Xiaomi is doing very well in India, even better than the company’s own expectations. It’s no small feat that a brand which came into the market only three years ago today outranks well-entrenched rivals like Samsung. Sales of its Redmi Note 4, as well as the Redmi 4 have helped the company become a household name.
It’s not just the affordable price of the Redmi 4A that made the phone so admirable in the market. Steady performance coupled with excellent cameras have helped the Redmi 4A to raise the bar. But the success of the Redmi 4A is such that the company thought of launching its sequel in the same year itself: the Redmi 5A. While the Redmi 5A might not be totally different from the Redmi 4A, it does offer small improvements. Here is our review of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A.
Design and display
At first glance you’ll wonder what has changed—it looks pretty much the same as the Redmi 4A. Its all-plastic body has been jazzed up with a metal finish. My review unit came in ‘Gold’, but the phone can be purchased in several other colour options including Dark Grey and Rose Gold. Coupled with a rounded, smooth design, Redmi 5A looks and feels comfortable in your hand as it weighs only 137g.The Redmi 5A retains those chunky top and bottom areas of its bezel, like the Redmi 4A. And underneath the display are three capacitive buttons that are not backlit. The power button and a pair of volume rockers can be found on to the right side. The other side houses a dual SIM tray and a dedicated microSD slot. There’s a standard microUSB port on the bottom of the phone and a headphone jack and an Infrared port on the top. The Infrared blaster can help users to control other devices in their home.
The Redmi 5A’s screen is the same 5-inches in size as the one on the Redmi 4A and doesn’t pack any more pixels. So essentially, it has a resolution of 1280 x 720p and a pixel density of 296 ppi.
Hardware and software
Xiaomi Redmi 5A has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor under its hood and it performs reasonably well. My review unit had 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage. For everyday tasks the Redmi 5A shows no sign of lag. Browsing the web and running apps should be of no concern on the phone. Even with dozens of Chrome tabs open at once, the Redmi 5A never stuttered. In my testing, I loaded both Shadow Fight 3 and Sonic Forces Speed Battle to check the gaming performance on the Redmi 5A. Both games ran smoothly. But this device is not meant to handle heavy graphics-intensive games like Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 8. In the sound department, Xiaomi Redmi 5A has cracked the code by managing to cram a mono speaker. The Redmi 5A is loud enough, even when a bunch of people are in the room, though the bass is not that great. The device’s 3000mAh battery lasted close to 27 hours on a single charge.
On a typical day, I make lots of calls, browse the web, check emails on a regular basis, with WhatsApp running constantly and Facebook app running in the background, watching YouTube videos while commuting to office, and streaming music through Saavn. It’s good to see that the phone’s battery lasted more than a day. Xiaomi Redmi 5A runs on MIUI 9, which is based on Android 7.1 Nougat. MIUI 9 brings with it many features, as well as typical Google features like split-screen multitasking and even Google Assistant. It’s hard to get a great camera experience on a phone in this price segment. The Redmi 5A, however, is an exception. In fact, the camera is the most fascinating aspect of the Redmi 5A. The primary camera has a 13MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, along with PDAF ability. The front shooter is a 5MP one with an f/2.0 aperture with smart and beautification modes.
The Redmi 5A is not targeted at those who have the Redmi 4A. Instead, Xiaomi says it is targeting first-time smartphone buyers, especially those who are looking to upgrade their “dumb” feature phones. The Redmi 5A is a complete smartphone, boasting faster performance and a superior camera, making this a phone well above the notch.
Estimated street price:
Rs 4,999 (2 GB RAM +16 GB storage)
Rs 6,999 (3 GB RAM + 32 GB storage)