This ‘budget specialist’ image has certainly helped Xiaomi sell a lot of phones but it has become a bit difficult for the company to sell premium segment smartphones in India now. But the company’s second smartphone launched in 2016 is a direct message that the company wants to create a market for premium smartphones in India. Mi 5 It is the most expensive phone from Xiaomi till date and it sets Xiaomi apart from the ‘budget’ image. This phone with all the top specifications Samsung Galaxy S7 ,review) is available for almost half the price. The Xiaomi Mi 5 has the potential to change the mind of premium buyers. Today we will review the Xiaomi Mi 5 and find out how well this ‘budget flagship’ lives up to the expectations.
look and design
Xiaomi has done a great job on the design and design of the first Redmi Note 3 and now the Xiaomi Mi 5. The special thing is that from the budget smartphone Redmi Note 3, the company has made the flagship smartphone Mi 5 with a completely different design and style. The phone feels like a premium smartphone and the build has not been compromised due to its mid-range. The phone is also very light and its weight is just 129 grams.
The Mi 5 will clearly show a glimpse of Samsung’s A and S series smartphones, especially Samsung Galaxy A8 (review) of. The edges of the phone and the curved rear are exactly the same and the physical home button on the front and the thin border around the screen are also the same.
The front camera, proximity sensor, LED indicator and earpiece are placed on the top side of the phone while the Mi logo is in the top left corner. There are capacitive buttons along with the home button. Both capacitive buttons are backlit when touched. Apart from this, the home button is also a touch-sensitive during the use of the phone, which can be switched as per your convenience.
The entire frame of the phone is made of metal except for the plastic antenna line at the top and bottom. The dull finish along with the metallic look enhances the look of the phone and its reflective edges make it look more beautiful. The power and volume buttons are on the right while the dual-SIM tray is on the left. The 3.5mm socket and infrared ammeter are at the top and USB Type-C support and grille are at the bottom. There is a speaker in the right grill while the microphone is given in the left grill.
The rear of the Mi 5 is a glass panel with curved edges like the premium smartphones from Samsung. The rear panel is also reflective, however, its surface is made of grim magnets and will need to be cleaned regularly. Though the rear panel doesn’t need to be removed, the small gaps visible at the edges suggest that it can be pulled out easily. The review unit we got was the white color variant but we feel that the black color variant of the phone looks more beautiful.
Xiaomi Mi 5 sports a 5.15-inch full-HD IPS LCD display with a density of 428 ppi. There is Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. Although other flagship smartphones have a 1440-pixel high-resolution screen, Xiaomi says, it was necessary to limit the screen thickness to the full-HD resolution screen in order to make the phone thinner. The display is very sharp and we did not see any lack of detail in it. The screen of the phone is very bright and due to the highest brightness, it can be used easily in sunlight.
Specifications and software
Xiaomi Mi 5 is the first smartphone officially available in India with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. And along with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, it is one of the most powerful devices available in the market that you can buy today.
The Mi 5 smartphone comes with 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, VoLTE support, NFC, an infrared emitter and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology. Our review unit was equipped with Quick Charge 3.0 technology but we have been told that the Mi 5 sold in India will be equipped with Quick Charge 2.0. Even with 2.0 support charger, this phone gets charged in 90 minutes.
Apart from this, this smartphone has been given Wi-Fi 802.11n / ac, Bluetooth 4.2, dual SIM connectivity with 4G support, 3000 mAh battery and USB Type-C port for connectivity and charging. The drawback of the phone is the lack of expandable storage. The phone does not support microSD card, so that the user will get 32 GB inbuilt storage only. However, the Mi 5 is also available in China in 64 GB and 128 GB variants. But these variants are not being sold in India at the moment, nor has any information been given about their sale in the future.
Xiaomi Mi 5 comes with MIUI 7 on Android. It is single layer but completely clean and well organized. The icons and menus are well designed and certainly give a much better experience than the user interfaces provided by other phone makers in the recent past. The phone also gets frequent updates to the user interface. Although the user interface is not like stock Android, it definitely has a better UI.
With the many options and controls in the Settings app, you can set up the Mi 5 to suit your needs. The phone gets detailed information about battery consumption and storage and many things like capacitive buttons and notification lights, audio enhancement, equalizer tool for headphones can be controlled according to your own. Apart from this, it can also be brought to one-handed mode by toggling it with the home button.
However, we could not see apps like App Permissions and Data Usage Statistics in the Settings app, but we were able to see these apps in Xiaomi’s Additional Security app. With this app, important tasks like fingerprint/pattern lock, configure battery profile, virus scan, SMS blocklist and clean unwanted data can be done in selected apps.
One of the most important features of the phone is the fingerprint sensor, which can configure up to five fingerprints. This fingerprint can not only unlock the phone but also activate and deactivate child mode, secure file explorer and select other apps. The Mi 5’s fingerprint sensor is the most accurate and quick-witted of all the fingerprint sensors we’ve seen so far.
Xiaomi Mi 5 has a 16-megapixel rear camera with dual LED tone. The phone has a front camera of 4 ultrapixels. The rear camera can record 4K video while the front camera can record full-HD video at up to 30 fps. There is also optical image stabilization for the rear camera, which helps in capturing quick pictures and videos.
Xiaomi’s camera app seems very easy to see once in a while but it also has some drawbacks. Toggling from stills to video is easy. The Camera app has options like HDR, Flash and Camera Switch. Apart from this, many modes like timer, panorama, manual can be seen on swiping right, while swiping from left side can be seen. Settings can also be accessed from here to control the resolution and shutter. To access the settings for the video, one has to first go into the video mode and then repeat the same process.
One drawback that we noticed is that the slow-motion mode isn’t available when shooting at full-HD or 4K resolution. Slow-motion video shooting can be done if you go to the setting and switch it to 720 pixels.
Talking about the camera, we liked its performance very much. Photos come out bright, colorful and very sharp in regular light. However, on zooming in, you can see a lack of detail. Talking about focus, there is not much lack in it. And pictures are good even in dark light. You will get great quality pictures when the camera is put on Auto-HDR mode.
Photos are colorful and good to see even in low light but the detailing is lacking. Close-up shots and video quality is also fine. Good results are available on 4K video recording. Selfies are good even in low light. 4-Ultrapixel camera can take better pictures with bigger pixels. iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy S7 Not like the quality but Mi 5 can definitely be called a good option for smartphone photography.
Equipped with Snapdragon 820 processor, the performance of Xiaomi Mi 5 was amazing. We did not face any problem from unlocking the phone to the quick opening and closing of the app. It is also easy to play heavy games and watch videos in the phone. However, the Mi 5 does heat up a bit while doing serious work. And even while charging, a slight heat can be felt on the rear of the phone.
In our benchmark test too, the Mi 5 showed great numbers.
In our video loop test, the 3000 mAh battery provided in the Mi 5 lasted for 13 hours and 5 minutes. At the same time, in normal use, the phone lasts for the whole day despite high screen brightness and continuous 4G network. On cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity, the audio quality coming from the phone’s singer speaker can be said to be decent.
Xiaomi may be known for making budget smartphones, but by making Mi 5, the company has shown that it has the ability to make premium devices as well. Although many people may get upset with its price and Xiaomi making it a premium device, but we feel that now is the time to move on and the company needs to give it the respect it deserves. Xiaomi Mi 5 is a better flagship smartphone at this price point.
All things good can be said in the Mi 5 like experimental design, great performance, better camera quality and excellent battery life. But the biggest drawback of the phone is that it does not come with expandable storage and in India it comes with only 32 GB storage variant. Even with the light weight of the phone, you may feel that this phone is not made for serious tasks like other metal body phones. Apart from this, another big thing is that there is a flash-sale model which means that buying the Mi 5 can be a bit of a hassle.
If you want better material quality and design and design and premium features and brands by spending more money, then you can go for Samsung and other brands of smartphones. But at Rs 24,999, Xiaomi Mi 5 is a great smartphone in terms of price and features. If you manage to buy the phone in the flash sale then definitely Xiaomi Mi 5 will not disappoint you.