Meet Xiaomi’s new Mi 5 – A flagship killer from just S$429

Xiaomi has always made waves since the Mi3 for their excellently valued devices, able to pack specs that equaled or even surpassed their more established rivals, but at prices that undercut them by over 50%. Well, guess what? They’ve done it again. Meet the Mi 5.

Just under an hour ago, Xiaomi announced the Mi 5 hot on the heels of its mid-range option, the Mi 4s. Packing the latest-and-greatest from Qualcomm, the Mi 5 has internal specifications that go toe-to-toe with the recently announced LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Sony’s Xperia X line.

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In terms of the design of the Mi 5, Xiaomi hasn’t tinkered too much with what we saw with their previous products. It features a gently curving back, similar to their Mi Note, and shares a lot in terms of design with the phablet as well. There are three versions of the Mi 5. The highest version, Mi 5 Pro, has a 3D ceramic rear while the other two variants have 3D glass. All three are also ridiculously light, with the Pro weighing 139g and the other two variants weighing 129g.

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The Mi 5 has been bestowed with a 5.15 inch, Full HD (1080p) IPS display panel like what we have seen in the G5 and S7, and features severely trimmed bezels which give it a very svelte look. According to Xiaomi, their new Sunlight Display technology promises contrast adjustment on a per-pixel level to ensure better visibility under the sun. Colours are claimed to be more vibrant, and the brightness too has been increased to 600 nits.

Right below the display is something we have not seen yet in the flagship Mi line — a physical home button that is very reminiscent of the one Samsung has included in the S7. Similar to the Korean flagship, the Mi 5 also uses it to house the fingerprint sensor.

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Powering the Mi 5 is the newest generation flagship System on Chip (SoC) from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 820, also seen in the Xperia X Performance, Galaxy S7 and LG G5. Accompanying the S820 is 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and up to 128GB of storage in the Mi 5 Pro. Lower end models get 64 and 32GB of internal storage respectively. All three variants will also have a micro-SD card slot.

In terms of connectivity, technologies like 3x Carrier aggregation have allowed the onboard 4G+ or 4G Advanced to become capable of theoretical Cat.12 LTE speeds of up to 600 Mbps. VoLTE is also included. NFC is now also smarter with card virtualization and write mode. Inclusion of the S820 also means that the Mi 5 supports Quick Charge 3.0 for its 3000 mAh battery.

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The camera has also received an impressive boost with the new Sony IMX 298 sensor, allowing the Mi 5 to shoot at 16MP and f/2.0. That’s not all — the Mi 5 camera also has 4-axis optical stabilisation (OIS) which will greatly benefit low-light photography. Also seen phase-detection autofocus technology, and deep trench isolation. Naturally, the Mi 5 is capable of recording 4K video.

On the software side of things we find MIUI 7, Xiaomi’s skin, over Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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The device is releasing on 1 March in China, with the Mi 5 Pro priced at S$580. The 64GB variant costs S$494, and the 32GB variant just as little as S$429. The Indian market will be the next to follow, and we should see the device hitting Singaporean shores soon as well. It will be available in three colours — white, black, and gold.

So, what do you think about the Mi 5? Will you be choosing it over the “Big 4” flagships?

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