The main difference separating the two phones is their price, Rs. 9999 for the Note 5 and Rs. 13999 for the Note 5 Pro.
So, the question you have to ask is, where does the distinction lie and is it worth it? The camera and performance are significant factors, that when taken into account, make the price deviation abundantly clear.
But is it worth it?
Both the phones run on Android Nougat with MIUI 9.2 on top. We’ve pitted the 4GB RAM variants with 64GB on-board memory against each other to see how they compare.
Performance and Software
This is where the distinction between the two phones becomes apparent. Where the Redmi Note 5 runs on the Snapdragon 636 chipset, the the Redmi Note 5 Pro runs on the Snapdragon 625. These might just look like numbers to some but they impose critical discrepancies in the performance of both phones.
The Snapdragon 636 on the Note 5 Pro is built for better battery optimisation, increased speed and higher graphic performance. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 625 is an older model that came out back in 2016, and the Redmi Note 4 has the same chipset.
While using the phones, the Note 5 Pro was faster when it came to loading games, going through emails or even taking photos. Gaming is mostly the same, though the Note 5 crashed after one race, whereas the Note 5 Pro was fast and dependable. That could be a software issue though.
It should be noted that the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the first smartphone that’s been launched in the market with a Snapdragon 636 SoC. Qualcomm's Kryo cores do add a bit of extra power to the chipset.
The difference is huge and definitely visible.
The Redmi Note 5 Pro has a dual camera in the back (12MP, f/2.2 and 5MP, f/2.0) and the Redmi Note 5 has a single rear camera (12MP. f/2.2). The variation in the picture quality is blatantly obvious.
But here’s the kicker. The Note 5 can record 4k videos but the Note 5 Pro can only record up to 1080p.
While the Note 5 camera is definitely an upgrade over the Note 4, the Note 5 Pro still steals the show. The dual cameras provide better depth-of-field. That essentially means that the subject of your photo will be in better focus as the background blurs into the scenery, bokeh.
The Pro equips you with the option to switch ‘image stabilisation’ on or off, whereas the Note 5 has it as a default function. Even the front camera of the Pro version is 20MP with LED flash, while the regular version sports a measly 5MP.
Just browsing through the camera samples below, you’ll see how pronounced the irregularities can be.
Having run tests on the battery, despite both of them being of the same capacity, 4000mAh, there were differences. The Redmi Note 5 manages to last up to 12 hours 30 minutes on a full charge whereas the Redmi Note 5 Pro falters in the span of 12 hours. Those 30 minutes can make a big difference in real life.
To cross check once again, we ran a battery of tests that only confirmed our conclusions. The browsing test and video test, when run for 15 minutes each, showed a disparity of 1 percent between the two phones.
Without fast charging, charging can feel a little frustrating. When plugging the Note Pro in, to charge when it was at 15 percent, the phone displayed that it would take 5 hours and 54 minutes to fully charge.
We don't know about you, but to us it felt like a lifetime!
Quibbling: For better or for worse
The display and the build of both the phones is more or less similar.
Aside from the audio jack being placed on polar opposites (on top for the Note 5 and on the bottom for the Note 5 pro) and the rear cameras having different placement, there’s not much else to comment on. In all honesty, these are hardly points of contention.
Though we will say that the Redmi Note 5 feels slightly heavier, something that was only noticed because both the phones could be analysed side-by-side. Again, a minute difference that can very easily be ignored.
Despite the display not being edge-to-edge, everything is well spaced out. Even if we don’t consider the Redmi 4 to be a part of the market anymore, Xiaomi has three devices with two variants each, as well as the Mi A1, in the 10k to 20k budget. That’s seven different phones to choose from without breaking the bank.
The Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro are strong contenders for being the best options, though the Mi A1 possibly still tops the list. Between the two, we’d definitely recommend going for the Note 5 Pro. That is, if you don’t mind shelling out an extra Rs. 4000 because it’s worth the investment.