Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: It all comes down to the battery

Xiaomi's Redmi Note series has turned into a juggernaut: over the last two years, phones in this series have defined the budget segment in India. To put things into context, the Redmi Note 5 series managed to rake in sales of over 5 million units in just under four months, and one out of every ten phones sold in India over the last three months was either a Redmi Note 5 or a Note 5 Pro.

Then there's the Mi A2, Xiaomi's 2018 Android One device. The Mi A2 shares a lot of similarities on the hardware front with the Redmi Note 5 Pro — both share a design aesthetic, same display, and a lot of the internal components are also identical.

There's no question that the Redmi Note 5 Pro continues to be one of the best-selling phones in India. Let's see how Xiaomi's other budget phone fares next to it.

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro: Specs

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

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CategoryXiaomi Mi A2Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid OneAndroid 7.1.2 NougatMIUI 9.5
Display5.99-inch 18:9 FHD+(2160x1080) IPS LCD panelGorilla Glass 55.99-inch 18:9 FHD+(2160x1080) IPS LCD panelGorilla Glass
SoCOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 6604x2.2GHz Kryo 260 + 4x1.8GHz Kryo 26014nmOcta-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636Eight Kryo 260 cores up to 1.8GHz14nm
GPUAdreno 512Adreno 509
ExpandableNoYes, dedicated up to 128GB
Rear camera12MP (f/1.75, 1.25um) + 20MP (f/1.75, 1.0um)PDAF, LED flash, 4K video recording12MP f/2.2 lens + 5MP f/2.0 lensPDAF, LED flash1080p video recording
Front camera20MP (f/1.75, 1.0um)AI portrait modeLED Selfie lightBeautify 4.020MP f/2.2 lensLED Selfie lightBeautify 4.0
ConnectivityLTE with VoLTEWi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0GPS, GLONASSLTE with VoLTEWi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0GPS, GLONASSMicro-USB, 3.5mm jack, IR blaster
Battery3000mAh batteryQuick Charge 4.0 (India)QC3.0 (ROW)USB-C4000mAh battery5V/2A over Micro-USB
FingerprintRear fingerprintRear fingerprint
Dimensions158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3mm158.6 × 75.4 × 8.05mm
ColorsBlack, Rose Gold, Gold, BlueGold, Rose Gold, Blue, Black

What the Mi A2 does better

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Although both phones share a lot of features, there are key differences that make them stand out. The Mi A2 is aimed at those looking for an uncluttered software experience — as the device is in the Android One initiative, the interface is in line with Google's vision for Android. The device runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, and Xiaomi has committed to delivering the Android Pie update in the coming months.

There's a lot in common on the design front, but the aluminum unibody chassis — with the antenna lines seamlessly merging into the body — gives the Mi A2 a slight edge in this area. The dual camera configuration is also identical across both phones, with the cameras arrayed vertically and the modules protruding from the chassis. This isn't as big an issue on the Redmi Note 5 Pro as it has a thickness of 8mm, but it makes the 7.3mm Mi A2 wobbly when laid out on a flat surface.

It's safe to say the Mi A2 has the best camera in the budget segment. The phone manages to do a much better job in low-light scenarios and has better dynamic range when compared to the Redmi Note 5 Pro in daylight conditions. On the video front, the Mi A2 has 4K video recording, and even though the Snapdragon 636 chipset facilitates 4K video, the Redmi Note 5 Pro doesn't come with that option.

Mi A2 on the left, Redmi Note 5 Pro on the right.

Elsewhere, the Mi A2 relies on USB-C for charging and comes with Quick Charge 4.0 for the Indian market. The charger included in the box delivers a 5V/2A charge, so you'll have to pick up an aftermarket accessory to unlock the charging potential of the phone.

Xiaomi Mi A2 review: A great sequel with a fantastic camera

What the Redmi Note 5 Pro does better

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

With a 4000mAh battery under the hood, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a battery monster. The phone routinely delivers two days' worth of usage from a full charge, with over nine hours of screen-on-time on average. In fact, the only phone that meets the battery longevity of the Redmi Note 5 Pro is ASUS' ZenFone Max Pro M1, and that particular device has an even larger 5000mAh battery.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro also has the basics covered: you get a 3.5mm jack and a MicroSD slot that can accommodate a 128GB SD card. These features are integral in the budget segment, and their omission makes the Mi A2 a less attractive option to potential buyers. The Mi A2 also loses out on dual VoLTE, and as the device isn't running MIUI, you miss out on the localized features that Xiaomi bakes into the ROM.

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Which should you buy? Mi A2

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

If I had to choose between the two, I would recommend the Mi A2 over the Redmi Note 5 Pro in a heartbeat. I'm partial to Android One, and the camera on the Mi A2 is leagues better than what you get on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. But that recommendation isn't for everyone, as the device is missing out on the 3.5mm jack and MicroSD slot, both table stakes features in this segment.

If you absolutely need a phone with a headphone jack and a MicroSD slot, then the Redmi Note 5 Pro is the way to go. It's also the winner if you're looking for a device with two-day battery life — the 4000mAh battery combined with MIUI's battery optimization tweaks make the Redmi Note 5 Pro a battery champion. The Mi A2 lasts a day on a full charge without any issues, but the Redmi Note 5 Pro is a winner in this area by a significant margin.

But if you're in the market for a phone with a great camera, clean software, and the promise of quick updates, then the Mi A2 is a fantastic choice. With just ₹2,000 ($30) separating both phones, it's an easy choice to make.

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Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.