"The Mi 5 looks like a truly loaded smartphone and worth the long wait"
Xiaomi launched the much-awaited Mi 5 on Wednesday almost two years after the launch of its predecessor, the Mi 4 (review). In an interesting move, the launch was done in an event in Beijing followed by one at the MWC, marking the company’s first presence at Barcelona's annual phone fest. Xiaomi seems to have made a ton of changes in the new smartphone, or should we say smartphones, as the Mi 5 (first impressions) has been launched in multiple variants. Without further ado, let’s find out how the models differ from each other and the new stuff they offer as compared to their predecessor.
The Mi 4 was a good-looking device, but the Chinese giant seems to have taken it one step ahead with the Mi 5. The standard edition of the Mi 5 comes with a glass back, much like the Mi 4, but this time, it has been curved around the rear edges to make the smartphone easier to hold and handle. On the other hand, the Mi 5 Pro features a similar 3D back with curved edges, but uses much more durable ceramic instead of glass. Another new addition is the inclusion of a physical home button beneath the display which also houses a fingerprint scanner, much like the Galaxy series of Samsung smartphones. The Mi 5 variants have also become lighter and slimmer, tipping the scales at 7.25mm compared to the 8.9mm thickness of the Mi 4.
There’s a slight increase in the screen size of the Mi 5 and the Mi 5 Pro which measure 5.15-inches diagonally as opposed to the 5-inch screen found on the Mi 4. And while we would have loved to see a QHD panel in the new smartphones, the company has opted to stick with full HD resolution to offer better battery performance. Much like the Mi 4i (review) and a couple of others smartphones launched by Xiaomi in the previous year, the Mi 5 and Mi 5 Pro come equipped with the company’s sunlight display technology offering better readability in outdoor conditions. The high contrast ratio of 1400:1 is also appreciable as it offers deeper blacks and richer picture quality.
The Mi 5 and Mi 5 Pro are powered by the new Snapdragon 820 processor by Qualcomm. What’s interesting though is that the processor is clocked at 1.8GHz in the Mi 5 32GB variant as opposed to 2.15GHz in the Mi 5 64GB and Mi 5 Pro variants. For comparison, the Mi 4 packed a Snapdragon 801 processor under the hood. The Mi 5 Pro is also the first one from the brand to feature 4GB of RAM for enhanced multitasking and smoother performance. The other two devices come with 3GB RAM which is still impressive. The folks at Xiaomi were also touting the AnTuTu benchmark score of the new phones which was a staggering 142, 084. At this score, the handset seems to possess a ton of processing power, to say the very least.
The cameras found on Xiaomi’s phones never fail to impress with stunning picture quality and a plethora of features. While the optics department was taken care of by a 13MP camera at the rear in the Mi 4, the Mi 5 and Mi 5 Pro pack in 16MP cameras with 4-axis OIS and phase detection autofocus. Xiaomi left no stone unturned to tout its new OIS technology which seems to handle shakes better during photography. The front camera now has a lower megapixel count than the 8MP camera in the Mi 4 as it settles for a 4MP camera. That aside, the bigger pixel size at 2µm, and better processing should mean your selfies should turn out to be better.
As expected, the new phones run MIUI 7 which uses Android 6.0 Marshmallow as base. Surprisingly, the Mi 4 still runs KitKat, but should soon be updated to Marshmallow in the near future. The latest build of MIUI includes a new app called Mi Video Call along with other features. The app offers a variety of options including real time beautification and file sharing during calls.
In a stark contrast to Mi 4’s single-SIM capabilities, the Mi 5 and Mi 5 Pro pack in support for two SIMs. Other connectivity options include Cat 12 LTE, VoLTE, dual-band Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC.
The battery in the Mi 4 was an impressive 3,080mAh. Surprisingly, the one found in the new Mi 5 and Mi 5 Pro hold a little less juice at 3,000mAh. Xiaomi also boasted about the inclusion of QuickCharge 3.0 technology in the Mi 5 and Mi 5 Pro which is supposed to be 30 percent faster than the QuickCharge 2.0 found in the Mi 4. The new phones would supposedly be able to charge up to 83 percent after 30 minutes of charging which is truly remarkable. Combine that with the battery-saving features of Android Marshmallow and MIUI, and the new flagships should more than make up for the loss in battery capacity.
On the storage front, the standard edition of the Mi 5 will offer 32GB and 64GB variants, while the Mi 5 Pro would come featuring a mammoth 128GB of internal storage. Sadly, there is no room for memory expansion. On the plus side, the company has done away with the 16GB base model like the one offered with the Mi 4.
The Mi 5 has been priced at RMB 1,999 (~Rs 20,960) for the 32GB variant, RMB 2,299 (~Rs 24,106) for the 64GB variant, and RMB 2,699 (~Rs 28,300) for the 128GB Pro variant. Xiaomi has confirmed that the Mi 5 is coming to India, and we don’t expect much to change in terms of pricing when it is launched. The Mi 5 would be available in China from March 1st. On the other hand, the Mi 4 is already available across various ecommerce websites in India at Rs 14,999 for the 16GB variant and Rs 17,999 for the 64GB variant.