Xiaomi Mi5 - First acquaintance with a novelty of Chinese industry

    Welcome everyone to the iCover blog . A bit of Xiaomi novelty history to start with. Since the presentation of the last flagship, only a little more than a year and a half have passed ... During this time, the electronics giant Xiaomi has managed to please fans and just users with a number of different devices more than once, from budget novelties to almost top solutions. There were even devices outside of the mobile theme that entered the market very well and attracted a lot of attention from the media and simple “users” - their Mi Band , which were already everywhere. And now, finally, the moment has come to present the new crown of creation at CES 2016 - Xiaomi Mi5.

    As it usually happens, shortly before the show, almost everything about the new product was known on the Internet ... including the characteristics:

    • Case materials: metal and glass (Gorilla Glass 4);
    • Display: 5.2 ”inch IPS matrix with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, ppi 430.
    • Platform: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, video chip - Adreno 530;
    • RAM: 3 or 4 GB;
    • Operating system: Android 6.0 + MIUI 7;
    • Memory for data storage: 32/64/128 GB (there is no slot for a memory card);
    • Network: GSM / EDGE, UMTS / HSDPA, LTE (TD / FDD-LTE) (DualSIM)
    • Main camera: 16 MP, f / 2.0, phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization, dual LED flash, video is recorded in 4k;
    • Front camera: 4 MP, f / 2.0, no autofocus, video is recorded in 1080p;
    • Interfaces: Wi-Fi (ac / a / b / g / n) Dual-Band, Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE), NFC, Infrared, USB Type-C (USB 3.0), AUX, GPS / GLONASS, Fingerprint's scanner;
    • Battery: 3,000 mAh (non-removable);
    • Dimensions: 144.5 x 69.2 x 7.3 mm;
    • Weight: 129 grams (139 for the version with a ceramic back).

    Advanced features, beautiful appearance and the general background are quite tempting cost of about $ 440. Accustomed to the combination of low price and high quality, people always begin to expect more and requirements are overstated. We’ll get acquainted in more detail with the new product, which, apparently, is not only capable, but will also actively compete with the flagships of A-brands in 2016. Unfortunately, only two telephones were brought to the CES exhibition, where countless journalists gathered. And since it was not possible to get into the ranks of pen sharks, I propose to consider a retail sample that came from China and successfully fell into our hands for a day.

    Design and construction

    The appearance of almost any gadget is often criticized by public opinion. Fans of some devices insist that the “company” that released the smartphone made it extremely similar to your favorite gadget, and vice versa. These wars on the forums, in the comments under the articles you can almost always see, and certainly Xiaomi Mi5 was no exception. However, the official images really created the feeling that the gadget externally clearly repeats the design features of Samsung’s notorious line of recent years, namely Galaxy Edge. However, picking up the smartphone, Xiaomi Mi Note is quickly and clearly remembered. He has the same rounded backdrop, for example. Yes, and in front they are very similar, only the Mi5 is more compact. And, interestingly, the Xiaomi Mi Note was introduced exactly two months earlier than that Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge ...

    Unpacking and accessories in detail

    Can it be argued that Xiaomi does not explicitly, but unify the design of its products? All of them touch each other in one way or another in shape, but at the same time they look harmoniously with each other on a shelf, table or in life .... Curiously, the fact itself is not particularly annoying.

    Considering all the features, the Mi5 design was to my liking. The smartphone looks concise, statically and outwardly more representative than even compared to other smartphones. On the other hand, this solution has its drawbacks. For the sake of good external and tactile sensations, you will have to sacrifice resistance to falls. Since glass is used front and back and, in fact, nothing protects it. Along the edges of the aluminum edging. By the way, unlike the back, the front panel is made without a 2.5D rounding effect - this, by the way, is the 4th generation Corning Gorilla Glass. It is also worth mentioning that in the maximum configuration, the back glass cover will be replaced by ceramics. The only two are easily soiled, especially in the black version of the smartphone. In the white version, the pollution is not so noticeable. Well, it’s probably worth noting the general slippery of the smartphone - although for the whole day of testing, he never tried to dive from my hand towards the floor. True, from the book, on the table, it rolled down perfectly without outside help.

    Perhaps such confidence in the hand gives size and comfortable grip. Despite the diagonal size of 5.15 ”inches, the smartphone is very compact and fits well in the palm of your hand. Using one hand with the gadget is a pleasure, I won’t even hide it. Perhaps, the last time I experienced similar sensations, holding the Apple iPhone 5S in my hand , however, the screen there was noticeably smaller and the margins on the sides were larger. Speaking of the screen, the smartphone uses an IPS matrix with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It's nice that the manufacturer did not follow the lead of marketers and did not equip the smartphone with a matrix with a resolution of 2K or 4K- After all, Full HD is almost a five-inch smartphone for the eyes, but it would have a tangible effect on performance and operating time. And in conjunction with the new Qualcomm chipset - such a solution will provide a margin in performance for several years to come. As for the quality of the matrix - it’s excellent, the colors are bright and juicy. Sometimes it even seemed too juicy ... almost like AMOLED.

    The controls are in standard places, like everyone else. On the right is the power / lock key and volume rocker. On the left is a slot for SIM cards. On top of the AUX jack, an additional microphone and infrared. Bottom new USB Type-C connector and neat perforation on the sides for a microphone and speaker. The back of the camera, a dual-LED flash of hot and cold glow and the MI logo below. Front from above, a block of light and proximity sensors, a front camera and a speaker grid in the glass recess.

    Details continued

    Below we are waiting for the second most noticeable innovation. Firstly, the familiar pictograms of the touch buttons “menu” and “back” on the sides were changed to two luminous LEDs. The home button has now become a hardware button, but now it also contains a fingerprint scanner. Moreover, the key can be either pressed or tapped, then the sensor will work. Pressing is practiced clearly, the progress is small, there is no button play, there is a distinct click. Many on the network have reacted ambiguously to such a decision, but at first glance, it seems quite convenient in life, and it looks organic. Personally, I was pleased that finally the company moved away from the usual pictograms representing the actions of the keys, and so, much more attractive.
    In the end, I want to mention that the available color solutions are white, black and golden.

    Hardware Potential and Software

    The hardware platform, without exaggeration, is good ... This is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core chipset, 3 or 4 gigabytes of RAM, 32/64 or 128 gigabytes of main flash memory. And the Adreno 530 chip is responsible for the graphics ... and this is where all the fun begins.

    It turns out that there will be three versions of the smartphone. The first version of Mi5 basic is 32 gigabytes of main memory of the UFS 2.0 standard, 3 GB of dual-channel operational LPDDR4 memory, which operates at a frequency of 1333 MHz. The Snapdragon 820 processor with a core frequency of up to 1.8 GHz, and Adreno 530 graphics operating at a frequency of 510 MHz.

    The second version, the so-called advanced version, already has 64 gigabytes of flash memory of the same UFS 2.0 standard, coupled with the same three gigabytes of RAM, but already operating at a frequency of 1866 MHz. Four core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 clocked up to a maximum clock frequency of 2.15 GHz, and Adreno 530 graphics up to 624 MHz.

    And the latest, the most “top-end” version, which, by the way, comes with a ceramic back cover and is exclusively in black. It contains: four Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 cores overclocked to 2.15 GHz and unchanged Adreno 530 graphics with a clock speed of up to 624 MHz. 128 gigabytes of the main flash drive standard UFS 2.0, and 4 GB of RAM LPDDR4, which operates at a frequency of 1866 MHz.

    As I said in the section above, most likely such characteristics will be enough for more than one year to remain in the leading positions. Unfortunately, we failed to test the smartphone in synthetic tests, as there was not enough time margin and there were some problems with installing the Play Store. However, I think that the values ​​will be expectedly high. In any case, you can always go back and look at the smartphone in the future in more detail.

    What else is there in a smartphone? Wi-Fi modules 802.11ac, Bluetooth version 4.2, NFC and infrared, GPS with support for A-GPS technology, GLONASS and the BeiDou system, which is not very popular in the territory outside the People’s Republic of China. The smartphone can work both in 2G and 3G networks, and 4G - domestic frequencies are supported. Minus - there is no support for memory cards, but the smartphone works immediately with two SIM cards ... but there is still one radio module. The battery used is the most common for most flagships of 2015 and 2016, with a capacity of 3,000 mAh ... Such a battery should, in principle, be enough for a day of moderate use of the smartphone. In some powerful 3D toy, for sure it will be possible to discharge it in 6 hours. However, we will check this information if possible to return to the smartphone for a longer test period, but for now this is only an assumption.

    The smartphone is running the latest available version of Android 6.0, coupled with the familiar branded shell MIUI 7 version. It is hardly possible to tell something new about it, if you have previously become familiar with the MIUI system, then from the innovations you will see some small but useful improvements. The system works stably, smoothly, all actions are worked out quickly - this is a merit of both optimization and the overall performance of the smartphone. The shell looks concise and somewhat similar to the ideology of iOS. All standard applications are made in the same style with the system, and their number does not exceed the reasonable range. There are Chinese services, but they are easy to remove in two clicks. A possible disappointment would be the lack of Google services out of the box, the Russian language and, possibly, a blocked bootloader. That’s probably all.

    Talk about the camera?

    Let's start with the specifications. There are two cameras in total. The main 16.0 MP with aperture 2.0 and phase autofocus is the Sony IMX298 sensor. Front 4.0 MP, made using ultra-pixel technology, pixel size 2 µm. The aperture value is the same - f / 2.0. Remembering the times the Mi Note appeared on the market, the model could be called one of the three best Chinese smartphones with a good camera. It is best to understand and draw some conclusions for yourself by looking at sample pictures below. In my opinion, Mi5 definitely deserves a place among the best. Of course, there are problems ... for the most part they relate to the work of autofocus and the quality of the frames themselves when shooting in the dark. In the afternoon, everything is fine. The video is recorded by the smartphone in 4K with the main camera, and in Full HD frontal quality.

    Sample Pictures

    The camera application itself has not undergone any major changes. It differs from this in other devices of the company only in the presence of various modes for shooting. There is a tap exposure adjustment with convenient manual exposure changes in a circular motion around the focal point. Another plus is the large number of available settings and the quick saving of the frame in the device’s memory.

    Dry subjective residue

    What conclusion can be made after a day of life with the new Xiaomi Mi5? Do I like a smartphone? Yes, I liked it. Can this text be considered completely objective? Not sure, opinions can be mixed. I note that over the past year, for the first time after meeting with a smartphone, I did not want to give it away. I will say more, there was a desire to leave it in the form of the main unit to replace the personal HTC One M8 .

    Of course, the smartphone has flaws, some flaws, but they can be found either after a long test, or be puzzled by their search. Should a lack of the Russian language and full Google services be considered a drawback? Yes, but they can be delivered “pens”, and after some time a localized version of the firmware from domestic craftsmen will be released. A person who wants to buy a smartphone, get it out of the box and use it, will hardly consider such an option for purchase. But it will certainly be easier for a confident user, since setting up the device will not be a problem for him.

    Is Xiaomi Mi5 an indicator of the obvious progress of the technosphere? Does he demonstrate any new technologies? More likely no than yes. Everything that is in Mi5, we have seen or will soon see from many other manufacturers. However, a holistic and positive opinion is created precisely thanks to the overall sophistication of the product and the thoughtfulness of details. However, like many other devices from Xiaomi . But the search for the perfect smartphone does not end there .... It is likely that we will find him, and such a smartphone will manifest itself. In the meantime, Mi5 takes a leading position among applicants.

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