Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, Mi TV 4 prices up: Should you buy at new rates?

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Chinese electronics manufacturer on April 30 issued a statement confirming that it was increasing the prices of smartphone and Mi LED TV 4 (55-inch). XiaomiGlobal Vice-President Manu Kumar Jain confirmed that the price revision was on account of the recent changes to the and a depreciation in the value of the Indian rupee.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro was launched in India in two RAM/storage variants – 4GB/64GB and 6GB/64GB – priced at Rs 13,999 and Rs 16,999, respectively. The price revision is applicable only on the 4GB/64GB variant, which will now cost Rs 14,999. The Mi TV 4, on the other hand, will now get dearer by Rs 5,000 and cost Rs 44,999.

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Xiaomi, however, clarified that that it would honor all its pre-orders for the Redmi Note 5 Pro placed via Mi at the original price of Rs 13,999.

claims that it has been getting a huge demand for the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Mi LED TV 4. But since its local , the company is having to import a significant amount of PCBAs to continue manufacturing the products for meeting the demand.

The recent changes to the tax structure for PCBA imports, in addition to the rupee's depreciation by 5 per cent since the beginning of the year, have resulted in a significant increase in production cost, necessitating a price revision to continue manufacturing the products.

Why the price revision?

In a bid to boost local manufacturing under the government's 'Make in India' initiative, the Central Bureau of Excise and Customs (CBEC) imposed a 10 per cent import duty on key mobile manufacturing components, including PCBs. The notification came soon after the government took the decision to impose a 20 per cent basic customs duty (BCD) on fully built mobile phones, 10 per cent of chargers, 15 per cent on LCD panels, 20 per cent on lithium-ion batteries and 15 per cent on chargers, adapters, battery packs, wired headsets, receivers, keypad, antenna, side keys and USB cables. The changes into import duty tariffs on key mobile manufacturing components came into effect from February 1. This was part of the government’s phased manufacturing programme (PMP).

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… but has PCBAs in India. Why the price revision then?

Xiaomi, among the top smartphone players in India, started assembly of smartphones in the country in 2015 and had two manufacturing units in partnership with Foxconn. The company has set up three new smartphone manufacturing units in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, along with a facility for printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing in India.

However, the PCB manufacturing unit would be completely operational only by the third quarter of this year, therefore the company has to import PCBs from China to continue manufacturing enough products to meet the demand.

"We are committed to manufacturing in India. PCB is 50 per cent of the value of a phone… By Q3, all Xiaomi phones made in India will have PCBs that are locally assembled," said Xiaomi Global Vice President,

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Is the Redmi Note 5 Pro a good buy at revised price?

Redmi Note 5 Pro specifications and features

The Redmi Note 5 Pro was the first global device powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, which is an octa-core SoC built on 14 nanometre (NM) process. The phone boots MIUI 9, which can now be updated to MIUI 9.5. The Android-based customised operating system looks neat and the phone keeps the thermals in control while using power-intensive tasks for extended hours. The phone uses a 12-megapixel sensor sourced from Sony in combination with a 5MP sensor sourced from Samsung together to deliver refined performance. However, because the secondary camera in the Note 5 Pro is not telephoto lens, the 2x zooming capabilities are missing. On the positive side, the camera boasts portrait mode, powered by some sort of artificial intelligence. On the front, there is a 20MP selfie camera assisted with LED flash. The front camera also features the portrait mode, which utilises company’s AI algorithms to create the bokeh effect for artificial blurs.

However, at Rs 14,999, the Redmi 5 Pro seems a little overpriced, considering the fact that other brands are offering similar proposition at lower price tags.

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Other budget smartphones to look out for

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer Asus on April 23 made a global debut of the Zenfone Max Pro M1 in India. The budget smartphones comes in two variants – 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB storage & 4GB RAM and 64 GB of storage. The company has priced the base model at Rs 10,999, and Rs 12,999 for the top-end variant.

Asus has also confirmed the 6GB RAM variant, priced at Rs 14,999, which will go on sale later. Designed for Indian consumers, the smartphone boasts the stock Android Oreo 8.1, a modern 18:9 aspect ratio screen, dual rear cameras, and a mammoth 5,000 mAh battery.

The phone sports a 13-megapixel and 5MP camera on the rear and an 8MP camera on the front. The camera is powered by the Snapdragon camera app, which is not as polished as the camera app found in ZenUI, Asus’ proprietary customised theme based on Google Android. However, the app has been custom-tuned to make it easier to understand and use.

The Zenfone Max Pro M1 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 system-on-chip (SoC) and boots stock Android Oreo 8.1 operating system out of the box.

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Honor 9 Lite

The Honor 9 Lite sports a premium glass design, dual-camera set-ups on the front and rear, and a futuristic 18:9 aspect ratio screen. In terms of specifications and features, the Honor 9 Lite looks like a heavy contender in the budget smartphone segment

The Honor 9 Lite is powered by Kirin 659 system-on-chip – the octa-core processor designed and developed in-house by Huawei and supporting some sort of software-based artificial intelligence wizardry. The processor is mated with Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 operating system, based on the Android Oreo build.

Starting at Rs 10,999 for the base model with 32 GB internal storage and 3 GB RAM, the Honor 9 Lite offers all-round performance with almost no areas of weakness. The phone offers a premium design, compact form factor, dual-camera set-ups on the back and front, and a futuristic 18:9 aspect ratio screen.

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