Xiaomi, India’s leading smartphone vendor for the last two quarters, is back with two new Redmi Note phones, the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro. For Xiaomi, India is one of the most important markets where it has tasted success outside of China. Overall, 2017 was a great year for the company which is now back in the top five list of global smartphone vendors. More importantly, it continues to do well in India, one of the few markets where the smartphone segment is still growing. In Xiaomi’s home market of China, smartphone growth has stagnated and even declined in terms of shipments for 2017, according to research firm Canalys.
This also explains why the Redmi Note 5 Pro is making its global debut in India, and not China. The Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, dual cameras at the back, an improved 20MP front camera, along with the promise of Face recognition. Redmi Note 5 Pro is also priced higher than the regular Redmi Note 5. The new Redmi Note 5 Pro starts at a price of Rs 13,999 for the 4GB RAM option, while the 6GB RAM variant is priced at Rs 16,999. We have used the 4GB RAM variant of the Redmi Note 5 Pro now for nearly two weeks and here’s our review.
Redmi Note 5 Pro specifications: 5.99-inches FHD+ display (2160 x 1080 pixels) with 18:9 aspect ratio, LCD IPS | Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 octa-core processor at 1.8Ghz | 4GB/6GB RAM + 64GB storage, expandable to 128GB | 12MP+5MP rear camera + 20MP front camera with LED flash | 4000 mAh battery | MIUI 9 with Android Nougat 7.1.1
Redmi Note 5 Pro price in India: Rs 13,999 for the 4GB RAM/Rs 16,999 for the 6GB RAM
Redmi Note 5 Pro review
For Xiaomi, Redmi Note 4 was a best-seller and the company shipped nearly 9.6 million units of this phone in 2017 alone, a big number for the Indian market. Redmi Note 5 Pro is supposed to take that performance to another level. As expected, there is a lot of hype and anticipation around this phone. There’s a new processor on board, new display, a dual-rear camera, and Xiaomi has added Portrait mode for both selfies and the back camera.
In terms of design, there are two major changes. The display is now 5.99-inches with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and FHD+ resolution. The Redmi Note 4 had a 5.5-inch display with prominent bezels, but the new phones have reduced bezels on the side, top and bottom. Both the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Redmi Note 5 have not completely eliminated the side bezels, though this is a taller display with more viewing space. For videos, especially on YouTube, with its ‘Zoom to Fill’ feature, this does make for a better experience for the user. Xiaomi has opted for in-screen buttons and the fingerprint scanner remains at that back.
Redmi Note 5 Pro’s other big design change is the dual rear camera, which is vertically aligned and will remind users of the iPhone X, though this does not look so elegant. Xiaomi has opted for two RGB sensors on the Redmi Note 5 Pro and not picked the telephoto and wide-angle set up which worked so beautifully on the Mi A1. The front camera is now 20MP with selfie flash and Portrait mode option as well. Xiaomi is expected to add face recognition for unlocking the device in March 2018 via an OTA update.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: What’s good?
Redmi Note 5 Pro’s display is a big plus point for this phone. The good thing is that Xiaomi is bringing the trend of edge-to-edge displays to its budget phones and with this one, the company gets it right. The display quality is top notch as on most Xiaomi phones, with good colour reproduction, though there’s not much to differentiate the Pro and the regular Redmi Note 5 on this front. Of course, what stands out is the extra viewing space, the thin bezels and the overall brightness of the display. The Redmi Note 5 Pro should be good enough for daily use even with under 50 per cent brightness.