Xiaomi Redmi 5A review: One of the best value-for-money smartphones
Xiaomi Redmi 5A launched in India late last month at a starting price of ₹4,999. Check out our review.
Xiaomi has been on a roll this year. The company, which debuted in India less than three years ago, is already toe-to-toe with the market leader Samsung. What has worked in Xiaomi's so far is a strong portfolio of value-for-money smartphones in the crucial sub-₹10,000 segment.
The Chinese handset company earlier this month disclosed that it had shipped 9.2 million units in the third quarter of this year. Its Xiaomi Note 4, Redmi 4, and Redmi 4A - all budget smartphones - were the best selling smartphones.
Xiaomi is now looking to close the year 2017 on a high note with another budget smartphone, Redmi 5A. As expected, the key selling point of Redmi 5A is a comprehensive package of top-of-the-line specifications and a low price tag.
In case of Redmi 5A, Xiaomi is making the proposition more attractive by selling the base model of the phone at an introductory price of ₹4,999, making it one of the most affordable Xiaomi smartphones in India.
Ahead of the launch, we spent a considerable time with Xiaomi's new budget smartphone. But is Redmi 5A the new budget champion?
In terms of design and overall look, Redmi 5A borrows inspiration from the recently launched Redmi Y1 and Mi A1. It has similar gently curved corners, metal side panels and a subtlety in look and feel. It is quite a featherweight at 137 grams and slim at 8.3mm.
The overall dimension of the phone is 140 x 70.1 x 8.3mm - making it quite compact as compared to the Redmi Note 4 which measures 151 x 76 x 8.4mm.
The front is dominated by the display (5-inch) with front-camera sensor on top and capacitive navigation touch buttons at the bottom. The right edge has volume and power buttons whereas the left edge features the SIM + microSD slot. On the top you have 3.5mm audio jack whereas the base has USB port.
Redmi 5A has a plastic back panel featuring camera lens and flash on the top left corner and speakers at the bottom. If you squint enough, you will notice a 'Made in India' engraving on the phone. The company has of late started to give more prominence to its Make in India campaign. It may be recalled that Xiaomi is doing the same with its power banks.
Xiaomi has included an HD panel on its Redmi 5A. The display appears to be quite decent with auto brightness quickly adapting the ambient light. It does a fine job when playing high-resolution videos or graphic-intensive games. The screen doesn't overwhelm you, but let's be realistic. It's a sub-₹7,000 smartphone.
The two great assets of Xiaomi Redmi 5A are MIUI 9 and camera. Let's talk about MIUI 9 first. The smartphone runs on Android 7.1.2-based MIUI Global 9.1 Stable ROM. We have talked in length about the features of ROM in this article. On Redmi 5A, MIUI 9 works absolutely fine - it's easy to navigate and comes with abundance of custom features. For instance, you can run dual accounts of apps such as WhatsApp, built-in app lock, and a second space feature that is similar to the 'guest-mode' functionality on your desktop.
Backing up MIUI 9 is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 425 64-bit quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz speed. It is coupled with 2GB/3GB of RAM and Adreno 308 GPU. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 425 SoC seems like a fine SoC for entry-level phones. In the past, we've used the SoC in budget phones such as Micromax Canvas Infinity. Looking at the price point, selection of Snapdragon 425 over Snapdragon 435 is not very surprising.
That said, Redmi 5A is quite impressive with its camera as well. For an entry-level smartphone, Redmi 5A takes pretty neat selfies whereas the rear camera does pretty well in conducive ambient light. Don't expect the camera to be breathtaking but for a phone that costs less than ₹7,000, Redmi 5A does quite well.
I might be nitpicking but I really wished the phone had a fingerprint scanner just for the sake of convenience.
Xiaomi seems to have cracked the budget smartphone segment. Its Redmi 5A checks all the boxes for a value-for-money smartphone. Scoring high on design, camera and performance parameters, Redmi 5A is a worthy successor to the popular Redmi 4A.