• Sunday, June 24, 2018

Xiaomi Redmi 5A Review - Budget phone with a great battery!

Introduction

Xiaomi is a very well-known brand in third world countries simply because of the prices of their products and their characteristics. The Redmi 4A was unveiled in November 2016, and it drew a lot of attention since it brought many unusual characteristics such as LTE support and a 13MP camera for the price which was very low. Today we’re testing the Xiaomi Redmi 5A, the successor of the 4A.

The first thing you might say when you put your hands on the 5A is that these two devices are the same! Not really, they are not, but the differences are completely unnoticeable for most users. Some new things that the 5A brings are the new user interface, new Android version, a stronger 3GB RAM version and minimal camera changes. As we’ve said, there are two versions of the 5A. Today we’re testing the weaker version, the one with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

Available color options are: Gold, Rose Gold, Blue and the one we have, Dark Grey. Inside the attention-grabbing orange factory box, next to the device itself, Xiaomi delivered: a charging adapter, microUSB cable, SIM tray tool, and user manuals.

Unboxing


Display

Speaking of differences between displays in the 4A and 5A, there’s nothing much to say, except for one small detail. The screen to body ratio is 0.1% bigger. This is a 5” IPS LCD display with HD (720 x 1080) resolution that can show up to 16 million colors. All IPS LCD displays have a tendency to show colors a bit inaccurately – they are all represented with a blueish hue. Display settings offer three preset panel colors – Warm, Standard and Cold.

Redmi 5A is equipped with an ambiental light sensor, which means that you have an option to use the auto brightness mode which will adapt the brightness of the panel to the light that falls on the device. There is also the “Double Tap to Wake Up” option which does exactly what the name suggests. Options also offer the reading mode that protects your eyes by filtering out blue light. Same as with the 4A, we didn’t get any sort of screen protection, so you’ll need to be careful not to scratch the display.

Hardware and OS

Xiaomi Redmi 5A is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 425 chipset, and as we’ve said, it comes paired with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. Internal storage options are either 16GB or 32GB, and there is also a microSD card slot that supports expansions up to 256GB. The CPU built into this chipset has four cores, all of which are ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz, and the GPU that will perform all graphic tasks is the Adreno 308.

Snapdragon 425 is a weak chipset, but in this device, it doesn’t seem weak at all. Redmi 5A performs very well for its price range. Opening applications and other screen transitions are instantaneous, however, we did notice some lag when opening applications stored in RAM. Gaming on this device is a pleasant experience when the games are not too demanding. Heavier 3D games put too much pressure on the chipset that cannot cope with them, so drops in the framerate are noticeable almost immediately. Using the device for prolonged periods of time does make it heat up a little bit, but not too much – it’s within normal limits. Still, these results are more than good for this class.

On the AnTuTu benchmark, this device scored 44081 points, while on the Geekbench it scored 674 in single core and 1872 in multi core performance.

The speaker of the 5A is located on the bottom part of the back of the device, and it spans horizontally across the most of the device. We cannot really say anything bad about the it, however, it could be a bit louder. Due to its price, this device does not have a fingerprint scanner which would be a perfect addition, but the price dictates. Redmi 5A has three capacitive buttons located below the display. On the left there is the “multitasking” button, in the center the “home” button, and on the right side is the “back” button.

Android version preinstalled on this device is Nougat 7.1.2, with MIUI 9.2 user interface. System itself looks great, the environment is very clean, although there are some preinstalled applications such as MIUI Forum, Mi Drop, Mi Remote, Mi Video etc.

Camera

Xiaomi Redmi 5A comes with two cameras, that is one on the back and one on the front of the device for all your selfies. On the back, there is a 13MP sensor with the aperture of f/2.2, while on the front side we have a 5MP sensor with the aperture of f/2.0. The rear facing camera got some improvements, and now it is equipped with Phase Detection Auto Focus system, while the LED flash is still here.

Photos made by the main camera aren’t anything special, which was completely expected. Daylight photos are pretty nice, they don’t have that many details, but the colors are still sharp and vivid. Things go south in low light conditions, when you have to have a very steady hand in order to make good photos. Night time photos are pretty bad, with huge levels of noise.

In the camera interface, there is a manual mode, but it only offers you options to adjust white balance and ISO values. Speaking of the camera interface itself, on the top side (in portrait mode) you can find two options, flash settings on the left and HDR settings on the right side. On bottom side, to the left, there is a shortcut to the gallery, in the center is the shutter button and finally to the right is the button that lets you switch between photo and video taking modes. Just above the bottom menu we can see another small menu where some other options are placed – from left to right, effect, camera options and rear/front camera switch.

Shooting mode menu offers these options:
  • Panorama
  • Timer
  • Audio
  • Manual
  • Straighten
  • Beautify
  • HHT
  • Scene
  • Tilt-Shift
When we enter camera options, we can see all camera settings this device has to offer, some of which are Camera Frame, Age and Gender, Contrast, Saturation, Picture Quality etc.

Speaking of the quality of photos, the Redmi 5A offers three options: high, standard and low quality, and also adjustable is the camera frame, either 16:9 or 4:3.

When it comes to video mode, it didn’t leave us astonished either. Redmi 5A captures videos in maximum FullHD 1080p resolution, but the framerate is not stable – it drops down quite a lot during quick hand movements or when the light conditions change.

The front facing camera doesn’t capture details very well, especially in low light conditions where we come across huge levels of noise. Beauty effect is probably best turned off completely since it makes the whole picture very blurry. Photos are somewhat ok only for social media needs. The selfie camera also records videos in 1080p resolution.

Connectivity

Xiaomi Redmi 5A doesn’t have a hybrid DualSIM tray as its predecessor, but this is still a DualSIM device. The 5A offers a dedicated microSD card slot next to two nanoSIM card slots, which means that you can simultaneously use two SIM cards and one microSD card, which is truly great! An IR blaster is also implemented into this device, and it is located on the top side of the device. It serves a purpose of remotely controlling your appliances such as TV/TV Box, AC unit, DVD player, projector etc. A microUSB 2.0 port is used for charging and data transfer which is perfectly fine for this price range, and also available is a 3.5mm audio port for your favorite headphones.

Redmi 5A does not have the NFC system. Since the Snapdragon 425 contains a X6 LTE modem, 4G networks are supported, and in theory, maximum download speeds can go up to 150 Mbps, while the upload speeds can go up to 75 Mbps.

When it comes to wireless connections, we have:
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n with WiFi Direct and HotSpot mode
  • Bluetooth v4.1 (A2DP, LE)
  • A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Supported network frequencies are:
  • 2G: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
  • 3G: 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
  • 4G: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 MHz

Battery

This device’s battery is probably the only thing that surprised us. Compared to the battery in the 4A, this battery has the capacity of 120 mAh less. 3000 mAh battery paired with a power saving CPU brings excellent results, so the Redmi 5A managed to last the whole day of pretty heavy use.

Since this is a device from the lower class, we couldn’t even expect fast charging. Charging from 0% to 100% took about 2 and a half hours. Inside the battery settings there is a battery optimization option which will optimize the brightness of the panel, stop applications from auto opening and similar, and all for the sake of extending battery life.

Final words

Xiaomi Redmi 5A, as a representative of the lowest class of smartphones, definitely justifies its price, since many brands offer devices where nothing is as it is supposed to be. During our tests, the 5A didn’t show any signs of lag or slowing down at normal conditions, and the battery surprised us quite a lot with its capabilities. If you’re not a heavy user which seeks an excellent camera or remarkable performances overall, and you need a good but cheap device, the Redmi 5A is a great device for its price.

Do you like the Xiaomi Redmi 5A? We’d love to see your opinion in the comment section below. If you have any suggestions or you would like to see a specific device being reviewed, feel free to write to us either here on our Facebook page. If you liked our review, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and sit comfortably as we’re working hard on new material for you!

Xiaomi Redmi 5A Full Phone Specifications


Advantages and disadvantages

Reasons for and against it

Quick chipset
4G compatible
Very good battery
MicroSD card slot
DualSIM
Not much different from the 4A
Generally bad cameras