If you’re looking for a budget phone with decent specs and decent manufacturer, you might want to check Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Prime.
Recently, Xiaomi released the continuation to their Redmi Note series with the Redmi Note 5A which comes in two kinds: Redmi Note 5A (standard edition) and Redmi Note 5A Prime (high edition). The distinction was mainly variants in RAM and memory storage, and a fingerprint scanner for the prime version. Both editions are available in Champagne Gold, Rose Gold, and Platinum Silver colour options.
The ‘A’ in the model name means that this is only the cheaper version of the regular one. The specs felt like a downgrade from the Redmi Note 4 but Redmi Note 5A is not its successor, but of the Redmi Note 4A. Thus, it won’t be right to expect the latest chipset or high-end specs on the spec sheet.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A Prime comes in two variety: 3GB RAM+32GB storage and the 4GB RAM+64GB storage. And what we have here right now is the 3GBRAM+32GBROM version.
Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
5.5 inches 720 x 1280 pixels
MIUI 8.5 based on Android 7.1 (Nougat)
Qualcomm MSM8940 Snapdragon 435
32 GB expandable memory up to 256 GB
3 GB RAM
Rear Camera – 13 MP, f/2.2, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
Front Camera – 16 MP, f/2.0, 1080p
Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Non-removable Li-Ion 3080 mAh battery
Design and Build
The box packaging is small and simple. Upon opening it, you get the phone, a micro USB cable, wall charger, ejector pin and manual/warranty card.
The material of the phone is metal-like, does not feel premium as expected from a budget phone. However, despite of it’s non-metal backing, it does not look cheap in its metal finish. It is light-weight with 153g and thin which is very comfortable to hold and use.
Below the 5.5 inches display screen, you can find three capacitive keys (not back-lighted): menu, home and back keys. Above the screen, you can found three circles which are: front camera, sensor and front-flash. At the back, you’ll find the 13MP rear camera, LED flash beside it and close below is the finger print scanner.
On top of the device you’ll find the 3.5 mm audio jack. Below, you get to find, the cable port and two similar looking line of holes, one for the microphone and one for the speaker. On left is where the volume and power button is located while the sim/SD card tray is on the right. The card tray has three card provisions that can house all two sims and an SD card at the same time which is not very common to smartphones. With this, you no longer need to decide whether you’ll give up your second sim or an SD card.
Xiaomi is one of those companies that modifies Android and creates their own OS that is based on it. They developed an Android-based software called MIUI; Redmi Note 5A is powered by MIUI 8.5.
The thing with this OS is that it can uninstall or delete apps lightning fast but would take noticeable seconds in closing all running apps. Moreover, it has great features such as the ability to work in two apps at the same time, it has pre-installed tools that we can’t live without and notes app that could hide notes and create folders. The homepage gives you the usual setup with Google search bar, clock, default wallpaper and pre-installed app and tools. The design of pre-installed apps are bright colored icons.
The overflow menu is heavily modified by MIUI, looks compact and straightforward with all the necessary icons. The settings has clean and colorful icons that is easy to navigate.
Audio and Video
Its 5.5 inches screen in HD display is really great for movies or videos. Large enough for a delightful viewing experience and still fits the hand. The colors are vibrant and striking, it does feature any high-end display technology but looks really nice. Furthermore, it has the Xiaomi eye protection feature.
Meanwhile, the audio speaker located on the bottom left of the device is surprisingly loud that can really stand out to noises with extra attention to detail giving you excellent music quality.
This phone is selling itself as a selfie device. The front camera has large and clear 16 mega pixels and F/2.0 aperture. The front camera can produce selfies with smart beautification while retaining real skin texture. It also has front facing LED flash for great photos in low-light condition.
While the rear camera has lower megapixel than the front camera, great quality of photo is still able to produce with its lenses. This 13 megapixels rear camera has F/2.2 aperture.The camera setting has manual mode that works for those who likes mobile photography. It has its LED flash that serves also as torch light.
Photos are captured really fast without the need to process it but still in great quality. Overall the camera is really clear and able to produce high quality photos.
A 3GB RAM with Snapdragon 435 is not the most powerful combination but is a balance one. These specs work well together with MIUI 8.5. The scores it got in the Antutu benchmark testing is really low, not even a third of the score of Xiaomi Mi 6. Nevertheless, this phone might not be the fastest and most responsive but can still perform task without crashing.
The 3080mAh battery is quite impressive. After straight 15 minutes of watching YouTube videos in full volume and full brightness, only 4% was consumed in the battery power. However, it’s interface does not show battery power percentage, just an icon on the upper left corner of the screen that adjusts according to your consumption.
All in all, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A doesn’t have the latest processor or the highest RAM storage but still is well-balanced and can keep up with regular usage. It’s card tray is commendable, able to house two sim cards and an SD card. As a camera phone, the camera works nice, with great color reproduction and contrast. It is indeed a budget variant with great quality features.