The MWC 2016 welcomed another much-hyped flagship. Xiaomi VP Hugo Bara was the one to introduce the Mi 5 alongside a beefed-up 64GB model and the exclusive ceramic version called the Mi 5 Pro.
We also caught the Xiaomi Mi 4s, an upgrade of the popular Mi 4c.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 will be available in three different editions: the basic 32GB model, an enhanced 64GB flavor with faster processing, and an exclusive ceramic back edition with a whopping 128GB of storage, a more potent processor, and 4GB of RAM.
Xiaomi Mi 5 (32GB) at a glance:
Form factor: Metal and glass body
Screen: 5.15" IPS 1080p display (428ppi)
Camera: 16MP Sony IMX298 sensor, f/2.0, phase-detection AF, 4-axis optical image stabilization, pixel-to-pixel isolation; 4MP front camera with 2µm pixel size
The Xiaomi Mi 5 looks like a properly refined Mi 4.
Xiaomi had the white flavor only of the glass/metal base version while the exclusive ceramic version will be sold in black only.
The Mi 5 may feature a bigger screen, a more powerful chipset, and better camera, but it managed to shed a good 20g off, for a total weight of the incredible 129g. The Mi 5 feels great in the hand, very lightweight, and yet extra solid.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 features a new 5.15" IPS display of 1080p resolution. Even though most of the rumors suggested an upgrade to 2K resolution, Xiaomi chose to keep the Full HD screen, and we don't mind that. A pixel density of 428ppi is more than respectable and leaves the Snapdragon 820 chip with power to spare on tasks and productivity.
The new display utilizes 16 LEDs on backlighting, allegedly four more than most of the present-day flagships, and Xiaomi claims it will provide more even backlighting at up to 600 nits of brightness. We can confirm the display is bright, quite bright indeed.
The viewing angles are very impressive as well, hardly any color shift or contrast loss when looking the Mi 5's display at an angle.
The Mi 5 also has this Sunlight Display technology, which adjusts the contrast at pixel level. The results seem promising.
We have always appreciated metal frames in phones, and the Xiaomi Mi 5 delivers. It improves the grip, boosts the looks, and makes the handling more pleasant.
The display may look almost bezel-less, but it isn't. The metal frame is the border, and it took us a while to get used to it when swiping, as most of the time our thumb scratched the metal before proceeding seamlessly on to the screen. It wasn't unpleasant, but unusual at first.
The white version isn't prone to smudges, but the black ceramic finish is a real fingerprint magnet. The ceramic looks stunning, though, and it will easily impress even the most demanding users.
The ceramic flavor actually weighs 10g more, but we couldn't tell the difference. It may be heavier, but it's still one of the lightest flagships we've handled so far.
The fingerprint scanner below the display takes about 20 seconds to set up and instantly recognizes your finger from then on. Unfortunately, it isn't always on, and you need to either click the home key or use the power button to wake up the screen before scanning your fingerprint in a split second.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 is surely a stunner, as becomes a proper flagship.
Rumor has it, the Mi 5 will probably be the first Xiaomi smartphone to be readily available internationally, and we're looking forward to getting the details on that. Xiaomi didn't have any official announcement to make at the time of writing.