We tested the Redmi Note 5, one of the smartphones officially marketed by Xiaomi in France. And the Chinese manufacturer chose to distribute this model rather than another, because the device is a success on (almost) the whole line.
- the power
- the photo sensor in low light
- the price
We don’t like
- the bulky side of the device
- shutter speed
With its Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi succeeds in its bet: to offer an ultra complete smartphone as powerful as a mid-range phone at a decent price. Despite a few minor flaws and the feeling of having a slightly too massive smartphone in your hands, the device is a golden bargain. The best phone of the moment for less than 200 euros, it’s probably him.
Second device officially distributed in France by Xiaomi (after the Mi Mix 2S that we recently tested), the Redmi Note 5 is a smartphone 5,99″ equipped with a relatively powerful processor and a dual photo sensor at the back. On paper, the device really has everything to seduce: a large screen, a definition worthy of a mid-range, a Snapdragon 636 as CPU, a dual sensor 12 + 5 Mpx at the back and another one in 13 Mpx at the front… And all this for less than 200 euros! So what’s this new smartphone worth in the face of entry-level competition, and more importantly, can it come to titillate the mid-range device market? We have tested it from every angle and we have summarized our findings in five points.
>> Which are the best smartphones for less than €200?
Remember that like the Mi Mix 2S, the Redmi Note 5 is a 5.99″ smartphone. The era of smartphones under 5″ seems to be definitely over, no matter if you’re interested in entry-level, mid-range or high-end. With an 18:9 display, the camera provides a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. A good point, since this resolution is usually reserved for much more expensive smartphones.
However, unlike the Mi Mix 2S, the front sensor dedicated to the photo is placed at the top of the screen. And here there are no notches, as on the latest generation devices such as the Honor 10, OnePlus 6 or Huawei’s P20. The “screen area/total area” ratio is therefore logically smaller: 77.4% for the Redmi Note 5, compared to 81.9% for the Mi Mix 2S.
Because of its large size, the camera is a little less graceful than a Mi Mix 2S (which is not at the same price, let’s not forget). If its design is good enough, it gives the impression of a rather corpulent device. Without being impossible to handle, even with one hand, the Redmi Note 5 proves to be imposing, all the more so as, to avoid shocks, Xiaomi has reinforced its device at the corners.
The device stands out from the competition with its Snapdragon 636 at 1.8 GHz, a processor model typically found on smartphones priced over 300 euros. At less than 200 euros, one would think that the Redmi Note 5 is necessarily a good deal, would only be for its over-powerful CPU… And we’re right: the different benchmarks we’ve done on the device show that it really holds its own. With a score of 4819 in multi-core mode under Geekbench and another of 940 under Sling Shot Extreme 3.1, the device holds its own against many of the more expensive mid-range models. As a comparison, it is more powerful than a Huawei P20 Lite, Honor 7X or 7C…
|Geekbench4 Multicore||3DMark Sling Shot Extreme|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 (Snapdragon 636)||4819||940|
|Wiko View2 (Snapdragon 435)||2614||329|
|Honor 7X (Kirin 659)||3349||389|
|Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Exynos 7885)||4353||738|
|Motorola Moto G6 (Snapdragon 450)||3899||438|
In use, Redmi Note 5 is fast, fluid and responsive. Its 1080 x 2160 pixel screen allows you to watch videos in perfect conditions, but also to play games that are rather CPU-intensive. Of course, the device cannot compete with a device equipped with a Snapdragon 835 or 845, which remain the ultimate in fluidity in all circumstances, but in everyday life and within web applications, classic games or video streaming, nothing differentiates it from a 300 or 350 euros model.
As an operating system, Android 8.1 is the one that makes the device throb. As usual, Xiaomi has added an overcoat to her device, namely MIUI in its version 9. Here again, we have not noticed any slowdown due to this overlay, even if it lacks some functionalities (being able to easily change the layout of the navigation bar buttons, for example).
At the back of the camera, there is a double photo sensor of 12 and 5 Mpx and at the front, for the selfies, there is a 13 Mpx sensor. If the rear sensor delivers clear, colorful pictures (a little too much sometimes, but it’s light), the camera also does very well in low-light situations. As shown in the sample photo below, the camera delivers a bright picture, very detailed scenery elements and a blue sky perfectly visible, despite a shot taken at 11:00 pm. In comparison, we took the same picture with a Honor 7C, but we didn’t get as good results. However, beware: the shutter speed of the camera (in this case 1/14 seconds) requires that you do not move during shooting. Otherwise, you probably know the result: the image will be blurred.
4 – Yes for its autonomy
As for autonomy, a 4000 mAh battery is available. Even if it’s not always size that counts, here again, the Redmi Note 5 is a real power monster. In conventional use, we were able to use it for almost 3 days without having to recharge it. Our test is always carried out in the following way: a little video playback, geolocation (one hour of GPS per day), the Web, messaging at regular intervals and of course telephony. In short, the device fits directly into our top 3 of the most autonomous smartphones, all brands and all price ranges combined.
We also submitted to the device a more advanced bench, which consists of streaming a series of videos. Here again, the results are there: the camera holds more than 15h10 without flinching. That’s enough to put it in the big league, side by side with the S9 or OnePlus 6.
5 – Yes because it’s a good price, even if it’s even cheaper elsewhere
Where Xiaomi is strong is on the price of the device! At 199 euros in its 3 GB / 32 GB edition, it’s a great deal. And for 30 euros more, you can enjoy the 4 / 64 GB version. In terms of price/quality ratio, it’s a no-fault: there is currently no known equivalent to this rate.
On the other hand, if you want to earn a few more euros, take a look at the import circuit (on Gearbest’s website, not to name it, and which offers free shipping), the device is only 165 euros. For 200 euros, the price of the version sold in France, you can even get a better edition, with 64 GB of storage for 4 GB of RAM.