Xiaomi is planning to shed its budget brand image and become a premium seller is clear with their new flagship the Mi5. The launch comes after their popular Note series Note 3 device , which is a hit with the masses. Let’s have a look if this affordable flagship could be your next phone ...
Design, Display & Hardware
The Mi5 looks like a bezel less ,edge to edge screen but there is a very thin black border and the dull metal edge finish makes the phone stand out with the glass panel at the back which is curved on the inside at the edges. The Front of the phone has the Mi logo on the top left corner, and the camera next to it , LED sensor and proximity sensor with the beautiful 5.15 inch HD IPS LCD display @428 ppi and Gorilla Glass 4 screen . The auto brightness is just about right but in the sunlight you’ll have to manually increase to get a crisp , legit screen. There’s a USB type C port at the bottom edge surrounded by speaker grills while the top has the 3.5mm jack towards the left and an infrared sensor at the centre. The back has the 16MP camera and dual tone flash to the top left corner and doesn’t protrude out which is great. The left edge of the phone has the dual SIM slot (nano / 4G) while the right has the power/ lock button and the volume rockers. The capacitive / dot touch buttons on the front can be customised for back / recent apps / etc which are backlit and visible only when tinkered with while the home button has the fingerprint reader. Xiaomi has gone all out on the specs on their flagship with Snapdragon 820 SoC paired with Adreno 530 GPU with 3GB RAM & 32GB ROM ( non expandable) with again 64GB/128GB options available in China. The phone is pretty lightweight at 129 gms (7.25mm thick) and available in 2 colors white and black (looks better!) and talks of a ceramic variant coming soon. The phone support quick charging 3.0 but ships with a quick charger 2.0
The Mi5 runs MIUI7 atop the Android Marshmallow 6.0 that is very different to native Android.It’s good for a change but can’t see myself using this UI forever. It has some nifty tricks like the Showtime that shows MIUI users an animated selfie when you call them instead of a boring display picture. Another fancy feature is being able to copy OTPs received by SMS from the notification panel itself without going to the SMS inbox and searching for it . You can download any other apps and themes from the Mi Store (love them!) which is different from the Google Play store. The fingerprint sensor can take upto 5 imprints and works only when pressed down instead of the usual touch or swipe. I’d say it was accurate 80% of the times.
The front camera is a 4MP f/2.0 aperture shooter than can take full HD videos upto 30fps. Selfies would not be an issue but could’ve been better. Honestly, Xiaomi has never been famous for their borrowed cameras , no point complaining! Rear cam is a 16MP Sony IMX298 sensor with f/2.0 can shoot 4k videos.The camera UI is same like in the MIUI 6 with filters option on a left swipe and camera modes like panorama ,HDR , Tilt shift etc on a right swipe. The phone also has a 4 axis OIS embedded which is a great addon when taking fast shots or videos. Slow motion videos can only be recorded at 720p though. Photos from the rear camera come out great in daylight and HDR mode is one of the best on any phone without causing any unnecessary colour overdose.Low light photos are kinda grainy which was totally unexpected considering the Sony sensor ! . VIdeos in 4k are great and smooth at 30fps. Overall, a good everyday camera.
Gaming & Multimedia
The Mi5 has a non removable 3000 mAh battery which supports quick charge 3.0. On heavy usage when I had Skype , YouTube , music , Asphalt 8 ( may fav) 4G and Wi-Fi the battery lasted close to 10 hrs which is very impressive. Charges from 0 to 100 in just over an hour. I had 10 Chrome tabs, 3 games (Asphalt 8, Fifa 15 & Flappy bird ( ya I still have it! )) , 7 other apps open all at once and the 3GB RAM on the Mi5 could still handle all of it without any glitches. Speaker isn’t too loud but performance is good with earphones. Call quality is good but sometimes the speaker gets warm and so does the phone during charging. AnTuTu scores are massive 105755 which is just below the S7 that is a much better spec’d device.
At this price point, Xiaomi is challenging the big brands in the flagship segment. If expandable memory and customised UI isn’t your concern, this is a great device in this price segment.There are no real flagship in this budget so phones are priced either lower (2015 flagships) or higher (2016 flagships) with the exception of Yutopia but it had the 810 processor. If you can’t wait any longer , go for it ! It’s usually available only in flash online sales but check out your nearest CeX store to get it without any hassles!
My rating is 4/5.
Xiaomi Mi5 at CeX
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