rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » Xiaomi Mi 5 review: Going premium

Xiaomi Mi 5 review: Going premium

April 20, 2016 10:46 IST

In order to shrug off its budget phone manufacturer's image, Xiaomi has attempted to give the Mi 5 not only a slicker,stylish look but also top-end hardware than its other devices.

Xiamoi Mi 5

Xiaomi has been able to position itself as a brand capable of consistently churning out phones with budget pricing and mid range hardware. Their unwavering success has not only allowed them to build a fan base, but also got the 'budget player' tag stick with the brand a bit too firmly than they would have preferred.

Seems like Xiaomi has decided to shed this image and the Mi 5 looks like the perfect handset to set things in motion. With premium build quality accompanying top notch innards, the Mi 5 looks set to lure the potential customers from top end spectrum of mobile market.

But stacking up impressive hardware is one thing, and successfully taking on seasoned players is another. We had to take a closer look to ascertain how good is the latest from the Xiaomi camp.

Construction

Weighing in at 129 gms, and measuring 5.69 x 2.72 x 0.29 inches, the phone betrays the perception that glass and metal should contribute to a considerable heft. The side bezels have been kept so narrow, that users will be inclined to believe there is no bezel at all. The only other material used is plastic, providing an aesthetic way to include the antenna for signal reception.

Turning the phone over, the curved back disappearing along the edges pretty much reminds one of the Galaxy S7 ways. The shimmering metal edges give the Mi 5 a classy touch.

As for the button placement, the left side houses the dual SIM tray, while on the right one finds the power and volume buttons. The top edge carries the IR blaster and the 3.5 mm audio jack. Only the right speaker grille at the bottom carries a speaker, and bang in the middle is the USB Type C connector.

The backlit capacitive keys flanking the home button are configurable as per a user's discretion. The home button is housing a finger print scanner within itself.

Display

Xiamoi Mi 5

The handset comes with a 5.15-inch full HD LCD panel. Carrying a resolution of 1080 x 1920p, the resulting 428 ppi pixel density ensures crisp images, while the IPS nature of the display brings about good viewing angles.

The screen attains good level of brightness, which makes outdoor visibility a non issue. The colours came out rich, and looked brilliant. The contrast though is not as impressive, as the blacks looked not the deepest as we have got accustomed to seeing. Looking at the overall performance, the display definitely won't be competing for top honours, but will also not leave the users disappointed.

Xiaomi went with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection, which should help in keeping the concerns at bay.

Specs

Xiaomi captured the bragging rights by bringing in the first handset to be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 SoC in India.

The Indian version of the Mi 5 will be having a set of Dual core Kryo processors clocked at 1.8 GHz, while another set of dual core Kryo will be chugging at 1.36 GHz. Adreno 530 handles the graphics department, while a generous dose of 3 GB RAM has been supplied for smooth functioning. The onboard storage space is fixed at 32 GB, with no option for expandable memory being used here.

It looks like Xiaomi has given a good emphasis on keeping the handset's running temperatures under check, as the processor is under-clocked. The 820 can flex its muscles at 2.2 Ghz easily.

Connectivity

Xiamoi Mi 5

The Xiaomi Mi 5 has been supplied with good number of connectivity options. LTE is enabled on both the SIM slots, along with Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth (ver 4.2), GPS (with GLONASS).

Apart from these, one also finds onboard, options like support for VoLTE, NFC, IR blaster, and USB Type C connector.

The last one was especially a surprise, since many manufacturers have refrained from opting for the reversible connector. Clearly shows the intention of Xiaomi here.

Operating system

The handset brings its propriety MIUI 7 skin, with Android 6.0 as the underlying OS. The penchant for omitting the app drawer is observed here as well, but the interface looks clean overall.

It will be pertinent to mention, that users will find hard to locate traces of signature Android features due to the MIUI skinning ways.

The lockscreen carries the clock and two shortcuts. Once inside, the user finds four shortcuts docked upfront. There are some useful apps which come preloaded. WPS office remains a favourite, while Facebook app's resource hogging habit makes it not exactly a worthy app. Mi India Store and SwiftKey also made the cut, and so did Flesky. It was good to see choice for keyboards being present.

While the theming option makes things colourful, Apple's spotlight like utility feature is a worthy inclusion. Keeping track of apps draining the battery is easy with the statistics available in detail. Another thoughtful feature is where users get to hide the photos from the prying eyes.

Thoughtfully, Mi Cloud feature grants every account a space of 5 GB for storage.

With good additions thrown in, there are some issues as well. The app permissions were somehow stacked away in Xiaomi's own security app, which worried us till we found them. Speaking of permissions, granting all the permission en masse to the apps during installation is pretty much how the older version of Android works. Xiaomi was expected to include this very useful feature.

Also, the Now On Tap also does not get activated by the home button. These issues should compel Xiaomi to land an update sooner than later. These few niggles apart, the MIUI 7 looked pretty crisply designed.

Performance

The handset comes with a very capable configuration, and it did not disappoint when put to test. The launching and switching between the apps were a breeze. The were no indications of any stutters or lags, to be found even with multiple tabs being opened in the browser.

The experience was smoother even with HD intensive data like gaming and viewing media files, and the handset sailed smoothly. The temperature did increase during these sessions, but things never went out of control.

The fingerprint sensor, which can be configured to identify upto five digits, is one of the fastest going around. The accuracy is also top notch.

It can not only unlock the device, but also enables the user to lock specific elements of the OS, and also can be used to launch or disable the child mode.

Things like these go a long way in enhancing the user experience.

The single speaker is just about okayish. A dual setup would have added more value and fidelity here.

Camera

Xiamoi Mi 5

A 16 MP camera with phase detection auto focus, deep trench technology, to prevent colour bleeding, and four axis optical image stabilisation makes up for a very impressive read. It also boasts of capability of shooting 4k videos as well.

The results are pretty decent and during the day time, the photographs come carrying good details and colour reproduction. Zooming in however brings the noise in a more apparent way and reveals the limitations of the camera. The Sony sensor makes sure that the results are pretty good for casual sharing around.

The low light imagery carries decent bit of noise, but the results are not horrible. The app has been kept fairly simple for the users, and carries good number of modes like HDR, Panorama, Virtual Horizon, Timer, Tilt Shift, Fisheye, Beautify, and Manual. The latter allows tweaking of ISO and white balance.

The front facing camera is a 4 MP ultrapixel variant, and the results are very decent.The SD 820 allows for 4K recording @ 30 fps with the rear camera, and the results are visually pretty good. The captured sound however was not that rich. Shooting in 720p oddly gave better details when compared with 1080p variants, and this makes the case for a quick update more compelling.

Battery

The Mi 5 comes with a sealed in 3,000 mAh battery, and the company decided to throw in the compatibility for Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 as well. However, and very strangely, the handsets in India will come with only the Quick Charge 2.0 compatible charger only.

The battery backup for the phone is easily more than a day's worth if using on a moderate to heavy usage pattern. More conservative usage may lead upto two days of run without any need of charging at all. The battery performance adds some good brownie points to the Mi 5.

Verdict

Xiamoi Mi 5

The Xioami Mi 5 impresses thoroughly, and with a price tag of Rs 25,000, it is a pretty good choice for people who would want to get a feature packed premium looking device.

The Mi 5 will remind people of Samsung Galaxy phones, and that is pretty much job accomplished for Xiaomi right there. Add to it the capable hardware and the crisp software, the package is already mouth watering. Factor in the decent camera performance and strong battery backup, the phone becomes very difficult to ignore.

The flash sale model and the missing microSD card option are the main gripes with the Mi 5, and if these are not cringeworthy factors for you, the Mi 5 certainly is a strong contender in the given price bracket.

In order to shrug off its budget phone manufacturer's image, Xiaomi has attempted to give the Mi 5 not only a slicker,stylish look but also top-end hardware than its other devices.

Xiaomi has been able to position itself as a brand capable of consistently churning out phones with budget pricing and mid range hardware. Their unwavering success has not only allowed them to build a fan base, but also got the 'budget player' tag stick with the brand a bit too firmly than they would have preferred.

Seems like Xiaomi has decided to shed this image and the Mi 5 looks like the perfect handset to set things in motion. With premium build quality accompanying top notch innards, the Mi 5 looks set to lure the potential customers from top end spectrum of mobile market.

But stacking up impressive hardware is one thing, and successfully taking on seasoned players is another. We had to take a closer look to ascertain how good is the latest from the Xiaomi camp.

Himanshu Juneja