- Decent Build Quality
- Good Performance
- Huge Display
- Big Battery
- 3GB RAM Inclusion
- Underwhelming Camera
- Still uses a Micro-USB
We, at The Adventures of Vesper have use a lot of Mi Products and it still is a brand that we consider time to time. Now, one thing Xiaomi is known for is their smartphones. What makes their smartphone appealing is the fact that it packs a punch for the price tag it offers. By now, everyone knows that there’s two different series – Mi, which is considered to be the company’s premium smartphone lineup that has an astounding price tag and there’s Redmi (also known as Hongmi) is their youth series which also packs a punch at an even more affordable price tag. Today we are taking a look at one of their smartphone, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Prime.
This particular smartphone is a stripped down version, making it a lot more affordable. But the question is, for an entry-mid tier smartphone, is this a viable option or is this a bust? Well, time to find out in this full review.
Unlike the previous Redmi, this time they’ve once again revamped their package and it has more orange color than you think. Still inside the box, we get the usual – the Redmi Note 5A Prime, Power Brick, SIM Ejector Tool, Micro USB cable and User Manual. You can check out our unboxing in the video below.
Design & Build Quality
Like I’ve said earlier, the Redmi Note 5A Prime is a stripped down version of the Redmi Note 4. In terms of design, the edges are a lot more rounded off, giving you an illusion of holding a smaller smartphone. Followed by that, on the back the entire layout is different. It follows the Redmi 4 layout where the camera is located at the top left corner on the phone. The fingerprint sensor is at the same position – on the back. We also get this metallic antenna bands on the top and the bottom of the device.
In terms of Build Quality, the device is stunning light. Unlike the other iterations of Redmi Note devices – for instance, Redmi Note 4 where it’s constructed in aluminum, the 5A Prime is constructed in plastic. It does give a metallic feel but it’s just the finish. Well, if you were to drop it accidentally, the scuff marks will be scary. So, I’d suggest that you use a case on the device.
Personally, I prefer smartphones that has some heft to it, which gives me the feel of holding a solid smartphone. I didn’t really enjoy holding a phone that light, but eh. Boleh la. (can lah.)
Overall Design & Build Quality, I’d give a B-
Specification & Bench Mark
The Redmi Note 5A Prime is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, an Octa-core processor clocked in at 1.4 GHz. The Prime variant (which we are reviewing) comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of Internal Storage which can be expanded with the help of a MicroSD Card. The best part is that it has a dedicated SD card slot, which makes it awesome. Below this, you can see the benchmark scores for the Redmi Note 5A Prime. We have mentioned this before and we will mention it again. Benchmark scores does not add up to day-to-day basis usage.
The Redmi Note 5A Prime is made for those who wants Redmi 5A with a bigger display. In this Note 5A Prime, we have a 5.5” HD 720p display. For a 720p display, it’s definitely not the greatest but it’s alright. The display has a little bit of warmer tone to it. But for a 720p display, it is actually decent. It sure does have a bit of washed off colors but still watching movies or series on Netflix or iflix is enjoyable. In fact, reading is also nice to the eye, thanks to the Reading mode on the device that gives a warmer tone to it. One minor thing about the display is the fact that it isn’t bright under sunlight.
Overall, a decent 720p display that gets a B- as well.
The Redmi Note 5A Prime is powered by an entry level processor – Snapdragon 435 with Adreno 505 GPU. Tasks like texting, going through social networks and even browsing the internet should be fine. Even playing decent gaming titles like Limbo for instance was alright. Now if you were to play something that requires more power, expect to see some sort of delay. When I was trying out Tekken, it took quite a while to setup and about 25 minutes later I was able to play the game. The phone did get warm but it didn’t get hot.
Overall performance for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 is expected because it is indeed an entry level processor. If it wasn’t for the 3GB RAM, this device would have had a tough time managing the memory. It was still able to handle like a charm.
Battery Life & Charging
One thing that Redmi Note series is known for – is the battery. The Redmi Note 5A Prime packs a 3080 mAh battery under the hood. The battery life is average – after unplugging my device from the charger in the morning – using it for just an hour or so – and remaining standby – I’d say it’s pretty disappointing. At the end of the day, you have no other choice but to connect to an outlet or charge it via your battery pack. As on a active basis, I had to connect the phone into the charger after 7 hours with SoT of 3 hours.
By now you might be wondering – why the battery life is underwhelming. The answer is simple – it’s because of the processor architecture. Unlike the Snapdragon 625 which you find in the Redmi Note 4 which has a 14nm FinFET Architecture, the 435 comes with a 28nm Architecture – hence why the battery life isn’t as expected.
Overall, it’s an okay battery life. Just make sure to carry your charger or your battery pack with you at all times.
Front Facing Camera
Surprisingly the Redmi Note 5A Prime packs a 16MP front facing camera with a soft light flash. It sure does capture really good details. In fact, you can now even take a really good quality selfie with your friends to make it a whole lot interesting. Thanks to the inclusion of the flash, you can take a pretty decent image in low light – so that’s definitely a great thing. Inside places where the lights are bright, the subject looks alright but the background gets overblown. I hope this gets fixed in the next update.
Rear Facing Camera
On the back, the device sports a 13MP Sensor with an aperture of f/2.0. Under broad day light, the camera has the potential to snap some decent shots. HDR tends to make the image a lot saturated and make it look artificial. Any pictures shot under low light requires HDR with steady hands because even the slightest shake can ruin the picture by a lot. You can check out some sample shots below.
UI & OS
The Redmi Note 5A Prime was running MIUI 8 when I unboxed it but I got an update for MIUI 9 right away, which is a good sign. My previous daily driver and my current secondary device is the Redmi Note 4. This means I know MIUI in and out. The MIUI 9 feels a lot faster than the previous version in so many ways. Application launches in an instant, which is definitely a shocker and the setting panel is a lot cleaner than you could imagine.
The option to customize is still open and in fact, you can download as many themes as you want from their stores. Overall, it sure is an improvement. MIUI 9 runs on top of Android 7.1.1. Xiaomi has yet to release an update on when the device will get 8.0 but when it does, you’ll hear it from us.
The Redmi Note 5A Prime is a device that offers everything huge – be it display, battery, RAM, storage and so on. If you were to look at the device, it sure isn’t the perfect device out there but taking the price into consideration, the Redmi Note 5A Prime sure makes a really worthy entry-level smartphone who wants everything they want for an affordable price tag. You cannot go wrong with it. If you are planning to get a decent smartphone for your grandparents or even your child – I think this is a good option.
It is still being sold in Xiaomi Malaysia’s Official Lazada Store. If you are planning to pick it up – you can click here to do so. Also, be sure to like our page because we are currently reviewing the Redmi 5 as well. Be sure to stay tuned to that as well. 😊