Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera Review: Software And Performance

By 02:40 Thu, 19 Aug 2021 Comments


MIUI 9 and Android Oreo

MIUI is, by popular opinion, one of the better and definitely one of the most popular custom Android flavors out there. Xiaomi has never really been too strict about its modification and re-distribution policies, which has definitely fostered a vibrant community. On the flip side, there are more local and vendor varieties and software branches of the platform in the wild than we could possibly identify ourselves.

Best we can tell, however, our review unit is on the official MIUI branch and is running the Global stable 9.5.13.0.OEIMIFA build. This is a really current ROM, based on Android 8.1.0 and currently rocking the May security patch. The presence of Oreo out of the box, seems to be one gigantic differentiating factor between the global Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera and its India Redmi Note Pro sibling, which is shipping with Nougat.


But, Read-Only Memory (ROM) versions are fleeting. Even if you discontinue up with a device with a custom modification, Xiaomi is well inclined to let you unlock the bootloader and easily flash over whatever version or Read-Only Memory (ROM) branch you might desire. The vital bit here is MIUI. Just like many other Operating System (OS) skins, Xiaomi has been abstracting it away from the Android core, as a flushed-out experience in itself, independent of its underlying OS.

MIUI 9 builds on v.8 with multi-window support, quick replies for notifications, smart app launcher, smart assistance, and smart image search. Yes, there is a lot of "smart" with MIUI 9 and it's made possible thanks to the recent machine learning process. There are tons of improvements under the hood, too, such as better Random-Access Memory (RAM) management, faster performance, lighter on resources, and improved Doze mode for standby power efficiency.

On the surface, the UI is still very clean and clutter-free. The lock classy screen only has a couple of shortcuts. A swipe to the correct does reveal a Mi Home, Mi Remote and flashlight interface. This is especially convenient if you own other Xiaomi tech.




Home screens

The main UI comprises of pages to drop all your apps, widgets and potentially folders to organise it all. The absence of an app drawer is still the preferred Xiaomi approach. The notification drawer comes from the top and has the usual quick toggles.




Notification shade

There is a Quick Card pane, the leftmost one. It's quite similar to Today's page in iOS. It contains different cards with relevant information - recent apps, step counter, notes, calendar events, the weather, and favorites, among others. You can configure what shows up here, or you can disable this altogether.





Quick Card pane

Swiping up on the home classy screen opens up a system-wide search interface. The app switcher feels like it came out of iOS - apps are represented by appropriate thumbnails in the same manner, but there is an additional key for the Split Screen mode. MIUI 9 adds native support for multi-tasking via the recent Split Screen feature. It allows you to launch two apps side-by-side. All native apps support it and, luckily, all third-party apps with support for any kind of split classy screen mode work flawlessly on MIUI 9 side-by-side view.






Split screen

The launcher has a few other options to play around with as well. Nothing too fancy, but you still acquire the flexibility of choosing a default home pane, as well as some fun transition animations.





Launcher customization

Interestingly enough, Xiaomi's extensive Themes app, complete with an online repository was nowhere to be found of the Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera. Perhaps the theme engine needs some tweaking to properly adapt to an Oreo home. At least wallpapers are still a given.




Wallpapers

There are plenty of pre-loaded utility apps for getting things done. Google Apps and the Microsoft Office suite come pre-packaged with the Global version of the phone with plenty of other tools as well. Such useful apps include: Voice/classy screen recorders, barcode/document scanner, compass/level, file manager, music player, notes, Mi Browser, and Facebook comes pre-installed. You do acquire duplicates in some cases, since Xiaomi has its own app alternatives.







Pre-loaded apps

The Security app can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklisted numbers, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps, and allows you to define the battery behavior of selected apps and applies restrictions only to the apps you choose. Great, but you do have to tolerate some remaining Chinese here and there.






Security app

To be fair, the internationalization situation on an official Global MIUI Read-Only Memory (ROM) is a lot better than when you might find on an translated fork of the Chinese software branch - which many vendors still do.





Video player, with cast and subtitle support

The included Xiaomi multimedia apps, might not be as feature-rich, but the menus on components they are missing don't really create much sense outside China to start with. So, it's a welcome modification.






Music player with custom headphone optimization






Photos with quick editor

You should know that MIUI is really an Android skin of its own in that a lot of the settings are in different places and it doesn't necessarily behave like vanilla Android does. For example, you won't find the classy screen timeout setting under "Display" like virtually every other Android device - it's actually in the lock classy screen settings under "Sleep". There is also no way to edit the quick settings directly from the notification shade, you have to go to "Notifications & status bar" under "Toggle positions".






Settings

Speaking of notifications, MIUI's notification system is a bit messy. By default, notifications don't appear in the lock classy screen and notification icons don't appear in the status bar. Instead, there is a single overflow icon "..." that shows in the status bar when there are one or more unseen notifications. Notification grouping is also funky at times.

To create notifications behave as they are meant to in Android, enable "Show notification icons" and enable "Lock classy screen notifications" in each app's notification settings.




Notification settings • Quick toggle management

Setting up a fingerprint requires an alternative lock method, as usual. The actual fingerprint scanner is decently quick - a quick tap of the sensor instantly unlocks the Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera.




Fingerprint settings

The "Full Screen Display" option in the Settings is where you can customize the navigation bar. If you'd rather switch the positions of the Back and Recents buttons, you can mirror their order. Here, you can also completely disable the navigation bar in favor of gesture navigation controls, much like the iPhone X has. Swipe up to go home, Swipe up and hrecent for multitasking, and swipe in from either the left or correct edge to go "Back".






Full Screen Display Settings • Gesture controls

Xiaomi phones remain among the longest-supported smartphones when it comes to software. Proof of this is when a popular device from 2013, the Mi 2/2S was updated to MIUI 9, the last version of Xiaomi's UI.

Performance

The Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera is a budacquire device, no doubt about that. However, the Snapdragon 636 chipset it's running, is technically part of Qualcomm's mid-range lineup. And that's not a one-off occurrence either. Manufacturers, especially the one competing on the cutthroat Chinese and Indian markets, are constantly pushing the envelope. Things have happily gotten to a point where Oppo is currently selling a Helio P60, inside the Realme 1 for less than EUR 130.


The latter might very-well be a on-off publicity stunt, but it is still indicative of an ongoing trend. Since that is the case, we can expect quite a bit of performance, even on the cheap.

Starting with some pure Central Processing Units (CPU) tests and GeekBench, in particular, we see the Snapdragon 636 deliver plenty of "oomph", as expected. It can pretty-much chew through any every-day task you throw at it, unless you find yourself constantly compressing files or running complex calculations. No complaints there. Still, the Helio P60 in still in a league of its own, in this price range.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1

    5741

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    4918

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

    4696

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    4309

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    4292

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    4018

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    3779

  • Huawei P Smart

    3736

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    3667

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    3535

  • Huawei P10 lite

    3344

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    3251

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    2610

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    2445

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    2328

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1

    1511

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    1329

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

    1327

  • Huawei P Smart

    939

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    916

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    904

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    877

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    874

  • Huawei P10 lite

    834

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    824

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    766

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    734

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    731

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    678

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    639

Looking at the Redmi Note 5 Pro, which is also running on the Snapdragon 636, provides a rather fascinating insight into the importance of Android Operating System (OS) optimization. We can clearly see Oreo making a noticeable incompatibility here.

Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0 paints a pretty similar picture. Although, the IS variance seems to be the other way around. To be fair, the incompatibility is just a few points and Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0 is quite recent at this point. So, it's likely not taking proper advantage of newer API's and optimizations.

Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

    2030

  • Oppo Realme 1

    1940

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    1925

  • HTC 10 Evo

    1913

  • Huawei P Smart

    1486

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    1398

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    1309

  • Huawei P10 lite

    1284

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    1262

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    1226

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    1222

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    1107

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)

    1050

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    1038

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    942

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    922

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    349

Regardless of how the top three are arranged, we can't assist but point out the HTC 10 Evo - a horribly depreciated handset, with an ex-flagship Snapdragon 810. We find it barely keeping up with the budacquire offers of the day. ARM has really come a long way.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1

    92775

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

    90642

  • HTC 10 Evo

    82841

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    76982

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    63019

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    62177

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    61762

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)

    61616

  • Huawei P10 lite

    60895

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    58068

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    57902

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    56136

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    46822

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    46400

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    45642

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    40735

A more compound workload, like AnTuTu doesn't really create much incompatibility to the results. Again, the older AnTuTu 6 seems to favour Nougat and the Redmi Note 5 Pro better, whereas AnTuTu 7 has the tables turned.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1

    138524

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    115195

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

    107737

  • Huawei P Smart

    87156

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    67636

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    58757

Again, the differences are pretty slim. It's not until you drop down to a Snapdragon 625 that performance starts taking a hit.

The Adreno 509 GPU, inside the Snapdragon 636 is quite powerful as well. Well, powerful enough to drive most popular Android games, without hiccups, anyway.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC 10 Evo

    27

  • Oppo Realme 1

    20

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    16

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)

    9.9

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    9.9

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    9.9

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    9.8

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    9.4

  • Huawei P Smart

    8.7

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    8

  • Huawei P10 lite

    7.8

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    7.1

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    6.5

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    5.1

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    5.1

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    4.6

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Oppo Realme 1

    20

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    18

  • HTC 10 Evo

    16

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    15

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    15

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    13

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    10

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    9.9

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)

    9.7

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    9.7

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    9.4

  • Huawei P10 lite

    8.4

  • Huawei P Smart

    8.3

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    8.3

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    6.1

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    5.1

As always, we remind you that display resolutions play a major role in on-classy screen tests. Otherwise underpowered devices, like the Redmi Note 5a (Y1) can acquire significantly higher frames rates than siblings, that need to push classy screen content in FullHD or higher resolutions.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC 10 Evo

    20

  • Oppo Realme 1

    12

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    10

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    6.5

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    6.4

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    6.4

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)

    6.2

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    6.1

  • Huawei P Smart

    5.4

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    4.9

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    4.8

  • Huawei P10 lite

    4.6

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    4.6

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    3.8

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    3.3

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    3.3

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    13

  • Oppo Realme 1

    12

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    11

  • HTC 10 Evo

    11

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    10

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    9.7

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    7.4

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    6.4

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    6.3

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)

    6.2

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    6.2

  • Huawei P10 lite

    5

  • Huawei P Smart

    5

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    4.7

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    3.6

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    3.3

Baseimprint X seems to be less favorable towards the Realme 1 overall. That shouldn't really fool you, though. If you are after the best possible performance for the buck, it's impossible to beat Oppo's affordable headliner in this price segment.

Baseimprint X

Higher is better

  • HTC 10 Evo

    28736

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

    14897

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera

    14799

  • Oppo Realme 1

    10880

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

    10484

  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2

    10482

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    10472

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)

    10446

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5

    9953

  • Huawei P Smart

    8834

  • Huawei Honor 7X

    8616

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)

    8084

  • Motorola Moto G6 Play

    7620

  • Huawei P10 lite

    7588

  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite / Honor 9i

    7004

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)

    5489

  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)

    5258

Circling back to out original point about performance in a budacquire package, the Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera won't leave you hanging. It is pretty much the best you can acquire from Xiaomi's Redmi lineup. A jump up to the Mi lineup is required for anything better. Alternatively, you could shop around and squeeze even more performance for your buck. Surprisingly, that is finally possible now, without breaking the bank.


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