Xiaomi has a wide range of smartphones. The highly popular (and affordable) mid-range model this year is the Redmi 5 Plus. It sports a new ultra-wide screen, aluminum body and great specs for the price. Let’s see below how it scores.
Packaging – Specifications
The packaging of the Redmi 5 Plus is similar to the likes of the Mi Max 2 and Mi A1 models we reviewed this year.
It is pretty elegant both on the inside and outside. Within you will find the smartphone itself, a wall charger (quick charging is supported), a USB charging cable, the SIM eject tool and basic documentation. No earpieces are included, which is a shame because Xiaomi designs some very interesting ones. At least they are cheap and you will be able to buy the ones you like, if you require them that is.
In order to be an affordable model, the Chinese giant chose same old internals combined with a completely re-designed exterior, and screen.
3 or 4GB of RAM accompanied by 32 or64GB of ROM respectively (there are two models), Dual SIM (Dual Standby, Hybrid with Micro SD) capability, a 12MP/5MP camera combo, a very precise fingerprint reader, an IR blaster, FM Radio , a power efficient Octa-core Snapdragon SoC and a new, ultra widescreen 1080p 5.99” IPS display compose a seemingly capable smartphone.
Networking wise, Dual Band Wi-Fi and BT4.2 connection protocols will ensure satisfaction from the majority of users.
The large 4000mAh battery will ensure great battery life and the relatively compact dimensions (for a 6incher) sweetens the deal.
Build Quality – Layout
Build quality is excellent and not only for the price. We get a full aluminum and robust body and a cool looking antenna at the back. Although the new ultra-wide screen holds its own in terms of aesthetics, the overall design is similar to the previous Note 4 model, especially when the rear side is concerned.
Compared to ultra-wide flagship device, like the Oneplus 5T/6, the main differences have to do with thickness (that at least leads to a bigger battery) and smaller bezels and chin at the bottom. We still get an impressive 77% screen to body ratio. The grip could be better, since the phone feels, and is, very slippery. A case is highly recommended.
The layout is good with no weird decisions needed to be made.
At the back you will find the main camera (12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25 µm) with the two tone flash and phase detect auto focus system. The fingerprint reader in is the middle right below, and is easy to reach, even if you have relatively small fingers.
At the top you will find the headphones jack, the IR Blaster with the noise cancelling microphone while at the bottom you will see the micro-USB data/charging port, the talking microphone, and the speaker.
On the left side the Hybrid Dual SIM slot is the only thing you can find, while on the right side the volume rocker and the power on/off button are all there is to see.
On the front, the new, large 5.99” IPS display occupies the bigger part and at the top you will find the 5MP selfie camera (alongside all of smartphone’s hidden sensors) while the bottom chin is now free of capacitive buttons.
Software – Performance
Although we are already in the Oreo (Android 8.0) era, the Redmi 5 Plus is still based in Nougat (7.1.2) version. It still gets security updates and bug fixes, while the Oreo update should be just around the corner.
Xiaomi again uses its own MIUI launcher. It is actually a modified custom ROM with many tweaks and features integrated. There is no application drawer, so each app will take space from one of your launchers main pages. This is similar to the way IOS works but this makes things more crowded, especially if you are used to have many widgets. Dual apps and dual spaces are two features that allow you to install an application twice and have two different main screen layouts respectively. Amazing features that may come in handy in cases you use dual SIM setup (for example, install a Viber app twice, one for each SIM phone number).
The lock screen is very functional with the expected notifications, time and shortcuts. Double tap to wake is supported for your convenience. Split screen is also supported and is a joy to use at such a big screen.
Xiaomi has added a new feature with gestures replacing the on screen buttons, just like in Apple’s Iphone X. The implementation is not that good and smooth.
Our unit arrived with MIUI 8 (Android 7.1) and immediately received the monthly security updates and latest MIUI 9 version (Android 7.1.2).
Performance should be no different from the rest of Snapdragon 625 SoC based solutions. Although the SoC is kinda old, it can still hold its own both in terms of perceived performance and battery life (especially the later). There will be some minor lags here and there while browsing the interface, but nothing that you wouldn’t normally expect from a mid-range model.
The internal ROM (we tested the 3GB RAM / 32GB ROM version) is very fast (200Mb read / 125Mb write) and should cause no delays while auto updating applications from Play Store.
The new display is eye-attracting both for its size as for its performance. Brightness levels go beyond 480nits (450 promised) and the contrast ratio easily rivals the best of LCD solutions out there. It is probably as good as it gets for a non-Amoled display. Wide angle viewing is also very good since an IPS panel is used.
LTE (4G) performance is good but not in par with Sony XZ1’s performance that was nearly 3 times better when tested from the same position with the same SIM card and carrier.
GPS performance was solid (especially with the recent updates) and satellite locking was fast.
Speaker and microphone performance is very good and certainly above average. A dual speaker solution would boost the device’s multimedia experience (especially combined with the tall screen)
Fingerprint reader is one of the best around. Extremely accurate and fast. It is the same implementation found on Mi Max 2 and Mi A1. All you get from newer models is slightly faster response/speed. Accuracy is top notch.
(Click the image below to zoom)
Camera – Battery Life
The camera performance is just above average, which normally means that you get good day light photos, and just acceptable low light ones.
Day light photos have very good detail and color rendition with low noise. Dynamic range is good, even without the use of HDR mode. HDR mode will do a good job in shadow detail though.
Low light performance is a totally different case since you will get either a slightly darker image or washed out one. Using manual settings can give you better results but that will most likely make you lose the “moment”, unless of course you are shooting static objects/scenery. The dual LED flash is capable and will save your photos in small areas or close-ups.
The layout of the camera application is practical and all options are just a click or a swipe away. There is a plethora of available modes like panorama, beautify, straighten, timer among others for you to use per your request.
Selfie cam is good, as expected with enough detail and good contrast. Certainly better than the one used in my Samsung S7 Edge (the software algorithm destroys any facial details) but noticeably worse than Sony XZ1 ‘s.
Video recording can get up to 4K@30fps which is really nice for a mid-range smartphone. 1080p@30fps and 720p@120fps are also available. 4K videos look impressive with vivid colors and low noise. 1080p recording is not that good with less detail and the result looks over processed. Still very acceptable, but we recommend to shoot in 4K. 720p@120fps recordings are good and very impressive if you wish to make slow-motion effect videos. A decent time-lapse option is included as well. We should mention that the device is not compatible with the Filmic Pro application.
Battery life is one of Redmi 5 Plus’ stronger points. With normal use, it is very easy for the battery to last for full two days with more than 5 hours of screen time and 2 hours of phone calls. We actually got more than that while we had three active Gmail accounts, Google Now and constant Google Photos and Amazon Prime backups enabled for our photos and videos. We were using dual SIM cards too! If battery life is one of your major concerns, then the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus will not let you down. Quick charging is also supported although it takes just a bit longer than two hours for a full charge.
Once more Xiaomi re-invents the value for money category. The Redmi 5 Plus model is just that and some more. It is very affordable (<165$) and does not feel “cheap” either in build quality or performance. You also get a brand new 18:9 format 5.99 inch display and a whole lot in terms of capabilities/specs (fast ROM, IR blaster for controlling your devices, FM Radio, Good day light photos etc.)
The unstable low-light camera performance is to be expected at this price range and is not a deal breaker by any means.
If you seek an affordable yet more modern (wide screen) smartphone, then the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus should be one of your top picks.
If this review helped you towards making your decision, we would appreciate if you made your order through the following affiliate link(s). This way we will be able to review more products in the future.
- Gearbest link