February 25, 2016
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Xiaomi may be yet to get a foothold in the US, but the Chinese OEM is very popular in its home market, and is also making waves in emerging markets like India. Xiaomi just took the wraps off of their latest high-end offering at MWC 2016, and we got to spend some time with the device. Here is the first look, as we go hands on with the Xiaomi Mi 5!

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There are few versions of the Mi 5 that are going to be available, but all of them will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820. The base models will come with 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, along with 3 GB of RAM, and there is also a Pro version, featuring 128 GB of internal storage and 4 GB of RAM. The version you opt for also dictates the design language you get, with the base models coming with a metal and glass unibody construction, while the Pro iteration features a ceramic backing.

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All versions of the Mi 5 come with a large 3,000 mAh battery, that should provide for decent battery life, and with a USB Type-C port and Snapdragon processor, the device will be able to take advantage of Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging capabilities.

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As far as the design language is concerned, it remains familiar to previous Xiaomi devices, with glass on the front and back, and metal that wraps around the sides. The back features Xiaomi’s “3D Glass,” which is essentially a fancy name for the glass backing that tapers down on the sides, similar to what was seen with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the newly-announced Galaxy S7. As is the case with most devices with a similar build, the glass backing proves to be a big fingerprint magnet. However, the overall build of the phone feels solid, and the handling experience is really good, courtesy of its smaller 5.15-inch display, and thin bezels along the sides of the screen.

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The Xiaomi Mi 5 comes with a 5.15-inch IPS LCD display with a 1080p resolution. The resolution may not be Quad HD, as is now the expectation from current generation flagships, but in the short time we got to spend with the device, the viewing experience seems to be quite good. The colors are vibrant and saturated, viewing angles are nice, and the display seems to get pretty bright.¬†Below the display is where you will notice a physical home button, which isn’t a typical addition with Xiaomi smartphones. This home button, however, is the way for Xiaomi to introduce a fingerprint scanner into the mix.

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The Mi 5 comes with a 16 MP rear camera with phase detection auto focus, an f/2.0 aperture, and optical image stabilization. Of course, we’ll have to test the camera a lot more to see what kind of performance and image quality it provides, but the camera application itself looks to be simple enough, and the shutter speed was actually surprisingly fast.

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On the software side of things, you get the latest iteration of Xiaomi’s MIUI OS, based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The user interface remains quite similar to what is seen from a lot of other Chinese OEMs, with colorful squared icons, and the lack of an app drawer. You do get Xiaomi’s services and features built in, including an integrated Theme store that lets you change the look and feel of the interface.

So there you have it for quick look at the Xiaomi Mi 5! The Mi 5 will be available in China from March 1, and will make its way over to other markets like India shortly after. The device is priced at $260 for the base model, going up to $350 for the ceramic Pro version. With such as affordable price tag, coupled with top of the line specifications and a solid design, the Xiaomi Mi-5 is going to be quite the contender, and here’s to hoping that the device will somehow see an official release in the US.

Stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you more great coverage from MWC 2016!

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