Xiaomi on Wednesday introduced its new Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphones in India. The key difference between the new phablets and their predecessors is a large 5.99” display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, but there are many other improvements too, including new design, camera, software and so on. The Redmi Note 5 will continue to employ the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, but the Redmi Note 5 Pro will use a more powerful Snapdragon 636. The Redmi Note 5 will be priced below $200, whereas the Redmi Note 5 Pro will address audiences demanding higher performance/improved features and will therefore cost more than $200.

New Display & Look

Displays with an 18:9 aspect ratio introduced to the mass market by the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ last year will become more widespread on higher-end, mainstream and specialized smartphones this year. The new Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro handsets from Xiaomi are outfitted with large 5.99” IPS displays featuring a 1080×2160 resolution and covered by Corning Gorilla Glass for protection.

The larger screens naturally have an impact on overall design of the new smartphones, so it is not surprising that the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro look significantly different than their predecessors. Both phones come in an aluminum unibody chassis with rounded edges and antenna separated from the rest of the back cover using polycarbonate strips that look like metal. When compared to the Redmi Note 4, the tapered back covers of the Redmi Note 5/Note 5 Pro seem to have even more rounded edges and a slightly different texture. Xiaomi says that the new shape is more comfortable to use, but keep in mind that all physical features of all mobile gadgets are very individual.

In addition to new design, Xiaomi will also offer a broader choice of colors with the new phablets. The Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro will be available in matte black, matte blue, matte gold and matte rose gold colors in India. The color lineup might be different in other countries, but it is hard to make guesses about what exactly the manufacturer will offer at this point.

Under the Hood

Now, let’s take a look under the hood. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, the same model was used for the Redmi Note 4. The chip has eight ARM Cortex-A53 general-purpose cores, the Adreno 506 graphics processor as well as Qualcomm’s X9 LTE modem, its performance and capabilities are well known, so there is nothing new here. It is a bit strange to see one SoC be inside both Redmi Note 4 and Redmi Note 5, but perhaps Xiaomi decided to stick to the chip due to cost reasons in a bid to price the RM5 competitively.

By contrast, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 636 featuring Kryo 260 CPU (four semi-custom ARM Cortex A73 cores at 1.8 GHz and four semi-custom ARM Cortex-A53 cores at 1.6 GHz), the Adreno 509 GPU, an LPDDR4X memory controller as well as Qualcomm’s X12 LTE modem. Since A73 cores are among the highest-performing mobile CPU cores today, the Redmi Note 5 Pro will offer significantly higher peak general-purpose performance than the Redmi Note 5. Meanwhile, the S636 will also maintain similar energy efficiency in power saving mode (when compared to the S625) since low-power A53 derivatives are still there; besides, both SoCs are made using Samsung’s 14LPP process technology and therefore their voltages and other physical characteristics are similar.

When it comes to DRAM and storage configurations, Xiaomi will offer various versions of the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro — there will be models with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of NAND flash (the entry-level Note 5), variants with 4 GB of DRAM and 64 GB of storage as well as 6 GB of LPDDR4X with 64 GB of NAND (the flagship Note 5 Pro model). The new Redmi Note 5 smartphones have microSD slots that support cards of up to 128 GB, so it is easy to upgrade internal storage of the new devices (but keep in mind that you are going to need microSD cards with A1 or A2 badges to install software on them).

As for operating system, the new Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro will ship with the Android Nougat version 7.1.2 with the MIUI 9 on top.

Imaging: New Sensors, Improved Software and LED Flash for Selfies

In addition to different SoCs, the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro have vastly different imaging capabilities. The Redmi Note 5 is outfitted with a 12 MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture and a dual-tone LED flash on the back as well as a 5 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a LED flash on the front. Xiaomi claims that the new back-facing camera works better in low light conditions and also has an improved white balance, but one has to test the handset to verify such claims.

By contrast, the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a ‘dual’ camera on the back that is comprised of a Sony IMX 486 12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25 μm) sensor, a 5 MP (f/2.0, 1.12 μm) depth sensor from Samsung and a dual-tone LED flash. The camera supports electronic image stabilization, phase detection autofocus as well as a variety of capabilities enabled by a depth sensor. Xiaomi says that the Redmi Note 5 Pro rear camera software features machine learning-based enhancements for more accurate edge detection by using semantic segmentation. On the front, the phone has a Sony IMX376 20 MP (f/2.0, 1/2.8”) sensor with a 4500K LED flash. This camera is also outfitted with the same ML-based software for edge detection, but since it does not have a depth sensor, the algorithm probably works a bit differently here. To further improve quality of selfies made by the front camera, Xiaomi also furnished its Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphone with its Beautify 4.0 software enhancement that supports multiple filters to remove various face imperfections. It is noteworthy that the camera software with Beautify 4.0 enhancements was tuned with India in mind and it remains to be seen whether the company introduces region- and/or country-specific camera enhancements in different parts of the world.

Connectivity, Battery, Security

Connectivity is a mixed bag for the Redmi Note 5. The smartphones support 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and a microUSB 2.0 port for charging. Both 802.11n and microUSB look a tad outdated for 2018 smartphones. Capping Wi-Fi to 802.11n is something that Xiaomi did to the  S625-based Redmi Note 4, so it is not completely surprising that the company did the same to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. Perhaps, Xiaomi will rethink its Wi-Fi support for the Redmi Note 5 aimed at different markets, but only time will tell (frankly, it is something unlikely to happen). Connectivity of the Redmi Note 5 Pro was improved considerably compared to the RN4/RN5. The handset supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, but it still uses microUSB 2.0 port for charging.

As for WWAN connectivity, the Snapdragon 625 and 636 support LTE, WCDMA, CDMA and GSM, but since this was an India-specific announcement, Xiaomi revealed bands fthat are relevant for this country and particular models. In any case, the best thing one can get out of the S625/X9 is 300 Mbps DL and 150 Mbps UL, whereas the S636/X12 supports up to 600 Mbps DL and 150 Mbps UL. Exact capabilities of particular smartphones depend on what manufacturers decide to support.

Next up is biometric security, which is a standard capability nowadays. The Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro are equipped with fingerprint readers, but the latter will also support Face Unlock feature after it gets an OTA update in late March. According to Xiaomi, its face recognition mechanism works faster than its fingerprint reader, but at present the company does not go beyond that.

Both new smartphones from Xiaomi are equipped with a 4000 mAh battery that enables them to last for at least a day of active usage (based on the manufacturer’s clams). The company is known for using high-capacity batteries in its handsets, so the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro are not exceptions.

Xiaomi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro Smartphones
  Redmi Note 5
3 GB/32 GB
Redmi Note 5
4 GB/64 GB
Redmi Note 5 Pro
4 GB/64 GB
Redmi Note 5 Pro
6 GB/64 GB
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
8 × ARM Cortex-A53 at 2 GHz
Adreno 506 at 624 MHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
4 × custom ARM Cortex-A73 at 1.8 GHz
4 × custom ARM Cortex-A53 at 1.6 GHz
Adreno 509
RAM  3 GB LPDDR3 4 GB LPDDR3 4 GB LPDDR4X 6 GB LPDDR4X
Storage 32 GB + microSD 64 GB + microSD
Display 5.99" 2160×1080 (403 ppi)
450 nits brightness
1000:1 contrast ratio
84% NTSC color gamut
Network 4G: LTE FDD 1/3/5, LTE TDD 40/41
3G: WCDMA 1/2/5/8
2G: 2/3/5/8
LTE Down: 300 Mb/s
Up: 150 Mb/s
Down: 600 Mb/s
Up: 150 Mb/s
Fingerprint  Yes
Dimensions 158.5 × 75.5 × 8.1 mm
6.24 × 2.97 × 0.32 inches
Weight ~180 grams
Rear Camera

12 MP (f/2.2 aperture)

dual-tone LED flash

12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25 μm)
Sony IMX 486 sensor

5 MP (f/2.0, 1.12 μm)
Samsung depth sensor

Dual-tone LED flash
Front Camera 5 MP (f/2.0 aperture)
LED flash
Sony IMX376 20 MP (f/2.0, 1/2.8”) sensor
4500K LED flash
Battery 4000 mAh
OS Google Android 7.1.2 with MIUI 9
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm TRRS 802.11 b/g/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5
microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm TRRS
Navigation GPS + GLONASS
SIM Size Nano SIM + micro SD/Dual Nano SIM
Colors Black, Gold, Blue, Rose Gold
Launch Countries India
Price Rs. 9,999
$156
Rs. 11,999
$187
Rs. 13,999
$219
Rs. 16,999
$265

Price & Availability

Xiaomi will start selling its new Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphones in India this month and will gradually expand their availability to other markets in the coming months and quarters. The Redmi Note 5 will retail starting from Rs. 9,999 ($156) for the 3 GB + 32 GB version and Rs. 11,999 ($187) for the 4 GB + 64 GB variant. The Redmi Note 5 Pro will naturally be more expensive: the flagship model with 6 GB of LPDDR4X and 64 GB of NAND will cost Rs. 16,999 ($265), whereas a SKU with 4 GB of DRAM and 64 GB of storage will be priced at Rs. 13,999 ($219).

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Source: Xiaomi

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  • ZolaIII - Saturday, February 17, 2018 - link

    Additional display size with 18:9 also eats much more power than hardware buttons. Wide is useful side of the display size & it can only go to the what you can fit in your hand. I am comfortable with up to 6" 16:9, 6.44" is bit to much. Will always choose 16:9 over 18:9 for sole difference in smaller power consumption of 20~25%. Reply
  • serendip - Saturday, February 17, 2018 - link

    Well, as a fellow Mi Max user, I would prefer an 18:9 screen with the same width as a 6.44" 16:9 unit. That would mean a smaller chassis overall with smaller top and bottom bezels. I guess I'm looking for a cheap Mi Mix... Reply
  • priyu323 - Friday, February 16, 2018 - link

    SAR value is 1.19 ??? This is lil high...so again heating issues ??? :( Reply
  • Beaver M. - Friday, February 16, 2018 - link

    It looks good on the homescreen. But as soon as you start a video, you get eye cancer.

    Its also quite useless practically, because almost all phones remove hardware buttons to get that ratio, but then they have to add software buttons on the screen, which again wastes a lot of the newly gained space. Its just stupid.
    Not to mention that you have to hold your phone even more carefully, to not touch the screen on accident. Which in turn makes it much more likely that you might drop it.

    The only plus with these 2:1 screens is that they work much better with VR.
    Reply
  • serendip - Friday, February 16, 2018 - link

    Android allows you to set immersive mode with hidden navigation buttons per app. I usually do this on video player, e-book reader and PDF viewer apps to get the most screen space. The other upside of having virtual buttons is smaller bezels, you don't need to reserve bottom space for hardware buttons. Reply
  • Beaver M. - Saturday, February 17, 2018 - link

    Yet there is still enough space for hardware buttons.

    And I dont know what youre trying to say about "immersive mode". The problem persists. Immersive mode only works on very few apps (usability-wise). I want to have my status bar and I want my buttons to always work. The only situation where they should be gone is when I watch a video or play a game, and that has always worked without "immersive mode".
    Reply
  • HardwareDufus - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    This could be a nice phone. Just wish I didn't have to choose between the 2nd Nano-SIM and the MicroSD.. I'd like to have them both. Or give me an option for 128GB internal storage... Reply
  • serendip - Friday, February 16, 2018 - link

    You can add an external SIM extender cable to use both SIM slots and MicroSD. On my phone, I tape the extender to the phone body and it's protected by a case. It's not the most elegant solution but I've had no issues with it for the past few years. Reply
  • Harshya10 - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    To know more click www.technobull10.blogspot.com Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    Well worth nothing that RN5Pro does NOT support QuickCharge, even though SD636 supports QC4.0
    Also, Android 7 in 2018??!!
    Reply

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