Redmi Note 5 Unboxing & First Impression + Experiential Event

Yesterday, Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 5 in Singapore, available in two storage configurations: S$299 for the 32/3GB version and S$349 for the 64/4G version. Wait a minute, haven’t we reviewed the Redmi 5 Plus aka Redmi Note 5?

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Thank Xiaomi’s confusing naming scheme for that. The local Redmi 5 Plus is known as the Redmi Note 5 in India. Meanwhile, the local Redmi Note 5, which is the device we will be taking a look at today, is called the Redmi Note 5 Pro in India.

I attended the experiential event today and got to understand the Redmi Note 5 better. At the same time, I was able to borrow a review unit to test out over the next week, so I will be unboxing the device in this article as well. Two articles in one!

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Unboxing – Another Orange Box

Perhaps to save money on packaging design, all of Xiaomi’s recent Redmi devices come in an orange box, with the device name stated on the front. Pulling off the lid, you will find a clear case and right below it is the Redmi Note 5.

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At the bottom of the box, you will find a wall adapter, a Micro USB cable, the SIM removal tool, as well as a user manual. Would have been nice if a screen protector was included.

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First Impression – The Real Redmi Note 5!

Design

The Redmi Note 5 is very similar to the Redmi 5 Plus in terms of design, with the main differences being the rear camera position (due to the new dual camera setup), as well as the position of the camera, flash and ambient light sensor on the front.

So my impression of this design is the same as my verdict for the Redmi 5 Plus’s design, at least for now: too similar to the Redmi Note 3 and 4, getting a little stale. It is not a bad design, but reusing it for more than 2 years is just being lazy.

Rear Cameras

One thing that differentiates the Redmi Note 5 from the Redmi 5 Plus is the pair of cameras on the rear. This is the first time we are seeing a dual camera setup on a Redmi device.

The main camera comes with a 12MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture. It uses dual-pixel auto focus, which previously could only be found on much costlier flagship and premium mid-range device. This allows it to focus extremely quickly.

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The secondary 5MP camera is used for depth sensing and it works with AI edge detection to take bokeh images in portrait mode. I didn’t have anyone to test it on after unboxing, so here is a photo of durian ice-cream with biscuits in portrait mode.

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In the past, Redmi devices struggled to take photos in the dark, but that may not be the case anymore. The Redmi Note 5’s main 12MP camera has large 1.4µm pixels, which allows more light to enter, theoretically resulting in better low-light photos.

The photo below was taken with the Redmi Note 5 at night. I had taken a photo of the same artwork in my Redmi Note 4 review and there was a ton of noise, even though the sun had not completely set yet. The improvement is just unbelievable.

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That said, there are limitations to this camera at night. It is unable to focus on objects moving at night, resulting in blur. From what I have seen, it has the potential to compete with some S$700 devices, but I wouldn’t compare it to modern flagships.

For videos, the Redmi Note 5 has EIS for stabilization, so videos should turn out better. Sadly, it is only able to record up to 1080p videos on the rear camera. (Already have some recordings, but I am saving it for the full review. Stay tuned for that!)

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Front Camera

Front cameras on past Redmi devices are admittedly not very good, even on the recent Redmi 5 and 5 Plus. But with the Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi opted for a 13MP sensor. How does it perform?

Like the rear camera, the front camera is also capable of bokeh, called depth effect. Since it doesn’t have a secondary depth sensor though, the bokeh is created purely by AI edge detection. From my few minutes of testing it, it did a great job.

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But what isn’t so great is the color reproduction. Images taken with the selfie camera on the Redmi Note 5 seems to be a little pale, though a little bit of editing might do the trick.

What is a selfie camera without beautify? On the Redmi Note 5, Beautify got smarter with AI, just like we have seen last year on the OPPO R11s. The image on top that I used to demonstrate portrait mode was taken with Beautify enabled.

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Performance

Redmi Note 5 is the first device to be powered by the Snapdragon 636, with 8 Kyro 260 cores. I have never used a device with it before so I do not know what to expect from it, but I will be putting it through thorough testing in my full review.

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Battery

Like the Redmi 5 Plus, the Redmi Note 5 has a 4000mAh non-removable battery. In my review, the Redmi 5 Plus didn’t do as well as its predecessors, so I hope the Redmi Note 5 will do better. Will the new processor be more efficient?

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Experiential Event – Claw Machine!

From 1st June to 3rd June 2018, spend more than S$99 at Mi Home Suntec City and you will get a chance at the claw machine! Attractive prizes are to be won, including power banks, VR headsets, smart watches and even an electric scooter!

You can also get free cotton candy too! No spending is required, but why not get yourself some really affordable Mi gadgets? The 5000mAh Mi Power Bank is going at only S$9.90!


Conclusion – Another Year, Another Redmi Note

When I tested the Redmi 5 Plus a while back, I wasn’t very impressed as it didn’t offer a lot of improvements. With the new dual rear camera setup and a better processor, is the Redmi Note 5 the Redmi Note 4 successor we have been waiting for?

Hands On with 1MORE Headphones

In celebration of Christmas, as well as to thank their fans, 1MORE organized a party in concurrently in multiple places around the world yesterday. I attended the one here in Singapore and got the chance to test out some of 1MORE’s latest products.

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There were two in-ear headphones on display: 1MORE’s famous Triple Driver, as well as the costlier Quad Driver. Both have metal housing, with the build quality we have come to expect from a 1MORE product. You will love them on first sight.

From my limited testing, both produce really detailed sound, but the Quad Driver had bass that was less punchy. A longer listening session may allow me to appreciate the Quad Driver more, but on my first impression, I prefer the Triple Driver.


Next up, we have the 1MORE Triple Driver On-Ear Headphones, whose design is absolutely stunning. Some may mistaken it for Mi Headphones, which are also designed and made by 1MORE.

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The sound from this is very detailed and bass is prominent, deep and clean, but not to the extent where it is overwhelming. It will make you go wow when you first listen to it, and then wow again, when you find out that it costs just S$299.

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The ear cushions and headband padding Triple Driver On-Ear Headphones is fairly thick. For a pair of on-ear headphones, these are actually pretty comfortable.


Now to the product everyone is waiting for: 1MORE’s Spearhead VR gaming headphones. The design of the Spearhead is clearly for gamers, dark and bold, with LEDs capable of 16.8M colors lighting up the 1MORE logo, retractable stick and circle accent.

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Again, 1MORE doesn’t disappoint when it comes to build quality – the Spearhead’s frame is made out of stainless steal, with zinc alloy hinges. Volume can be controlled via a scroll wheel on the side. There is also a switch for turning off the microphone.

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Comfort is very important if you are going to have a long gaming session. While the Spearhead is not exactly light, the ear cushions fits comfortably over my ears and the headband stretches really easily and fits my head comfortably.

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The key feature of the Spearhead is Surround Sound 7.1, which only works when you plug it to your computer via USB and when you do so, it works really well. When not gaming on your computer, you can switch the USB cable for a 3.5mm audio cable.

The Spearhead has Environmental Noise Cancellation, picking up noise from the surrounding using microphones for active noise cancellation. The condition at the event wasn’t very ideal for testing this, so I will not comment on how well it does yet.

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The Spearhead isn’t in Singapore yet, but it will be extremely soon, at a pricing that is very reasonable for a pair of gaming headphones that excels in so many aspects. (Not sure if I am allowed to share it so I will not, but trust me, the pricing is very good)

Old Reviews & Articles by 8K Guy

Old 8K Guy Blog:

PopSockets Phone Grip Review

A Visit to 奥亦未来 VR Arcade

Amazing Deals @ Lazada 12.12 Sales 2017

A Visit to Alibaba’s 盒马鲜生 Supermarket

OPPO R11s Launch Event + Hands On

Original Yi Action Camera – Still Relevant?

Mi Band 2 vs Lifesense Band 2

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Hands On

Romoss Wireless Charging Receiver (Lightning) Review

Mi Powerline WiFi Adapter Review

Huawei Mate 10 Hands On

FoodTastic – Smart Food Court?

1MORE iBFree Review

Should You Get an iPhone SE in 2017?

NSC Careeach Smart Bracelet Review

Lifesense Band 2 Review

Mi A1 Hands On

Mi WiFi Extender Pro Review

iOS – A Lesson on User Experience

JBL Synchros S300i Review

The Problem with Singtel WiFi

ZZ.New-01 Chinese E-Dictionary Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Hands On

A Visit to Causeway Point Mi Home

A Visit to Changi Airport Terminal 4

1MORE Piston Fit Review

Verbatim 10400mAh Power Bank Review

Samsung Level U Review

McDonald’s Nasi Lemak Burger Unboxing & Review

Plantronics Explorer 80 Review

A Visit to Apple Store Orchard Road

 

Mi Community Singapore:

Mi Mix 2 Hands On

Redmi Note 4 Review

Redmi Note 3 Review

Mi WiFi Extender 2 Review

Mi Band 2 Review

Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD Review

Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro Review

Unlocking the Bootloader of Redmi Note 3 (Snapdragon 650)

 

Others:

Ultimate Chinese Exam E-Dictionary Comparison

Romoss Hybrid Charging Cable Review

iPhone SE Review

Cotton On Uptown Lightning Cable Review