Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

Nyaradzo logo

Xioami starts selling the Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus

It is a universal truth that whenever you purchase a low end budget phone you are giving up something in return for paying the ultra low price. How big a deal this sacrifice is depends on how important you consider the feature you are sacrificing to be.

The well known dirty secrets about cheap phones

All low end budget phones (anything below $180 in my book is budget) skimps on one or more of the following features:

  • Camera- low budget phones often come with a rubbish camera that either takes grainy images or will not work in low light
  • Battery- phones  that retail below $70 usually come with a horrible battery to match. You will be lucky to have 12 hours of screen time before recharging which means less Instagram, Facebook and ever important WhatsApp. That or you can mitigate this by hurling around a powerbank the size of a motor cycle battery.
  • A mediocre processor- you can make a cup of coffee before Facebook loads and by the time you reply to a group message everyone has moved on.
  • Garbage screen which comes with no protection so is prone to scratches, fingerprint smudges and a single crack will render the whole touch screen useless. No rich colours. No Gorilla Glass.
  • Tiny RAM. If you are  buying anything with less than 1GB you are an idiot ( cannot sugar coat this), 2GB is standard, 3GB preferable and anything higher awesome. Having less RAM will mean constant page and app reloads
  • Slow and/or small ROM. Anything below 8GB is to be avoided, 16GB is the norm and anything above 32GB is to be preferred
  • Made by Zheng- Zheng will not provide you with timely security patches consider the Meltdown and Spectre flaws that have everyone’s panties in a twist. Who is going to save you from these? Stick with known brand names Samsung, Xioami etc
  • No ROM  updates to the next Android release: Are you going to get Oreo on your device that you bought with Nougat?
  • No fingerprint scanner and other missing features e.g. sensors

NB Cheap smart phones are cheap on features

Xiaomi’s midrange devices to the rescue

The easiest fix would be to get the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and be done with it. I know for a fact however that my wife would kill me if I were to spend $500 on a phone  I cannot imagine what she would do if I spend more than a thousand on one.

The new Xiaomi midrange series in the form of the new Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus offer a nice compromise for those who are looking for a great device at a price that will not make your eyes water. As the name suggests the Redmi 5 Plus is more like the big brother to the Redmi 5:

SpecificationRedmi 5Redmi 5 Plus
ProcessorSnapdragon 450 Octa Core 1.8GHzSnapdragon 625 Octa Core 2.0GHz
Screen5.7 inch 1440 x 720 HD+ screen, 282ppi 5.99 inch 2160 x 1080 FHD+ screen, 403ppi
Front Camera5.0MP5.0MP
Rear Camera12.0MP12.0MP
Infra Red BlasterYesYes
Android VersionNougat 7.1Nougat 7.1
Battery 3300mAh4000mAh
Battery Duration with 12 hours screen timeOne day in tests by RedSkullOne and half days in tests by RedSkull
SensorsAccelerometer,Ambient Light Sensor,Gravity Sensor,Gyroscope,Hall Sensor,Proximity Sensor Accelerometer,Ambient Light Sensor,Gravity Sensor,Gyroscope,Hall Sensor,Proximity Sensor
SIMDual/One with memory cardDual/One with memory card
Fast ChargingYesYes

Which should I buy?

If screen size and battery matter to you so much that you are willing to pay $20 more (see calculations below) for it then the Redmi 5 Plus is the way to go otherwise the Redmi 5 is what I would recommend.


You can buy the Redmi 5 for $185 from Gearbest and the Redmi 5 Plus retails for $198 . Below are detailed calculations of what you can expect to pay.

CostRedmi 5Redmi 5 Plus
Import Duty (25%)4750
VAT (15%)3437

NB These prices include ZIMRA charges, shipping and the purchase prices.

If these prices are too steep for you then you might consider buying from my list of recommended budget devices with a landing cost of less than $150 i.e. the prices of these gadgets is less than $150 when you include shipping and duty.

As always feel free to ask questions and comment.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

9 thoughts on “Xioami starts selling the Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus

  1. Which one is a the better phone with the redmi 4x seeing as if the specs are the same, the major difference is the screen has changed from traditional to 16:9

  2. Which one is the better phone compared with the redmi 4x seeing as if the specs are the same and the major difference is the screen has changed from traditional to 16:9

    1. Currently retailing at $305 on Gearbest. A bit steep for some but I might look at it in the future

  3. Did you factor in the cost of BUYING THOSE US DOLLARS to fund your prepaid Mastercard/Visa?

    1. 1:1 mate 1:1 😉
      The logic behind it all was two fold:
      1) Even phones bought in Zimbabwe have this USD component mostly because the seller has already imported the phone for you and they will sell it back to you at a profit
      2) There are those who have friends and relatives abroad/diaspora and can buy on their behalf and pay off import duty which can be done in local currency. One way to earn forex is to either export or earn it at places like Fiverr that’s how I get fund my cards

Comments are closed.