The Redmi 5 Plus runs on Xiaomi's own MIUI 9 - a neat launcher based on the latest Android Nougat version - 7.1.2. While MIUI is one of the most popular launchers with great support, it's been somewhat behind the competition when it comes to the latest Android adoption.
MIUI has been known for its clean interface, but looks are deceiving as it also offers a ton of customization options and advanced system tools at your disposal if you dig in.
MIUI 9 builds on v. 8 with multi-window support, quick replies for notifications, smart app launcher, smart assistance, and smart image search. Yes, there is a lot of "smart" with MIUI 9 and it's possible thanks to the new machine learning process. There are tons of improvements under the hood, too, such as better RAM management, faster performance, lighter on resources, and improved doze mode.
The novelties aside, it's MIUI however you look at it - every shortcut, plus widgets of your choosing, are dropped on the homescreen. You get a docked menu for the most commonly used apps, of course. The notification drawer comes from the top and has the quick toggles, as usual.
There is a Quick Card pane, the leftmost one. It's quite similar to Today's page in iOS. It contains different cards with relevant information - recent apps, step counter, notes, calendar events, the weather, and favorites, among others. You can configure what shows up here, or you can disable this altogether.
The app switcher feels like it came out of iOS - apps are represented by appropriate thumbnails in the same manner, but there is an additional key for the Split Screen mode. MIUI 9 adds native support for multi-tasking via the new Split Screen feature. It allows you to launch two apps side-by-side. All native apps support it and, luckily, all third-party apps with support for any kind of split screen mode work flawlessly on MIUI 9 side-by-side view.
Themes are fully supported, and several are available out of the box. You can download more and change your wallpapers, lockscreen style, system icons, font, and sounds.
MIUI v9 also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps, and allows you to define the battery behavior of selected apps and applies restrictions only to the apps you choose.
MIUI also offers proprietary Gallery, Music, and Video player. If you are running on a Chinese ROM, then the Music and Video app will also allow access to local (paid) streaming services.
Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus is powered by the Snapdragon 625 SoC - the same in charge of the Redmi Note 4. Other companies have already switched to the Snapdragon 630 with newer and more powerful GPU, but Xiaomi is sticking to the previous generation for some reason.
The Snapdragon 625 is pretty familiar as it was the most popular SoC for mid-rangers throughout 2017. It has an octa-core Cortex-A53 processor and Adreno 506 graphics. Just like the Redmi Note 4, the 5 Plus may come with either 3 or 4 GB of RAM, depending on the integrated storage (32 or 64 GB).
As usual, we ran Geekbench to see how the 8xA53 processor does. Not that we didn't already knew by the whole bunch of phones we've tested to date. And the Redmi 5 Plus didn't bring any surprises, for better or worse. Its processor is as fast and as capable as the rest of the competition.
Higher is better
The Adreno 506 is painfully familiar, too, and we know it's capable of handling 1080p games rather well. The Adreno 508 inside the newer Snapdragon 630 chip (Moto X4, U11 Life) offers 30% performance boost, meaning the Redmi 5 Plus is trailing behind the most recent mid-rangers.
Higher is better
Finally, the most popular compound benchmark - AnTuTu - puts the Redmi 5 Plus on top of every other S625 phone, but, as expected, behind the S630 phones because of the gap when it comes to graphics punch.
Higher is better
Balanced performance, battery efficiency, cool chassis - that's what the Snapdragon 625 stood for. And it's mostly valid in 2018, too, it's just the new Snapdragon 630 is already here with a major graphic boost and it still manages to keep it cool.
For the first time in a long while Xiaomi is behind the competition in the bang for the buck race. Not upgrading the new Note's, sorry, Plus's chip from the previous generation is disappointing enough, but trailing in performance is even worse.
Then again, the 14nm Snapdragon 625 is still one of the most balanced SoCs out there and it easily gets the job done no matter the task at hand. Even under extreme pressure, the Redmi 5 Plus won't get nowhere near hot and it won't drain the battery as older chips did. And with the right pricing, not having the latest (mid-range) chip should be an easily chewable reality.