Xiaomi’s Redmi line of smartphones has a large of fan base due to the fact that they’re incredibly affordable and usually feature decent hardware in its price range. If the Redmi Note 5A is an indication of the plans Xiaomi has for the Redmi line, then it’s quite likely those plans aren’t going to change anytime soon.
After spending some quality time with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Prime, I believe the Redmi line has really reached its prime (pun intended) but with that said, I believe it will only continue to get better in the future.
Design & Build
When I first unboxed the device and held it in my hands, it hit me just how far smartphone designs have come and also how Xiaomi keeps getting better with their designs and build quality. Gone are the days of extremely plasticky dinky Redmi devices. If you have ever owned one of the Redmi Note 5A’s predecessors, you will no doubt get what I mean.
The Redmi Note 5A feels like a premium device. While its body isn’t adorned with metal, glass or ceramic, the polycarbonate unibody feels sturdy and doesn’t flex or have any creaks to it. The review unit I received came in a metallic Gold paint job. As you would probably know by now, I’m not a big fan of gold phones in whatever variations they come in. However, I do have to say that the combination of white on the front and metallic Gold on the back does give the Redmi Note 5A a subtle classiness.
Just don’t go tapping on the back of the phone because you will be greeted by hollow taps that immediately kills the illusion of a classy and premium device.
For a device that packs a 5.5-inch display and a 3,080mAh battery, the Redmi Note 5A is unbelievably slim, 7.7mm to be precise, and lightweight, weighing just 153g. Even for someone with relatively small hands like myself, holding and using the device one-handed was extremely comfortable.
Most of the features you’d expect from a Xiaomi device can be found in the usual spots around the phone. On the front, above the display lies the LED notification, 16MP front facing camera, ambient light sensor and “soft-toned” selfie-light. Below the display are capacitive keys in Xiaomi’s standard layout. Do take note that these keys DO NOT light up, which is a little bit of a shame but not a deal breaker.
As for the top of the device, there’s the 3.5mm headphone jack, IR blaster and microphone for noise reduction. On the bottom, there’s the micro USB port and two speaker grills with only one housing the downward firing speaker, the other houses the other microphone. Although the dual speaker grills do give the device a more uniformed look, it is very deceiving and does nothing to help enhance the sound of the speaker. With that said though, the speaker is quite loud.
On the sides of the device, the volume rockers and power/lock button is on located on the right. The buttons are responsive but feel just a little mushy. As for the left side, there’s only the 2+1 hybrid SIM tray. With that being said, one of the great things about the Redmi Not 5A is the fact that you don’t have to sacrifice a SIM card for a microSD card as the tray can actually fit all three in one go.
Finally, on the back of the device, there’s the 13MP camera, single LED flash and fingerprint scanner. As to be expected from most devices these days, the fingerprint scanner is accurate and fast and can even be used as a shutter button when using the camera.