Xiaomi’s $215 Redmi Note 5 Pro offers great value in a bezel-less package


Over the past couple of years, Xiaomi has excelled at making budget Android phones, combining solid specs for decent performance, excellent build quality, and coveted features into reasonably priced devices in its Redmi range that are hard for other brands to match up with.

For the first time, it’s launched a ‘Pro’ variant with one of its Redmi handsets. That label gives the Redmi Note 5 Pro an edge over the standard model in the camera department, allowing it to rival the company’s own Android One effort, the Mi A1, rather competently.

For the low price of Rs. 14,000 ($215), you get a large narrow-bezel display, Portrait Mode-style shots with both the front and rear cameras, and good performance for a phone in this segment. Here’s how it stacks up against the stiff competition.

Design

We’ve seen quite a few brands drop the bezels on their mid-range phones over the past year, and Xiaomi’s finally getting in on the act with the Note 5 Pro. Its front fascia houses a 5.99-inch FHD+ display with a fairly narrow border at the top and bottom – but that’s all there is to get excited about in terms of design.

You see, the Note 5 Pro is practically indistinguishable from Vivo’s V7+, a model from September 2017. That’s not to say that Xiaomi is the only brand guilty of making me-too phones, but there are hardly any design elements that make this a memorable device to look at. Even something small, like a unique speaker grille design — like the one seen on the Mi Mix 2 — or a neat grouping for the front camera and sensors, could’ve gone a long way.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro (left) is practically indistinguishable from the Vivo V7 Plus (right) from September 2017