Xiaomi today refreshed its most affordable smartphone model, the Redmi 4A (Review), with a new generation. Touted as India’s new “desh ka smartphone”, the Redmi 5Ais just as impressive in terms of specifications, bringing some serious firepower to the Rs. 5,999 price point. The ability to deliver solid specs at reduced prices has functioned really well for the company thus far, but today the big gimmick is essentially a massive company-sponsored subsidy about the first five million Redmi 5A units it sells, bringing the price down to Rs. 4,999. We’ve seen innumerable introductory offers before, but this one is undoubtedly going to create a massive rush of prospective buyers when it goes on sale on December 7.

While the introductory offer might overshadow the merits of the phone itself, we’re more interested in the true utilization experience. Is your Xiaomi Redmi 5A truly capable of becoming a “desh ka smartphone”? We have been able to devote a little time with the device, and here are our first impressions.

This phone feels almost insubstantial, weighing only 137g. It’s all plastic and the body really has a slight flex to it when twisted. We do not think that this is anything to worry about, however a protective case might be a fantastic idea. The phone fits nicely in a hand, due to its 5-inch screen, and the rounded edges mask its 8.35millimeter thickness.

We have our hands on a Gold unit, but Xiaomi additionally lists Dark Grey and Rose Gold as options (the latter isn’t an option on Xiaomi’s store webpage, so it might be introduced later). The finish on the trunk is extremely plasticky, and there’s no mistaking it for metal. The two gold options have white front faces, even while they grey one looks more sober in black. On an interesting side note, the Redmi 5A’s box is bright red and there’s just a tiny Xiaomi emblem in one corner – the company is emphasising Redmi itself as the primary brand.

The display is fairly crisp, given its size and 720×1280 resolution, however, colours are not all that vivid. There is quite a bit of plastic above and below the monitor. Xiaomi has employed non-backlit capacitive buttons for Android navigation, which isn’t great but that is what we expect at this price level. On the flip side, you will find just two separate trays; one for just a Nano-SIM and the other for another Nano-SIM in addition to a separate microSD card. There’s a Micro-USB interface on the bottom of the Xiaomi Redmi 5A and also an Infrared emitter on the top, and you obtain a preloaded app to remote control your appliances. The most interesting thing on the rear is the “Made in India” text. Aside from that, there’s a flash and camera in the top-left corner, along with a large speaker grille across the bottom.

The Redmi 5A runs MIUI 9, Xiaomi’s custom UI. From the lockscreen, you are able to swipe right to quickly pull up the IR remote app, flashlight, along with a Mi Home app which allows you to command Xiaomi home appliances.

The remainder of MIUI is fairly pleasant, if you like single-layer UIs. There are a few extraneous animations in lists and on program icons, but the phone didn’t feel sluggish at all in our limited time with it. You get the ability to password-protect programs, run two instances of them with different accounts, and create a secure “Second Space” which is almost like having a second user accounts. Xiaomi has also preloaded Amazon Shopping, WPS Office, UC News, along with the Microsoft Office and Skype programs, in addition to Google’s standard ones.

The Xiaomi Redmi 5A has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chip, and either 2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage, or 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage. You are able to add a microSD card of up to 128GB. There’s a 13-megapixel rear camera along with also a 5-megapixel front camera, each of which take shots which appear fairly decent on the phone’s personal screen. Xiaomi is pushing battery life as a major quality of this phone, but the battery capacity is a fairly typical 3000mAh, so we’ll have to wait to see exactly how that works out.

We’ll have complete battery and camera performance tests in our detailed review, and lots more detail concerning the Redmi 5A coming up soon, so stay tuned to Gadgets 360.

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