Xiaomi has redefined the affordable budget smartphone segment in India. They have not only forced quality competition but also entrust ‘value’ in the term – value for money. The Redmi series is an affordable category offered by Xiaomi. The Redmi Note series is the epitome of amazing affordable phones in India. The Note series also happens to be the flagship series in Redmi line of phones by Xiaomi.
It is 2018 and Xiaomi recently launched their newest Redmi line of smartphones. Like always, these phones are here to set a benchmark for their value for money proposition. Although the Redmi line-up by Xiaomi has many other phones on sale despite newer offerings, we shall take a look at the latest phones launched in 2018. Namely, Redmi 5, Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro. A common denominator for all these phones is MIUI 9 over Android 7 Nougat. Yes, these do miss out on the latest version of Android (8.0 Oreo) but make it up with great hardware and feature loaded yet constrained software experience.
Lately, every phone to launch has a 18:9 ratio long/widescreen display. The Redmi 5 is no exception and gets a 2.5D Gorilla Glass (a standard shielding for Xiaomi’s elongated displays) protected 5.7-inch 1440x720p LCD display, with colour temperature settings out of the box. Running the budget performer is a Snapdragon 450 chipset with 2 GB or 3 GB RAM variants based on user preference. This is a decent chipset and based on the 14nm FINFET architecture (A new architecture used in all the latest Snapdragon processors), this 1.8 GHz octa-core based setup is more than capable to handle light to medium usage patterns.
The phone is sustained by a 3300 mAh Li-ion battery unit. Paired with a low power consuming chipset, a day without the charger does seem possible. The cameras get a significant update with 12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25 μm large sensor) at the rear and a 5 MP shooter up front with a selfie light. Both the cameras can shoot up to 1080p videos. There is also a new beauty mode 4.0 to enhance your face with virtual touch-up. Offered in 32/64 GB variants, the Redmi 5 is one of the most compelling budget Android phone choices in India today.
Redmi Note 5
The Redmi Note series is one of the most hot selling smartphone line-ups in India. Disappointingly the internals of the Redmi Note 5 is almost similar to the ones offered by its predecessor, Redmi Note 4. It still runs on the Snapdragon 625 with similar 3/4 GB RAM + 32/64 GB ROM variants powered by a similar 4000 mAh battery unit as seen in its predecessor. Not that it needed newer internals but the fact that they remain the same, rob us of the hype for the Note 5.
What has changed though, is the inclusion of a 5.99-inch 2160x1080p elongated display. And, the phone gets an update to the camera. The camera setup is identical to the one on the Redmi 5 but can shoot 4K at 30fps, unlike the Redmi 5’s 1080p video limitations. Despite the similar hardware configuration as its predecessor, the Redmi Note 5 is appealing due to its modern design, better cameras and a marginally lower price than its predecessor.
Redmi Note 5 Pro
From design to naming strategies, Apple is inspiring them all. The Redmi Note 5 Pro is the Redmi Note 5 on steroids. It is exactly opposite to the Redmi Note 5’s boring similar specs from the Note 4. Redmi Note 5 Pro looks similar to the Note 5 sharing the same 5.99-inch FHD+ display and 4000 mAh battery. The internal hardware is buffed with an octa-core Snapdragon 636 which makes its global debut in the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Xiaomi claims that this chipset is 40% faster than the one used on Redmi Note 5.
Living up to the Pro name, this phone comes with 4 GB/6 GB RAM coupled with 64 GB internal storage. There are also two cameras at the rear. The primary camera is similar to the above-mentioned phones at 12 MP (1.25 μm, f/2.2 aperture) alongside a secondary 5 MP (1.12μm, f/2.0 aperture). The biggest camera is up front at 20 MP (1.0μm, f/2.0 aperture) and also comes with a selfie light. The Redmi Note 5 Pro punches way above its class but the test of time will reveal the truth. Overall, this phone is what the Redmi Note 5 should be but then who doesn’t like choices in a modern avatar.
Budget performers (If you manage to get them)
The Redmi line up has always been the talk of the town and this year is no different. Xiaomi has adapted the series to suit 2018 design cues and we are glad they gave the hideous notch design a miss. This time around users have the option to choose from several options from the Redmi staple. The differences are subtle yet make these devices versatile in their own way. All the devices maintain large batteries, IR sensor, Hybrid SIM slot with Micro SD expansion, headphone jack, dual apps, display features and micro USB port.
Xiaomi has updated the Redmi 5, Note 5 and Note 5 Pro with modern design and better cameras in this segment. It is definitely a worthy update to the popular Redmi Note 4. If you are hell-bent on a tight budget, get the Redmi 5. Want a decent mid-range phone? the Redmi Note 5 is an impressive value for money package. If you want the best in this segment, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a no-brainer.
Only if Xiaomi allows you to buy these devices (flash sale!), they are a great choice to make. Try your luck in the next sale, then the next and then some. If you do manage to get any of them, consider yourself lucky and enjoy one of the best bangs for bucks offering in the Android smartphone space.