Xiaomi Mi5: The Flagship of 2016 – A preview !
Since the launch of its first smartphone in Mid-August 2011, Xiaomi Mi5 has evolved to become the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world only behind Samsung & Apple. It has quite easily overtaken established and successful smartphone makers like Lenovo, LG, HTC and the likes. And phone after phone, Xiaomi has only grown by leaps and bounds – its popularity ever increasing. Be it the Mi series or the Redmi series, the Mi Notes, MiPads etc., the entire smartphone user community awaits it with bated breath.
It’s been nearly two years since Xiaomi came out with its last flagship – Mi4 that was an instant super hit. True to its philosophy to launch a new flagship every 18-24 months, Xiaomi has finally showcased the new successor – Mi5 at the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona. The phone has been touted as being “Insanely Fast’ by Xiaomi’s VP – Hugo Barra.
Xiaomi has launched the Xiaomi Mi5 in three different variants with price ranging from 1999 CNY (INR 21000) to 2299 CNY (INR 28300) approximately. It is expected to start selling from March 1, 2016. The last 6 months has seen a lot of activity in this mid-segment with many other manufacturers notching up the heat with their own flagship smartphones. And not wanting to be left behind, Xiaomi has come with a befitting reply. Xiaomi has gone ahead and either upgraded or changed almost every thing on the Xiaomi Mi5 – be it the features, the design, the hardware used or the software. Xiaomi Mi5 even has the first ever front home button on any Xiaomi phone and guess what – it has a fingerprint sensor as well. The smartphone comes with a new MiUi Operating System based on the Android 6 Marshmallow. Xiaomi Mi5 will first be launched in China and then later in India. Other countries might follow but nothing concrete has been declared yet.
As mentioned earlier, Xiaomi Mi5 comes with three variants. The most basic one starts at 1,999 CNY (INR 21,000 approx.) and comes with 32 GB of memory and a clock speed of 1.8 GHz as well as 3D glass panel on the rear. The next version is priced at 2,299 CNY (INR 24,000 approx.) with 64 GB of memory and 3GB of RAM similar to the previous one. Lastly the premium version comes with a price tag of 2,699 CNY (INR 28,300 approx.) packs a superior punch with 4 GB RAM, 128 GB of storage space and a 3D ceramic rear panel.
Design & Build
According to reports, it took Xiaomi nearly 22 months to finalize and fine-tune the design of Xiaomi Mi5. It had to undergo a major overhaul of its design so that they can accommodate the Samsung Galaxy S6 like home button with the fingerprint scan unit and the iPhone like camera lens unit as well as to reduce the screen-to-body ratio. And that precisely makes many enthusiasts feel that the Xiaomi Mi5 looks more like an incongruous crossover between the recent flagships of Samsung & Apple.
The Mi5 is very light as well weighing in at 129 grams with the thickness (or rather thinness) at 7.25 mm. The copied curved edges on both sides along with the glass / ceramic rear panel looks from the Samsung Galaxy flagships also gives it a suave look. That being said, it might just turn out to be a fingerprint magnet due to the reflective glossy surface both at the front and the rear.
The Xiaomi Mi5 comes with a 5.15 inch Full HD screen (1920 X 1080 pixel resolution). It has extremely slim bezels on the sides, which actually can’t be differentiated on the black color version. It also has an in-house developed Sunlight display technology that optimizes its display in sun-lit outdoor conditions.
It has a healthy brightness of 600 nits. Overall, the display on the Xiaomi Mi5 goes beyond technical specifications, and an excellent body-to-screen ratio makes viewing pictures and other multimedia extremely pleasing.
Camera, Battery & The Fingerprint Sensor
The Xiaomi Mi5 houses a 16 Megapixel IMX298 Sony designed camera. Xiaomi has integrated its 4-Axis optical image stabilisation technology to ensure sharper and less blurred images when taking pictures in motion. Although on the front, it houses a 4 Megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture capable of wide-angle selfies. The camera has an intuitive and easy to use app associated with it.
It also houses a 3,000-mAh battery that is more than enough to keep the Xiaomi Mi5 going for a good length of time. The energy efficiency of the Snapdragon 820 as well as the Doze feature of Android Marshmallow also helps the battery life. The Mi5 also boasts of Quick Charge 3.0 and is expected to charge the battery up to 80-90% within an hour.
Xiaomi Mi5’s fingerprint scanner is incorporated within the home button (just like the iPhone). Xiaomi boasts of it being one of the fastest fingerprint scanner in any phone out there.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 comes pre-installed with the MIUI 7 interface which is based on the Android 6 Marshmallow OS. But what makes this OS standout from other OS’s is the absence of the app drawer. Any downloaded apps will appear on the home screen, where they can be grouped into folders, similar to how iOS functions.
Most of the features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, as expected, are ingrained in the MIUI so functions like Doze mode and granular app permissions are present here.
Xiaomi claims to have focused for 2 years on its software. And this shows in the new MIUI, which has matured a lot in recent years. The Mi 5 has five different default themes (many more available in the app store) and the ability to customise the capacitive buttons.
Hardware & Performance
Under its case, the Xiaomi Mi5 hosts a Snapdragon 820 processor running at 2.1 GHz (or 1.8 in the 32 GB version). This is supported by 3 GB of RAM in the 32 and 64 GB models while the 128 GB pro model hosts 4GB of RAM. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor is expected to ensure faster performance than the 810 and, above all, should put to rest, once and for all, the overheating as well as battery problems that have plagued the 810 on various devices over the course of last few years.
Although a thorough performance test, at a later date, will confirm just how smooth the experience is, one thing is certain: the device is fast. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 promises a 200 % increase in performance and 50 % decrease in the energy consumption. Alongside this new generation of Qualcomm processor, there is the highly acclaimed Adreno 530 GPU, which guarantees high quality graphics performance that gamers will surely appreciate.
The Mi 5 supports 4G+ connectivity as well as the new VoLTE technology on dual sim’s that is expected to guarantee better voice call audio quality.
All said and done, a more accurate picture of its performance in comparison to competing flagships can only be ascertained after it becomes available.
Although it is too early for any verdict, Xiaomi Mi5 has already started delighting everyone around. The Mi5 has an ergonomic & elegant single Body-on-frame design. It promises amazing performance stats due to its awesome Snapdragon 820 processor coupled with the mind-blowing Adreno 530 GPU. The new MIUI OS promises a high degree of options for customization. The fingerprint scanner as well as NFC capability propels the Xiaomi Mi5 in the leagues of Apple iPhone 6+ & Samsung Galaxy S6 and the likes adding a enriched & premium user experience. The device’s battery and camera are extremely promising at least on paper, but only future will confirm the extent of the Mi 5’s abilities.
Xiaomi has outdone everyone’s expectations and come up with an excellent flagship that is not only capable of comfortably competing with those seen from Samsung, LG and Apple but also out-classing & out-performing many of them. There is nothing that can stop this smartphone from world domination except that there lays the irony. The chances of Xiaomi Mi5 official release in Europe and the US are next to nil, if reports & statements from Xiaomi are believed. However, that still does not take away anything from the Xiaomi Mi 5, which is undoubtedly an amazingly excellent device.
Specifications as per GSMArena:
Here is The Verge‘s take on Xiaomi Mi5:
What are your thoughts on this beast of a smartphone known as Xiaomi Mi5? Let us know in the comments.