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Xiaomi Mi 5 Review: A Light Beast

After more than 17 months in development, Xiaomi Mi 5 was finally introduced at MWC in Barcelona this year. The approved successor to the very successful Xiaomi Mi 4 is, without question, the most powerful and elegant smartphone produced by the progressive company. Earlier this week, we have talked about the 10 details you didn’t know about the Mi 5 and now we come to you with a fully detailed review of this smartphone.

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Presented in three different versions – Exclusive, High, and Standard – Xiaomi Mi 5 is very impressive from both hardware and design perspectives. After all, this is the first Snapdragon 820-powered device to ship, and it’s not just Qualcomm’s advanced chipset and economical price that makes the Xiaomi Mi 5 a very competitive and competent smartphone. Xiaomi took its time and created a true hardware powerhouse. Let’s dive a little deeper and see what makes this smartphone so special.

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Specifications

Before we start with our review, please take a look at the detailed Xiaomi MI 5 specifications:

SoC

Snapdragon 820 Lite / Snapdragon 820
2x Kryo at 1363 / 1593 MHz

2x Kryo at 1804 / 2154 MHz

RAM

4GB LPDDR4 at 1333 / 1866 MHz

Storage capacity

32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB

Display

5.15-inch 1080 IPS LCD

PPI

428 PPI (pixel density)

Modem

2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 12 (Integrated Qualcomm X12 Modem)

Networks

TDD LTE B38 / B39 / B40 / B41

Primary camera

16 Megapixels (4608 x 3456 resolution) Sony IMX298

Secondary camera

4 Megapixels (2688 x 1512 resolution)

Battery

3000 mAh (11.55 Whr)

OS

Android 6.0 with MIUI 7

Connectivity

802.11 a/b/n/ac dual-band 2.4 & 5 GHz
BT 4.2, USB-C, GPS / GNSS, NFC

SIM

Dual SIM, NanoSIM, Dual standby

Dimensions

144.55mm Height x 69.23mm Width x 7.25mm Depth

129g weight (+10g for ceramic version)

Packaging

The package of the Xiaomi Mi 5 is pretty standard. It is a white box, with the company logo on the top side, displaying four different colors available.

click to preview a larger image

Inside the packaging, you will get the following items:

1x Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone

1x USB cable

1x Charger

1x User manual (written in English & Chinese language)

There are no earphones in the box, which means you will have to buy one separately.

Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone placed on top of its packaging

Xiaomi Mi 5 Design

With its recent high-tier smartphones, the Chinese upstart made a name of a proficient Apple copycat for itself, following Jony Ivo & Co’s design blueprints to a degree edging on the obnoxious. This time, Xiaomi development section came up with a highly original and elegant design of its own.

 

On the front side, there is a 5.15-inch display with capacitive buttons. Above the screen, there are earpiece, light and ambient sensor and front facing camera while while the speakers are located on the bottom side. On the back side, you can see the main camera with dual LED flash on the top and company logo bellow. On the left side, you’ll see the volume buttons while the power/lock button is located on the right side.

 

The Xiaomi Mi 5’s body has a glass back and a chamfered metal frame, while the exclusive edition comes with a smooth, uniform ceramic cover that is baked in 1500 degrees Celsius to attain twice the scratch toughness and resistance of sapphire. Ceramic material was used in OnePlus One and as much as it’s aesthetically appealing, the ceramic back of Mi 5 is a fingerprint magnet. Still, at just 4.55 ounces (129g) or 4.9 ounces (139g) if you get the ceramic version, this smartphone is remarkably light.

3 different versions of Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphoneThe Xiaomi Mi 5 is produced in three different versions – Exclusive, High, and Standard.

Xiaomi Mi 5 Display

Xiaomi company equipped the Mi 5 with a 5.15-inch, IPS LCD screen with 1080p-resolution. We like how the company chose a display diagonal that is friendly towards one-handed usage and an appropriate resolution that makes for sharp visuals. Because of this, the Xiaomi MI 5 offers faster 3D graphics performance, and it already beat the LG G5’s excellent benchmark score in AnTuTu.

Xiaomi Mi 5 held in hand, checking out the display of the device

Xiaomi Mi 5’s screen uses a 16 LED lamp technology, which helped Xiaomi to cover 95% of the NTSC color palette and to increase peak brightness output by 30% over its predecessor, Xiaomi Mi 4. The Mi 5’s new panel reaches a peak brightness of amazing 600 nits, which should be enough to make the screen readable under the intense light. On regular daily usage, this means the display performs staggering on direct sunlight. The Mi 5’s screen also offers 1500:1 high contrast ratio, that means the brightness parts of the image are up to 15 times lighter than the darkest, resulting in truer colors.

Processor / Ram Variations

At the heart of the Xiaomi Mi 5, you will find the Snapdragon 820 processor. Xiaomi manufacturers chose to use two different modifications of the Snapdragon 820 depending on the configuration and price options.

If you decide to get a cheaper version with 32 GB of storage, it will come with an MSM8996 Lite which is a lower-binned Snapdragon 820 whose Kryo cores can reach up to 1.36 GHz on the efficiency cluster and 1.8 GHz in the performance group. Moreover, the 32 GB version supports only LPDDR4 up to 1333 MHz. If you decide to go with two pricier options, the processing unit features the full 1.59 GHz / 2.15 GHz speed bins and memory that works at 1866 MHz.

We took the opportunity to test the power draw of the new Kryo cores on the Mi 5 and here are the results:

Approximate System Power – CPU Load & Per-Core Frequency

SoC

1 Core

2 Cores

3 Cores

4 Cores

Snapdragon 820
Kryo
at 2.15GHz / 1.59GHz

2055

3330

4147

4735

+1275
(2.15GHz)

+817
(1.59GHz)

+588
?(1.59GHz)

Kirin 950
Cortex A72
at 2.3GHz

1387

2255

3051

3734

+868

+796

+683

Exynos 7420
Cortex A57
at 2.1GHz

1619

2969

4186

5486

+1350

+1217

+1300

As you can see, there are some significant enhancements for Qualcomm and the Snapdragon 820 Kryo, which represents a reduction in power over the Snapdragon 808 and 810. At first sight, it looks like Qualcomm is not able to beat HiSilicon’s Kirin 950 regarding efficiency, although it looks like it will be able to show better efficiency than the Exynos 7420.

Camera

Xiaomi Mi 5 is one of the first smartphones to feature Sony's IMX298 camera sensor

Xiaomi Mi 5 is one of the first smartphones to feature Sony’s IMX298 camera sensor, whose perks include autofocus, phase detection, and DTI pixel-to-pixel isolation.

Instead of following the 12 Megapixels sensor with big pixels trend that is present among high-class Android smartphones, Xiaomi equipped the Mi 5 with a 16 Megapixels primary camera whose main differentiation is its 4-axis optical picture stabilization.

Checking out the quality of Xiaomi Mi 5 camera

Xiaomi’s Mi 5 is one of the first devices to stabilize on a rotational axis, in addition to the Y, X and Z coordinates. This stabilization is especially useful in low-light shooting conditions and enables making the shake-free, blurry images and videos. Xiaomi compared the Mi5’s OIS system with the one of the latest iPhone’s and the difference in effectiveness was nothing short of staggering.

Holding Xiaomi Mi 5 in hand while testing the quality of cameraWith a new Sony camera sensor, DTI pixel-to-pixel isolation and 4-axis image stabilization the Mi 5’s 16MP camera is full of potential.

The Mi5’s camera setup highlights a f/2.0 aperture which is neither too slow nor too fast, but rather standard. The camera has a dual-LED flash, and it supports 32 seconds of manual exposure while benefiting from a light improvement technology with the goal of delivering authentic colors. The main camera can take videos in up to fantastic 4k resolution while both cameras can record in 1080p or 720p depending on your needs. Here you can see some camera samples:

click on a thumbnail to preview a larger image

Storage Capacity

You can get Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone in three different versions. Frist, you can pick the cheapest version that comes with 32 GB of storage capacity. Next, you can have a bit pricier version with 64 GB of storage; if you are a person that requires a lot of storage space then we would suggest you to get the ceramic exclusive edition with 128 GB of space which also comes with 4GB of RAM unlike 2 previous versions that have 3 GB. Micro SD card lovers, you’ll get dissapointed; there is no support for your favorite storage enhancements.

Operating system

The Mi 5 is using Xiaomi’s MIUI 7 OS, and it features four system user interfaces: Rose, Ocean Breeze, Pink Blush and High Life.

Xiaomi 5 MIUI 7 themes

Another interesting feature is XXL Text, which brings the number of font sizes that are available in MIUI 7 OS to five different ones. There is also a new Child Mode, through which you can whitelist apps that can be accessed by kids, and also, you can mute app notifications directly from the lock screen.

Other features are:

  • Auto DND – when a device is paired with the Mi Band, it will automatically mute your smartphone when it detects that you are asleep.
  • Showtime – it allows you to record five seconds video so you can set it as a profile, which will show up when you call contact.

Connectivity

This device supports dual SIM standby, which means it can use both nanoSIM cards at the same time. Xiaomi Mi 5 has extensive network support, and it can be used worldwide.

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If you don’t have an unlimited data plan and want to conserve your smartphone battery you can always connect to the Wi-Fi. There are plenty of Wi-Fi networks supported like 802.11 b/g/n dual-band 2.4GHz and 5 GHz.

Additional Features

Xiaomi Mi 5 comes with a lot of interesting features

Some of the Mi 5′ interesting features are a variety of sensors, USB OTG support (ability to connect this smartphone to many external devices), waterproof, different Gesture motions and significant features like:

Quick Charge 3.0  – this feature is Qualcomm’s exclusive technology, and it can take your smartphone’s battery from 0-80 percent less than an hour. The Qualcomm’s technology is compatible with chipsets like Snapdragon 820, but for the quick charge function to kick in, you will need more than just a compatible chipset, and that will include a compatible charger.

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USB-C port –  Unlike the micro USB 3.0 connector, C-port has various benefits over the previous generation interface. First of all, it will be able to send more data, unlike the microUSB 3.0. While microUSB has a maximum bandwidth of 5Gbps, USB-C has a maximum bandwidth of 10Gbps.

GPS & Compass – The GPS and the Compass features will keep you on the right track ensuring you won’t get lost. On top of this, the Xiaomi Mi 5 can give you altimeter readings and atmospheric pressure so you can predict the weather, and it will let you know the temperature. This feature is everything you need for staying safe in the great outdoors.

Battery

Equipped with a non-removable 3,000mAh battery that is capable of fast charging, manufacturer says it can do 70% of recharge in just one hour. The adapter is capable of producing 12W, which is higher than the 10W chargers used in most devices.

Using a fast charge option on Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone

Pros & Cons

We have prepared a list of things that we loved about it and things that we didn’t like:

Pros

  • Excellent FULL HD display
  • Great camera performance
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Fast charging
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Battery life not on par with some other phones of the same price range
  • Smaller screen size compared to most flagships

Our opinion

When we take into the consideration all the pros, cons, specifications and our user experience over the past few days, we can say for sure that this smartphone is definitely better than its predecessor Xiaomi Mi 4 in every possible way. If you want to buy this smartphone, we have found best offers for you. Get Xiaomi Mi 5 while it is still on PRESALE from one of the following links bellow:

Get Xiaomi Mi 5 from banggood.com for $408.99 US / 2,668.6 CNY 

Get Xiaomi Mi 5 from gearbest.com for 408.89 US with coupon: MI532GB

Get Xiaomi Mi 5 from everbuying.net for 440.89 US / 2862Yuan 

Get Xiaomi Mi 5 from lightinthebox.com for $469.99/ 3051.27 Yuan 

Check out how Xiaomi Mi 5 performed on our scoring chart and felt free to express your opinions and don’t forget to comment the review on the comment section bellow.

Xiaomi Mi 5 Score:
  • Design - 8/10
    8/10
  • Display - 8/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 10/10
    10/10
  • Battery - 7.7/10
    7.7/10
  • Camera - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
8.4/10
User Rating 4.71 (7 votes)
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