Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro 2019 Review – Time To Upgrade?

There is no denying the fact that Xiaomi makes some of the best value for money smartphones in the market. Like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro took the market by storm and it had reasons for it too.

It was the first phone to come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 which crossed the 100k mark in the Antutu Benchmark which was a first in the segment. LPDDR4X ram was used which at that time was not even used by flagship phones. A segment-leading camera and an 18:9 display made it the best phone in its price segment.

But this was all in 2018, in 2019 things are a bit complex. Surely it is safe to say the phone is outdated but Xiaomi sold more than 5 Million Units of this phone(to put that into perspective the Redmi Note 7 series sold 2 Million Units so far). So by the looks of it either a lot of people did not upgrade so far or they chose another phone to upgrade.

After a year the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro stacks up really good which begs the question should you upgrade or not and save money? I will list below some aspects of the phone that can help you in making this decision.

Performance 

If you are a gamer and your sole purpose is to game and you are still using this phone read no further just upgrade. In 2019 the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro performs really poor when gaming is in the picture.

PUBG Mobile can run on Balanced Graphics and Medium FPS, that is the max the game allows for this phone and in a competitive game like that it will pull you down. I stopped playing PUBG Mobile on my Note 5 Pro a while before due to the lag I faced during fire fights and all.

But if your definition of performance is not gaming but day to day activities then there is no reason to upgrade. This phone can run any app that you might use in a day to day basis and the ram management is pretty decent that it can hold most of your things in memory.

The Snapdragon 636 might be old but it can handle itself for gaming too but the newer more demanding games might have issues as the GPU Adreno 509 is pretty lacking the power.

Battery Life

Back in the day 14nm FinFET and a 4000 mAh battery mean a pretty solid battery life. In 2019 it still holds true. The phone lasts around 8 hours on a single charge on light usage, 6 hours on moderate usage and 4 hours and less if you play PUBG Mobile and do heavy multitasking all day.

These figures may vary depending upon how you use your phone and how you used to charge your phone. I usually charge my phone when it reaches 20% and charges it till it reaches about 80%. There were only a few times in which I charged my phone till 100% that too only to check the battery life.

The battery life you get might change depending on how you used to charge your phone and what apps you use. But overall for a one-year-old phone, the battery life is still solid.

Using stock charger it takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes (approx) to charge the phone and with a Quick Charge 3.0 compatible charger it takes around 2 hours and 10 minutes (approx) to charge the phone. Overall in the battery department, the phone has aged as newer phones charge faster, has processors which use less power and more efficient software.

Cameras

The main reason this phone sold this much is because of the segment-leading cameras. It had a 12 megapixel (f/2.2, 1.25 micron, Sony IMX486) as the main camera and 5 megapixel (f/2.0, 1.12 micron) for the depth effect on the rear. On the front, it has a 20 Megapixel (f/2.2, 1.0 micron) unit.

In 2019 the cameras are really bad and I mean it. The rear cameras are usable but I would not recommend you to use it at low light and the portrait mode is just garbage.

The front camera even after being a 20 Megapixel sensor blurs out and do lose a lot of details on the face. The HDR capabilities are okay but for 2019 it is bad. If you are not a camera guy then there is no need to upgrade because the camera though is bad are usable.

note 5 pro gcam samples
Note 5 pro GCAM samples

But there is a way to make the camera really good and that is GCAM(Google Camera). You don’t have to root or anything, just that you need the phone to be unlocked to enable Camera2API. The GCAM performance is remarkable(as you can see in the given example shots) and the photos taken can go neck to neck with the photos taken on the Realme 3 Pro which is a pretty good camera phone.

Video capabilities on stock camera can go up to 1080p 60 FPS and footage is pretty bad. But using GCAM also makes a big change to the video quality and stability. The 1080p 60 FPS video shot using GCAM is pretty impressive too. So if you are thinking to upgrade because of the camera quality try to install GCAM and test it out.

Some Basic Stuff

There are a lot of other reasons which are not major but can be a dealbreaker for some like its software. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is now running MIUI 10 on top of Android Pie and there is no hope of this phone getting the new Android Q when it is out.

The build is outdated with metal to the back and the display size is average compared to what phones are rocking now. The aspect ratio is 18:9 so there is no notch which may or may not be a bummer for you.

The Face Unlock which was added recently is pretty good but after the latest update it usually never works properly. Fingerprint scanner did get slower than before, it is still quick but not that responsive as before.

Conclusion

These are the main reasons why you should or should not upgrade the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro. This phone still has some punch to it. It can still be used in 2019 if you are okay with the above-mentioned things.

But if you think the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro lacks in one of the fields mentioned above then you should think about an upgrade(Redmi Note 7S is a worthy upgrade. But if you are okay with the phone and if you can enable Camera2API( to install GCAM) then this phone might be all you need until you save your money for a worthy upgrade.     

Kiran Gopal

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