Home Tech Reviews Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Review: Camera Beast?

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Review: Camera Beast?

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Xiaomi officially launched the Redmi Note 5 here in the Philippines on May 11. A few days before the launch, we received the handset to test it out. The company has deemed the device as a “Camera Beast”. With a price tag of Php 11,990, is this phone worth buying?

SPECSXiaomi Redmi Note 5
Display5.99″ Fullscreen 18:9 (2160 x 1080) FHD+ w/ 2.5D curved glass at 403 ppi, on-screen buttons
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 636
GPUAdreno 509
Memory3GB RAM + 32GB, 4GB RAM + 64GB
Rear Camera12MP f/1.9 + 5MP f/2.0 w/ Dual Pixel PDAF and dual tone LED flash
Front Camera13MP w/ LED Selfie-light, Beautify 4.0
ConnectivityWiFi, 3G, LTE w/ VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.2, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Battery4,000 mAh, 5V/2A charging
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo w/ MIUI 9.5
PricePhp 11,990

Design

For this review, we’ll be using the blue variant of the device. The Redmi Note 5‘s frame and back are made of aluminum which means that it is highly effective against fingerprints and smudges. It measures 158.6 x 75.4 x 8.05 mm and weighs 181g. The phone is definitely as light as it looks which was a plus for me since I’m not fond of bulky and heavy smartphones.

One of the things that we noticed first was the fact that the smartphone didn’t sport the infamous notch. In addition, it had slim bezels at both top and bottom. At the front of the phone, you’ll find that it is covered by the 2.5D Gorilla glass as well as the front-facing camera, its LED flash, and some sensors. At the bottom, no buttons can be found since navigation in the Redmi Note 5 is done through on-screen buttons.

The vertically-aligned dual rear cameras are located at the rear part of the smartphone together with the LED flash, fingerprint scanner, and the company’s logo.

The volume rockers and power button are then found at the right side of the phone while the hybrid slot is positioned at the opposite side. The headphone jack, microphone, and speakers are positioned at the bottom bunk of the smartphone.

We highly recommend using the free jelly case included in the package since the handset tends to be a bit slippery when holding it. This also protects its protruded camera at the back.

Display

This Xiaomi smartphone features a 5.99″ Fullscreen FHD+ IPS display with an aspect ratio of 18:9 and a resolution of 2160 x 1080. Again, there are no physical buttons and capacitive keys up front. Instead, Xiaomi included on-screen keys on the device for navigation.

The colors are vibrant enough and it’s not difficult to view the phone from different angles. Furthermore, the details shown are accurate and we encountered no problems when using the phone outdoors.

To fully review the smartphone’s display, we made sure to watch some movie trailers as well as some music videos. So far, it hasn’t disappointed our expectations. It definitely offers a good resolution despite the screen’s size.

Camera

The Redmi Note 5’s main selling point is its camera, hence its title, “The Camera Beast”. The Redmi Note 5 comes with a 12MP f/1.9 + 5MP f/2.0 rear cameras with LED Flash. The device also sports a 13MP front camera supported by an LED selfie-light. It offers a number of features including HDR mode, Portrait mode, Manual mode, and a Square mode. Unfortunately, the portrait mode can’t be used with the selfie-camera.

The first photo we took was from our veranda during the afternoon. As you can see from the image, the color accuracy is good. The details are also sharp based on the buildings at the back as well as the details from the clouds. There were no parts that were over-exposed or too dark. Do note that the shadows were not the camera’s fault. The image also stayed close to the real view.

This shot was taken inside. Once again, the colors were spot-on and the details on the subject, the chandelier, are accurate. The only problem in this shot was that the windows were over-exposed due to the light outside of the building. Since the focus of the camera was on the subject, it wasn’t able to adjust the brightness coming from the window.

The overall lighting in this shot stayed close to real life. Unfortunately, unlike the previous shot, the chandeliers from this photo were too bright, decreasing some of its details. Based on the ceiling though, the colors are accurate and vibrant. The camera’s shutter speed also did a good job here since although the people present were moving, the phone managed to capture them without anyone being blurry.

This photo was taken before it got too dark. Although some of the details may not be sharp-looking, the color accuracy made up for it. The details of the clouds turned out well. On the other hand, the edges or corners of the building ended up looking a bit fuzzy.

This shot was taken during night time. I didn’t use any mode here yet it still looked bright. That’s not surprising though since the lights around the place helped a lot. I don’t think this shot turned out well since there are a lot of parts that are over-exposed. The photo itself is a bit blinding and not in a good way.

I tried taking the photo again but this time with the HDR mode. The shot was darker in comparison but the light mellowed out. More details can also be seen.

One of the shots here were taken with portrait mode. The photo looked good and is almost instagrammable although the mode wasn’t able to capture the whole subject’s body. The horse’s hind legs were blurred out making the horse look smaller than it actually is. The top of the horse’s head also looked grainy here.

The photo on the left was taken normally without any additional feature. The details here are a lot sharper aside from that tiny burst of light near the horse’s nose. Nevertheless, this photo was closer to real life presentation.

This shot was taken with HDR mode which is why it’s a lot closer to how it would look like in real life. Although the photo itself is a bit dark, the mode made the colors more vibrant without making it look harsh.

This is the same photo but without the HDR mode. In comparison, this photo is brighter, however, the light looked a bit harsh.

The photo on the left was taken with portrait mode. The mode changed some of the details in the picture as you can see from the light around the subject. Instead of the light being white, it had a yellow-ish tone. Nevertheless, the photo looked good although the portrait mode was still not able to capture the whole subject.

This is another sample of the portrait mode but this time with a smaller subject. Color-wise, the Redmi Note 5 still managed to produce accurate and vibrant colors and the details are still sharp. However, the edges of the thorns looked blurry meaning the portrait mode here was still not able to capture the whole subject.

We also tried using the portrait mode on actual people. The left image was taken inside a building with mellow lighting whereas the image on the right was taken inside a mall with bright lighting. There were no issues with colors or sharpness and the portrait mode was able to capture both subjects perfectly.

Aside from the HDR mode and the Portrait mode, the Redmi Note 5 also has a “Square” feature. As described by the name, the photos taken are square-sized giving off a more artistic vibe. This feature aids in making sure that the focus is purely on the subject itself.

The details on this photo are also sharp and the color is accurate.

We also used the “Square” mode in this photo.

Let’s move on to the front camera. One of these photos were taken with the beauty mode. The subject’s skin looked a lot smoother and the girl’s eyebags were not that noticeable as compared to the image on the left which is the natural photo. Looking at the clothes, the beauty mode image made the details sharper. There were no problems though when it comes to the colors of the two images.

We also tried the “Square” mode on the selfie camera. This feature will definitely be useful in most social media apps.

We also made sure to take selfies during night time. The selfie on the right was taken with the HDR mode. As you can see, it looks darker than the image on the left, however, its colors are also warmer. The photo on the left made the subject look pale and almost sickly.

Features/User Experience

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is powered by the Snapdragon 636 with Kyro 260 CPU and Adreno 509 GPU. It has two RAM variants – 3GB of RAM with 32GB storage and 4GB of RAM with 64GB. The device is also fueled by a 4,000mAh battery and runs on Android 8.1 Oreo.

In terms of gaming, the Redmi Note 5 performed well. Admittedly, gameplay in this device is not that outstanding but it is good enough. The games we played through this smartphone are PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 8. We didn’t encounter any lags and the phone wasn’t quick to over-heat. Unfortunately, the graphics for some games were not that detailed. Furthermore, loading the game, PUBG, took too long. Overall, gameplay is average but this smartphone might not be able to handle heavy games.

I also tried navigating through the phone and making full use of the screen gestures. There were times when it lagged so I can’t exactly say that navigation was smooth. Furthermore, there were some instances when the apps acted out, became pixelated, and lagged.

Daily tasks like using your social media apps, browsing, phone calls, text messaging, etc. were no problem at all. Additional features of the phone include Full-screen display mode, one-hand operation, and split screen. However, using the split-screen makes the app really small since the screen’s size isn’t that big in the first place.

Benchmark

We tested the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 handset using the following benchmarking tools and here are the results:

BenchmarksXiaomi Redmi Note 5
Antutu114638
Geekbench (single-core)1343
Geekbench (multi-core)4895
PCMark Work5723

Battery

The Redmi Note 5 packs a 4,000mAh battery. We used the phone for the whole day while playing games occasionally and accessing our social media apps. It was impressive since the smartphone lasted for a whole day with more to spare in the next day. We also charged the device when it reached 20% and it took 2 hours to fully charge it.

BatteryXiaomi Redmi Note 5
Battery4,000 mAh
Battery Life (Light usage)Approx. more than 1 day
Charging Time (20-100%)2 hours

Audio

A phone review would not be complete without testing its audio first. The Redmi Note 5 had decent audio but like most mid-range smartphones, the sound got scratchy when it reached its max volume. Additionally, the bass was also too strong for me.

Verdict

All in all,using the Redmi Note 5 has been a pleasant experience for me although admittedly, there are still some parts that needs improvement. For a mid-range phone though, it has good specs and it proves that it has great camera abilities for its price-range.

The dual rear camera was able to produce vibrant and accurate shots. Although when I tried the zoom feature, the shot looked grainy and some details ended up getting blurry. Regarding the front camera, we recommend that you use it when there’s bright lighting. Some shots ended up looking a bit post-processed but with proper angles and lighting, the shots will end up great.

Do you think the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is worth its price? Comment your thoughts down below.

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