The saying that cheap phones are getting better and quality phones are getting cheaper is quite true. One budget smartphone that stands tall among its rivals is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A. The Redmi Note 5A is an incredibly affordable phone and one will begin to wonder how Xiaomi was able to pack so much on this device.
The device is blessed with a corny gorilla glass screen, 4G LTE, TV remote controller feature and plenty of sensors.
Asides that the device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor together with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. This means the Redmi Note 5A is going to be a tough competitor to beat at a price of $96.
We have had the device for some time now, and in this article, I will be unboxing and at the same time giving you the detailed review.
This is the first in the series of our comprehensive review, and the essence is to answer most of the things our readers will like to know before making a buying decision. We will like to know your feedback about this as well.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A has been around for some time but for reasons known only to Xiaomi, the brand has decided to launch the device in Nigeria recently through a partnership with Jumia.
The Redmi Note 5A smartphone comes in different variants but the version I will be reviewing here is the one with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. So stay with me for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Unboxing and full review.
Xiaomi Redmi note 5A Unboxing
The Redmi Note 5A is housed in a red rectangular box having the inscription of the device name and the MI logo at the top. When you flip the box to the side, you will see a sticker with an inscription; “Global version”. This means all the important Android apps especially, Google Play Store are pre-installed. Unlike the Chinese version that is devoid of Google Play Store.
Flipping the box to the back reveals the key specs of the phone and they are listed below.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A key specs
- Body: Plastic body, Corny gorilla glass front
- Screen: 5.5″ IPS LCD, 720p (267ppi)
- Chipset: Snapdragon 425, 4x Cortex-A53@1.4GHz, Adreno 505
- Memory: 2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage, microSD slot up to 128GB
- Camera: 13MP, f/2.2, PDAF, 1080p video @ 30fps
- Selfie camera: 5MP, 1080p video
- OS: Android 7.1.2 Nougat, MIUI 9 on top
- Battery: 3080mAh (non-removable)
- Connectivity: Regular dual Nano-SIM slot; LTE Cat4 150/50 Mbps support; Wi-Fi g/b/n; Bluetooth 4.2; GPS with GLONASS; FM radio; 3.5mm audio jack; micro USB port
The first thing you will see immediately you open the box is the device itself which is something I expected because of the relatively small package compared to other devices we reviewed in the past.
Putting the device aside, other things you will see are quite basic.
- The Redmi Note 5A user manual
- A 5V wall charger
- USB V2. 0 cable
- A SIM ejection tool
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Review: Design
The entirety of the body of the Redmi Note 5A is made of plastic and this does not mean that the device is not well built. In fact, the build quality is far better than some hurriedly put together metallic devices.
At the back of the device is positioned the rear 13MP camera followed by the single led flash. A well-placed antenna band which passes through both the camera and the flashlight complement the design at the top, giving it a more refined look.
Asides, the MI logo, some pieces of literature on certification and the bottom-placed antenna band, there is nothing else you will find at the back of the device.
In terms of dimensions, the device measure 153 x 76.2 x 7.6 mm and weighs just 123g, making it one of the lightest 5.5-inch devices. It is however not as light as the Camon CM we reviewed earlier.
The 3.5mm audio jack is placed at the top, together with the IR blaster and a tiny hole which might be for noise cancellation. When you flip the device to the right side, you will see the volume controller buttons and the power on-off button.
The left side houses the Sim and the Sd card slot. While the charging port is flanked on both sides by the two speaker grills. Only one of these is the actual speaker while the second one is there to complement the design.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Review: Display
Display-wise, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A sports a 5.5-inch IPS display with a corny Gorilla Glass on top and plenty of bezels. This means that the device doesn’t come with the trending 18:9 display aspect ratio. This is forgivable as the device was released a couple of months ago.
If you are looking to buy a Bezel-less Xiaomi phone, the Redmi Note 5A might not just be your device of choice as there huge bezels on both sides as well as the top and bottom. You get a screen resolution of 1280*720 which translates into a screen density of 267ppi.
One would wonder how Xiaomi was able to pack so much into this smartphone, especially the multi-touch aspect, I ran a multi-touch test on the device, it surprisingly surpasses other devices in this price range with an incredible 10-point touch. This means you are getting a super responsive panel on the Redmi Note 5A and is quite evident whenever you are typing or playing games on the device.
Outdoor, the phone still maintains a bright display and sunlight legibility is still decent when the display is on auto brightness. Colours are not as punchy as you have it on the Camon CM but overall colour reproduction is still above average.
If you will prefer a more saturated colour, there are options for you to increase the contrast to the level you want under the display.
Also, the device comes with a reading mode which is known as eye care on most devices these days. The essence is to drastically reduce the bad effects an overtly bright display might have on your eyes, especially if you are the types that spend much time with your phone at night.
Putting the brightness on auto mode as well as on reading mode can significantly increase your battery life due to low activity of the display at these modes.
At the front is a 5-megapixel front-facing came followed by the earpiece microphone. The other things you will see at the front are the multitasking button, home and the exit button.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Review: Hardware and Software
Under the hood, the Redmi Note 5A is powered by a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 Quad processor, paired with an Adreno 505 GPU. There is 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage which can be extended to 128GB of external storage via a MicroSD card.
It runs on Xiaomi MIUI Global V9.1 which is an international stable ROM based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The end result is a device that offers decent performance. For most users, the Redmi Note 5A will be adequate for multi-tasking and for playing light games. However, heavy users and gamers might find the performance rather imperfect. But considering the price, it is still a steal. On AnTuTu, it scored a fair score of 36,783
Xiaomi MIUI comes with a lot of customization and the UI is quite clean with a few bloatware most of which are useful. If you don’t like the default theme, you can customize the look and feel of the UI with different themes and wallpapers available for free download on the MI ecosystem to suit your need.
MIUI comes with the ability to use an app with dual functionality. With this feature, you can use two WhatsApp or Facebook accounts on your device without having to log out from any one of them.
Another great feature on the Redmi Note 5A is the presence of an IR blaster. You can use the device to control your TV, AC and other appliances in your house. This requires an initial set up that takes just a few minutes to authenticate the device you are connecting it with.
Like I said earlier, you have access to Google Apps such as Map, YouTube, Photo, Gmail, Play music and play store where you can download all the necessary apps you want.
On the connectivity side of things, you won’t feel left out using the Redmi Note 5A despite its incredibly cheap price. You get a 4G LTE that works on all the major networks providers in Nigeria. The device also ticks all the boxes when it comes to the sensor and they include an accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, rotation vector, step counter, motion detector, orientation, light sensor, gravity, proximity, pedometer, compass etc.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Review: Camera
The camera app on the device is basic and one can easily navigate from the viewfinder to add filters and change shooting mode in the options panel.
The primary camera on the Redmi Note is a 13-megapixel sensor capable of capturing photos at 4160*3120 resolution. This is aided by a single LED flash. The camera takes some great pictures in a well-lit environment but low light photography is rather lacklustre with the high noise level. The area the Camon CM is slightly ahead. Rear Camera outputs are decent for social media sharing and for the price it sells for, there is nothing to complain about here.
The front-facing camera boasts a 5-megapixel lens that can shoot images at 2592*1944 resolution. The selfie camera doesn’t come with a flash, therefore taking a selfie at night is highly not advisable. But when you are in an environment with plenty amount of light, you can still get some good photos.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Review: Sound Quality and Multimedia Experience
If you love to listen to music a lot on your smartphone, the Redmi Note 5A won’t disappoint you. The sound output from the speaker is Ioud with little distortion at maximum volume. You will notice I said speaker, this is because only one of the grills at the posterior end serves as the actual speaker.
This does n’t in actual sense hamper the quality of the audio bass and where things get interesting is when you plug in a capable earpiece, you will get a more balanced sound with improved rendition. There are options to select tweak equalizer by navigating to the sound effects.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Review: Battery Performance
The 3080mAh is able to power up the device for up to a day if you are not gaming and browsing intensively. The moment you begin to put it through intense tasks, you might have to charge it once or twice a day depending on how often you use it. The 3080mAh is non-removable and can be filled up to its full capacity in about 2hrs.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Price and Availability
- Average camera
- Lack of front Flashlight
- No Fingerprint scanner
- Great software experience
- Good Battery Life
- Great Sound Quality
- Excellent Responsive screen
- Nice Build quality
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Review: Verdict
At a price of around N34,000, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A is in direct competition with the like of TECNO Spark, Nokia 2 and the Infinix Hot 5 Lite. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A has proven to be a capable budget smartphone with its good software experience, average camera and great sound quality.
If you are in the market for an affordable device that shines above its rival, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A will be your perfect device. Then over to you guys, what do you think about the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A