February 24, 2016
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Xiaomi-mi-5-design5-aaXiaomi has launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Mi 5, at a global launch event during Mobile World Congress 2016. The event was held in conjunction with Qualcomm and the start time on the invitation was marked as 8:20, as a clue about the processor at the heart of the Mi 5. In case you didn’t get the clue, the Mi 5 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. Supporting the processor is 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and up to 128GB of flash.

In terms of display the Mi 5 comes with a 5.15 inch Full HD 1080p display with a 16 LED light backlight technology which gives a brighter picture (600 nits) but that is 17% more power efficient. The Mi 5 will be available in 3 colors: Black, White and Gold and in three different models, a 32GB model, a 64GB model and a 128GB model.

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The top of the line model with 128GB of flash, which Xiaomi is calling the Mi 5 Pro, comes with a ceramic back rather than the glass back like the other two models. The ceramic used is some of the hardest materials available and scores an eight on the Mohs hardness scale. For some context diamond scores 10 and steel 4.5!

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For the first time Xiaomi has included a fingerprint reader on one of its devices and a home button. During the launch event Hugo Barra went into quite some detail about how Xiaomi invested a lot of time in adding a home button and fingerprint reader, but without compromising on the position of other components (like the camera) or without increasing the thickness of the device.

Talking of the camera, the Mi 5 comes with a 16MP Sony IMX298 sensor with PDAF autofocus and a pixel-to-pixel isolation technology to stop light bleed from one pixel to another. It also has 4 axis OIS, a first for a smartphone. On the front there is a 4MP front camera with large pixels, for better low light pictures.

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The Mi 5 is just 7.25 mm thin and weighs just 129g. This is quite amazing when you consider that it contains a 3000 mAh battery. The battery support Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and according to Xiaomi you can go from 0 to 80% charge in under a hour. In fact, just a 10 minute charge will give you enough power to watch a two hour movie!

As for software the Mi 5 comes with MIUI 7 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and it will receive weekly updates.

The price of the Mi 5 is quite amazing. The three models are priced at:

  • Mi 5 Pro – Snapdragon 820 (2.15GHz), 128GB flash, 4GB RAM, ceramic back: $360 (without sales tax), $410 (as direct conversion)
  • Mi 5 64 – Snapdragon 820 (2.15GHz), 64GB flash, 3D glass back: $310 (without sales tax), $350 (as direct conversion)
  • Mi 5 32 – Snapdragon 820 (1.8GHz), 32GB flash, 3GB RAM, 3D glass back: $265 (without sales tax), $305 (as direct conversion)

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The good news is that those in China won’t have to wait too long to get hold of the Mi 5. It will go on sale on March 1st via mi.com. Next comes India and then after that other markets.

Here is a gallery of some of the images from the launch event:

What do you think, does a Snapdragon 820 device with 128GB of flash, 4GB of RAM, a ceramic back, 4 axis OIS and a 3000 mAh battery for around $400 sound good to you?

Gary Sims
Gary has been a tech writer for over a decade and specializes in open source systems. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems.He has many years of experience in system design and development as well as system administration, system security and networking protocols. He also knows several programming languages, as he was previously a software engineer for 10 years.
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