Vatsal Impex Pvt. Ltd, the official distributor of Xiaomi products in Nepal, launched their latest mid-tier smartphone, the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus here a couple of weeks ago. Priced at Rs 22,499 for the 3GB RAM variant and Rs 25,499 for the 4GB RAM variant, the phone has a lot to offer. But is it the ultimate mid-tier smartphone king? Does it live up to the hype? Well, let us find out in this initial impression and hands-on review of the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus.
The Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus arrived at our office almost 2 days ago, and we have been using it ever since. The phone, itself, comes in some pretty good packaging with a red lid and the usual graphics and branding. Popping off the lid, you are first greeted by another box which holds a silicon TPU case. But unlike other included TPU cases, this one is not transparent and has a smoky black accent throughout.
No more getting those cover yellow! Ugh!!
And just sitting below it is what you are all here for- the brand new Redmi 5 Plus. Keeping that aside for a while, we have the usual literature, a sim ejector tool, power brick, and a USB 2.0 cable. Sadly, there are no earphones this time around too.
On Initial Impression, the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus looks and feels amazing with its metallic construction. It also feels substantial in the hands, weighing in at a hefty 181 grams! Besides the weight, the first thing I noticed about the phone is its 5.99-inch Full HD (1080 x2160) IPS display with an 18:9 near bezel-less design. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass (unspecified version) and is edged out by a 2.5D glass. Watching some Youtube videos and firing up a game was a pleasant experience on this phone.
To be honest, initially, I was not that impressed with the display. It slightly lacked the vibrancy and punchiness that I am accustomed to. But, little to my dismay, I immediately solved the problem by heading over to settings > display > contrast and colors and choosing the increased contrast option. This promptly made the panel more vibrant as per my liking.
It is great that Xiaomi decided to include this option!
Under the hood, the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus packs an octa-core Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625 processor backed by 3GB of RAM.This combo, at least on the first boot, was able to handle almost everything that I threw at it. Scrolling through Facebook, uploading some pictures to Instagram, browsing the internet, and watching some Youtube videos was no problem with the phone. Playing my current favorite game, Clash Royale too was a pleasurable experience on this device.
Moving on, at the software front, the Redmi 5 Plus runs MIUI 9 based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. Since it was my first time using MIUI 9, I immediately fell in love with it. Though the changes are subtle, I loved how the new custom skin from Xiaomi has aged. The new icon packs, guide page, split-screen multitasking, and the pristine animations are all nice touches.
In the camera department, the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus flaunts a f/2.2 12MP rear camera accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash. With my limited time using it, I can briefly say that the rear camera is very good. It was able to take some great images with an eye-popping vibrancy and clarity in ample lighting conditions. Dim the lights down and the images, on the contrary, came out to be a bit grainy and soft.
The phone also comes with a f/2.0 5MP front camera for all your social media ready selfies. Just like its rear counterpart, the camera takes some amazing selfies with a layer of beautification added. If you are someone like me who wants to look as natural as possible, there is an option to turn it off or reduce the effect.
Just switch from the default smart option to either pro or off!
And sitting just below the rear camera is a fingerprint scanner embedded into the phone’s back panel. The sensor is easily and quickly able to unlock the phone without any hiccups! Besides this, the sensor can also be used to take pictures from both the rear and front camera. Taking a quick picture couldn’t get any easier! That said, it is still too early to give a verdict on the cameras. Wait till our full review where we will talk in-depth about the cameras and show you some sample images.
And finally, powering the device all up is a 4000mAh non-user removable battery. The battery life of the phone was amazing in my two days of use. I got somewhere around 5-6 hours of on-screen time with the phone. The Redmi 5 Plus, however, lacks any fast charging capabilities making it a pain in the touche! Expect the phone to be plugged in for almost 2-3 hours before you get a 100% charge.
Early Verdict: Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
The Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus is a great mid-tier smartphone that has a lot to offer. I love how Xiaomi is finally adopting the near bezel-less display trend! I also appreciate the new software perks, front flash equipped selfie camera, and the zippy fingerprint scanner. That said, the phone has made some odd choices like including a USB 2.0 port instead of the, now, standard USB Type-C. It also lacks fast charging capability which is a real bummer! Nonetheless, the phone is still a great option for anyone looking to buy a mid-tier smartphone under Rs 25,000 here in Nepal. But is it the ultimate mid-tier smartphone king? Well, we will answer that question and give you our verdict on the phone in our Full In-depth review. Stay tuned for that!
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