Xiaomi Mi 5 review: Form and function


It’s been a while since we met the last of the Mi kind. Even though the Xiaomi Mi 4 went on sale back in the summer of 2014, it succeeded in staying relevant for over 20 months and surpassed the lifespan of many competitors. Xiaomi surely took the time to make the Mi 5 worthy of its name. And Xiaomi Mi 5 sets the bar even higher!

The Mi 5 was the first Xiaomi phone to be unveiled under the massive spotlight of the world’s biggest mobile expo – the MWC in Barcelona. And with its stunning looks and capable performance, the Mi 5 deserved nothing less.

Xiaomi Mi 5 review

The Xiaomi Mi 5 is instantly likeable – the new flagship comes with unbelievably thin bezels, a sharp profile, a curved back and a lightweight body – all adding to one of the most impressive exteriors a modern smartphones can hope for.

Then you learn that inside there is the latest Snapdragon 820 chipset, a new 16MP camera with 4-axis optical stabilization and yet no camera hump, generous storage options, rich connectivity options, and a beefy battery. How about that?

Key features
5.15″ IPS LCD display of 1080p resolution; 428ppi; Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Gorilla Glass 4 (32, 64GB) or ceramic (128GB) rear panel
32GB model with Snapdragon 820 chipset (2x 1.8 GHz and 2x 1.6GHz cores); 3GB RAM
64GB model with Snapdragon 820 chipset (2x 2.15 GHz and 2x 1.6GHz cores); 3GB RAM
128GB model with Snapdragon 820 chipset (2x 2.15 GHz and 2x 1.6GHz cores); 4GB RAM
16MP f/2.0 main camera with phase detect autofocus, 4-axis optical image stabilization, dual-tone LED flash; 2160p video at 30fps;
4MP f/2.0 front-facing camera, 1080p video recording at 30fps
Cat.12 4G LTE (600Mbps); Dual-SIM; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.2; NFC; GPS, GLONASS and Beidou; IR blaster
Android 6.0 Marshmallow with MIUI 7
3,000 mAh non-removable battery, fast charging
Attractive pricing

Main disadvantages
Limited regional availability at this stage
No microSD expansion
Sealed battery
No FM radio

Xiaomi has turned their backs on the removable battery and memory card slot long ago and it ensures the best MIUI experience by offering uncompromised unibody design and hiccup-free memory speeds. The latter is achieved by utilizing fast UFS 2.0 storage – the same type of storage that Samsung uses on the Galaxy S6 and S7.

Xiaomi Mi 5 review

The FM radio is what many people may miss, but Qualcomm stopped embedding FM hardware within its flagship chips for some time, so there is that.

Xiaomi will not be expanding the availability of the Mi 5 beyond its usual markets so availability will be scarce elsewhere and you would have to rely on grey imports to satisfy the demand. At least, the phone’s price is an amazingly good deal to begin with. Oh, and if you want even more exclusivity, there is the Xiaomi Mi 5 Ceramic flavor with 128GB storage for you.

Special thanks to for providing us with this review unit.