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17 Dec 2018, Edition - 1252, Monday

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Xiaomi Redmi 5A for Rs 5,999: Still the best ultra-affordable phone that you can buy


The Xiaomi Redmi 5A was launched in India in December last year at a price of Rs 5,999. For a limited period, however, Xiaomi was selling the Redmi 5A, for Rs 4,999. On Monday, Xiaomi announced, that it will stop selling the Redmi 5A for Rs 4,999 and that its starting price will now be bumped up to Rs 5,999. This is for the base 2GB RAM and 16GB storage version. The Redmi 5A is also available in 3GB RAM and 32GB storage version that costs Rs 6,999 in India.

The higher-end version, although slightly meatier than the base model, is subjective. This is because the Redmi 4 which is an even more noticeable upgrade starts at Rs 6,999 and Xiaomi is gearing to launch its successor, the Redmi 5, in India on March 14, that is likely to be priced on very similar lines.

Should you buy the Redmi 5A 3GB RAM and 32GB storage version for Rs 6,999 will depend largely on how you perceive your ideal smartphone to be. If you were to ask me someone who has used and reviewed both the Redmi 5A and the Redmi 4 I’d say go buy the Redmi 4 if you can. Or, better still, wait for the Redmi 5. If, however, you’re on an exceptionally tight budget, the Redmi 5A won’t disappoint you. The Redmi 5A is still the best ultra-affordable phone that you can buy. Even at Rs 5,999.

The Redmi 5A is directed towards first-time Internet users and users who are looking to switch from a feature phone to a smartphone, without having to spend a fortune on a good handset. Much like rival phones like the JioPhone, the Bharat 1, the Galaxy J2, the Moto C and the Nokia 2. Unlike the JioPhone, the Bharat 1, the Galaxy J2, the Moto C and the Nokia 2, however, the Redmi 5A doesn’t compromise much in terms of hardware specs; it doesn’t compromise much in terms of looks and feel either.

The Redmi 5A banks heavily on the fact that it’s a “Desh Ka Smartphone” which invariably means that it is designed for India, and will be made (assembled) in India as well. Xiaomi, to recall, now assembles a considerable chunk of phones that it sells in India more than 90 per cent, according to Xiaomi here in the country itself. The made ‘for’ India aspect also stems from the fact that although the Redmi 5A launched in India shares much of the hardware specs with the Redmi 5A that’s already available in China, the one that will sell (and will be made) in India will come with some India-specific nuggets likely to appeal to India’s masses.

The Redmi 5A is successor to the Redmi 4A and retains much of its predecessor’s hardware set as also its ultra-affordable price tag. It comes with an all-plastic body like the Redmi 4A with a smooth metallic finish on the back and will be available in as many as three colours:Dark Grey, Gold and Rose Gold. Just like the Redmi 4A, the Redmi 5A also does not ship with a fingerprint scanner.

In terms of hardware specs, the Redmi 5A comes with a 5-inch HD IPS display with a 720p resolution. It is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor coupled with Adreno 308 GPU, up to 3GB RAM and up to 32GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 128GB via a micro-SD card slot. The dual-SIM phones runs Android Nougat-based MIUI 9 out-of-the-box and supports 4G LTE (VoLTE-ready) connectivity.

On the camera front the Redmi 5A comes with a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.2 aperture along with Phase Detection Autofocus and an LED flash. On the front you get a 5-megapixel snapper. The phone is backed by a 3,000mAh battery which is non-removable and is claimed to offer up to a whopping 8-days of battery life on stand-by on a single charge.

Just like the Redmi 4A, the Redmi 5A is also the most powerful (and most power-efficient) smartphone that you can buy in the Indian market right now. The Redmi 5A is quick and responsive in every sense of the word with occasional hiccups and MIUI 9 (based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat) does add a whole new dimension to the user experience. The same is true about battery life: it’s fantastic.

As for the cameras, the phone captures some good-looking photos in good light with good amount of detail and mostly spot-on colours. But, zooming into these photos more often than not gives out the real picture. It isn’t that good. Noise is quite evident and resolved detail missing. The phone, for the lack of a better word, has a rather hit or miss camera in good light. Still, it should suffice for most budget-conscious buyers.

Clearly, the Redmi 5A checks all the right boxes. At the same time additions like dedicated slots for dual-SIM and micro-SD, dual graphite sheet for heat dissipation and the ‘Make in India’ add some variety to it. The Redmi 5A is quite a steal, is what it is. Even at Rs 5,999.