The Chinese giant’s first 18: 9 smartphone, the Redmi 5 Plus marketed internationally under the name Redmi Note 5 is a mid-range product that has nothing to be astonished by the competition. Quite successful, without being surprising, the terminal takes features of previous models while stretching length to integrate a beautiful screen surface. What is the big format according to Xiaomi? Far from being a lightning war, you will see in the lines that follow that the Redmi Note 5 has under the hood.
Unless major changes, all the devices of a manufacturer are similar from near and far. Some differences here and there make it possible to discern them. With this Redmi Note 5, it must be said, Xiaomi did not shake things up or blow up the budget in R & D. This design is déjà-vu: but hey, after all, it’s the job, no need to quibble about it.
Despite their designation first prize, the Redmi have never been set back from the main range, even aesthetically. Pleasant as possible and always well foded, always with a certain level of requirement. It must be said that they combine what you look for in a smartphone, without questionable functionality that would cost you an arm (or a kidney).
Photo sensor, fingerprint recognition device, microUSB port, jack, infrared transmitter (remote control, a classic at Xiaomi), SIM / microSD drawer, speakers … everything is there, even a little more: the Redmi Note 5 is pay the luxury of an integrated front flash! We will come back in more detail on this addition in the dedicated part of the test. The back side and the slices of the device have raised bands of the most beautiful effect.
We find – more by importance of symmetrical beauty than true utility – two grids on the lower edge of the device, placed on both sides of the port for data / power transfers. Of course, only the one on the right contains a speaker. During the listening, a lack of punch is felt, especially that it is necessary to push the cursor with more than half of race to obtain a sufficient volume. The fact remains that the sound is rather suitable overall, for the bass and atmosphere it will rely on the connection to an external device.
This is the interest, the attraction of this new model. The format 18: 9, launched last year and taken by many manufacturers, has finally arrived at Xiaomi. Here we are entitled to an IPS screen with a beautiful diagonal of 5.99 inches in definition FHD +, and a density exceeding 400 dpi.
The large format brings a real comfort level advantage. In order to take full advantage of this experience, it is possible to hide the navigation bar. No colorimetric drift should be emphasized, the display reproduces faithfully enough.
Outdoors, no difficulty reading the screen, nor necessarily need to enhance the brightness to see more clearly. Nevertheless, it is necessary to think of deactivating the automatic adjustment, whose calibration would have to be reviewed in view of the fluctuating values. The screen is clearly visible from all sides. Its borders are certainly existing (Redmi is not Mi Mix), but refined as possible.
The Redmi Note 5 runs MIUI 9, the home version, in an updated version (so to speak, since the base is still based on Android Nougat 7.1.2). Our unit is one of the first batches delivered under Chinese ROM, but it did not take too long for the overall adaptation to be made available, and we did not pray for the flash, which included language packs and everything you need to make it easy to use from here (Google services and preinstalled apps). Note that international resellers and distributors usually take care of doing this for you.
Over the updates, MIUI has increased considerably, but the shot was rectified with this v9. Thanks to numerous software optimizations, we feel the system interface finally stable, organized, transformed. Xiaomi really did the housework so that its interface became a model of fluidity, without sacrificing multiple possibilities of advanced customization. We regret the lack of specific settings in the basic video player to fully exploit the 18: 9 format: to remove these black bands, the user has only one option available, stretch the content displayed. Instead of distorting it, an option to adapt it to the screen (crop) would have been welcome, YouTube and VLC offer it.
The back of the camera exhibits a single photo sensor, protruding, in alignment with the flash and the fingerprint recognition device. It has a 12 megapixel resolution and opens at f / 2.2, which is suitable for most situations. The clichés that we can draw from it seem more or less correct but are nothing amazing. In addition, note the usual flaws of the Xiaomi cameras, which are: blotchy textures, random sharpness, and a drop in performance when the ambient light moves away from ideal conditions.
The HDR mode always pushes the tones in extremes so as to surf the reality, with daylight hyper saturated skies or cramés, and the whole anthill of usual flaws: banding, halos and chromatic aberration are always the watchwords. In addition, capture and recording latency usually causes camera shake. Afterwards, users with a less experienced eye, or who simply have lower requirements, will be relatively satisfied with the result.
If you turn the camera by turning it on its front, you can not say it at first, but the upper part has a singularity. Xiaomi has incorporated a flash at the sides of the front camera, or rather a torch, since it remains lit in on mode and intermittently in automatic, which can be particularly dazzling … We would have preferred a classic operation where it s illuminate at the right moments, between focus and firing, as well as a variable intensity, because the LED is a bit aggressive to the eyes, whether in the dark or in daylight to clear the shadows.
Admittedly, it allows to correctly expose the faces, but at what price? With such equipment, for the most sensitive, selfies can quickly take the turn of a torture exercise where the subject (s) is immortalized (s) eyes narrowed or even looking away as the intensity spades the retina. Xiaomi could have added a mitigation option that is fine, allowing her users to pout without ending up blind. Or, to reserve exclusively for the use of a telescopic pole to keep at bay.
With a high capacity battery of 4000 mAh, the Redmi Note 5 will not do the blow of the fault in the middle of the day. With it, it is easy to keep 24 hours away from a charger, even in strong demand. In the case of a more moderate use, especially thanks to the various optimizations of MIUI 9 (that said a bit too powerful on the processes in the background), one can imagine to do without power source for longer, which can be practical for nomads or those who do not like having to walk with all the paraphernalia.
A power save mode is present, but has few settings (impossible to set a specific percentage, trigger at 60% if enabled). On some terminals, it is possible to program a total extinction, which is still not the case with MIUI.
For fans of games, you can see a 25% drop in 2.5 hours of use with various intensive tasks, the data connection allowed and the brightness set to its maximum level. On the other hand , it only takes one hour to gain 50% and count a little over two hours for a full charge, which is reasonable, especially since with a standard Quick Charge compatible charger it is possible to reduce this time.
The unit that was provided to us is a Chinese version amputated of certain frequencies used in France. In the metropolis, the camera captures the 4G very well, but outside, not easy to find compatible antennas. Note that the global version is indeed equipped with the necessary bands (only the B28, 700 MHz, missing the call). Regarding the use of GPS, the hook is fast and stable, nothing to report on the trips made. In communication, the voice is clear.