Xiaomi Mi5 Review

Reviewed by Wafiur Rahman
Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Xiaomi Mi5


China’s rising favourite smartphone brand is making waves all across the world and they are back with Mi5, the sequel to the popular Mi4. While this image has certainly helped Xiaomi sell a lot of phones, it’s also made it harder for the company to make a serious impact on the premium segment in Bangladesh, thanks to global brand leaders such as Sony, Samsung or even local bigwigs such as Symphony or Walton.


The Mi 5 is Xiaomi’s most expensive offering yet, and signals a break away from the “budget” image. With top-end specifications that take on the Galaxy S7 at nearly half the price, the Xiaomi Mi 5 has the potential to change the mindsets of premium buyers.


The first step to making a premium smartphone is making it look and feel like a luxury item. Xiaomi somewhat succeeded in doing that with the Redmi Note 3, and has done it again with the Mi 5.


What it has also managed to do is set the two devices apart significantly, and the Mi 5 has a design and build that is patently different from the much more affordable Redmi Note 3. It feels suitably premium, and does not let its mid-range pricing affect that in any way. It’s also extremely light at 129g, and you’ll definitely feel the lack of heft in your hands.


The screen of the Xiaomi Mi 5 is a 5.15-inch full-HD IPS LCD affair, with an impressive pixel density of 428 pixels-per-inch, and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. Although other flagship devices sport higher-resolution 1440p screens, Xiaomi explains that in order to keep the thickness of the screen – and the overall thickness of the phone – low, it was necessary to limit resolution to full-HD.


There’s also 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, support for VoLTE, NFC, an infrared emitter, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 compatibility.  It also comes with MIUI 7 based on Android 6.0. Android’s typical look and feel is missing, since MIUI is a completely different user interface which follows its own rules of design and function. Although it’s single-layered, it’s fairly neat and well organised.


The Xiaomi Mi 5 has a 16-megapixel primary camera with a dual-tone LED flash, and a 4-megapixel front camera with bigger, 2-micron pixels. The rear camera is capable of shooting video at up to 4K, while the front camera can shoot full-HD video at 30fps. There is also four-axis optical image stabilisation for the rear camera, which helps immensely when taking quick shots and videos.


Xiaomi’s camera app is easy enough to use on the face of it, but has some particularly annoying shortcomings as well. Toggling between stills and video is quick and easy, as is controlling HDR, flash and the camera switching. Swiping from the right brings up the filters, while swiping from the left shows the various modes, including timer, panorama, manual and more. You can also access settings from here, including the resolution and shutter controls. To access settings for video, you have to first switch to video mode before repeating these steps.


Powered by the Snapdragon 820 SoC, the Xiaomi Mi 5 is fantastic when it comes to performance. We did not face any issues with lag or stutter, and everything from unlocking the phone to opening up apps is quick and snappy. Even graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming and watching videos are easy work for the phone.


However, the Mi 5 does tend to heat up a bit when subjected to heavy use, and charging using a Quick Charge compatible charger causes significant heat at the back of the phone. RAM usage also tends to be on the higher side with about 1.5GB of RAM in use even right after a reboot, but with a total of 3GB available this shouldn’t pose any problems.


The phone has a 3000mAh battery that ran for 13 hours, 5 minutes in our video loop test. Even in ordinary use, the phone would easily last through the day despite the screen brightness being on the higher side and constant 4G connectivity. This is good for a flagship smartphone, helped indeed by under-clocking the SoC, without any major performance compromises.


Courier’s Verdict – Xiaomi may be better known for its budget smartphones, but with the Mi 5 it has shown that it is more than capable of building a competent premium device as well.

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