The Xiaomi Redmi 5 and the Redmi 5 Plus were launched in China in December. Last month, the Redmi 5 Plus was launched as the Redmi Note 5 alongside the new Note 5 Pro in India. Since the last week, Xiaomi has been teasing the launch of a new “Compact Powerhouse” Redmi smartphone. During an online-only event on Wednesday, the company launched the Redmi 5 in India.
The Redmi 5 is the successor to last year’s Redmi 4X, which was sold in India as the Redmi 4. In India, it now takes a position as Xiaomi’s new budget smartphone in the Redmi series, one step above the entry-level Redmi 5A and one step below the Redmi Note 5.
In India, the phone’s pricing starts at Rs. 7999 ($123) for the 2GB RAM/16GB storage variant and goes all the way up to Rs. 10,999 for the highest-end 4GB RAM/64GB storage variant.
Xiaomi Redmi 5 specifications
The Xiaomi Redmi 5 is a substantial upgrade over the Redmi 4. It features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 system-on-chip, which is a downgraded variant of the Snapdragon 625. The SoC has the same eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores, but they’re clocked at 1.8GHz instead of 2GHz. Both chips share the same GPU, the Adreno 506.
The distinguishing feature of the Snapdragon 450 is that it’s the first Snapdragon 400 series chip to be manufactured on a 14nm FinFET process. The Snapdragon 430 and 435 (featured in the Redmi 3S and the Redmi 4X respectively) were both manufactured on an old 28nm process. The newer manufacturing node gives an enormous power efficiency advantage to the Redmi 5 over its predecessor. GPU performance is better as well.
The Redmi 5 comes in three versions: 2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage, 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage. It has a hybrid dual SIM / microSD card slot, which means that you have to choose from either having two SIM cards or a single SIM with a microSD card.
The second major upgrade in the Redmi 5 is the display. It has a 5.7-inch HD+ (1440×720) IPS display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, resulting in a substantial increase in screen area over the Redmi 4’s 5-inch 16:9 display. The Xiaomi Mi Mix was one of the first phones with a “full-screen” display, and now the taller display has reached Xiaomi’s budget device.
The HD+ resolution means that the display won’t match the Redmi Note 5 or the Redmi Note 5 Pro in terms of clarity as they have Full HD+ displays, but it’s hard to complain about the display resolution considering the price of the device. The display also comes with rounded corners.
The Redmi 5 comes with upgraded rear and front cameras as well. The rear camera is a 12MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 1.25-micron pixels. The pixel size is larger than the 1.1-micron pixel size of the Redmi 4’s camera. It’s worth noting that the Redmi 5 shares rear camera specifications with the Redmi Note 5. There is a 5MP front camera, and it comes with a Selfie Light. This light has an always-on mode, so it can be used for videos as well.
The phone is powered by a 3300mAh battery. This is a significant downgrade from the Redmi 4’s 4100mAh battery capacity. The Snapdragon 450 should be much more power efficient than the Snapdragon 435 though, so it’s a toss-up as users lose battery capacity in exchange for a more power efficient SoC. Xiaomi states thanks to the power-efficient SoC and enhancements in MIUI 9, users will be able to get a full day of battery life.
The Redmi 5 runs MIUI 9 on top of Android 7.1 Nougat. Xiaomi hasn’t mentioned any details regarding an Android Oreo update. This is disappointing to see and it’s worth noting the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro also run Android 7.1 Nougat.
In terms of hardware, the Redmi 5 has a four-sided curved design, and Xiaomi states that it’s designed with attention to symmetry. The phone is made of metal with plastic caps at the rear top and bottom, just like the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
The company says the design of the Redmi 5 is tailored to buffer the impact of any fall of the phone. It has a “reinforced structure” which means the likelihood of a broken screen is reduced in cases when a user drops the smartphone with the corners landing first. There are also enhancements to the earpiece, including an additional waterproof layer, that helps to protect the Redmi 5 from sweat and dust. Xiaomi states that this reduces the likelihood of the call volume dropping over time. Finally, the company is also promoting the device’s 7.7mm thickness as the thinnest Redmi smartphone yet.
Pricing and availability
The Redmi 5 will be available in weekly sales starting March 20th from Mi.com, Amazon, and Mi Home stores. The 2GB RAM/16GB storage variant will cost Rs. 7999 ($123), while the 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant will be available for Rs. 8999 ($138). The highest-end 4GB RAM/64GB variant will cost Rs. 10999 ($169). Xiaomi is including a free ultra-slim case with the phone, and the phone itself will also arrive across all offline retail partners in the “coming weeks”. It comes in Gold, Black, Rose Gold and Lake Blue colors.
Users can get Rs. 2200 instant cashback and 100GB additional data with Reliance Jio. Also, there is a 5% instant discount for users of SBI credit cards. Finally, users can get 90% off on Kindle eBooks.
Our view: The Redmi 5 offers great value for money in the budget price segment. It’s worth noting that the base variant is Rs. 1000 more expensive than the Redmi 4’s base variant, but even after the price increase, the phone has few competitors. It faces more competition from Xiaomi’s own devices. The 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant is only Rs. 1000 less than the Redmi Note 5, which has a bigger and higher-resolution display and a bigger battery. The situation is an ideal problem for Xiaomi to face, as the manufacturer accelerates its efforts to remain India’s largest smartphone manufacturer.