Xiaomi established the Redmi line back in 2013. The main purpose of this was to come in with devices that are cheap but powerful. So all Redmi-series smartphones were the best in the mid-range market in terms of price-over-hardware ratio. For five years, Xiaomi has been offering the best thousand-yuan machines. Thanks to this strategy Xiaomi could attract myriads of customers. As a result, by the end of 2017, the manufacturer announced the Redmi’s total sales exceeded 200 million units. But the Redmi Note line devices differ from the regular Redmi branded phones. They are more powerful and cost a bit higher. Last year, the company sold over 10 million units. A few days back, the Chinese leading smartphone maker announced the fifth generation of this line, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5.
On March 16, 2018, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 was officially uncovered. It’s the first smartphone with the Snapdragon 636 chip launched in China. The phone comes in various memory combinations as well as color options. The 3+32GB variant is priced at 1099 yuan ($173), the 4+64GB model is priced at 1399 yuan ($220), while the 6+64GB variant is available at 1699 yuan ($268).
The price tag if a 1099 yuan makes us think of it as a thousand yuan machine. But the large-pixel rear dual-camera, full-screen, and 4000mAh battery make it the number 1 mid-ranger. Not accidentally, Lei Jun called it a ‘water bucket machine’, a term that describes a product with no obvious shortcomings.
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Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Review
Actually, there are 4 color options and 3 memory combinations. In total, there are 12 variants. The one we are going to review is the blue version with a 4+64GB memory option.
As usual, it comes in w red packaging.
Once the phone is taken out of the box, we can see how stylish it looks. On the front, it carries a 5.99-inch full-screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio.
The back of the handset still uses a three-stage antenna design and a vertically arranged dual-camera just like the iPhone. The housing is made of metal.
Above the screen, we can see a front camera, speaker, light sensor, and a soft light. The latter has become a standard for Redmi line models. So the Redmi Note 5 is no exception. It helps a lot when taking selfies.
The chin is at the same size as the forehead. But it doesn’t carry anything. So we can conclude it’s left there for symmetrical design purposes only.
On the top side, we can find a microphone and an infrared sensor.
But on the bottom, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 carries a headphone jack, microphone, micro USB port, and a speaker. As you can see, there is no USB Type-C interface (unfortunately).
The left side carries a volume rocker as well as the power key.
The SIM card slot is on the right. It’s a standard slot supporting SD card expansion.
Also Read: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Unboxing
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Performance
With the launch of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, the next-gen 6-series processor of Qualcomm debuted in China. The Snapdragon 636 is based on a 14nm process node. Thanks to a number of enhancements, the SND636 outruns all of its predecessors such as the Snapdragon 625 and Snapdragon 630. Thus the mid-range chips’ performance reached a new level.
However, like the Snapdragon 660, the Snapdragon 636 uses Qualcomm’s own Kryo 260 architecture with 8 cores, 4 of them clock at the maximum frequency of 1.8GHz, while the next 4 clock at 1.6GHz only. The GPU is upgraded to Adreno 509. So the overall performance is increased by 40% if compared to the Snapdragon 625. In addition, the Redmi Note 5 also surprisingly uses LPDDR4x memory. So we can state the SND636 is the lower-frequency variant of the Snapdragon 660, which is considered to be a super mid-range SoC.
The new version of this benchmark shows more reliable results. In this sense, 116K points are quite astonishing. It yields the SND660 by 20K only. The GPU, memory, and UX results are impressive as well.
The single-core performance of 1343 points reflects the pros and cons of the CPU architecture design, as well as the frequency of operations. As for the multi-core result of 4927 points, it shows the efficiency of multiple CPU cores working at the same time. In this sense, the SND636 is between the MediaTek Helio X30 and Snapdragon 625.
This benchmark is used to reflect the graphics performance. In this sense, the SoC’s improved GPU performance over the SND625/630 is undeniable.
This is one of the best tools to test the overall performance of a smartphone. So the provided result of 5879 points is almost identical to the Huawei Mate 9 Pro. Thus, in this sense, the Snapdragon 636 reaches the Kirin 960’s level.
This app the storage speed. As for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, the reading speed is 280MB/s, which is a standard eMMC performance.
This action was tested by playing Dreaming for survival: the whole army attack. The whole process was quite smooth with no delays and lags.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Camera
We know the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is the Chinese/global variant of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro launched on February 14 in India. But there are a few changes. They mainly refer to the camera. The 20MP front shooter is replaced with a 13MP lens that supports AI smart beauty, AI face recognition and myriads of intelligent features. On the back, it carries a 5+12MP dual-camera supporting Dual PD dual-focus and coming with a 1.4um pixel size and an aperture of f/1.9. Thanks to these sensors, the camera supports AI portrait mode, an algorithm-based single-photo background blurring technique, HDR, and intelligent recognition of the backlight scene. Actually, this the selling point of this handset.
In addition, the rear camera particularly supports 2PD full-pixel dual-core speed focus. As for this technology, it refers to the camera sensor to obtain optical information through two photodiodes, and then quickly make cross-operations to control the focus motor for a faster focusing. This technology was announced when the Canon SLR cameras were introduced. But now it’s used on many top brand smartphones such as Samsung, ASUS, HTC, and VIVO. As you see, they all are top brands and the technology we are talking about appears on the flagships only. In this sense, it turns out Xiaomi could bring this technology to the mid-range (low-end) market.
We can clearly see the background blurring effect works perfectly. The subject and background can be effectively separated even when looking closely. This feature works ideally even when taking photos at low light conditions. Seems the Redmi Note 5’s ‘AI Machine Learning Algorithm’ really helps to blur better.
The automatic mode of the Redmi Note 5 camera is very smart. The decision whether or not to initiate HDR during the test is correct. The latter makes the picture color reproduction more realistic.
The HDR choosing when capturing in the night works properly as well.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Battery
The phone is packed with a 4000mAh large battery. Plus, the processor under the hood provides an excellent power consumption. To understand what this means in practice, let’s make a couple of measurements.
First, it was tested by PCMark. And the results were astonishing. The benchmark shows 12 hours and 18 minutes of a heavy use. Therefore, the myth about 3 days of light use is true.
In terms of online video playback, the volume was set at 40%, the brightness was set at 50%, and we played an online video for 30 minutes. After the testing time, the power was dropped from 29% to 24%. Therefore, it’s capable of providing up to 10 hours of video playback.
The last test in terms of battery drainage we held for gaming. As usual, we were playing the Honor of Kings at the high-frame-rate mode. After 40 minutes, the 29% remaining power was decreased to 16%. So we can state it will provide up to 5 hours of a gaming time.
At last, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 was tested for charging. The phone comes with a 9V2A charger supporting 18W charging technology. When we started charging the remaining power was 10%. So it took about 125 minutes to charge it fully.
Some phones were born to change the world, and some were put on the shelf. So what kind of a smartphone we are dealing with?
First, the price tag it is offered at is the lowest in the market. The rest of handsets available for purchase come with a Snapdragon 625/630, Kirin 659, or even worse, Snapdragon 430/435 chips. And we are not talking about the MediaTek-powered devices. So the first advantage of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 should be considered the performance it provides. We should mention, this handset is capable of providing a performance identical to the devices priced at 2000-3000 yuan.
This is not the first AI camera handset and not the rear-mounted dual-photo dual-core PD device. But it’s the first to bring such features to a thousand yuan machine. So it can attract the young customers more. In this sense, it is going to struggle against the Huawei’s Nova-series models that are aiming at younger masses.
The full-screen, large battery, metal housing, and other features are impressive as well. But there are many smartphones with identical features. So we should pay attention to other options. Say, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 supports AI face unlock. It is safe and fast. As there is an AI element, the phone understands when the user’s eyes are closed and didn’t work.
Well, there are too many key features we have talked about above. But the truth is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 continues bringing all the best and trendiest features to a thousand-yuan machine like it’s been done by its predecessors. So there is every chance for this device to become a best-seller again.