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Xiaomi Redmi Pro review: Peripheral vision

Introduction

Xiaomi phones have a strict social structure, almost like royalty. Mi phones are the ruling princes, Redmis are the barons below them. Add ‘Note’ to the title and get half an inch of extra screen size in either tier.

That makes the Xiaomi Redmi Pro a rebel, the first of its kind. Perhaps the Pro name signifies the flagship chipset it uses but this begs the question, if this is the Pro, which Redmi phone is the vanilla version? It also has a 5.5-inch screen yet it’s doesn’t carry a Note moniker. You can easily see why we struggled finding the right place for the Redmi Pro in the Xiaomi portfolio. Last, but not the least, this outside-the-box phone comes with a selection of unique features to match its attitude.

Xiaomi Redmi Pro review

The dual-camera is the most recognizable one. This isn’t a wide-angle lens like the LG G5 or a B&W camera like the Huawei P9. The second eye adds depth perception, used for a number of effects in the camera. The Redmi Pro is also Xiaomi’s first dip into AMOLED, but it’s not a familiar Samsung panel. Instead, it’s a native Chinese panel from EverDisplay.

With its metal build and similar features, you may be wondering why not get an orthodox Redmi Note 4 instead? Let’s break it down.

Xiaomi Redmi Pro key features
Aluminum unibody design
5.5″ LTPS-AMOLED display of 1080p resolution; 403ppi
Android 6.0.1 with MIUI 8
MediaTek Helio X20; Standard 10-core processor at 2.1GHz (Standard edition); 3GB of RAM; Mali-T880 MP4 GPU at 700MHz (the one we’re reviewing)
High and Exclusive editions with Helio X25 – 10-core processor at 2.5GHz; 3GB (High) or 4GB (Exclusive) of RAM; Mali-T880 MP4 GPU at 850MHz
Storage: 32GB (Standard), 64GB (High) or 128GB (Exclusive); microSD support, hybrid slot shared with 2nd SIM
Dual SIM, LTE, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, USB Type-C; IR blaster
Dual 13MP + 5MP rear camera with PDAF, f2.0 aperture, dual LED flash; depth and other effects; 1080p video, 720p @ 120fps
5 megapixel front camera, f2.0 aperture; 1080p video
Fingerprint sensor on the Home key
4,050mAh battery

Main shortcomings
Hybrid DualSIM/microSD card slot limits options on the dual-SIM model
No Quick charge 2.0/3.0 support, just 5V/2A charging
No 5GHz Wi-Fi support

Versus the Redmi Note 4
The dual camera, of course (but same photo and video resolution)
AMOLED screen – better contrast and color accuracy
Options with overclocked chipsets, more storage, and RAM
No fast charging; but USB Type-C instead of microUSB 2.0
No 5GHz Wi-Fi
Metal bodies of the same size and weight; virtually identical battery
Higher price (~40% for the respective 3GB/64GB versions)

Alright, so there’s some confusion in the ranks. But, honestly, once your eyes get used to AMOLED blacks, it’s hard to go back. Of course, we haven’t tested an EverDisplay AMOLED before – will it be as good as Samsung’s Super AMOLED?


Xiaomi Redmi Pro next to the outgoing Redmi note 3
Xiaomi Redmi Pro next to the outgoing Redmi note 3
Xiaomi Redmi Pro next to the outgoing Redmi note 3

Xiaomi Redmi Pro next to the outgoing Redmi note 3

And the dual camera is always good for neat tricks, though it adds little to regular photography. HTC’s efforts on this front were met with apathy (sort of like its 3D efforts), can Xiaomi really hope to do better?

And is all that worth the price bump? Well, let’s first check that screen, shall we? And we’ll get to the camera too.

Special thanks to HonorBuy.com for providing the review unit.