Xiaomi Redmi 5A First Look: A Smartphone Aimed at Millions of Feature Phone Users

Xiaomi doesn’t require anymore introduction now because the Chinese company became the No.1 smartphone brand in just three years since its foray into the Indian market. At the end of November 2017, Xiaomi launched an entry-level smartphone called Xiaomi Redmi 5A, a direct successor to Xiaomi Redmi 4A, which was launched earlier this year. Like last year’s Redmi 4A, the Redmi 5A comes in two variants- a 2GB RAM model with 16GB of internal storage, and a 3GB RAM model with 32GB of internal storage.

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The base variant is priced at Rs 5,999, same as the Redmi 4A and the premium variant costs Rs 6,999, which again is same as that of Redmi 4A. But…there’s a twist. As a token of appreciation to Indian consumers, Xiaomi is giving away 500 crores in the form of Rs 1000 discount on the base variant of Redmi 5A for first 50 lakh units.

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Now, this brings the effective price of the smartphone to Rs 4,999. And at that price, there’s no competition for the device whatsoever. There are some smartphones from brands such as iVoomi, Intex, etc., but none of them is as reputed as Xiaomi. Xiaomi is also calling the Redmi 5A as ‘Desh Ka Smartphone.’

Is the Xiaomi Redmi 5A the best entry-level smartphone? Does it live up to the expectations of the ‘Desh Ka Smartphone’ tag? Read on to know more.

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First things first, the Redmi 5A is an incremental update to the Redmi 4A, which the company managed to sell more than 4 million units in eight months. Everything including the design, hardware, remains the same, but there are some interesting changes though. You can head over to our earlier article to know what are the differences between Redmi 4A and Redmi 5A.

Starting off with the design, the Redmi 5A sports a polycarbonate body, but the gold colour accent at the back gives it a metal look. One thing which I noticed right after picking the smartphone onto by my hand is how lightweight it is. At 137grams, the Redmi 5A is one of the lightest smartphones out there on the market.

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The build quality is exceptional, but yes, you get that plastic feeling at times, then again, you can’t ask more for the price tag. The phone feels solid hands and the buttons (volume rockers and power button) offer excellent tactile feedback. The front of the phone is dominated by a 5-inch HD display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. Viewing angles are fine, and the sunlight legibility is decent too, at least for a Rs 5,000 price tag smartphone.

Hardware wise, the Redmi 5A is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset, coupled with 2GB/3GB of RAM and 16GB/32GB of internal storage. The Redmi 5A comes with a dedicated microSD card slot and not a hybrid slot, meaning you can use two SIM cards and a microSD at the same time. Performance would be alright, but the device will surely struggle considering the entry-level chipset it has under the hood.

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The Redmi 5A ships with MIUI 9 based on Android Nougat out of the box. I have been using the 5A for more than 24 hours now, and the user interface is smooth- no lags or glitters.

Optics wise, Xiaomi has added a 13MP sensor at the back along with an LED flash. Up front, we get a 5MP front-facing shooter. The camera app on the MIUI 9 offers a manual mode for different controls, and it also comes bundled with several scenes- lomo, colour pop, rustic, icy, etc.

It has support for 4G VoLTE, meaning you can use Reliance Jio 4G SIM card. Also, the company has partnered with Jio to offer a cashback offer of Rs 1,000, which brings down the effective price of the Redmi 5A to Rs 3,999. You can read more about the offer here.

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Lastly, the device is backed by a 3000mAh battery, which is a downgrade compared to the 3120mAh battery seen on the Redmi 4A. Why Xiaomi, why? Hopefully, the Redmi 5A offers the same battery life as the Redmi 4A with MIUI 9 built-in.

There are some downsides too- no fingerprint scanner, no gyroscope, but it’s understandable as Xiaomi didn’t include them to reduce the price.

Concluding, the Xiaomi Redmi 5A is not the best smartphone out there, however, for the asking price of just Rs 4,999 for the base variant, it’s a steal. Xiaomi is raising the bar in the Indian market, and the brand might dethrone Samsung in this quarter itself. The Redmi 5A also stands for its tagline of Desh Ka Smartphone. The specifications are on point, price-on point, availability- issue still exists.

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Xiaomi is selling the Redmi 5A in a flash sale model, meaning you have to wait for every Thursday for sale to commence. The device went on for sale already once, of course, it went out of stock in a matter of seconds. The second sale of the device is tomorrow, exclusively on Flipkart and Mi.com. Also, I wish Xiaomi makes the Rs 4,999 price tag for the base variant permanent, instead of first 50 lakh units.

Will you be purchasing the Redmi 5A in tomorrow’ sale? Let us know in the comments section.

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