Xiaomi has just announced their 2018 Redmi Note series lineup and we have two different smartphones placed at two different price points. The ‘standard’ Redmi Note 5 is essentially the Redmi Note 4 repackaged in a new bottle. However, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is what we are actually interested in because this is the next generation Redmi Note 5 in true essence. It has got a new processor and a new pair of cameras amongst a host of other things. At Rs 16,999 for the 6GB/64GB variant and Rs 13,999 for the 4GB/64GB variant, it sits at a price point where a smartphone is expected to up your status quo while keeping your pocket unharmed. Since we have had the phone with us for a considerable time, here’s how it fares until we give out final verdict.
At first glance, the Redmi Note 5 Pro can easily be associated with 2017’s superstar gadget — the iPhone X. There’s no other way to put it — the Redmi Note 5 Pro borrows the iPhone X’s camera module blatantly. The rear camera module is mostly similar in terms of size, the protrusion and the location. The only giveaway for this being an affordable Xiaomi is the presence of a metal body and the fingerprint scanner. The top and bottom are covered by plastic ends, which is done in interest of getting rid of antenna lines on the body.
There’s still a micro USB port, which is disappointing considering the similarly priced Mi Max 2 sports a USB Type-C port. However, Xiaomi states that the micro USB port has been retained to ensure charger compatibility, thereby negating any adaptation time for this new Redmi device. This, therefore, comes as good news for all the show-offs who like to flaunt latest design trends without spending a fortune.
Thankfully, there’s no notch present at the front. Instead, Xiaomi carries a familiar 5.99-inch 18:9 display from the Redmi Note 5 with reduced bezels. The front layout doesn’t differentiate from the standard Note 5 — this is a perfect example of bezel-less designs eventually making most smartphones look identical. The display’s picture quality is pretty similar to that of the Redmi Note 5. However, wait for our final verdict on the Note 5 Pro’s display performance.
However, what’s different is the hardware — Xiaomi is using a brand new Snapdragon 636 chipset. The chipset has an octa-core CPU with Qualcomm’s custom Kryo 260 architecture and is accompanied by an Adreno 509 GPU. This chipset is a aided by either 4GB or 6GB of RAM along with 64GB of storage as standard. Since this is a Redmi series device, there’s MIUI 9 atop Android 7.1 Nougat, which is depressing considering some of its rivals, including its own brother — the Mi A1, is enjoying Android Oreo.
Nonetheless, if you prefer a customised OS experience, then MIUI 9 isn’t disappointing. On this new hardware, the heavy MIUI 9 feels agile and is eager to switch between resource intensive apps and games. Playing some high-end games doesn’t seem to stress the silicon inside, which is good news for casual gamers and performance enthusiasts. We are yet to see how this new chipset fares after some considerable time with more hardcore user input.
Xiaomi is betting high on the Redmi Note 5 Pro with the cameras. There’s a 12MP + 5MP dual camera setup at the rear, which is claimed to take good-looking portrait photos. In our limited time with the device, we noticed that the Note 5 Pro is much better than the Mi A1 in terms of taking natural-looking bokeh shots. In standard mode, the camera seems to perform fairly decent in daylight scenarios whereas the night shots manage to keep noise under control while balancing the details. Xiaomi has given this smartphone AI power to help deliver good-looking photographs.
The 20MP selfie camera also relies on AI power to take bokeh portraits, just like the Google Pixel 2 — this gives the Redmi Note 5 Pro a huge advantage over its rivals. At first glance, it does look good, with the software managing to eradicate uneven borders between the subject and the background. Just checkout the sample from the selfie camera below, which seems to do teh job well.
We are yet to test out the Redmi Note 5 Pro’s shooter in varied conditions to give out a final verdict.
Xiaomi is using a big 4000mAh battery to power the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Xiaomi claims up to two days of maximum stamina on a single charge, which is yet to be tested. The Note 5 Pro also gets a 5V/2A charger like the Redmi Note 5, which reduces the waiting period for the phone to top up for relatively low levels of battery.
With the Redmi Note 5 Pro, Xiaomi has shown what it can do with the budget midrange smartphone of 2018. On paper, it has got substantial benefits over the Redmi Note 5 when it comes to everyday performance and camera. It has also got the premium looks of the iPhone X, which as we said before, is good for show-off looking to flaunt on a budget. However, we will put this new Redmi Note through its paces over the coming weeks to see whether it can stand up to claim the title of the midrange smartphone benchmark. Stay tuned for our full review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Also read: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 review