Xiaomi Mi 5 review: Form and function

Form and function

GSMArena team, 16 March, 2016.


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 the flagship series name.

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 - the one we're reviewing
  • 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 HonorBuy.com for providing us with this review unit.

Reader comments

  • Mi5 Fan

My Mi5 is still working like new (other than battery life) after 3 years. Many drops and stuff with protection and it still survives. Screen is gorgeous as ever. And I cant believe how good the camera is compared to the overhyped 48mp cameras th...

  • Bailey

Yet i am using the global rom on my Mi6 and have never experienced this issues. i have had more lag and bugs on my S7 than i have ever had on a Xiaomi device. And my S7 could not make it through a day as well as my iPhone 6s that cant make it thr...

Update to v9 miui , auto brightness got better than v8,.