Xiaomi the 5th largest phone manufacturer In the world and owning 5% percent market share of smartphones around the world and being valued as the 2nd most valuable start up it has been a great run. With the launch of the Xiaomi Mi5 that is half the price of premium flagships from Samsung and LG with similar specs is this the next flagship killer that’s worth your money?
To kick things off the Xiaomi mi 5 comes in three different variants 32/64/128GB of onboard storage (non-expandable) with 3GB ram on the 32/64GB variants and 4GB of ram on the 128GB Pro variant. The phone is powered by The Qualcomm snapdragon 820 clocked at 1.8GHz for the base 32GB variant and a higher clocked processor in the 64/128GB variants at 2.15GHz. The snapdragon 820 is a 14nm processor and is a quad core CPU created on Qualcomm’s own Kryo architecture. The phones also comes with UFS-2.0 flash storage for higher read and write speeds.
Connectivity on the phone comes in the form of 4g LTE and VoLTE which should offer better call quality and cellular reception even in areas with low signal reception. It sports dual nano sim slots with dual standby. We have Bluetooth 4.2 and the latest Wi-Fi 802.ll ac with supports for dual bands as well. It also comes with NFC and an IR Blaster. The phone sports a finger print scanner upfront and also had USB type C reversible connector.
On the cameras, we have a 16mp rear facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture it’s a Sony IMX298 sensor, this time, around with Qualcomm’s DTI (Deep Trench isolation) technology that helps with the color accuracy of the images. Also, there is a dual tone led flash with phase detection auto focus. One more thing, though something new for smartphone cameras, it’s the four-axis optical image stabilization found in the Mi5 which should increase the overall stability of videos and still photography in low-light conditions. On the front, we have a 4mp Ultrapixel camera with a wide angle lens (for you self-portrait lovers out there).
The phone has a 5.15 inch 1080p IPS panel with a pixel density of 428 ppi. This display is a 16 LED display against the standard 14 LED displays found in other phones making for a more color accurate display that covers 97% of the NTSC color gamut. The display also has what Xiaomi calls a sunlight display that changes contrast in real time against just increasing the brightness on screens to make them more visible in bright lit conditions. The display offers 600Nits of brightness which makes it a really bright screen.
Powering all this is 3000mAh non-removable lithium ion battery that is coupled with Qualcomm’s Quick charge 3.0 that offers to charge speeds of up to 83% in an hour. This battery should be sufficient considering the Snapdragon 820’s power-saving capabilities and a comparatively lower resolution 1080p display.
The design of the phone takes cues from its predecessor the Mi-Note and improves upon it. The phone sports gorilla glass 4 on both the front and back panels that curve to the sides with the 128GB Pro variant having a 3D ceramic back panel which is a really hard material not the ceramic found on plates, It’s durable and resists any kind of abrasion really well—up to 8H on the Mohs hardness scale (steel is 4 to 4.5 for comparison, while a diamond is at 10). The phone weighs at around 129g.
Out of the box the Xiaomi mi5 comes with MIUI 7 Xiaomi’s own custom UI on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. MIUI is a highly skinned version of Android that strays pretty far from googles stock interface. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Its great when you get used to it. There is no app drawer and all apps fall on the home screen which needs a little getting used to and if you don’t this is Android just install a different launcher and you’re good to go. MIUI offers a lot of customization options like themes and button commands. Overall it’s a smooth experience that is quite different from what we’ve come to expect from Android devices regarding software aesthetics.
The xiaomi mi5 has been priced reasonably well at USD~261 for the 32GB, USD~300 for the 64GB and USD~352 for the 128GB which is to say a price of a mid range phone.
Launch in India:
The Mi5 launched yesterday in India which is the second market where the phone has released in the world. The launch showcased only one variant though the 32GB one with 3GB ram and the lower clocked processor at INR~25,000 (around $350). Sales start on April 6th on mi.com/in
So the Xiaomi mi5 is well-packaged device that has the latest specs and solid innovations and breakthroughs like the four-axis image stabilization and at price that is half of what its competitors are offering. This to me makes the Xiaomi mi5 makes for an alarmingly good phone for the price.