Xiaomi MI5 review: Smartphone with impressive specs at a low price

Apr 29, 2016, 15:45 IST | Hassan M Kamal

If you're keen on a flagship device that doesn't burn a hole in your pocket, don't look beyond this beauty

When Xiaomi unveiled the Mi3 in 2014, it sold like hotcakes; the reason was simple — it offered premium features at half of the selling prices of comparable models. Its latest offering, the Mi5, doesn’t have the same price advantage, but it sports amazing specs and equally promising performance to get your attention.

Build and design (10/10): Weighing just 129g, the Mi5 is one of the lightest smartphones we have seen in a long time. It gets a glassy exterior, both at the front and the back, with a curvaceous build that reminds us of the Galaxy S7. The body, however, gets a brushed metal treatment along the sides with polished edges in the front, offering the Mi5 an almost bezel-less design. Protecting its beautiful exterior from scratches is Gorilla Glass 4 layered on top — all of which exudes a premium touch to the device. The glassy exterior, however, makes it slightly slippery, and thus, prone to accidental falls (we recommend buying a plastic case instantly, to protect it from unsavoury dents). The Mi5 gets a physical home button at the front which doubles up as a fingerprint reader; it has hidden control buttons on both sides that lit up on touch.

Display (8/10): The 5.15-inch Full HD (1920x1080) IPS display works across light conditions. We like how it looks and reads. There’s also a reading mode, which adds a yellowish tinge to the display to make it easier on the eyes. You can set it to be
automatically activated for specific apps. You can also increase or decrease the contrast to suit your needs.

Camera (9/10):
The 16MP rear camera is a treat to work with. Though the placement plays spoilsport at times, the Sony IMX298 sensor does a great job of capturing natural colours across light conditions. The Optical Image Stabiliser (OIS) is helpful, especially when taking pictures while in motion. We, however, believe it could do lot better with a slightly more powerful flash. We also like how the camera app allows you to switch between the rear and the 4MP front camera by just sliding across the surface. We, however, would have preferred more controls in the app as we saw in the Vivo V3Max or as seen in the Windows Lumia phones. The front camera seems to have been better programmed to capture well-lit images across light conditions without overexposing, something we will look forward to while taking selfies.

OS and User ExpErience (8/10):
The Xiaomi Mi5 runs MIUI 7.2.2 on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. We like how the MIUI makes recent notifications and quick settings available on the same pull-down menu. The menu animations are swift, and the built-in apps like Security Manager and Scanner are useful additions. But the most important change that users would enjoy is the upgraded security and privacy in the OS, which includes built-in encryption, and a new privacy setting that makes it compulsory for apps to seek permissions to use camera, recorder, messages etc, after installation.

Connectivity (9/10):
The Mi5 is a dual-sim smartphone with support for 4G LTE on both cards with VoLTE. It gets dual Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and support for 2G and 3G cellular networks. The device also gets an infra red sensor at the front to help control your appliances.

Battery (9/10):
Powered by a 3,000mAh battery, the Mi5 manages to last you an entire day of regular usage (with Wi-Fi on at all times and on 4G LTE network) and little more too. Needless to say, you are less likely to run out of juice. But even if you do, you can rely on its Quick Charge technology to boost the power from 0 to 100% in an hour and half (any 2A power source should do).

Hardware and Performance (9/10): The brain behind the Mi5’s superb performance is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC with Adreno 520 GPU and 3GB RAM. Whether it’s multi-tasking, gaming or any other activity, we faced no crashes at all. The Mi5 ran smoothly on all occasions without any incidents of over-heating. However, there was one occasion when the fingerprint scanner stopped working. Resetting the device, however, solved the problem. The fingerprint sensor sensor, however, is quick to respond, and can store upto five fingerprints. Xiamoi has made another important upgrade in the Mi5 and that is offering a 32GB internal storage with UFS 2.0 standard, the latest in eMMC, which makes transferring files to and from the USB storage real quick. Even though it’s not been the tradition with Xiaomi’s flagship devices, we would have preferred an SD card slot in the Mi5. Lastly, still no headphones in the pack.

Overall rating
The guide Verdict: What’s an ideal phone under Rs 25K? Xiaomi’s Mi5 is the only answer at the moment. The device not only looks gorgeous, it also beats most of the high-end models hands down with its amazing specs and reliable performance. And that you get Android Marshmallow makes it more likeable.


DISPLAY: 5.15-inch 1920x1080, 420ppi
PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC
MEMORY: 3GB RAM, 32GB internal
CAMERA: 4MP (front), 16MP with flash (rear)
CONNECTIVITY: GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G and 4G  (hybrid sim)
PRICE: Rs 24,990
Available on: MI.com

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