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Let’s talk about Xiaomi’s Mi5. Back in September last year, the rumours of a top end phone with modest pricing started filtering out of Xiaomi. The specs of this smartphone were so high-end it was being compared to the OnePlus 2. Mostly because of the pricing.

                                                                                                  photo: fr.ubergizmo.com

At that time, the Mi5 was expected to be released two months later in November. But I guess somebody in the marketing department looked into the tech crystal ball and figured the 2016 Mobile World Congress was a better place to launch the Mi5. I mean, what better place to launch Xiaomi’s latest and best than at the biggest stage which the MWC represents.

And finally, the Mi5 was launched at the just concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC). In a way, it was a stroke of marketing genius because now, the Mi5 is being mentioned in the same sentence with Samsung’s Galaxy S7. Not just the modestly priced OnePlus 2. And the best part, the Mi5 is still relatively cheaper compared to the Galaxy S7.

Except for a few things, the rumoured specifications in September turned out to be correct. One of the few notable difference is the size of the display. The rumours promised a 5.3 inch display. Xiaomi decided to shave a tiny bit off that to give the world a 5.15 inch 1080p IPS LCD display. And according to this hands on review, the viewing angles are very excellent even for an LCD display.

                      photo: gsmarena.com

As for the overall design, Xiaomi is attempting to do something different not only with the Mi5. Basically, they don’t want the tag of copycats. They want their phones to be unique and instantly recognizable. This, according to the company, is a big step in the direction of an exclusive seat amongst the best in the world. For that reason, the company expended a lot of resources on design. The final result is a 3D curved back of the Mi5. But the uniqueness would be lost in the presence of the curved Samsung Galaxy S7 edge though.

It is one thing to have unique designs, which can be taken care of by a very creative architect. But how do you achieve uniqueness in software. Here you can never go beyond the industry standard. The best you can do is to integrate the best into your device. And so it is with the Xiaomi Mi5. Under the hood is a collection of high-end specs. For instance the chipset used is the very modern Snapdragon 820 with variants that are differentiated by the size of the RAM and the internal storage. This would of course affect the prices.

The lowest price phone has an internal storage of 32GB and 2GB of RAM. While the higher priced device comes with an internal storage of 128 GB and a RAM of 4GB. This variation also extends to the speed of the Kyro core processors clocked at 1.8 GHz and 2.15 GHz respectively. All the models sport the Adreno 530 GPU.

For the cameras, the Mi5 has the new Sony IMX298 sensors which is good for fast auto-focussing. The primary back camera is a decent 16MP with a somewhat disappointing aperture of f/2.0. At the front the aperture is also a let down at f/2.0 with a rating of 4 MP. Obviously, Xiaomi did not intend this to be a camera-centric phone.

And still sticking with all other major flagships battery power theme, the Mi5 carries a 3000 mAh non-removeable battery. There is no information on talk time or stand-by time. But if the phone is to really rank with the best, these two features must also compete favourably with the best.

Though no definite date was announced for the release of the phone, hopefully, people are not going to wait too long before they start buying the phone. Next month is the earliest speculated date.

Full Specifications

Network Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
3G bands HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
4G bands LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 12(700), 13(700), 17(700), 18(800), 19(800), 20(800), 25(1900), 26(850), 27(800), 28(700), 29(700), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500)
Speed HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE Cat6 300/50 Mbps
Launch Announced 2016, February
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2016, March
Body Dimensions 144.6 x 69.2 x 7.3 mm (5.69 x 2.72 x 0.29 in)
Weight 129 g / 139 g (4.90 oz)
SIM Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Display Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.15 inches (~73.1% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels (~428 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
– MIUI 7.0
Platform OS Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820
CPU Dual-core 1.8 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo – Standart edition
Dual-core 2.15 GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6 GHz Kryo – other editions
GPU Adreno 530
Memory Card slot No
Internal 128 GB, 4 GB RAM – Pro edition
32/64 GB, 3 GB RAM – other editions
Camera Primary 16 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, OIS, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Features 1/2.8″ sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, panorama, HDR
Video 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, 720p@120fps
Secondary 4 MP, f/2.0, 1/3″ sensor size, 2µm pixel size, 1080p@30fps
Sound Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
Comms WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE
Infrared port Yes
Radio To be confirmed
USB Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Features Sensors Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Browser HTML5
Java No
– Fast battery charging: 83% in 30 min (Quick Charge 3.0)
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.265 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
Battery Non-removable Li-Po 3000 mAh battery
Talk time
Misc Colors Black, White, Gold, Ceramic