Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus Review
Xiaomi is no stranger in the Philippine market, it’s actually considered one of the go-to brands if you want a bang-for-the-buck device. In fact, the company’s devices have often been branded as “God Phones” due to their competitive specs at affordable price tags. Today, we’ll be looking at one of the company’s latest creations and successor to the Redmi 4 — The Redmi 5 Plus. Does it carry over “The God Phone” mantle? Let’s find out in our full review!
Before all that though, let’s take a look at what’s inside the box.
Design and Construction
The Redmi 5 Plus has some changes in its design and construction compared to its predecessors. It has an aluminum frame with a glass front and a pre-installed matte screen protector on top. Overall though, it does still carry over the general looks of Xiaomi devices. In fact, the back of the device is so recognizable that you’ll immediately notice it’s a Mi device. The matte screen protector though, may not be to everyone’s taste and sometimes even affect general viewing experience.
At the front, we have the 5.99-inch Full HD+ 18:9 aspect ratio display, 5MP front camera, soft-light LED flash, LED notification lights, and call speaker. The bottom is all bezel as the phone uses on-screen navigation.
Moving on to the sides, on the left we have the hybrid SIM-card slot while on the right we have the power/lock and volume buttons
Up top, are the 3.5mm audio port, noise-canceling microphone, and IR blaster.
Down below, we have two speaker grilles (one for the microphone and the other for the mono speaker) and the micro-USB port. We were disappointed that the company didn’t opt for USB Type-C considering that many smartphones have it already.
At the back is where the 12MP rear camera, dual-LED flash, and fingerprint scanner are located. Just below is the Mi Logo. The camera module protrudes from the body, so take extra care when placing the device on flat surfaces.
The phone itself is thin, light and feels sturdy and solid enough. It also sits perfectly in your hands due to the rounded edges and relatively small footprint. We do have to give props to Xiaomi for making the back panel fingerprint and smudge resistant. While it’s no longer needed to keep fingerprint and smudges away, there is an included silicone case for extra protection. It’s also worth noting that the front does have an uncanny resemblance to the OPPO F5.
Display and Multimedia
The Redmi 5 Plus, as mentioned earlier, is equipped with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ 18:9 aspect ratio display. It’s actually a breath of fresh air that we are seeing a Full HD display instead of an HD one at this price point. The display itself has good color reproduction and accuracy. Icons appear crisp and viewing angles are good. Users who are fond of watching videos and movies will feel right at home.
Brightness is also strong enough for outdoor operation, even in direct sunlight. We do have to once again mention though that the matte screen protection gets in the way of the display at times. We recommend to either remove it or replace it with something better.
As for audio, it has good mids and highs but like most devices at this price point, the bass is non-existent. Volume-wise, it can get pretty loud without losing clarity. Overall, it’s a good speaker and will be enough for gaming and general audio consumption.
Xiaomi didn’t focus too much on the Redmi 5 Plus’ cameras as it only equipped it with a single 12MP rear and a single 5MP front. This is quite the oddball combination since we’re already accustomed to seeing either dual rear or front nowadays. Although, the company is touting that the rear camera is equipped with a 1.25-micron pixel sensor. As for features, the rear camera has HDR, Panorama, Timer, Audio, Manual, Straighten, Beautify, HHT, Scene, Tilt-shift and a set of filters. The front, on the other hand, has Beautification with three modes, Timer, Audio, and a set of filters.
Let’s move on to quality. The rear cameras produce good images as long as they’re taken in well-lit conditions. Details are well-maintained and color reproduction and accuracy are good. Macro shots also look nice and background blur is just about right. Low-light shots, however, are quite disappointing as it now has noticeable noise and grain.
Even with good performance in brightly lit conditions, it still falls short of being an exceptional camera. Either way, the 12MP camera is more than enough for quick shots and daily use.
The front camera is more of a mixed bag. Outdoor shots with adequate lighting produce excellent images with good sharpness, color reproduction, and detail, but once you move indoors or take shots in low-light, quality takes a huge hit. Indoor shots have washed out colors and have noticeable grain and noise while low-light shots are just generally sub-par.
Beautification is simple; you choose between the smart or pro modes. Pro mode lets you adjust skin tone and thickness, while smart mode lets you choose between low, medium, or high beautification. The front cam also has an auto age and gender detect feature, which is inaccurate at times, but still fun to have. It’s good for taking selfies outdoors but you’re better off borrowing someone else’s phone if you plan on taking shots indoors or in low-light situations.
As for video, it maxes out at 4K, 30fps in MP4 format. We were quite surprised that it has the ability to shoot in 4K. Autofocus is stable, although quality is only average despite the 4K setting. Either way, it’s enough for normal video recording, See sample video below.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software department is Xiaomi’s very own MIUI 9 on top of Android 7.1.2 Nougat. The UI is your standard home screen affair, all apps can be accessed just by swiping left or right. Of course, if you’re not a fan of this kind of setup you could easily download your preferred launcher from the Play Store. It has your usual colorful Xiaomi vibe and layout.
The Redmi 5 Plus actually has minimal bloatware pre-installed. You have Mi Remote, MIUI Forum, and WPS office. Interestingly, all of these pre-installed apps are quite useful. Other than that, we have the usual Google apps and a few homebrew. All in all, this leaves 25.16GB of usable space out of the initial 32GB.
As for features, we get the full MIUI 9 experience (in-depth details here). We also get second space, one-hand operation, dual apps, numerous buttons and gesture shortcuts, and a unique headphone and audio effect settings (identifies your Mi earphones or headset for additional settings). Overall, we get some great customization and shortcut options.
Performance and Benchmarks
The phone is powered by a 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 paired with an Adreno 506 GPU, 3GB RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. We’ve seen the 625 in action quite a few times now; it’s even present on the previous generation Redmi Note 4X. Mundane tasks such as UI navigation, browsing, and applications launching is a breeze. Multitasking is also quite possible thanks to the 3GB of RAM. Although, we did notice some lags when doing certain tasks such as transferring files or even gaming. See benchmark results below.
- AnTuTu Benchmark — 75,876
- Geekbench 4 — 864 (Single), 4251 (Multi)
- PCMark — 5669 (Work 2.0)
- Androbench– 276.95 MB/s (Sequential Read), 121.35 MB/s (Sequential Write)
- 3DMark — 836 (Slingshot), 465/425 (Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL/Vulkan)
As for gaming, the Adreno 506 is more than capable of running light to medium games like Candy Crush, Zombie Tsunami, and Mobile Legends smoothly. Heavier games though, like Tekken, Asphalt 8: Airborne, and Iron Blade will suffer a few frame drops unless graphical settings are set to medium or low. Either way, it’s enough to provide a good gaming experience. One thing to take note of though, is that the device heats up during prolonged gaming sessions, not to dangerous levels, but enough to make your hands sweat.
Call Quality, Connectivity, and Battery Life
The Redmi 5 Plus is equipped with your basic connectivity features such as Bluetooth, WiFi, OTG, and GPS. Signal reception is good as long as you are in a supported area and calls are crisp and clear. GPS is also functional and quite accurate.
What’s really surprising is the device’s battery life. It lasts about a day or two on light to moderate usage such as general browsing and social media consumption. Heavier tasks such as gaming and watching videos or multitasking, on the other hand, will bring the device’s life down to a day, which is still quite impressive. PC battery test ranks the device at 15 Hours and 25 Minutes while in our standard video loop test (playing a Full HD video in airplane mode at 50% brightness and volume with headset plugged in) it lasted 18 Hours and 3 minutes. As for charge times, it takes about 2 hours for the device to fully charge (0-100%).
Xiaomi once again proves that good performance doesn’t have to come with a heavy price. For a sub Php10k device, the Redmi 5 Plus brings with it respectable performance, strong battery life, a good display, and a number of customization and shortcut options. Although, the phone does have some caveats such as a sub-par set of cameras and a very annoying matte screen protector. It’s also worth noting that even though the Snapdragon 625 is still a very capable processor, newer more powerful chipsets are already available on the market. Either way at Php 9,800 (See listing here), the Redmi 5 Plus is quite the contender.
Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus specs:
5.99-inch 18:9 FHD+ display @ 1080 x 2160 pixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 2.0Ghz Octa-core CPU
Adreno 506 GPU
3GB or 4GB RAM
32GB or 64GB Internal Storage
12MP Rear camera with 1.25-micron pixel sensor and dual-LED Flash
5MP front camera with soft-light LED
Dual SIM (Nano, Hybrid)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Fingerprint scanner (rear-mounted)
MIUI 9 (Android 7.1.2 Nougat)
158.5 x 75.5 x 8.1 mm
What we liked:
- Respectable Performance
- Good Display
- Strong Battery Life
- Lots of features and shortcuts
What we didn’t like:
- Annoying pre-installed matte screen protector
- Sub-par set of cameras