Xiaomi Redmi 5A review: The ‘Desh Ka Smartphone’ is a souped-up version...

Xiaomi Redmi 5A review: The ‘Desh Ka Smartphone’ is a souped-up version of Redmi 4A that works

Xiaomi is doing very well in India, even better than the company’s own expectations. For a brand that came into the market only three years ago to outrank well entrenched rivals like Samsung is no small feat. Sales of its Redmi Note 4, as well as the Redmi 4 have helped the company become a household brand.

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. You will be able to pick up the Redmi 5A for a starting price of Rs 4,999 on December 7 at 12:00PM via Flipkart and Mi.com/in.  Here is our review of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A.

Xiaomi Redmi 5A specifications: 5-inch HD 1280 x 720 resolution display| Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor|2GB RAM +16GB storage/3GB RAM +32GB storage|microSD card slot option (up to 128GB) |13MP rear +5MP front camera|3000mAh battery|MIUI 9.1, Android 7.1 Nougat

Xiaomi Redmi 5A price in India: Rs 4,999 (2GB RAM +16GB storage), Rs 5,999 (3GB RAM + 32GB storage)

Xiaomi Redmi 5A review: Design and display

At first glance you’ll wonder what has changed, it looks pretty much the same as the Redmi 4A. If you have used the Redmi 4A, you will not see a major improvement in the design department. 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. To my surprise, it doesn’t feel slippery, which is a big relief. The device weighs only 137g so this device feels light compared to some of the other phones on offer in this same segment.

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.

At the back is a single camera setup with a flash on the top-left. The mono speaker is at the bottom. The Redmi 5A doesn’t offer a fingerprint scanner for added security, unlike the Redmi 4. This is a ‘Made in India’ phone.

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. I’m totally fine with the quality of the display; images are sharp, and videos look impressive. It’s perfect for a Netflix craving. If you’re coming from a feature phone background, the Redmi 5A’s 5-inch screen will be a huge upgrade. I can’t ask for more at this price point.

Xiaomi Redmi 5A review: Hardware and software

Xiaomi Redmi 5A has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor under its hood and it performs reasonably well. 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.

My review unit had 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. On the AnTuTu benchmark test, Redmi 5A scored 36,626. I believe the 3GB RAM (it has a built-in 32GB storage) variant might be a slightly faster in performance, but honestly, I haven’t tested that model. Though both models come with an expandable storage (up to 128GB).

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 around in the room. It’s not quite as bass[y), though.

Redmi 5A’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. I suspect if you are an average user the Redmi 5A’s battery might last close to two days.

Xiaomi Redmi 5A runs on MIUI 9, which is based on Android 7.1 Nougat. MIUI 9 brings with it a ton of big and small features, as well as typical Google features like split-screen multitasking and even Google Assistant. What I like about Xiaomi’s native MIUI is that it’s simple to operate and easy on the eyes. The phone didn’t feel sluggish, even though it is not running a pure version of Android. Xiaomi has also preloaded a slew of third-party apps like Amazon Shopping, UC News, and the Microsoft Office and Skype apps.

Xiaomi Redmi 5A review: Camera

It’s hard to expect 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.

I tested the back camera in a number of conditions including in a bright day light. The images it produced were full of detail, sharp and the colours were just right. In very low light, it flatters though. The back camera can also record 1080p video. The recorded video looked crisp when played on my desktop.

Xiaomi Redmi 5A review: Conclusion

The Redmi 5A is not targeted at those who already bought the Redmi 4A. Instead, Xiaomi says it is targeting first-time smartphone buyers, especially those who are looking to upgrade their “dumb” feature phones. At Rs 4,999, Redmi 5A is the most affordable Xiaomi smartphone in India. And it tells a lot about the company’s expectations from the Redmi 5A. When you look at the Redmi 5A, its design, specifications, 4G LTE connectivity and cameras, all this makes the phone stand out in the competition.

While less expensive than the Redmi 4, the Redmi 5A isn’t that cheap, as you can pick up the JioPhone for free and Bharat 1 for as little as Rs 2200. The latter phone even support WhatsApp and Facebook on the device. But the Redmi 5A is a complete smartphone, boasting faster performance and a superior camera, making this a phone well above the notch.


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