Xiaomi Redmi 5 review: Premium-priced all-rounder with a modern 18:9 screen

Xiaomi Redmi 5
After a successful run in 2017 with its value-for-money smartphones, Xiaomi started 2018 with the launch of its budget-centric devices. Soon after the launch of the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the Chinese mobile phone maker has launched the entry-level Redmi 5 in India at a price of Rs 7,999 for the base model.

Unlike what has been seen in previous-generation devices, the succeeding generation of Redmi-series smartphones costs a tad higher than the predecessor -- be it the Redmi 5 Pro or the Redmi 5. However, the Redmi 5 notches up the smartphone game with its modern 18:9 aspect ratio screen wrapped in a metallic-plastic chassis which looks premium.

The smartphone is built on the blue print of its elder sibling, the Redmi Note 5, which gives it an edge in terms of design. However, the innards have been kept in line with previous generation, besides some minor improvements, to keep the price in check.

Business Standard reviewed the Redmi 5 to test its overall performance. Here are our observations:

Design and display

The Redmi 5 takes design cues from the Redmi Note 5 and, therefore, looks similar. However, the younger sibling has a few elements of difference. The front of the Redmi 5 is dominated by a 5.7-inch HD+ 18:9 aspect ratio screen, covered by a 2.5D glass. It does look plush; but for an 18:9 screen device, the smartphone has huge bezels on the top and bottom.

The screen is bright and vivid. However, the HD+ resolution in the 5.7-inch screen looks pixelated. For a budget smartphone, the screen works satisfactorily to render multimedia content such as photos and videos. The touch response is smooth and the phone registers the touch without lag.

Coming on to the back side, it is covered with a metallic sheet, but the chassis is made out of plastic that extends towards the back from top and bottom. The colour of the metallic sheet and plastic chassis has different shades; it comes to notice in bright light conditions. As for the build quality, it is top-notch and the edges blend well into the chassis with no gaps, either on the front or back.

Performance

The Redmi 5 sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 system-on-chip (SoC), which is an octa-core processor built on 14-nanometre processing plant. The energy-efficient processor is mated with the MIUI 9 operating system built on Google Android Nougat 7.1.2.

The phone performs most day-to-day tasks seamlessly. However, switching apps, using multiple apps in background and multitasking leads to a noticeable lag sometimes. The phone manages to open heavy games like Asphalt 8 and other power-intensive applications. But the performance takes a toll. Considering the budget factor of the device, however, that is not unusual.

Camera

The Redmi 5 sports a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 5MP selfie camera. Both the cameras offer a satisfactory output in day light but suffer drastically during low-light conditions.

In daylight conditions, the rear camera is spot on in terms of autofocus speed, colours reproduction and details. In low light, however, it struggles to maintain proper exposure and affects the autofocus speed. The selfie camera output looks grainy with visible lens noise. It becomes more prominent in low-light conditions when the selfie camera just couldn’t take stable shots, unless mounted on a tripod.

Battery

The Redmi 5 sports a 3,300 mAh battery, which is good 800 mAH less than the predecessor. However, the power-efficient processor, coupled with HD+ screen returns good on-battery numbers. The phone manages to stay up for a day or more on normal usage.

However, the charging time is unusually high, taking almost 3 hours for the phone to recharge from zero to 100 per cent.

Verdict

Just like the previous budget-centric Redmi-series smartphones, the Redmi 5 is an all-round performer. However, it does not cut through the value-for-money proposition for which Xiaomi is known. The phone comes in three RAM and storage options – 2GB/16GB, 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB. Priced at Rs 7,999 for the base model, the Redmi 5 seems a bit overpriced, especially when compared with other smartphones offering similar features at lower prices.

The phone competes with Huawei Honor 9 Lite, iVoomi i1, InFocus Vision 3 and itel S42 in its price segment.

 

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