Xiaomi Redmi 5 review: The littlest Mi grows up

The budget Xiaomi for the rest of us
Xiaomi Redmi 5


Is it just me or has Xiaomi been extremely active over the last couple of months? It seems like the Chinese tech giant has had a very bountiful harvest, releasing one new smartphone after the other.

Personally, I won’t say it’s a bad thing as they continue to disrupt the market and give consumers a lot more bang-for-buck choices. Take for example their latest smartphone I got to review, the Xiaomi Redmi 5. What used to be the company’s entry-level series has now inched its way into the mid-range segment and it’s got quite a lot to offer. So, here are my thoughts on the lowest-end Redmi 5.

Design & Build

Quite frankly, after reviewing the Mi A1 and then the Redmi Note 5A Prime, I was feeling a little unenthusiastic when it came to unboxing the Redmi 5. The reason for this was because I was half expecting to get another gold-coloured device. And at first I thought that was really the case as I was greeted by that familiar white facade.

But surprise surprise, the moment I turned the phone around, I was greeted with this very attractive metallic baby blue aluminium back. I couldn’t help but to let out a shout of joy. Now, I’m just keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for the day Xiaomi actually does away with this combination of white front and coloured back design for all their range of devices.

READ ALSO  Xiaomi Mi 9 now in Malaysia: Top specs, honest pricing

Xiaomi Redmi 5

Much like what I said in the intro for this review, the Redmi line has really matured. The cheap plastic build is gone and now built using aluminium. So, it’s much more sturdily built yet still maintains a lightweight. With that said though, the device can be a little slippery, so it’s nice that Xiaomi threw in an ultra-slim silicone case with the phone.

Xiaomi Redmi 5Furthermore, this is Xiaomi’s second device to sport a 18:9 display besides the Mi Mix 2, which is pretty much in line with the current smartphone design trends. While it has a 5.7″ display, the phone is taller and not wider, making it comfortable to hold and operate one handed. The 18:9 display also means you get more screen real estate and less bezels.

Layout wise, nothing much has really changed except for the fact that the Redmi 5 no longer has capacitive buttons on the chin of the phone, instead, it now has software keys. Located on the front and right on top of the phone you will find the usual suspects such as the 5MP selfie camera, selfie flash, receiver and of course the proximity/light sensor module.

Right above that, you get the IR blaster, which is always welcomed; a microphone and the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is also always great to have. On the bottom, there’s the micro-USB port, which is kind of a bummer as I would have expected Xiaomi to equip all their 2018 devices with USB-C by now. The micro USB port sits between two speaker grilles, where like the Redmi Note 5A Prime, only one houses the speaker. While it gets quite loud at max volume, there’s quite a fair bit of distortion and it sounds a little muffled.

READ ALSO  Redmi Note 7 with 48MP dual-camera debuts in China

On the left side of the phone sits the hybrid SIM tray, which means the device supports dual SIM cards but if you want extra storage, you will have to forego that functionality. On the right, we have the standard volume rockers and power/lock button which are very clicky and tactile.

Xiaomi Redmi 5

Finally, situated in the centre of the back of the device are the fingerprint scanner and 12MP rear camera. I’ve always been a fan of rear-mounted fingerprint scanners as I find that it’s the most naturally and easiest way to reach them. The Redmi 5’s fingerprint scanner is a real joy to use as it unlocks the device in a fraction of a second.

In terms of its build quality, I have to say I am very happy and impressed with what Xiaomi has done with the Redmi 5, a nice evolution or maturation of the series.


Once again, Xiaomi has proven that they are still kings of the affordable smartphone segment. The Redmi 5 is a real good consideration for those looking for a value-for-money device. It is by no means perfect but it does what it needs to well especially in the battery life and day-to-day performance department.


This may be the lowest-end offering of the Xiaomi Redmi 5 but it is very worthy of consideration especially if you're looking for an good smartphone that doesn't eat into cash for your "rice bowl".


  • Design & Build

  • Hardware

  • Software

  • Performance

  • Pricing & Value for Money


  • Loves tech but loves gaming and writing more. Is on a constant journey to learn new things and being a tech writer is his current new thing.

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