The Xiaomi Mi 5S was released back in April, the (still) current year and truth be told, the smartphone market has changed dramatically since then. While the Xiaomi Mi 5S is the proud successor of the hugely successful 5 series, not to mention the incredibly popular Redmi-mid range lineup, there are some things to consider.
First, the competition in the high end market with regard to smartphones is unprecedented. Second, one should consider the demise of the former king, the Galaxy Note 7, together with the release of the iPhone 7, Google Pixel and the LG V20.
Basically, the flagship realm is a pretty crowded place nowadays and with the Xiaomi Mi 5S, this relatively small company, the underdog of sorts is trying to pick a fight with the big dogs.
What the Xiaomi Mi 5S is doing is to take after where the Xiaomi Mi 5 left off, and yes indeed, these guys did a wonderful job. The 5s really managed to improve the smartphone’s flagship status, in small incremental steps. Well, sort of. For example, the new Xiaomi Mi 5S runs on the high end Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 system on chip, which is the latest and greatest around. The internal storage capacity was upped, while the glass panels, which look cool but they’re very frail were nixed in favor of a full metal jacket-unibody design.
Everything sounds pretty awesome, don’t you think? Let’s take a closer look, right after the break.
The smartphone measures 145.6 x 70.3 x 8.3 millimeters, which is almost identical compared with the Mi 5, but it gained a little bit of weight, standing at 145 grams, i.e. 16 grams more than the previous gen.
Design wise, the Mi 5s looks similar to the 5, having curved sides all around the back panel, a glass front panel, but for the rest of the deal, the company switched to metal, which is great news. I mean, metal instead of glass.
The Mi 5 was really fragile, hence the aluminum unibody of the 5s is awesome for the brand’s aficionados.
The display on the Xiaomi Mi 5s is an IPS variety, a 5.15 inches wide screen with full HD resolution, featuring a 428 pixels per inch density. This is more than respectable, even if there’s no AMOLED around, nor the latest QHD which is all the rage nowadays though it doesn’t make any difference in real life on such a small display. However, full HD vs QHD translates into great news performance wise, so I don’t really mind the lack of quad HD nor the AMOLED screen (or the lack thereof).
The only problem with this display is that Xiaomi failed (again) to mention if they used any type of glass protection. For example, the Mi 5 was famous for how easy its display got scratched, so I’d suggest you to buy a screen protector ASAP for your Mi 5/5s. Other than that, the display is great, with excellent viewing angles and almost perfect color reproduction, being among the best out there from all points of view (contrast, dynamics, color saturation etc).
The Xiaomi Mi 5s comes with a solid 3200 mAh battery which offers an endurance rating of 84 hours, which sounds great. In the connectivity department, this droid has it all, including LTE Cat.9, USB Type C, Wi-Fi/Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS etc.
The smartphone runs on Android Marshmallow out of the box, with the company’s proprietary UI (MIUI 8) on top, due to the fact that Google services are not accessible (as in banned by the Chinese communist government) in mainland China, so Xiaomi had to refocus its ecosystem away from Google. Don’t worry, international versions of the Mi 5s are shipped with a standard ROM, i.e. Google et al are all working as they are supposed to.
Performance wise, the QsD 821 working together with 3 GB/4 GB of RAM and an Adreno 530 GPU, meaning that everything runs smooth and hassle free, including the latest games or the power-hungry apps. From the hardware point of view, the Xiaomi Mi 5s is a beast, there’s no way around it.
The camera on-board is a 12 MP variety flaunting the latest Sony IMX 378 sensor, with all the bells and whistles possible sans the OIS, unfortunately. In daylight, the camera performs exemplary, both when it comes to stills and videos, but in low lighting conditions, there are better ones out there.
Finally, the Xiaomi Mi 5s has all the characteristics of a flagship and it’s an easy smartphone to recommend, due to its features vs price ratio, where it’s basically unbeatable.