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Xiaomi Redmi 5A Review

The Xiaomi’s Redmi 5 series is the follow-up to the highly successful Redmi 4. The Redmi 5 comes in four flavours: 5A, Note 5A (or simply Y1), 5 and lastly the 5 Plus. What we’re reviewing here today is the entry-level Redmi 5A which is a compromise for the slightly pricier mid-level Redmi. Let’s start by taking a look at its specs.


Smartphone OS: Android 7.1 (Nougat)
MIUI 9.0

Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8917 Snapdragon 425
CPU: Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU: Adreno 308
Memory Card: microSD, up to 128 GB (dedicated slot)

2G, 3G, 4G
4G/LTE Bands: 1(2100), 3(1800), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 34(2000), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500)
SIM Card Slot: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
SIM Type: Nano

Type: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
Size: 5.0 inches, 68.0 cm2 (~69.1% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution: 720 x 1280 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~296 ppi density)
Multitouch: Yes

Primary: 13 MP, f/2.2, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR, panorama
Video: [email protected]
Secondary: 5 MP, f/2.0

WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth: 4.1, A2DP, LE
Infrared port 
Radio :  FM radio
USB:  microUSB 2.0


Alert types: Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
3.5mm jack   
Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic

Non-removable Li-Ion 3000mAh battery


The Redmi 5A comes with Android 7.1 (Nougat) an update to the Redmi 4 that shipped with Marshmallow. As usual, the Redmi 5A is running Xiaomi’s in-house custom interface, MIUI. The phone ships with MIUI version 9.0 that’s based off Nougat 7.1.2. This can however be upgraded to the MIUI 10 update.


The Redmi 5 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, a fairly powerful CPU with 4-cores that should be able to run hungry apps with no lags. Working in tandem with the CPU, is a generous 2GB of RAM that is more than enough to provide a comfortable multi-tasking experience when paired with the efficient Nougat OS.

On storage matters, the Redmi come with a 16GB internal memory which should leave about 9GB in usable space. For most users, that’s more than sufficient for apps and media storage. Should it prove less, you have a dedicated microSD slot that supports up to 256GB without sacrificing the second SIM slot as is the case with the Redmi 5.

Connectivity wise, the Redmi is a dual sim device and supports 4G/LTE. The 4G mode supports various bands including the common FDD-LTE and some TDD-LTE bands which should come in handy should you travel in parts of Asia. But sticking with Kenya, it should work with Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom’s 4G networks with the only exception being Faiba4G.


The Redmi 5A is equipped with 5″ IPS display panel runs HD at a resolution of 720 x 1280. This means it’s able to achieve the 16:9 aspect ratio, a good thing if you’re in the habit of watching or streaming HD content on your device. On the downside, the display has no protection like the Gorilla glass on the Redmi 5 but at its price range that’s acceptable.


The Redmi 5A has 5MP front and 13MP rear cameras but only the latter is equipped with a LED flash. The camera supports various shooting modes including HDR, face/smile detection and panorama. Video recording supports shooting in 108Op HD at 30fps which should look great on the IPS display. Picture quality should certainly be above average on this device, however some skill in photography could make all the difference.


A fairly large non-removable 3000mAh lion-battery sits on the back of the Redmi 5A. It doesn’t have any fast charging capabilities but the capacity is high enough to guarantee lasting a day or more. The exact hours of course will ultimately be dependent on the kind usage it will be subjected to but fortunately we’ve the power efficient Snapdragon 425 working in our favour.


The Redmi 5A is a good choice for buyers on a budget who nonetheless want an experience that’s no too far off from one offered by midrange devices but at a slightly lower price. Standout features include the display and the Snapdragon SOC. It’s hard to find a complaint, but if I was hard pressed for one I would say the non-removable battery.

You can get the Redmi 5A from various online retailers in Kenya today and have it delivered wherever you are. It’s cheapest on Jumia Kenya where it’s currently going at a discounted price of KES8,499 (KES9,999) and is shipped for free if you’re within Nairobi. Elsewhere, a slightly bigger 5A variant is going at KES9, 699 on Kilimall (Globally Shipped) while on Avechi Store this exact version is going for KES10,699.

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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is the editor of Kenyan Fix, an informational blog that helps Kenyans with solutions to everyday questions on mobile networks, government services and banking.