Xiaomi Mi 5s review: A great phone you can’t buy

The Xiaomi Mi 5s offers necessary improvements from the Mi 5, making it a significantly much better device.

Quick take:

Although a mid-cycle refresh in Xiaomi’s flagship series, the Mi 5s comes with an all-new metal chassis that appears upmarket. The phone has upgraded hardware in the form of a Snapdragon 821 SoC, the digital camera sensor has been overhauled, and Xiaomi is offering a global MIUI ROM with Play Shop access. Then there’s the cost, with the handset retailing for that equivalent of $300 in China.

The good

  • Great display
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Affordability

The bad

  • Availability
  • Camera lacks OIS
  • No microSD slot

Lastly finished

Xiaomi Mi 5s Full evaluation

Xiaomi had a great 2016 when it comes to the budget portion, with its Redmi series setting new sales records over the course of the year. The same cannot be said of the company’s high-end mobile phones, however. The Mi 5 fared relatively well when it debuted in April, however it was overshadowed by the prefers of the OnePlus 3 and the 3T. A similar circumstance played out in China, with Xiaomi conceding important market share to Vivo plus OPPO, both of who capitalized on the offline marketplace to boost sales.

In a bid in order to regain its standing in the home market, the company has released three flagship-tier phones: the Mi 5s, the Una Note 2, and the bezel-less Mi Mix.

Inside a bid to regain the standing in its home market, the company has launched three flagship-tier phones: the Mi 5s, the Mi Note two, and the bezel-less Mi Mix. The Mi Mix is not being sold in huge numbers, but Xiaomi is counting on the Mi 5s as well as the Mi Note 2 to operate a vehicle sales until the Mi 6 makes its debut.

The Mi 5s is a China-only product, exactly where it is available in two versions: the Mi 5s as well as the Mi 5s Plus. These has a larger screen and dual cameras at the back again, while the former refines the design of the Mi 5. The device itself offers very compelling hardware in the form of a Snapdragon 821, and the 5. 15-inch display makes the Mi 5s easy to use one-handed.

The best part concerning the phone — as is the situation with most Xiaomi handsets — is its price, with the Mi 5s selling for under $300. That’s for your base model with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage, but you still obtain a lot of value for your money. Although the mobile phone isn’t offered outside of China, Xiaomi has rolled out there a global MIUI ROM for the handset, offering Play Store and other Google services like Googlemail, Chrome, YouTube, Maps and more out of the box.

All you have to to know

Xiaomi Mi 5s Specs

Category Features
Operating-system MIUI 8 based on Google android 6. 0 Marshmallow
Display 5. 15-inch 1080p (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD panel
428ppi pixel density
SoC Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
2 Kryo cores at 2 . 15GHz, two Kryo cores at 1 . 6GHz
GPU Adreno 530
Storage 64GB storage
Rear camera 12MP with f/2. 0 lens
dual-tone LED flash
4K video recording
Front side shooter 4MP with f/2. 0 lens
1080p video documenting
Connectivity WiFi ac, Wireless bluetooth 4. 2 (A2DP), NFC, GPS, GLONASS
USB-C, 3. 5mm audio jack port
Battery 3200mAh battery
Quick Cost 3. 0
Fingerprint Front fingerprint sensor (Qualcomm Sense ID)
Dimensions 145. six x 70. 3 x 8. 3 mm
Bodyweight 145g
Colors Silver, Gray, Gold, Rose Gold

Metal everywhere

Xiaomi Mi 5s Design and display

The design of the Mi 5s is similar to that of the Mi 5, with one essential difference: Xiaomi switched away the glass back to get a metal chassis. The glass back made the Mi 5 slippery to hold plus use, but the brushed light weight aluminum finish on the Mi 5s makes the phone that much more comfortable to grip, and it also gives the device an upmarket appear. At a first glance, the Mi 5s certainly will not look like a mid-ranger.

The back figure smoothly inward to meet the sides of the phone, enabling the phone to nestle comfortably in your palm. The design fine-tune I like the most is the inclusion of 2 . 5D bent glass at the front, which allows the panel to merge effortlessly with the metal frame. That will wasn’t the case with the Mi 5, and it made utilizing the phone uncomfortable as the panel dug into my palm often. Thankfully, that is no longer an issue with the Mi 5s. The metal frame furthermore adds some much-needed bodyweight to the Mi 5s, which now comes in at 145g, 16g more than the Mi 5.

Similar to the Una 5, the navigation buttons around the Mi 5s are unmarked, allowing you to switch out the configuration of the buttons from the settings. The power and volume buttons are positioned on the right, and they also offer a decent amount of opinions. There’s a 3. 5mm raise top, and a USB-C interface for charging at the bottom, which is flanked by the speaker at the left and the microphone on the right. The relatively compact form factor of the phone makes it simple to use one-handed, but if you’re still having any trouble, there’s a one-handed mode that shrinks the screen size right down to 3. 5 or four. 0 inches.

Subtle design tweaks from the Mi 5 associated with Mi 5s a much better phone to use.

The Una 5s features a 5. 15-inch Full HD panel with a pixel density of 428ppi. Xiaomi’s penchant for offering great displays is intact, with the panel offering excellent color accuracy, brightness, and contrast levels. Viewing sides are great as well, and like the Mi 5, the Mi 5s sports one of the best LCD displays in this segment. In the event that anything, the screen is certainly brighter than the one in the Mi 5, and as such you will not have any difficulty observing the text under harsh sunlight. That said, the panel will not feature Gorilla Glass or even Asahi’s Dragontrail protection, therefore you’re going to need to pick up the screen protector if you’re thinking about buying the Mi 5s.

Qualcomm Sense ID

The Mi 5s includes Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sense ID, which uses ultrasound technologies to take a 3D chart of your fingerprints. Regular fingerprint scanners take 2D images and retain them with regard to authentication, but Qualcomm’s implementation involves bouncing ultrasonic waves off a finger, causing a much more detailed representation of all the ridges, pores, and other special characteristics of a fingerprint.

In addition to being more detailed, Sense ID furthermore works when your fingers are moist or wet. As the sensor itself works from ultrasound, it can be embedded beneath other surfaces, which in the situation on the Mi 5s views it located under the display’s glass panel. The only drawback is certainly its reliability, as there have been several times when the sensor refused to authenticate.


Xiaomi Mi 5s Hardware

The Mi 5s comes with the newest Snapdragon 821 SoC, providing CPU cores that can go up to 2 . 15GHz and an Adreno 530 GPU. The base model — which usually I’m reviewing — comes with 3GB of RAM and 64GB storage. As you needed expect from a phone showcasing the latest hardware, the Mi 5s blazes through daily tasks without ever lagging or slowing down. Xiaomi went with the slower 2 . 15GHz CPU cores to eke out the most out of the 3200mAh battery, opting to use the 2. 35GHz variant in the Mi 5s Plus.

One of the distinguishing features on Xiaomi mobile phones is the IR blaster. The manufacturer includes them in all of its handsets, from the entry-level Redmi 3S Prime to the $650 Mi Note 2, and for good reason. Xiaomi invested lots of time in adding appliances from the whole host of suppliers to the Mi Remote app, making it compatible with a wide variety of air conditioners, TVs, home audio products, and the like. That’s why it was surprising to see that the Mi 5s does not have an IR port — the sensor by itself doesn’t cost a lot of money, and Xiaomi already put in the legwork of adding merchant support on the software side of things.

The Mi 5s runs with no hitches, as you’d think about for a device powered from the Snapdragon 821.

Qualcomm is actively pushing the Aqstic audio codec, which makes its way onto the Mi 5s. The codec has a DAC that enables 192kHz/24-bit lossless audio playback. Inside a world where more and more manufacturers are eschewing the a few. 5mm jack, it’s excellent to see Xiaomi offering the high-quality DAC on the Mi 5s. That said, it is unclear if this year’s Mi six will also offer similar sound capabilities via the 3. 5mm port.

The Mi 5s also offers Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 4. 2, NFC, GPS NAVIGATION, and USB OTG. Rotating out the hardware features, the phone comes with eight LTE bands in total: 1/3/5/7 within the FDD-LTE category, and 38/39/40/41 in TD-LTE. If you’re planning to import the Mi 5s, make sure your carrier uses one of the aforementioned LTE bands.

Not broken anymore

Xiaomi Mi 5s Software

The Una 5s runs MIUI almost eight based on Android 6. 0. 1 Marshmallow, and oddly enough, the higher-storage models of the device come with a 3D Touch-esque function. Sadly, it isn’t available on the bottom model. MIUI 8 itself has matured well, and the features that made it stick out at launch are all existing on the Mi 5s: Double Apps, Second Space, scrolling screenshot, built-in video publisher, Quick Ball, retooled notification shade, and an improved phone dialer. Xiaomi rolled out a global MIUI ROM for the Una 5s last month, which makes it easier to access the Perform Store and Google services.

Because there isn’t a whole lot that’s distinctive from the software side of things from the Mi 5, I’m not going to concentrate a lot of attention on MIUI 8. The OS seems much more stable now, plus there aren’t as many mistakes. That’s mostly due to Xiaomi’s constant bug fixes, with the manufacturer rolling out a good update once every fourteen days.

Where’s OIS?

Xiaomi Mi 5s Camera

The camera on the Mi 5s will be missing a key feature that will got a lot of attention in the Mi 5: 4-axis OIS. Xiaomi switched out the camera from a 16MP device to a 12MP sensor (Sony IMX378) in the Mi 5s, and the resulting change provides led to a sensor with larger pixel size.

By the way, the Mi 5s has got the same camera sensor since the Pixel, but it doesn’t come with the post-processing optimizations. The increased pixels allows the particular camera to take excellent images in daylight conditions, however the lack of OIS hurts when shooting in low-light situations.

Photos taken in daylight highlight precise colors and a lot of detail, and processing HDR doesn’t consider as long as it used to. The camera app is loaded with features, offering several capturing modes and filters with live previews. The 4MP UltraPixel front camera requires great selfies. Same goes for video recording, with the mobile phone now able to shoot 4K video.


Xiaomi Mi 5s Battery life

The moderate increase in battery capacity (200mAh) from the Mi 5 has led to a slight uptick in overall battery life on the Una 5s. The phone lasts a whole day most of the time, but there have been instance — particularly when using cellular data throughout the day — where the battery life wasn’t adequate.

Thankfully, the Mi 5s supports Quick Charge several. 0, allowing you to quickly top up in the midlde during.

Good enough

Xiaomi Mi 5s Main point here

The Mi 5s has a lot of things in its favor: the design is far better than the metal and glass exterior of the Mi five, and the added weight in the metal chassis gives the device much-needed heft. The display is of a higher quality, as well as the camera has been significantly improved.

That said, there are a few glaring omissions — no Gorilla Cup protection on the screen, plus lack of OIS on the digital camera. Considering the price of the Mi 5s, it’s easy to forgive the omissions, and when viewed overall, the phone offers incredible value for money.

Of course

Should you buy it? Yes

As the Mi 5s has been around the market for a few months at this point, it has picked up a price reduce that brings the cost of the device down to under $300. As you can’t buy it directly from Xiaomi, you’ll have to rely on resellers. GearBest is selling it for $289 after getting into code Mi5GSB . If you’re in a marketplace where LTE connectivity is available, the Mi 5s is really a no-brainer for the cost.

Find at GearBest

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