Xiaomi Redmi 5A Review – Budget Smartphone King

With the recent announcement that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 will be officially on sale here in the Philippines on May 15 for Php 11,990, it can be said that Xiaomi has been very aggressive recently with their release of relatively cheap but with off the charts specifications for its price smartphones. And one of those smartphones is the Xiaomi Redmi 5A that we’re going to dissect today.

The Xiaomi Redmi 5A is currently touted as the “Budget Smartphone King” because of its price to specs ratio. On paper, it’s very hard to disagree with this statement, but does it reflect on real-life performance? Let’s find out!

xiaomi redmi 5a review


Pros: Decent specs for its price, Smooth performance, Decent speakers, Intuitive interface with useful apps out of the box

Cons: Very limiting internal storage, Below average camera


Display:                         5-inch HD (720 x 1280) IPS LCD (296 ppi)
Operating System:      Android 7.1.2 Nougat/MIUI 9
Processor:                     Qualcomm MSM8917 Snapdragon 425
                                        Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53
                                        Adreno 308 GPU
RAM:                              2 GB
Internal Storage:         16 GB
                                        Expandable up to 128 GB with microSD card
Rear Camera:               13 MP with LED flash
                                        f/2.2 aperture
                                        Phase detection autofocus
Front Camera:             5 MP
                                        f/2.0 aperture
Connectivity:                Dual-SIM (nano)
                                        4G LTE
                                        WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
                                        Bluetooth 4.1
Sensors:                        GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
                                        IR Blaster
Battery:                         3000 mAh
 Dimensions:                140.4 x 70.1 x 8.4 mm
Weight:                         137 g
Colors:                           Gold, Rose Gold, Dark Grey

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Xiaomi Redmi 5A Review – Budget Smartphone King

Note: read the full article below for the things that weren’t mentioned in the video. (and there’s a lot actually)


Design and Construction

On my first impressions article, I mentioned that the Xiaomi Redmi 5A is very easy to use one-handed and it remained to be true after a month of it being my daily driver. The design is very nice with its curved edges and corners and the construction, although its made of plastic, is nice to the touch as well. The front panel as I’ve mentioned in the video above is pretty standard for this price range with the top and bottom bezels and capacitive navigation buttons at the bottom.

xiaomi redmi 5a review philippines

Speaking of navigation buttons, unfortunately, it’s not backlit. What’s backlit is the notification LED that’s weirdly placed at the bottom bezels right below the home button.

xiaomi redmi 5a specs

Up top, we have the proximity sensor, earpiece, and the front-facing camera.

At the back, we have the speaker and the 13MP camera with flash.

xiaomi redmi 5a lazada

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Buttons and Ports

Around the phone, at the top, we have the IR Blaster,  a microphone, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

xiaomi redmi 5a specs and price philippines

At the bottom, we have the micro USB port and the primary microphone.

xiaomi redmi 5a price philippines

On the left side, we have the two Nano SIM card slots and a dedicated microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB of storage.

redmi 5a specification

On the right side, we have the volume rocker and the power button. No dedicated camera button on this phone.

xiaomi redmi 5a

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The display on this phone is really amazing for its price. Thanks to the IPS panel, the viewing angle is great and the color reproduction is very good with a decent amount of contrast. The display itself is a 5.0-inch 16:9 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1280x720p that pinch in a 294ppi pixel density.

xiaomi redmi 5a dark grey


The speaker on this phone is above average if you ask me but at some point quite impressive, especially at this price range. The mids and highs are clear but the low-end for the most part is kinda subpar. The good thing is it can get really loud without distortion, one factor that I really appreciate considering I sometimes watch videos without a headphone. 
The speaker grill runs throughout the length of the phone as you can see below but the speaker module itself is located only on one side. If you haven’t already, watch the video above to hear the actual sound quality the speaker on this phone can produce. 
redmi 5a

User Interface (MIUI 9)

The Xiaomi Redmi 5A runs on MIUI 9 on top of Android Nougat 7.1 and as I’ve mentioned on my first impressions, I’m sticking with it instead of installing a 3rd partly launcher like the Nova Launcher which I’ve used in the past. Reason being is that I feel comfortable with the MIUI 9 interface, it’s pretty snappy and responsive and that I’ve gotten used to it after a month of fiddling without any issues. I also appreciate the fact that it does have useful apps such as Mi Remote, Mi Drop, Barcode Scanner and Screen Recorder out of the box.


The Xiaomi Redmi 5A also comes with nifty features out of the box like the security center where you can optimize your phone, clear cache, boost ram, etc. It also supports split screen view wherein you can open two apps at the same time which I think is cool and useful at times. You can also take advantage of the App locker feature wherein you can put pin codes to your notes, finance, email and other apps that require more security and privacy.

xiaomi redmi 5a lazada dark greyxiaomi redmi 5a dark grey lazadaxiaomi redmi 5a dark grey review

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Having a ton of features and pre-installed apps will pose its own drawbacks, one of which, and probably the most underwhelming part of this phone, is the lowly 16GB of storage. Out of the box, you’re only going to get around 8GB or so which is very tight especially if you want to install a couple of games.

Here’s the screenshot of the current situation of my storage space. I only have one game on this phone which is summoners war and I literally had to uninstall it just to try other games for this review. I also have to clear the cache every night just so I don’t receive a prompt about low storage. If you want to fix this you may need to root your phone which will subsequently void your warranty.


In terms of performance, the Xiaomi Redmi 5A packs decent hardware inside with a 1.4 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, alongside the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset paired with an Adreno 308 GPU and with a 2 GB of RAM. For the most part, the phone is very snappy and responsive especially if you only have like a couple of apps opened. However, opening multiple apps at the same time you will sometimes feel the phone trying to catch its breath. Not much though that it becomes super annoying, you just have to deal with it by clearing the RAM every now and then. I’m still impressed by how this phone performs considering its price.

xiaomi redmi 5a reviewxiaomi redmi 5a unboxingxiaomi 5a review


Now, when it comes to gaming, this phone is really capable. It can easily handle games like clash of clans, candy crush, and even mobile legends and summoners war. When it comes to heavier games like rules of survival and PUBG this phone can still handle it in low-mid settings. 
xiaomi 5a unboxing
For rules of survival specifically, it’s playable in balanced settings for the most part but I encountered some frame drops during actual gunfights and when I’m on a vehicle driving on a fast-pace. Playing this game on low settings will dramatically improve the gameplay experience but will, of course, look a little less impressive. 
If you haven’t already, watch the video above for the actual gameplay test to see how this phone handles a game like the rules of survival.
xiaomi 5a unboxing and review

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Battery Life

In terms of juice, it packs a standard 3000mAh battery. I can easily get by a day with a single charge on casual usage and even more with very conservative usage (e.g. turning off wifi, sync, data, no games, etc.). For the month that I’ve been using this, my average on-screen time is around 4 hours which I think is very acceptable.
Charging time as per my testing is around 2.5 Hours from 20% to 100% which is expected for a 5V, 1A wall adaptor.

Call Quality and Connectivity

In terms of call quality, I haven’t got any issues with it but during my testing, I feel like I encountered a couple of WiFi disconnections. Not so much though that It gets in the way of the experience of using the phone. It might also be an isolated issue. 
xiaomi redmi 5a philippinesxiaomi redmi 5a philippines


And lastly, when it comes to the camera, If I can describe it in a few words it would be “subpar but with potential”. What I mean about this is that the camera on the Xiaomi Redmi 5A is capable of producing decent image quality photos providing that there’s an ample amount of light on the subject. Using this in a low light situation and expecting a great image would be a disappointing experience. Low light shots produce soft and noisy images and the flash doesn’t help either as the results are very unflattering.
But, with good lighting, composition, and skills, you can still produce decent photos using this phone. You just need to go around the limitations and open up your imagination and creativity.

Same goes for the video mode and its quality. It’s decent, again with good lighting, and is substantial enough if you just want to capture precious memories in your life. Watch the video above to see the actual footage and video quality this phone can produce.

xiaomi redmi 5a phxiaomi redmi 5a hands onxiaomi redmi 5a ph camera

Camera Test Shots

xiaomi redmi 5a sample pics
xiaomi redmi 5a sample pictures
xiaomi redmi 5a camera shots
Front Camera Selfie

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Indoor/Low light

xiaomi redmi 5a camera sample shots
xiaomi redmi 5a camera sample shots HDR
xiaomi redmi 5a camera sample flash

All Test Shots (Normal/HDR)

xiaomi redmi 5a camera testxiaomi redmi 5a camera testxiaomi redmi 5a cameraxiaomi redmi 5a HDR camera

redmi 5a camera normalredmi 5a camera hdr

xiaomi redmi 5a back camera shotsxiaomi redmi 5a back camera shotsredmi 5a back camera sample shotsredmi 5a back camera sample shots

xiaomi redmi 5a back camera sample shotsxiaomi redmi 5a back camera sample shots

 Front Cam Beautify

xiaomi redmi 5a front cam shots
Pro Default
xiaomi redmi 5a front cam shots
Smart Medium

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Will I recommend this?: Yes!

Everything that I’ve mentioned in my first impressions article seems to be the same, I still think the Xiaomi Redmi 5A is the current “Budget Smartphone King” on the market right now. The price to specifications is just unbelievable. It’s not perfect though, to be able to cut down costs for this phone, there’s a little bit of drawback, the 16GB internal storage is just very limiting and the camera’s quality is below average, to say the least. But I am still very happy with this phone considering how snappy and responsive it is as my daily driver.

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Cases and Tempered Glass

Heat Dissipation Case for Xiaomi Redmi 5A

  • I searched for the highest amount of ratings and good feedback from buyers
  • Price may vary depending on existing promos
  • The views and opinions on this review are solely based on my own personal experience, your results may vary

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