroscope, microUSB port|
|Dimensions and Weight||158,6*75,4*8,05mm, 181gr|
The processor is a Snapdragon 636; ideal in this price range to ensure excellent performance with low power consumption. The 3 + 32 or 4 + 64 memory comes with the possibility of expanding to 128 GB with a microSD, but only if you sacrifice the second nano-SIM.
Connectivity options are excellent; there is the version with band 20 already available on the market. You also get Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi; a rarity in this price range, although the old micro-USB port is still present. You get convenient notification LEDs and, of course, a headphone jack.
Almost similar to the Redmi 5 Plus, if not for the rear double room at the back and that goes to the left rather than to the center.
The phone is made from satin-finished aluminum and glass, and it’s well put-together. The only exception is the bands above and below the rear plastic body, which allow the antennas to work properly. The camera in this version is on the left side and looks a lot like that of the iPhone X. The vertical camera protrudes slightly, with a double flash in the middle between the two cameras. The fingerprint sensor is in the middle, and easily reachable. The logo is at the bottom.
The front of the phone is 100% display, with small upper and lower edges, creating a trounded display. On the sides, the frames are particularly thin. At the top, in the centre of the receiver, is the front camera while on the right there is the front flash and the notification LED.
The left side is completely bare, other than the SIM and microSD compartments. On the right side, you find the volume and power keys. They feel sturdy and comfortable; easy to locate and press. At the top, you find the microphone and infrared sensor, while the headphone jack, call microphone, microUSB charging port and speaker (mono) are all at the bottom.
Overall, the quality is excellent and pleasingly thin. Depending on the size of your hand, the phone is nicely compact and the back cover hasn’t shown any signs of wear or scratches – but I always used the protective cover that came with the phone.
The 5.99 “display with FHD has a resolution of 2160x1080px and a ratio of 18: 9 – the same display as the Redmi 5 Plus. The colour are bright and clearly visible, compared to the 5 Plus. The display here tends to reflect more light and make the display less visible, though. As with the 5 Plus, I noticed that the reactive ambient light sensor wasn’t reactive enough. I always had to set the brightness slightly higher than the default device setting. However, I should say that a software update has just come out, which should improve this aspect.
The rear camera is a double 12MP + 5MP with the second camera serving to add depth. With lots of light the shots are excellent, and still passable in low light. The absence of a stabilizer makes those low light shots a bit worse though. On the other hand, in bright conditions, the HDR function works very well and avoids “burned” skies. The shooting and focusing speed are excellent. You can set “scene” parameters to improve the shots of the subject being photographed.
As far as portrait mode goes – both for the front and back cameras – you get really nice automatic blurring effects. The subject is automatically cropped, even in poor lighting conditions. Unfortunately, the weak point of this effect is that the background is not always precisely cropped if the subject is not completely aligned – for example, if they have one hand out to the side.
The front camera is 13MP, with good brightness and detail. Again, the portrait effect is sufficient but not as precise as it perhaps should be.
The rear and the front camera both record video at full HD 30fps, although Snapdragon 636 could actually reach recording quality of 4K. The video mode doesn’t really have many options or effects.
The mono audio comes from the bottom speaker. The volume, however high it is, doesn’t distort. The bass isn’t great, like almost all the devices in this price range. Usually, mid-range devices tend to flatten all sounds slightly and this device is no different.
The on-call audio is excellent; clean and strong. In my calls the interlocutor never complained, even in non-ideal conditions and with noisy environments.
Android has already updated Oreo 8.1 with MIUI 9.5. The main tweaks are the option to duplicate apps (ideal for messaging apps) and the ability to block apps with fingerprint activation. Some system apps are particularly useful, like the remote-control app – so you can use your smartphone as a control centre for all appliances with IR inputs.
The device is also equipped with some very useful modes, such as one-hand mode and full-screen mode. In full-screen mode, the lower keys disappear, and a bit like on iPhone X, are replaced by gestures on the screen. As for everything else, those who already know MIUI will know what to expect – no surprises.
Xiaomi is producing a range of increasingly interesting mid-range devices with well-designed models and good-quality materials. There has been a big step forward with regards to the photographic department and now all shots with the device are good; without ifs and buts, and in almost all conditions.
In general, the durability, display, camera and performance are good enough that it’s difficult to ask for more.
The Redmi Note 5 is available for purchase in various international and non-international stores. Given that the prices are now almost identical, we recommend the purchase of the latter. In this way, the device will be ready for use with an EU adaptor.