Redmi Note 5A Prime Comprehensive Hands On: Dream Ultra Budget Phone
After the very successful debut of the Redmi 4A, Xiaomi wasted no time to release another ultra budget friendly device again for the Redmi Series. This time around, its not the 5 Inch display anymore, but its the 5.5 inch Redmi Note series joining the bandwagon. Now, many people really like to take a chance to buy the Xiaomi phone, but honestly not everyone can afford it, thats why the company released this model along with the Redmi 4A for entry level phones to satisfy the market looking for a Xiaomi quality phone at jawdropping prices. Lets just assume that the A in Redmi Note 5A stands for Affordable.
Redmi Note Series has far been know as a mid range phone, with its quality and price, nothing really beats it. The Redmi Note 4X was pretty much a huge success, after the MTK series of the Redmi Note 4, Xiaomi has finally deployed the Snapdragon Edition and was able to launch in India. Redmi Note 4, sporting the Mediatek Chipset was not allowed to enter India, due to some legal battles between the government of India and Mediatek,
Redmi Note 5A Prime Specs Sheet
5.5-inch display @ 720 x 1280 pixels, 401ppi, 72% NTSC Color Gamut
Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 Octa-core CPU, Cortex A53, MSM8940
Adreno 505 GPU
32GB Internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 128GB (dedicated slot)
13MP Rear Camera, f/2.2
16MP f/2.0 front-facing camera, 1080p, with front flash
Dual-SIM (Nano + Nano)
4G LTE, 3G (4G+ not available)
Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE
Wifi Direct, Wifi Display
GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS
Micro USB Port
3080 mAh battery
Android 7.1 Marshmallow w/ MIUI 8
153mm x 76.2mm x 7.7mm
Available in Gold, Rose Gold, Grey
Whats in the Box:
The Redmi Note 5A resembles a little from the Redmi 4A, the curve of the body plus the materials used on the back casing is pretty much alike. Now, there are 2 variant of this phone, one is the basic and the other is prime. The basic has a lower RAM as well as a lower GPU, no finger print scanner and lower storage to mention some. The main difference is the prime sports the Snapdragon 435 compared to the Snapdragon 425 on the basic variant.
The front of the phone sported the 16MP selfie camera (first by Xiaomi) as well as the front flash LED, this is one of the first by Xiaomi and it pretty much is helpful when taking selfie at dark scenes. The 3 Capacitive touch buttons below does not lit up when touched, and another thing, the notification LED is color white.
At the back, there is the 13MP samsung sensor camera as well as the ever useful fingerprint scanner. This phone only deploys single LED flash bulb and sometimes its not enough to lit up some dark places.
The linings looks pretty elegant for a ultra budget phone, Xiaomi sure knows how to impress.
On the right side of the camera, there sits the volume rocker as well as the powerbutton.
The top lies the 3.5mm audio jack, noise cancellation mic as well as the IR Blaster.
On the other side, there sport the sim card slot, which can accomodate 2 nano sims, as well as a SD Card. Now thats a first as well by Xiaomi. Thanks for listening to our troubles of using 2 sim as well as the micro sd cards.
Down there lies the micro usb cable, this unit supports USB OTG.
We were able to fully test the power of this unit to the extent, running games and multitask, in my opinion this unit did a pretty good job in multitasking, as well as playing some basic games, but once we tried NBA 2k17, it was not smooth sailing and this was expected from this unit. Surfing, Chatting, Calls and Navigating all done at the same time and it was quite stable not seeing the unit clamp down due to too many task being done at the same time. It was able to handle mutlitasking with no problems at all.
AnTuTu gave a score of 45,551 points to the Redmi Note 5A Prime, which is a bit far cry from the 62,317 points from the Redmi Note 4X 3GB 32GB Storage variant. But Xiaomi made it clear that the Note 5A is definitely a ultra budget phone, not to be compared to the other lines of the Redmi Note Series.
All Redmi Note 5A Prime ships in MIUI 8 installed, we were a bit disappointed since many have rumored that this unit would be the first to ship with MIUI 9 preinstalled. But like the Mi 5X, it shipped with a MIUI 8.5 instead.
Taking a look at all the toggles available for this phone:
The Redmi Note 5A Prime supports 10 different LTE bands, it's easy to switch to LTE network inside the settings but once your do the second sim will be running on GSM connectivity only. You can freely choose which sim you want to use your LTE data, since this is a Dual LTE, Dual standby smartphone. We have experienced no problem surfing using LTE or 3G in our home country in the Philippines as well as dual standby mode is working seamlessly. Wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac is also smooth and it also supports Wi-Fi Direct. Wireless screen mirroring is also available via the Miracast protocol, tethering data is also working perfectly. Bluetooth 4.2,GPS, and GLONASS are all present. We also have a smooth navigation using Google Maps while cruisin in the city. 4G+ was NOT available on this unit as we were trying our best to achieve that connection but it was of no avail.
Here are the supported bandwidth of the Redmi Note 5A Prime as provided by the official website:
GSM B2 / B3 / B5 / B8
WCDMA B1 / B2 / B5 / B8
TD-SCDMA B34 / B39
CDMA2000 / 1X BC0
LTE B1 / B3 / B5 / B7 / B8
TD-LTE B34 / B38 / B39 / B40 / B41 (2555 -2655MHz)
Audio and Video
Support H.264 / HEVC (Main profile), H.264 (Baseline / Main / High profile), MPEG4 (Simple profile / ASP), VC-1 (Simple / Main / Advanced profile) and other video formats, support PCM, AAC / AAC + / eAAC +, MP3, AMR-NB / WB, FLAC, APE, DSD, WAV and other audio formats
We watched some movies and experience was okay, sounds using Mi Headphone Light was good at the same time the movie rendered was above average. There is no poblem during watching movies or streaming music from Spotify.
The main reason why we keep upgrading to a newer phone is simply the camera, we love taking pictures, who doesn't? Now the debate is that how will the camera in the ultra budget Redmi Note 5A Prime fare? Will it surpass expectations? Will it fall below expectations? This phone sports the Samusung Camera Lens both front and back and for the first time, Xiaomi was able to incorporate a 16MP selfie camera as well as first time to incorporate a front LED flash. This probably would be the perfect phone for people who loves themselves, and those who contantly does nothing but take good selfies of themselves. Behold the sample shots from the Redmi Note 5A Prime:
Camera was able to grab some decent shots on good lightings, but on dark places, it is underperforming. But on the up side, we love the clear shots from the 16MP front camera.
The manual mode lacks a lot of function that you can normally see in a Redmi Note series phone.
We were able to achieve a good battery rating for this unit since its a Snapdragon (Qualcomm is known for their battery efficiency), on a normal day with normal task being done, the phone can last almost a day without hitting the charging dock. PC Mark Battery Stress Test result gave it a 10 hour and 58 minutes SOT, pretty not bad for a 3080mAh battery. The only downside is that it does not support Quick Charge 3.0 and still sports the old micro USB charging slot.
More Benchmarks Just for You:
It comes down to this, is this a worthy ultra budget phone? My answer is simply a yes, it was a good phone for people on the ultra budget category, now you can try a Xiaomi phone with a specs this good at 899 RMB, or even lower when you opt to get the basic edition at 699 RMB. If you are not really so much on the camera and the smaller battery size, this is already a perfect phone, the size of note series phone at the pricetag of a 5 inch phone. But if you are aiming for something of a higher specs, I suggest you go for the Redmi Note 4X. I will give this phone a overall rating of 7.5/10 based on price, specs and performance.
Redmi Note 5A Prime
Disclaimer: Please don't send me any PM regarding any type of Sales related inquiries. I'm a Xiaomi enthusiast but not a seller of Mi Products. I'm just a hardcore Xiaomi Fan, one notch higher than many of you here. Also I'm a Tech Blogger in the Philippines and all my review devices are either bought by myself from Xiaomi or borrowed from someone for a short period of time.