Redmi Note 5: The Xiaomi you would want

Have you noticed how crazy prices of smartphones are these days? Flagship devices can hit MYR5,000 and more. Needless to say, that’s out of the reach of many. But here’s the thing, there are a handful of devices out there that pack flagship features but don’t cost an arm and a leg. And the latest you may consider is – Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5.

Just launched today in Malaysia, the Redmi Note 5 is the fifth generation of Xiaomi’s budget phablet line but also the most different yet. Redmi, as you’d expect, is Xiaomi’s claim to fame.

Sure, Xiaomi has the ability to make incredibly premium phones – case in point, the stunning Mi MIX family – but it’s also the master of value phones.

The Redmi Note 5, without a doubt, is a testament to Xiaomi’s reputation.

I’ll save you the trouble. It’s the one you want, and it will be a guilt-free purchase, guaranteed.

So, let’s run through the specs quickly.

Flagship features, sensible price tag

First, the design. So, the design isn’t anything remarkable, and is in line with other mid-range Xiaomi phones. It features a metal body and weighs quite a bit due to its large battery – 181g to be exact.

What you’ll notice is the vertically-stacked dual-camera setup, the iPhone X-like design that’s quite a rage these days.

Build is good, and Black seems to look the best, although Lake Blue is an interesting colour. It’s also available in Rose Gold.

If you love watching videos and playing games, you’ll love the expansive 5.99-inch FHD+ display (1080×2160 @ 403PPI) with an 18:9 screen aspect ratio. By the way, there’s no notch. Thank you, Xiaomi.

The most powerful Redmi yet

Under the hood, the Redmi Note 5 rocks a 14nm octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor with flagship-level Kryo 260 cores, the world’s first smartphone to use the chip. What does this mean? Performance and power efficiency. It also means the phone runs cooler overall.

It’s 50 percent more powerful and 40 percent more power efficient compared to the Snapdragon 625. It completely blows away its predecessor the Redmi Note 4, scoring over 116,000 on AnTuTu benchmark tests.

For the first time ever in a Redmi device, the Redmi Note 5 uses high performance LPDDR4X RAM. There are two variants being offered: 3GB or 4GB of RAM with 32GB or 64GB of storage.

In the area of optics, the Redmi Note 5 packs a commendable 12MP + 5MP f/1.9 dual rear camera setup with 1.4 micron pixels and dual photodiode (dual pixel) phase detection autofocus.

The dual photodiode technology, Xiaomi says, delivers 30 percent faster autofocus, even in challenging low light conditions.

Strangely, the Malaysian variant does not support Face Unlock, unlike the China and Indonesia versions. Perhaps it will be enabled later through a software update.

For videos, the Redmi Note 5 also features electronic image stabilisation (EIS).

The front camera is a fairly large 13MP f/2.0 unit, aided by AI-powered Beautify 4.0 software. It also comes with a soft selfie light.

In the battery department, the Redmi Note 5 packs a large 4,000mAh battery that charges up via old school micro-USB.

The Redmi Note 5 runs MIUI 9 based on Android 8.0 Oreo.

Pricing and availability

The Redmi Note 5 is priced at MYR799 for the 3GB RAM + 32GB storage version, and MYR999 for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage version. The device will be available for pre-order starting 25 April exclusively on Lazada Malaysia. It will be available at all Mi authorised stores from 5 May 2018.

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By Vernon

Vernon is the founder and chief editor of A graphic designer by profession, he has a deep love for technology, cars, gadgets, food, and travel. He tweets too much and is also known as a caffeine bacterium ("life's too short for bad coffee"). Bleeds Blue (go Chelsea FC!) and considers BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo cars to have in the garage--for true petrolheads, that is.