Xiaomi MI5, analysis: almost impossible to give more for this price

After almost two years without knowing about its high-end, the Chinese giant Xiaomi presented its new reference model, the Xiaomi Mi5, a few weeks ago. It did it with the already classic arguments of the company: great specifications at a very competitive price but with the counterpart of a distribution fully focused on its native markets, mainly China.

In Xataka we have already thoroughly tested the new Xiaomi Mi5, in its version with global ROM, and we will tell you below what we have found about the new Xiaomi smartphone that presses on the high-end but that each day has more and better competition right where for a few years it has wanted to reign and manufacturers with a presence in the west start with an advantage.

Xiaomi Mi5, main specifications

When they tell us about a Xiaomi smartphone, it is usual to think first of a very tight price and then of first-rate components if it is a model that plays against the rival high-end. We already told you that part of the secret of Xiaomi is that it is an expert assembler who manages to put together first-class components in a terminal. The technical sheet of this Xiaomi Mi5 that we have tested in Xataka makes it very clear:

Xiaomi Mi5, technical characteristics Physical dimensions 144.55 x 69.20 x 7.25 mm, 129 grams screen IPS 5.15 inch Resolution 1080p (428 dpi) Processor Snapdragon 820 (1.8 Ghz) // Adreno 530 RAM 3GB Memory 32GB (without microSD slot) Software version MIUI 7 on Android 6.0 Connectivity LTE Cat12 Europe compliant, VoLTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi ac, GPS Cameras 16 MP main (f2.0) with 4 axis stabilization // UHD Video // 4 MP secondary Battery 3000 mAh (non-removable) Quick Charge 3.0 Additional features Fingerprint reader / USB C charging Price From 365 euros (in Gearbest you can already buy it)

On paper, except perhaps the choice of a 1080p panel, the rest of the components of this Xiaomi Mi5 could perfectly be in the newest high-end of any manufacturer. It has even dared with USB Type-C charging. And all in a glass finish and with very successful dimensions, especially in weight.

It goes without saying that it debuts the Snapdragon 820 with a generous ration of RAM and part of the 32 GB of internal, although the mole of not having a microSD slot is there. And as for the camera, there are two elements to highlight: the stabilization of four axes and the use of the Sony IMX298 sensor with sapphire protection.

Video analysis of the Xiaomi Mi5

We begin our analysis of the new Xiaomi Mi5, recently put on sale, with a video review where you can learn in detail and visually how its design, its main features and see it working.

Incredibly light and comfortable but slippery

If the previous Xiaomi Mi4 already sported dimensions of scandal, the Asian manufacturer has given the do chest with the new Mi5 and it has become an incredibly light and comfortable handset. You don't even know you have it on you.

The Xiaomi Mi5 weighs only 129 grams despite not using plastic and having a very large capacity battery for its 5-inch screen

The Xiaomi Mi5 weighs just 129 grams. If that figure does not tell you anything, the Galaxy S6 that we found to be one of the lightest smartphones in our test (136 grams) is surpassed by this Chinese smartphone. And all this using materials such as glass, metal of the frames or a huge battery. If we add the thickness of 7.25 mm, the result is a 5-inch screen smartphone that is a joy in hand.

At 129 grams, the Xiaomi Mi5 seems to be hollow

To the touch it is also quite pleasant due to the use of glass on the back and the curved metal frame on the back, which greatly facilitates grip. However, that rear is one of the improvements that must be solved because it is only thanks to its small width that the Xiaomi is not on the ground all the time.

The glass on the back does not give us any grip, neither by texture nor by suitable frames, and it is enough to leave it on the hand or a sloping surface to see how it slides continuously. If we add a forceful vibration, we advise you to be very careful with where we leave the terminal because a call can cause considerable displacement of the equipment if the surface is very smooth.

The Mi5 design has three drawbacks: little personality, glass that looks like plastic and too slippery

Where the Xiaomi Mi5 is the best size is in hand, given its low height and width (very good in general Xiaomi with the frames), and it remains one of the 5-inch terminals that make it easier to use with one hand.

The version we have tested is the basic version with Gorilla Glass 4 protection glass, and both to the eye and to the touch, the sensation is of touching an ordinary plastic material. The counterpart is that it seems to me that in general we are dealing with a robust and well-built terminal that can hold up well over time.

Of the design it must also be said that it seems to me that it has little personality. Both front and rear curvature remind us of models from other brands. It is time that, beyond the logo, we can associate Xiaomi with our own design language. But it will be difficult if you want to leave China safely and maintain a more competitive price than rivals.

USB-C port and fingerprint reader as a novelty

In the frames we find all the connections that this Xiaomi Mi5 offers. The 3.5mm headphone port is on the top left, accompanying an infrared port that fits in with the ecosystem idea that Mi wants to achieve with her different products. There is a Mi TV, so this port and the suite for controlling the TV (and other equipment) make perfect sense on this Mi5.

The slot to include the SIM cards is located in the upper left part of the side frame, and it is a tray that we remove with the help of a tool, leaving access to a slot for two nanoSIM. Both are operational but one of them is only for voice.

The Xiaomi Mi5 debuts fingerprint reader on the home button, dual SIM and USB-C port, but completely forgets about microSD cards

On the opposite side is the power button and the volume control button, both with good travel and finish. However, it seemed to me that the volume situation on the power button on that side does not help us to manage the volume up and down with comfort. A pity because the Mi5 can be handled very solvent with one hand and if it had been placed on the opposite side it would have been much better.

If we go to the bottom of the frame we find the speaker, which is not stereo despite the fact that there are two zones by design (the left actually only has holes), but that is heard well, although without great fanfare. Regarding the sound, two notes: in the box we did not find headphones and this Mi5 comes without an FM radio, which we know that there are users who value it very especially.

Between those two fake stereo speakers is the charging port. Here Xiaomi has been brave and has put a USB type C port with fast charge. You already know what you directly gain reversibility but also that you will have to think about getting a couple more cables since in the box only one comes standard with the corresponding wall adapter. No microUSB adapter, by the way.

In the design of the Xiaomi Mi5 I want to stop at two important points. On the one hand we have the start button, stretched horizontally and of a physical type. A fingerprint reader has been placed in it, which is fast scanning our fingerprint and also identifying, although in this week of use with the Mi5 there have not been many successes the first time, something that has to be improved. The best thing about the fingerprint reader is that one click is enough to identify us and it is quite fast.

Flanking this start button we have two touch buttons, one to go back and another to go to multitasking (which is shown as icons in a row, something that quite misuses the entire screen although it gives us easy access with one hand to go switching between applications, as well as information on the free RAM that we have, one of those details that we like about Miui). There is no sign of them except for an LED that illuminates when necessary in each of them.

Xiaomi has glued the camera to the corner so much that it is very easy to partially cover it when we take the terminal in landscape mode to take photos

Already in the back is the camera, which with the dual LED flash and the Mi logo is the only thing we find on the glass back. Although I will talk about the quality of the camera later, there is a detail about it at the design level. The first is the one that seems most serious to me, and is nothing other than its excessively on the edge situation. It is literally in the corner, and it is easy enough to take the terminal in landscape mode to take photos and that the finger ends up hindering the shot.

On the other hand, the bulge of the camera does not exist, a good achievement of Xiaomi, and it has sapphire protection, so, a priori, and although that part is quite exposed, it should not cause us problems.

A bright screen with a trick

The Xiaomi Mi5 is not only spectacular at first sight for its design (something that is corroborated when we take it) but also when we turn on the screen. There we have a 5.15-inch IPS panel that we could perfectly find in a terminal with twice the price.

The screen of the Xiaomi Mi5 has a good color and full viewing angles, and the contrast is very correct. It does not reach AMOLED but it is quite spectacular. The resolution has been left by Xiaomi in 1080p, a good choice given that it offers us a pixel density of more than 420 dpi, which guarantees perfect visibility in terms of sharpness.

Another very good fact about the Xiaomi Mi5 screen is its brightness. They are more than 600 nits that allow a very good visualization outdoors even in direct light. Also the minimum brightness is excellent, and lowering in manual mode the brightness practically remains in total darkness. Auto brightness is reliable and fast, but slightly lower than in manual mode.

A detail that catches the attention of the Xiaomi Mi5 screen is that, at first glance, it seems to take excellent advantage of the dimensions. Almost. If you look closely, it is easy to see a 1.5 mm black frame that surrounds the entire panel, both on the sides and on the top and bottom. When the background of what we see on the screen is not black, that artificial border is in evidence and somewhat spoils the large screen that we have found in this Xiaomi Mi5.

The screen has, like the back, Gorilla Glass 4 protection and is laminated. In the strange case of the color of the screen does not convince you, there is in the configuration the possibility of changing profiles of temperature and saturation, but we keep the one that comes by default automatically.

Power and autonomy to stand out

Presented at MWC 2016, the Xiaomi Mi5 has been one of the first terminals this year to have chosen the latest and most powerful Qualcomm processor for its interior. Along with 3GB of RAM, the power with this Mi5 is guaranteed with the use of the Snapdragon 820, SoC with two Kyro cores at 1.8 Ghz and another two at 1.6 Ghz. As a GPU is the Adreno 530.

The evolution by not focusing on more cores and yes on efficiency is very welcome. Although the model we have tested is the basic one, we can improve the performance with an 820 to 2.15 Ghz in the 64 GB model, and go up to 4 GB in the exclusive version with 128 GB of internal and rear memory with a ceramic finish.

Nexus 6P (Snapdragon 810) Xiaomi Mi5 (Snapdragon 820) Galaxy S7 Edge (Exynos 8) Antutu 61623 110011 112920 Geekbench (Single / Multi) 1342 / 4778 2234 / 5412 2117 / 6063 Quadrant 23643 40032 54023

With last year's experience on the Snapdragon 810, we have been very vigilant in testing the Mi5's response when the highest benchmarks were required, using the camera or playing games. And although there is a logical warm-up, we can completely forget about excessive heat problems because we have not noticed anything outside of what we already find in other terminals when they are required to the maximum.

The Snapdragon 820 stops the race for the cores with excellent performance, efficiency and leaving behind the problem of overheating. Promising

In the day to day we have not had any problem of fluidity or delays with the Mi5 under Miui 7. The response to the actions is immediate, the multitasking works as it should and in games there is guaranteed performance.

The internal memory of series is of 32 GB, being able to choose models of 64 or 128 GB. But in all cases there is no microSD card slot, a little disappointment for the user. In the 32 GB model and despite the high customization and pre-installed applications by Xiaomi, the space available to the user is around 25 GB as soon as the equipment is turned on.

The Xiaomi Mi5 has WiFi ac and LTE Cat12 connectivity with compatible bands in Spain. In our case we have not had any configuration or connectivity problems, neither with classic operators nor with OMV.

Everything was in favor of the Xiaomi MI5 to stand out in autonomy and has not disappointed: without being a phablet it is able to easily overcome the day and a half of use being a very intensive user

If in performance the Xiaomi Mi5 more than complies, it does even better with autonomy. Its battery is 3000 mAh, which together with an efficient processor and the improvements in energy management of Android 6.0 have left us the smartphone that is not a phablet with more autonomy than we have tested and a reference to follow.

In the autonomy test of PC Mark has offered us one of the highest scores we have seen in our laboratory, above 11 hours. In real figures we have translated it into two days of autonomy with moderate use and easily over a day and a half even as a very intensive user of the terminal. And all this without using any type of energy management.

But it is not all. The immense 3000 mAh battery features fast charging courtesy of Qualcomm. In our test we have managed to reach the first 25% charge in just 15 minutes, reaching its full capacity in just over 90 minutes.

Miui 7: the opposite side of a clean Android

One of the peculiarities of Xiaomi terminals is their operating system. Yes, it is Android, but it does not seem too much. Not at least regarding the version on which the Chinese giant builds a fork or version that goes deep into the most used operating system in the world. Just the opposite that we find in the Nexus and its clean Android.

In the Xiaomi MI5 Miui 7 is released on Android 6.0. The customization is very powerful and leaves a lot of control in the hands of the user but in exchange for profoundly altering Android. Menus, default applications, notifications or options, among others, are the trademark of (China) and this implies that we find a host of native applications and services highly focused on China, the company's native market. And we have also come across alerts to use different third-party applications with which Xiaomi has agreements.

The Xiaomi Mi5 that we have tested comes by default with the global ROM, which means that we have two languages ​​by default: Chinese and English. It will be a while before other languages ​​have a place in the interface, although Xiaomi, given that part of its business is in the software and its layer on Android, has put a lot of difficulties in the latest version to install custom ROMs easily, something that it could be done in previous versions. Now the global ROM prevails absolutely, which from the outset does not come with Google services or the installed Play Store, and does not allow adding it in a simple or direct way.

Xiaomi knows that its priority is the Chinese local market and does not even facilitate having the Google Play Store

In addition, many of the applications or parts of the interface are still in Chinese, so it is not a smartphone that an average user will be able to use comfortably for now.

At Miui 7 we continue with the idea of ​​simplicity, flat design and a lot of customization. And also with the very frequent updates that are part of the company's DNA and a value appreciated by its followers. Users who like ROMs and fiddling with options will find themselves at ease, but not someone who wants to complicate their lives a little.

A promising camera

Xiaomi has never been cut off when it comes to showing off a camera. In this Xiaomi Mi5 has chosen one of the best sensors available on the market, the IMX298, a creation of Sony that has 16 megapixels of resolution but also interesting advances such as the phase defection approach and technology to avoid light pollution between pixels close. But the most mediatic has been the premiere of a stabilization that adds an axis to the usual three, which in theory should help us to get more spectacular videos and also night photos where you can play more with the manual controls without being shocked.

The Xiami Mi5's camera has great potential that it could take more advantage of if the company forgot its role as a pure assembler and applied work on its part.

With a processor beast, as we have seen, the Xiaomi Mi5 camera performs very fast in all facets. It is fast opening, focusing and shooting, as well as recovering between shots despite the 16 MP resolution thanks to the quality of the internal memory used by Xiaomi.

Taking photos we have found good catches, although slightly behind the best smartphones on the market. In scenes with good light, the detail that the processing resolves seems to us to be less than what we would expect from a 16 MP resolution, and we see how it suffers in scenes with a lot of dynamic range, where it is quite difficult to balance the shot to avoid either very dark or burned areas. . The HDR mode complies but only correctly, although it will fascinate those who prefer a smooth HDR and nothing exaggerated.

When the night scenes arrive, the Xiaomi Mi5 boasts a sensor but suffers with the spotlights and the processing has a lot of room for improvement. Here you can see again the excellent assembler that is the Asian manufacturer but what little it contributes to get the most out of it. A tip: among the camera options there are three designed to personalize the results of the photographs by varying the contrast, saturation and even sharpness.

On the interface, Xiaomi makes it easy to take pictures quickly but also to switch between modes. By default we have the simple shot where the most interesting is the possibility of changing the exposure of the point where we have focused tactilely with a kind of dial. Then we only find the controls to change from primary to secondary camera, to activate or not the flash, as well as to control the HDR mode (on, off or automatic) and access to the video mode.

If we slide to the left in the shooting area we find the filters that we can use in time, while sliding to the right we access the modes of use, where there are some options such as the timer, panoramic photos, audio recording or the call HHT (a special night mode for very low light scenes but with which we have not found substantial differences from the automatic one) and of course the Manual mode.

In this manual mode we can manage white balance, focus, exposure time and ISO (from automatic to 3200 ISO). Nothing in RAW mode. Of the good ideas that MIUI introduces on Android, here is one: the possibility of directly deactivating any option or mode that we put directly from the main interface of the camera.

In video mode, with the possibility of recording at 4K, we can take photos while recording, but that option is disabled by default and you have to go to the menu to have it. One detail that we liked is that we can pause the video recording at any time and continue later.

The quality of the video is worth it when we record at maximum resolution, but we have not seen a difference in normal freehand shots compared to smartphones with three-axis stabilization and there are even strange movements in all the recordings we have made in test. In any case, video recording is not among the best in the segment, and it suffers especially with the dynamic range, with heavily burned scenes and sudden changes in exposure that Xiaomi should also be able to better control.

See complete gallery »Xiaomi Mi5 samples (19 photos)

Xiaomi Mi5, the note and opinion of Xataka

It has taken more than 20 months but finally the most ambitious Xiaomi smartphone to date has come to light: the Mi5. In it we can identify and enjoy symbols that are already the house brand as an almost perfect choice of components that the company assembles with great mastery and of course a value for money that is unmatched in the current market, although it will depend on the extra expenses you have to pay to bring it to the West.

Excellent battery, big screen and fabulous dimensions are the merits of a MI5 with the best value for money on the market but also with the drawback of a complex distribution outside of China and an operating system completely focused on your local market.

In this Xiaomi Mi5 we highlight the most careful design, although it can be improved in the quality of the glass of the back and its grip, fabulous dimensions for its screen diagonal, and above all a good screen that exceeds outdoor performance and a battery that for The end makes us forget about the day of fair use on smartphones that are not phablets.

On the opposite side, we must mention its ambitious operating system, highly customizable but not suitable for all users. In addition, Xiaomi makes it increasingly difficult to avoid being trapped in its own ecosystem, fully concentrated in its local market and important revenue streams for the company associated with its MIUI. The camera also has room for improvement precisely associated with the way of being of a company in which it is necessary to assume both the advantages and the disadvantages of its way of being in the industry.


Design9.25 screen Performance9.5 Camera8.75 Software7.5 Autonomy9.25

In favor

  • Dimensions, especially weight, very accomplished
  • A camera with potential and at the height of the terminal
  • Bright display and outdoor visibility
  • Excellent autonomy more typical of a phablet
  • Great value for the price


  • MIUI 7 very focused on your local market and without Play Store
  • Improvable and slippery glass back
  • Camera processing can improve
  • Camera very close to the corner
  • No microSD slot to expand internal memory

The terminal has been loaned for testing by Gearbest. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises.

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