Xiaomi met with huge success with the Redmi Note 4 last year. But that was last year. Xiaomi is now gearing up to launch the Redmi Note 5 to take on mid-range handsets from other brands due for release in 2018.
The Redmi Note 4 sold like hotcakes despite its limited availability and stiff competition in the mid-range smartphone market. This was due to the handset being a very attractive overall package and offering a stunning value for money. With the Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi needs to repeat the same formula. And since the Chinese smartphone market is now experiencing a decline, Xiaomi needs to ensure the Redmi Note 5 sees an even wider launch than before.
Talking about the handset itself, the Redmi Note 5 will come with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ 18:9 aspect ratio display with minimal bezels at the top and bottom. It will also feature a dual-camera setup at the rear, a more powerful Snapdragon 635 chipset, and an overall improved design.
Surprisingly, Xiaomi has managed to do a good job in keeping the Redmi Note 5 under wraps so far. While Xiaomi had earlier launched the Redmi Note 3 and 4 in China first before unveiling the handset in India, the company has taken a different approach this time around with the Redmi Note 5. The handset will make its debut in India first before it makes its way to other parts of the world.
Display and Design
The biggest improvement on the Redmi Note 5 compared to its predecessor will be the switch to an 18:9 aspect ratio display. The taller display will measure 5.99-inch diagonally, though due to the change in aspect ratio, it will be easier to use and improve one-hand use.
The minimal bezels at the top and bottom mean that the Redmi Note 5 will not come with capacitive navigation buttons at the bottom. Instead, the handset will rely on on-screen navigation bar similar to almost every other major Android device out there. The fingerprint scanner will also continue to be located at the rear.
In terms of design, the Redmi Note 5 will feature the same unibody aluminum design as its predecessor, with some tweaks here and there to accommodate the dual-camera design at the rear.
Last year, the Redmi Note 4 made use of Qualcomm’s excellent Snapdragon 625 chip. This year, Xiaomi will be using its successor, the Snapdragon 635 inside the Note 5. Qualcomm states the octa-core chip offers a 40 percent performance improvement compared to its predecessor and even includes a 10 percent faster GPU.
In terms of RAM, I’d expect the Redmi Note 5 to be available in only 4GB RAM variant, with 32GB and 64GB of storage space. Given how Xiaomi has started offering a dedicated microSD card slot on its recent devices, I expect the company to follow a similar strategy with the Redmi Note 5 as well.
The Redmi Note 5 will also continue to make use of a microUSB port due to the port still being very popular in budget Android devices. Leaks point to the handset coming with a 4100mAh battery, the same as the Redmi Note 4. This should translate into the device offering the same or even better battery life than its predecessor despite a boost in performance. Its unclear as of now if Xiaomi will include any kind of fast charging technology on the Redmi Note 5 or not.
Redmi Note 5 Pro
If rumors are anything to go by, Xiaomi intends to launch two different variants of the Redmi Note 5 this time around with different specs. The Redmi Note 5 Pro will be the more powerful of the two and sport the Snapdragon 635 chip, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and a dual-camera setup at the rear. Additionally, there will also be a cheaper variant called just the Redmi Note 5 which will feature a slower Snapdragon 626 chipset and a smaller display. The inferior specifications mean that the Redmi Note 5 will be cheaper than the Redmi Note 5 Pro by a fair margin.
Another major upgrade on the Redmi Note 5 will be the switch to a dual-camera setup at the rear. Leaks point to the primary camera featuring a 13MP sensor, with the second one being a 5MP sensor. Apart from the improved camera primary camera performance thanks to a newer image sensor and a powerful new ISP, the secondary sensor should allow the Note 5 to offer Portrait mode to capture photos with a bokeh effect similar to DLSRs.
The camera performance of Redmi phones have never been their strength but Xiaomi is expected to make some huge improvements with the Redmi Note 5 this time around.
On the front, leaks suggest the Redmi Note 5 will feature an 8MP selfie shooter which should allow one to capture more detailed selfies.
Redmi Note 5 Price
Xiaomi has always priced its Redmi Note series of handsets competitively, and things are unlikely to change this year. Despite the switch to a more powerful processor and a bigger 18:9 aspect ratio display. The handset should see a starting price of anywhere between Rs 10,000-Rs 11,000 for the regular Redmi Note 5 variant sporting a Snapdragon 626 chipset. The more powerful Pro variant with a Snapdragon 635 chipset and a dual-camera setup at its rear will likely carry a price tag of around Rs 14,000.
Redmi Note 5 Availability
Xiaomi will be unveiling the Redmi Note 5 on February 14 at an event in Delhi, India. The handset should go on sale in India the week after that. It will be initially available through Mi’s online store and Flipkart before making its way to offline stores.