This one is the only Note in the fifth Redmi generation but it's not the Note 5 that had everyone drooling. In fact, what should've been the Note 5 is now known as the 5 Plus, which we recently reviewed. The Redmi 5 proper also got its share of our homepage. It's now the Redmi Note 5A's turn, an entry-level phablet with a high-res selfie camera but no tall aspect screen for a change. Cheaper, simpler, ordinary - just like a good hand tool.
The naming scheme is quite hard to make sense of, especially when a phone is called differently in different markets. This Xiaomi handset is a Redmi Y1 in India, a Redmi Note 5A in most international markets, and Redmi Note 5A Prime in China. You are welcome.
So, what we have here is the only Note in Xiaomi's fifth Redmi generation. The Note 5A is an entry-level phablet but it's exactly like Xiaomi likes to pack them - with the usual high bang for the buck ratio.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A is a modern looking phone even though it's all made of plastic. It has a reasonably big 5.5" 720p display, which qualifies it as a Note in Xiaomi's books. The Snapdragon 435 is a budget LTE-enabled chipset. While the 5A's 13MP main camera is nothing to write home about, the high-res 16MP selfie camera is a first on a non-flagship Xiaomi.
It seems Xiaomi has struck a good balance for a budget smartphone and the Redmi Note 5A will be a tough competitor to beat, as usual. While it may not be the best of names, Xiaomi is keen to make up for it with a reasonable all-round package. Let's see.
The contents of the Redmi Note 5A retail box are as basic as they get: a microUSB cable and a 10W charger. There is no free case like there was with the Redmi 5 Plus and Redmi 5.
Special thanks to HonorBuy for providing the review unit.