Launched earlier this year, the Redmi 4A proved to be incredibly successful for Xiaomi, with the brand selling over four million units in eight months. The company is now looking to continue the same with its successor, the Redmi 5A. At the outset, there isn’t a whole lot that’s changed from the Redmi 4A: you get the same internal hardware, and while the exterior has been slightly tweaked, the phone has the same design language.
Design and Display
The phone might be cheap, but it doesn’t feel that cheap at all. Xiaomi has given a plastic body to the Redmi Note 5A that feels sturdy in hand and pleases the eyes. It has slight design elements like an antenna band through the camera setup and grill speakers on the bottom (only one is an actual speaker). This version of the phone comes with a fingerprint scanner on the back. The Redmi 5A is a perfect balance of dependable hardware and software under a budget. It has all the characteristics to be the leader in its segment. The Redmi 5A features a unibody design with a metallic finish on top of a good quality plastic back. It looks identical to its other Redmi counterparts, and feels like a shrunken Redmi 4. The sides are metallic, which packs it firmly, hence it feels pretty sturdy to hold.
The Redmi 5A sports a 5-inch HD IPS LCD display with 720×1280 pixel resolution. When I compared this display with other budget smartphones in the same price range, the handset that came closest to this phone was the Redmi 4 itself. While the Redmi 4 has a sharper and punchier display, the Redmi 5A’s display fits the bill for this price. The pixel density does come to 296 pixels per inch though, which means you’ll struggle to spot any pixelation, unless you’re very close to the screen. Colors look rich and vivid and can be tweaked using a manual adjustment in the display settings. Moreover, it offers a night mode for a comfortable reading experience in darkness, which is rare in this range. The display, while not revolutionary, offers a new standard in the ultra-budget range. It offers good sunlight visibility and we reckon this will be a norm for budget buyers soon.
There’s a 13-megapixel setup on the rear of the Redmi 5A with f/2.2 aperture, Phase Detection Autofocus and LED flash. PDAF is one of the upgrades in the camera department over its predecessor. It can shoot full HD (1080p) videos at 30fps. There’s a 5-megapixel sensor on the front with f/2.0 aperture for selfies and video calls. Moving on, the Redmi 5A comes with a 5-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 wide aperture. The front camera is just average to get decent daylight shots, but you need to keep your hand steady for that. By decent we mean this camera is worthy for a Rs 6,000 phone. The Redmi 5A uses the Xiaomi’s latest MIUI 9 skin on top of Android 7.0 Nougat.
The Redmi 5A runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset and comes in 2GB/3GB options, having 16GB and 32GB of storage respectively. As we know, the Snapdragon 425 is a low-end chipset and there’s not a lot to expect in this area. However, it can handle basic tasks like texting, calling, surfing and multimedia consumption easily. Don’t expect the phone to run graphic intensive games, as it slows down a bit and there are visible frame drops. Unsurprisingly, the 2GB variant feels smooth when you take it out of the box. It can load apps reasonably quickly, lags while switching the apps and eventually starts freezing as well over time. You get either 16GB or 32GB storage to choose from, which is reasonable. The good part is that Xiaomi provides a dedicated SIM slot that supports up to 256GB storage, which is really impressive for a budget phone.