Xiaomi budget smartphones of the Redmi series have long earned the attention of the Russian buyer. Cheap, but high-quality smartphones in a metal case and a very successful filling, model after model, are actively sold out both in China and in Russia.

To conquer a new segment, Xiaomi divided the lineup into 2 branches: frameless Redmi 5 and classic Redmi (Note) 5a. But, despite the frank budget, Redmi 5a contains everything that we love Xiaomi for: good stuffing, fast system, stylish appearance and an extremely low price. It seems to be the best budget smartphone of 2017.

The motto of Xiaomi Redmi 5a: created for everyone to have their own “xiaomi”. Worth buying in reserve – it’s good enough even for Apple fans.

Warm plastic is better than metal

Former state employees of the company received “full stuffing”: fashionable design, a full set of modern interfaces and powerful stuffing. In Redmi 5a, engineers sacrificed everything in order to reduce the price.

The main differences from the 4th line of Redmi (we published a review of Redmi 4 Prime) were the rejection of the fingerprint scanner, the appearance of a separate slot for memory cards and … Plastic case!

As an active user of Xiaomi, who had all the company’s devices, I will express an opinion that is unexpected for many readers: the plastic case is in favor of Redmi 5a. This is a long-awaited and very correct step. The paint will peel off of course – but much later than from metal.

The new device looks no worse than the usual Redmi 4/4X. Still, the shape of the case is borrowed with minor modifications from the flagship Mi 5. The rounded (note – one-piece and non-removable) back cover provides an excellent grip, which is improved by a special groove along the contour. It is a pity that the keys are on-screen, and are not highlighted. But they can be reassigned – already not bad.

Another rather controversial advantage is the screen recessed into the case. The rejection of the fashionable rounded screen adds strength. The side around protects against impacts much better than any, even the highest quality, protective glass.

Usually state employees of the lower price segment receive a screen in 2 layers – a separate screen, a separate plastic protective panel. But Xiaomi Redmi 5a has a normal IPS screen, made without an air gap (OGS). Between the finger and the screen is high-quality glass a la Gorilla Glass.

The screen, by the way, is very good. There are few drawbacks: a black frame around, sides and not the highest brightness. Uniform illumination, excellent color reproduction and a wide viewing angle do not let you remember the low price. Such screens are the lot of the middle segment, not ultra-budget devices.

Is that the resolution is also small. But for 5 inches HD is enough. This is 296 pixels per inch – familiar and enough for fans of Apple products.

Outside, the low price of Xiaomi Redmi 5a does not betray itself. Yes, and inside the smartphone pulls to a higher category

What is the required minimum according to Xiaomi?

Xiaomi Redmi 5a turned out to be a balanced and quite productive smartphone. No, seriously – for 5 thousand you can find something similar only at B-brands like Doogee or Leagoo. And not the best model.

But Redmi 5a, in contrast to all competitors, has an excellent Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 platform. Proven, sufficient for standard tasks – the Adreno 308 video accelerator and 2 GB of memory are enough for almost everything.

In the comprehensive Antutu synthetic test, the smartphone scores a little over 30,000 points. Following the latest iPhone is a ridiculous figure. Is it really?

Redmi 5a handles all games, except, perhaps, Asphalt. Yes, and it works well at low graphics (most likely, the 2 GB of RAM of the tested sample affects).

The smartphone turns office and multimedia tasks with a bang. Yes, and a complete set of modern messengers in memory does not interfere with surfing. With 2 GB on the MIUI 9 proprietary operating system, it’s really possible to live! The operating system is perfectly optimized, balanced and works as fast as on the company’s expensive smartphones.

The lack of permanent memory is felt immediately. Today, 16 GB is only enough for a basic set of programs. But Xiaomi guessed here too. You need a working smartphone – that’s enough. Need more, for photos and content – use the microSD slot. 128 GB cards are supported – checkmate!

Xiaomi Redmi 5a has a separate microSD slot and 2 SIM card slots. SEPARATE SLOT, CARL!

If 2 and 16 GB are not enough, you can buy a 3/32 GB version for 1000 more. It will definitely be enough for everything – even despite the mediocre processor (which is still better than most MediaTek).

This Smartphone Can Do It All

Oddly enough, the filling of Redmi 5a turned out to be balanced for multimedia. For example, cameras perform much better than you might expect. At night, the smartphone categorically does not know how to take pictures, and in good light or with a flash, quite decent pictures come out.

A good matrix plus a wide aperture of 2.2 gives the result. In extreme cases, you can use HDR, it always helps out with Chinese smartphones. Honestly? The Redmi 5a shoots better than any $100 smartphone I’ve ever tested.

The sound is no worse. Let me remind you that a high-quality DAC is integrated into all Snapdragon processors. The 3.5 connector is in the usual place, there will be no problems. For lovers of wireless audio, Bluetooth 4.1 LE is suitable – it works quickly and efficiently.

The company’s engineers have not abandoned the infrared port, which is classic for all xiaomi. And what – it is convenient to control equipment from a smartphone. You get used to it in half a day, and you can no longer imagine how it is to use a dozen separate manipulators.

The most unexpected test result is the autonomy of Xiaomi Redmi 5a. Its non-removable 3000 mAh battery (today’s funny numbers) shows phenomenal capabilities in the budget segment.

At maximum brightness in flight mode, the video file from the built-in memory is played for 7 hours. The 3D game mode consumes the battery in 4.5 hours. In mixed mode, Redmi 5a can easily survive two days with 5-6 hours of active screen. And if you bother to set up the system – then all 8-10!

To replace grandma’s phones

Speaking of Xiaomi, one cannot but say about the operating system and ease of use. The fact that Redmi 5a is running the new MIUI 9 based on Android 7.1.1 makes me say a big human thank you.

For a budget smartphone, this fast and convenient OS becomes a true salvation. Firstly, it is easy to customize each element of the interface. Fonts, sizes and number of icons, labels in the curtain, duration of taps. All these are elements of the standard menu, and not a luxury for developers.

Why, the smartphone arrives with a clean system, in which, in addition to several applications for accessing the Mi service (including the chat and technical support forum), there are only standard Google applications.

And the interface is familiar to each of our readers. The developers of MIUI 9 continue to copy iOS, and do it better than others in the Android family. With some nice additions:

  • Finally, the two-window mode has started working (very convenient, especially when working with text, browser or notes);
  • there is a simplified mode with huge shortcuts for quick functions (for children and the older generation);
  • excellent energy-saving mode;
  • deep tuning of power consumption of each application.

I can safely advise – do you want to buy a smartphone for a person over 50 or a child? Buy Redmi 5a.

When the price justifies everything

Now the junior modification of Xiaomi Redmi 5a with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory costs only 5800 rubles (a little less than $ 100). The older one will appear a little later, and will cost more exactly by the cost of a memory card, so you can overpay only if you need an operational one.

For this money, the buyer gets a really good, balanced smartphone. Redmi 5a is much better than many unnamed Chinese: weekly operating system updates with normal translation, support for all frequencies of Russian telecom operators, a bunch of proprietary features and stable Google services.

In terms of tactile sensations, the smartphone was no less successful: they are great. The plastic is warm, the screen is smooth, the dimensions are correct. This smartphone will suit any buyer and will fit in any palm.

It seems that Xiaomi has once again released the best budget smartphone. Now she has 2 of them – Redmi 4X is more expensive, and Redmi 5a is cheaper.

Xiaomi Redmi 5a is a great workhorse for every day, which is not ashamed to take pictures, with which it is convenient to make calls and you can surf normally. For such 100 dollars it is absolutely not a pity.

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