On the front, the Note 5 and the Pro look similar: Both feature 18:9 screens. On the back, the Note 5 looks similar to the Note 4, but better. The Pro, on the other hand, looks like an iPhone X clone, without the all-glass build. But the vertical dual-camera set-up is a dead ringer.
The phones feel heavy but their tall stance make them easy to hold; but because of the ultra-wide display, one-handed operation is difficult.
Both phones sport 5.99-inch fullHD+ screens with 18:9 aspect ratios, covered with reflective Gorilla Glass, which hampers sunlight visibility. The screen, though an IPS unit, lacks both the maximum brightness level and vividness. But, the rounded corners of the screen look better than pointed edges, and the curved sides of the glass are easy to operate. There is no shift in colours when looked from angles and the slim side bezels leave enough space to hold the device without accidentally touching the screen area – something common in next-generation bezel-less smartphones.
The Note 5 features a 12-megapixel (MP) primary camera and a 5MP selfie shooter; the Pro’s dual-camera set-up uses a 12MP sensor sourced from Sony in combination with a 5MP sensor sourced from Samsung.
The primary camera in the Note 5 is an improved unit over its predecessor. The 5MP front camera is on par with the predecessor in terms of performance. But, the addition of LED flash on the front helps in low-light photography.
The dual cameras in the Pro take detailed shots. Unlike the Mi A1, another of Xiaomi’s budget dual-camera devices, the secondary camera in the Pro is not telephoto lens. Therefore, the 2x zooming capabilities are missing. On the positive side, the portrait mode is still there, powered by some sort of artificial intelligence.
The Note 5 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, similar to the predecessor, while the Pro features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor. Both devices run Xiaomi’s Android Nougat-based MIUI 9 operating system, which offers a lot of scope for customisation.
The phones perform consistently with no signs of lag or stutter anywhere. The UI looks neat and the phones handle power-intensive apps without breaking sweat. They also keep the thermals in control while using power-intensive tasks for extended hours. Multitasking is enabled by default in MIUI 9 and it works well on the 5.99-inch screen. Call quality is satisfactory and network reception top-notch.
Both phones sport 4,000 mAh batteries, which last almost a day on full charge but streaming apps could drain batteries faster.
At Rs 16,999 for the 6GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, the Redmi Note 5 Pro seems a little overpriced. On the other hand, the Redmi Note 5 is priced competitively at Rs 9,999 for the base model. Yet, the latter misses out on features that competitors are offering in this price segment.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro would have made more sense if it had been launched as the only successor to the Redmi Note 4 at the price of the Redmi Note 5. But, for Xiaomi enthusiasts, the phones have no downside and they are performers that tick almost all the right boxes.