The launch of the Redmi Note 5 sparked a lot of interest from Filipino consumers. And it’s not hard to see why. Not only is it priced well at PhP11,990, but it offers features that you just wouldn’t expect from a device with that price tag.

Perhaps the two most notable things from this phone is that it’s powered by a Snapdragon 636, that’s the same chip that runs on more expensive mid-rangers. And guess what? You also get AI-assisted cameras.

Were there compromises? How does the phone fare? Let’s find that out in this full review.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Specs
ProcessorSnapdragon 636 (Octa-Core)
RAM4GB
Storage64GB
Display5.99-inch FHD+, 18:9
Rear Camera12MP + 5MP
Front Camera13MP
OSAndroid 8.1 with MIUI 9
Battery4,000mAh
Unboxing

Design and Build Quality

redmi note 5

The Redmi Note 5 uses Xiaomi’s typical design language, a back with curved sides and a metallic finish that makes it easy to grip, and also makes it feel slightly less premium. You do get the usual branding, along with a fingerprint sensor, and a dual rear camera system that protrudes, as usual.

redmi note 5

While the 18:9 display certainly adds more visual flair, I feel like they still could’ve slashed a few millimeters off the bottom bezel.

redmi note 5

All the buttons are on the right, while a Hybrid SIM tray is housed on the opposite side. Again, I think that triple slot trays should now be a standard in the mid-range segment.

redmi note 5

Most likely to keep costs down, the Redmi Note 5 sticks to a standard microUSB port at the bottom, along with a speaker grill, microphone, and headphone jack.

redmi note 5

The 5.99-inch display has FHD+ resolution delivers great detail. The default color temperature looks quite pale, so you’ll probably want to adjust it in the settings. Unless of course, that’s your cup of tea.

Performance

As a daily driver, the Redmi Note 5 will most likely please most users as far as performance goes. If you’re like me who often forgets to close apps, multiple apps, then you’d have no problems with this phone, as it can handle multi-tasking very well.

xiaomi redmi note 5With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 on-board, the Redmi Note 5 breezed through games such as Real Racing 3, Arena of Valor, and Tekken with no major issues.

xiaomi redmi note 5You can also play PUBG in balanced settings just fine. The device’s thermal performance is also impressive, as there were no signs of throttling in any of the games I’ve played.

Camera

xiaomi redmi note 5xiaomi redmi note 5xiaomi redmi note 5xiaomi redmi note 5The Redmi Note 5’s cameras are also impressive, with AI scene detection that works well for most instances. Rear camera shots were sharp, detailed, and color accuracy is also on point. Focusing speed is also quite fast, thanks to Dual Pixel PDAF. Of course, it won’t go near flagship levels, but I’d dare say that at times, it can duke it out with a number of more expensive devices.xiaomi redmi note 5xiaomi redmi note 5

Enabling the depth of field effect delivers a decent blur to the background. There’s minor pixelation in some shots, and the way it over sharpens edges can be a bit too much at times. Hopefully, these can be resolved by an update.

xiaomi redmi note 5The front camera takes decent selfies, but also suffers from the same troubles when the depth of field effect is applied.xiaomi redmi note 5xiaomi redmi note 5Low light shots can be grainy. Fortunately, there’s a feature that can automatically enhance low light photos, with a noticeable effect.

Software

The Redmi Note 5 AI runs on MIUI 9.5 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo. The UI itself is fast, fluid, and snappy. It also seems to less cluttered, more simplified, and straightforward.

Fingerprint scanning is quite fast and works most of the time. Other features include Dual Apps, which basically lets you login to two different accounts with one social media app. Then there’s Second Space, which sets up another instance of the phone, wherein you can install a different set of apps. Very useful when you’re letting someone else use your phone.

Battery

redmi note 5

Be sure to take note of this portion. Because if there’s anything that really blew me away, it’s the Redmi Note 5’s battery life. As PCMark’s battery test crashed, I decided to use a video test instead. Playing a video on loop at 50% brightness and 80% volume, the device managed to squeeze a staggering 19 hours!

The only drawback is that you’d have to stay a bit longer beside the power socket, as it takes a while to charge that 4,000mAh battery.

redmi note 5
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Review
Design and Build Quality
Performance
Camera
Software
Battery
What's Good
Impressive general and gaming performance
Camera performance can go toe to toe with some more expensive devices
MIUI is fast, fluid, and straightforward
Impressive Battery Life
Competitive Price
What's Not
Metallic Finish Makes it Feel Less Premium
Still Uses a MicroUSB port
Still Uses a Hybrid SIM Slot
No Fast Charging
4.4
Our Verdict
As an all-rounder, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is perhaps, one of the best in its price range. It shows its vicious teeth in gaming, and is a joy to use as daily driver. Its cameras, while slightly rough on the edges, can compete with some of the more expensive mid-rangers, the software is fast, fluid, and straightforward, and the battery life is simply outstanding. On the other side, the design could use some work as far as trying to look premium is concerned. They could've done away with the metallic finish. It still has a standard microUSB port, which is quickly becoming outdated, it still also uses a Hybrid SIM tray. Lastly, I wished that it had fast charging capability, to compliment its long battery life.  In the end, those are compromises that had to be done, perhaps to keep the cost down. But if you can forego all of its relatively minor shortcomings, the Redmi Note 5 offers exceptional value for money. You can't go wrong with it.

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Author

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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