Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Quick Review, specs and features

I have been using the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 for a week now. I already did the unboxing article for you which you can check here just in case you missed it. As I mentioned the device is currently available on Jumia for Ksh. for KSh 22,999. So you can grab one if you’re looking to upgrade to a new device. 

So a week after interacting with the device, what do I like so far? Would I really recommend it to anyone? Well, first, I love Xiaomi devices and its actually one of my favorite smartphone brands. Remember when they first showed interest in the Kenyan market? We covered the news for you and even managed to get a review unit which was the Redmi Note 2. It was actually the first smartphone from the company we ever reviewed which you can also read here.

This time around we managed to get our hands on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 from Jumia Kenya. What do we like about the device so far and what don’t we like? Below are some quick thoughts but first here are the specs:

  • 5.99-inch Full HD+ IPS display
  • 64GB expandable storage, via microSD (up to 128GB)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 octa-core processor
  • 3GB  RAM
  • 12-megapixel f/1.9 and 5-megapixel f/2.0 rear cameras with LED Flash
  • 13-megapixel front camera with LED Flash,
  • Dual-SIM
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS, Fingerprint scanner
  • Android Nougat with MIUI 9. 5
  • 4000mAh battery 

Having read and watched some videos of devices in the Redmi series, I need to mention that the Redmi Note 5 is actually the first smartphone in this series to sport a tall 18.9 display. This is actually one of the things that grabbed my attention while unboxing the phone immediately I picked it from our friends at Jumia. The display is 5.99-inch and occupies most of the front part with rounded corners. The resolution is full-HD+ and has a 2.5G Gorilla glass 3 for protection.

Having a tall display format means you get some thin borders on the sides which I really like. The borders are however slightly bigger at the top and the bottom. The 18.9 screen aspect ratio makes the phone quite narrow and tall and this really worked for me.

The Redmi Note 5 has a metal body but the caps at the top and bottom are all plastic. This gives the device a premium look. With curved sides, the phone is really easy to hold on one hand. The power and volume buttons on the right are conveniently placed but you might have to stretch a little to reach the volume buttons.  

All other details about the design features are available in our unboxing article. Overall, I will give Xiaomi a plus here, the design is simple, just a few upgrades from the Redmi Note 4. I hower need to mention that the Redmi Note 5 is available in four colors; Gold, Black, Rose Gold and Blue. The review unit we have is Gold.

In terms of specs, software and performance, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is powered by a  Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor which has eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and an Adreno 506 GPU for graphics. The Redmi Note 5 also comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB although there’s a variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which I am not sure is available locally yet. We had the 3GB RAM and 32GB ROM variant.  I did not face any lags, and I hope it’s something I will never experience while I continue interacting with the device. Basic apps load quickly, same as bigger apps.

For the software, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 runs on Android Nougat with MIUI 9. 5 on the top. Nothing new or any major update here but MIUI supports Dual Apps and you also get gestures which should quickly help you take screenshots as well as launch apps. The device also comes with a number of preinstalled apps including Google and Microsoft ones and Xiaomi’s own Mi Community, Mi Store, Mi Remote, Mi File manager and Mi Video. Amazon, Hungama and WPS office apps also come preinstalled.

When it comes to the camera, the Redmi Note 5 sports a dual rear camera set-up. You have a 12-megapixel f/1.9 and 5-megapixel f/2.0 with LED flash. The shots produced are not bad, they’re clear and less noisy. The camera is set to auto mode by default but you have other options to choose from like Manual, Beauty, and Panorama modes as well as different scene modes.  Check some of the shots I took with the camera below. More photos are available on our Instagram page. In low-light, the camera also automatically switches to night mode. Overall, the Redmi Note 5 captures details fairly well.

The selfie camera, on the other hand, is 13-megapixels with LED flash which is also handy in low-light. Features include depth effect, beauty among others. The selfies are a bit grainy but you can use them for your social media. We will have a separate article on the Redmi Note 5 camera in the coming week, so subscribe to our blog to ensure you don’t miss out on anything.

Now to the most important thing I usually look out for, the battery. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 features a 4000mAh non-removable battery. Remember from our unboxing we told you Xiaomi also ships a standard 5V, 2A charger with the device. The Redmi Note 5 also supports Qualcomm Quick charge. A full charge took me an entire day with light use and the phone also handles standby really well.

The device is available for KSh 22,999 on Jumia and actually started selling last week. One thing you will agree with me especially of you’re a Xiaomi fan is that the company has really been innovative when it comes to smartphones.  The company is doing really well in markets like China and even India where it sold five million units in the four months. Hopefully, the same will be replicated in Kenya as the company tries to position itself as in this market.

We will try getting someone from their local office to come to our next episode of 24Bit to come explain to us what strategies they are employing to win over the market. We will also keep doing a series of other short video reviews on some the key features of the Redmi Note 5 in the coming weeks.

Have anything to add to this quick review? Drop us a comment in the comments section below.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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