Xiaomi will begin its onslaught of smartphones in 2018 from the 14th of February. The Chinese upstart has sent out media invites for an event on Valentine's Day dropping major hints at a Redmi phone with the number '5' as the keyword. It now more than a year that the Redmi Note 4, which has been Xiaomi's best-selling smartphone in India in 2017 and the moment is ripe for the successor of the budget king to arrive.
Now, there were rumours that Xiaomi could discontinue the Redmi Note lineup of phones last year, but a post on the Mi Community back in January claimed the Redmi Note 5 was being tested internally and Xiaomi could be looking for a launch in the second quarter of 2018. Now that the invite is here, we’re fairly certain it is indeed going to be the Redmi Note 5.
However, the mid-range smartphone landscape has changed a lot since the time the Redmi Note 4 came into the market. Same time last year, the Redmi Note 4 was the undisputed king of budget phones. With a mid-range Snapdragon chipset and a well-optimised interface, the Redmi Note 4 sold like hot cakes. The phone was followed by the Moto G5 Plus, Xiaomi own Mi A1 and more recently the Honor 7X and the Honor 9 Lite, among a lot of other contenders.
As a result, the Redmi Note 5, when it will launch eventually, might not be quite groundbreaking like its predecessor. There is no Redmi Note 5 in China, yet. Xiaomi’s previous record state it is likely going to draw inspiration from an offering launched in China recently. The Mi A1 was a re-imagination of the Mi 5X while the Redmi Note 4 was the Redmi 4X in China. Going by the same argument, it’s safe to assume the Redmi Note 5 will also be based on a recently launched phone by the company in China. Which brings us to ponder. Is it going to be the Redmi 5, or the Redmi 5 Plus?
Xiaomi launched the Redmi 5 and the Redmi 5 Plus in December 2017 in China. The company even upgraded the Redmi 5 with 4GB of RAM in China just last week. We are speculating this is going to be the Redmi Note 5 in India. In fact, we believe there are going to be two variants of the Redmi Note 5 with the higher variant sporting a dual camera stack like the Redmi 5 Plus.
Based on that speculation, we are listing the probable specs and features to expect in the upcoming Redmi Note 5.
Xiaomi is one of the few remaining companies which doesn’t have the taller 18:9 display in a mid-range phone. It’s close competitor Honor has flooded the market with taller, brighter displays and the Honor 7X and the Honor 9 Lite are one of the most popular phones in the market right now. Knowing Xiaomi and its tendency to undercut its rivals, the Redmi Note 5 could also sport the taller, thinner panels with 18:9 aspect ratio with full HD+ resolution. Both the Redmi 5 and the Redmi 5 Plus sport the newer univisium display, of 5.7-inch and 5.99-inch respectively.
The Redmi Note 5 is also expected to sport minimal bezels around the edges and could have a similar aluminium unibody design like the Redmi Note 4.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 set the trend of using the energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset in mid-range phones. That was a welcome upgrade over the previous Snapdragon 650 in the earlier Redmi Note 3. The Snapdragon 625 ensured the battery life extended well over a day without compromising on the performance. Xiaomi could very well do it again by powering the Redmi Note 5 with a newer mid-range Snapdragon chipset, likely the Snapdragon 660.
However, if you look at the specs of the Redmi 5 and the Redmi 5 Plus, they are powered by the Snapdragon 450 and the same Snapdragon 625 respectively. The SD450 is an entry-level chipset but quite powerful among its peers, and the SD625 needs no introduction. If this is indeed the case in the Redmi Note 5, it could very well be a little underwhelming, but not entirely unlikely.
Considering how most mid-range phones these days ship with at least 4GB of RAM, the Redmi Note 5 could also sport the same. At a minimum. We wouldn’t be surprised if we see a 6GB variant of the phone.
Dual cameras, which are now a common sight in mid-range and even entry-level phones could very well adorn the back of the Redmi Note 5. However, neither the Redmi 5, nor the Redmi 5 Plus sport dual cameras at the back, which we are hoping will not be repeated in India. The market has evolved a lot since the Redmi Note 4, and phones like the Honor 9 Lite offer not two, but four cameras for the price of Rs 10,000. With Xiaomi having some catching up to do, it better not disappoint its fans with a single camera at the back. Only time will tell.
This is a given. Xiaomi announced the MIUI 9 with the Mi Mix 2 and phones as old as the Redmi Note 3 has been updated to the latest MIUI version. So it’s all but confirmed that the Redmi Note 5 will be powered by the latest version of Xiaomi’s interface. Despite updating the MIUI version in some phones, Xiaomi refrained from giving the latest Android version in the phones. MIUI 9 doesn’t mean the phone will have Android 8.0 Oreo, although, if Xiaomi wants to snatch back the crown, it should ship the phone with Android Oreo out of the box.
The Redmi Note 4, when it launched, was priced at Rs 9,999 while the higher variant went all the way up to Rs 12,999. There was even a middle variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage at Rs 10,999. Knowing Xiaomi’s ability to undercut the competition, we wouldn’t be surprised if Xiaomi launches the Redmi Note 5 for as low as Rs 8,999 going all the way up to Rs 10,999. We are only guessing here. It’s likely that the prices will remain unchanged, but we sure hope they go down.