Xiaomi Mi 5 first impressions: A Snapdragon 820-powered beast at just Rs 24,999

Xiaomi announced the Mi 5 at a media briefing at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as in Beijing. Post the event we had a chance to play around with the device and here are our first impressions.

Xiaomi has finally launched the Mi 5 in India at an event held in New Delhi. Priced at Rs 24,999, the 3GB RAM + 32GB storage variant will go on sale on 6 April. With the launch, India has become one of the first markets to get the Xiaomi Mi 5 outside China. We had a chance to play around with the device and here are our first impressions.

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Build and Design

The Xiaomi Mi 5 borrows a lot of elements from its Mi Note series phones and this was confirmed by Barra as well. Xiaomi has refined the 3D glass curve design, making it way more rounded than that seen on the Mi Note. The metal frame merges seamlessly onto the glass back on the edges. The chamfering has a lot more slope. In a word, the Mi 5 looks elegant and with just around 7.25mm thickness and weighing around 129g, it is impressive how it has managed to have the camera flush with the plane of the body and included a 3000mAh battery. There is a 3D ceramic variant as well.


While the in hand feel of the device is good and the Mi 5 looks the part of a flagship phone, one must be careful when holding it as we found it to be too slippery for our liking. Also while the bezels on the sides are much thinner than those at the top and bottom, the 5.1 inch display on the Mi 5 means that the phone has a taller frame. On the front here is the slim home button which also functions as a fingerprint scanner. The soft buttons have a backlight which is good.

The left hand edge has the nano SIM card slot and the right had side has the volume rocker and power/standby button. There's a USB Type C port at the base surrounded by two speaker grilles.



The Xiaomi Mi 5 sports a 5.15-inch full HD display which we thought was really reflective. It uses an IPS LCD panel which gives good viewing angles and the text appears sharp. Just as we had seen on the Mi4i, the Mi 5 also supports Sunlight Display which dynamically readjust the brightness on pixels, so that you do not have to strain your eyes when out in bright sunlight.

Chipset, RAM, Storage and Connectivity

The Mi 5  in comes in three variants in all - the 32GB and 64GB variants and the 128GB Ceramic variant. At the moment, Xiaomi is launching only the 32GB variant for the Indian market which will have 3GB of RAM. Xiaomi has employed LPDDR4 RAM and UFS 2.0 standard flash memory storage. Both phones house Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset which has a customised quad core Kryo processors clocked at 2.2GHz along with Adreno 530 GPU. This makes the Xiaomi Mi 5 really fast to operate. And naturally there were no issues while navigating or trying on different apps on the phone. There is no provision for expandable storage.

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In terms of connectivity, all the Mi 5 variants will be supporting 4G+ or LTE Advanced with support for VoLTE as well. It takes in two nano SIM cards. There's Wi-fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with AGPS, NFC which supports read/write as well as card emulation for quicker pass through using just your handset and more.  Xiaomi has for the first time used a home button on its devices and this home button also works as a finger print scanner.

OS and Software  Xiaomi Mi 5 series comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow along with the MIUI 7 OS atop it. Xiaomi has developed an Android app called Mi Video Call (downloadable via the Play Store) which lets you do lot of cool stuff while on a Video Call. The phones on display did not have it. Apart from this there are the regular Mi themes, segregation of messages according to personal and service messages, and so on. To read an in-depth feature listing on MIUI 7 read this. Camera Xiaomi pays attention to its cameras as we had already seen with the Mi4/Mi4i. For the Mi 5, Xiaomi has employed the 16MP Sony IMX298 sensor which will be seen for the first time in a smartphone. It supports phase detect AF and comes with a new technology called deep trench isolation (DTI) which provides pixel to pixel isolation, to prevent light leak between them. How that will translate into real world use scenarios? We can only tell after using the camera. As for the front camera, Xiaomi Mi 5 sports a 4MP camera with a 2 micrometer pixel size. On the video front, it can shoot 4K videos as well. Xiaomi is using Qualcomm's Spectra image processor for behind the scenes work after you click your photograph.

The most important feature in the Mi 5 camera though has to be the 4-axis optical image stabilisation which compensates for camera shakes along the longitudinal, latitudinal planes, rolling shake and stutter caused due to shooting while walking. Xiaomi has managed to include 4-axis OIS and ensures that the camera module does not protrude out and is flush with the back.


Xiaomi has used a 3000mAh battery for the Mi 5 series and it is a non removable one. Considering it houses a Snapdragon 820, the phone sports QuickCharge 3.0 technology which Xiaomi claims takes only an hour to charge the Mi 5. We will of course have to see that for ourselves. So that whole 10 min charge gives 2.6 hours video playback on full brightness , we would take that with a pinch of salt.


Xiaomi has launched the Mi 5 32GB storage variant with 3GB RAM for Rs 24,999. The 64GB or the 128GB variants haven't been announced yet for the Indian market. If you look at the Chinese prices, then the 32GB variant should've been priced closer to Rs 21,000 and the 64GB should've ideally been at the Rs 24,999 price point. So that may disappoint some potential buyers.

But having said that, the Mi 5 is a direct descendant of the Mi Note series and those phones, even though not launched in India, were priced higher by Xiaomi standards even in China. The Xiaomi Mi 5 is the latest flagship phone from the Chinese company, so a high price point was expected. The real challenge will be to see how it's other competitors price their Snapdragon 820 devices. We are looking at LeEco, OnePlus and Meizu, whose flagships are expected any time now.

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Xiaomi has certainly ensured that the Mi 5 series hasn’t left any stone unturned in terms of specs on paper. Well, some may balk at a full HD display instead of QuadHD, but looking at the Mi 5 display we really have no complaints. The Snapdragon 820 is certainly something to look out for as it uses Qualcomm’s custom designed CPU cores.

Xiaomi claims that the Snapdragon 820 in the Mi 5 beats Exynos 8890 which is seen in the Galaxy S7. We will have to test that claim of course. We will be particularly interested in the heat management, battery life performance and camera performance among other things. Keep checking the site for a full review of the Xiaomi Mi 5 soon.

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