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Review: Xiaomi Mi5S

The Xiaomi Mi5S is the succesor of the Mi5 which was released in April this year. The Mi5S is released last month and the specifications are very good on paper. So what can we expect? Is it the payable flagship we are all have been wait for? How does the camera perform which is also featured on the Google Pixel? CECT-Shop send us a sample for review to find out if the Mi5S is a great buy or not. Packaging The Mi5S is packaged in the well known white box by Xiaomi with a small white logo on the front…

Review Overview

Design/ buidling quality - 8.5
Display - 9
Performance - 9.5
Connectivity - 9.5
Camera - 9
Battery - 9

9.1

User Rating: 4.35 ( 2 votes)

The Xiaomi Mi5S is the succesor of the Mi5 which was released in April this year. The Mi5S is released last month and the specifications are very good on paper. So what can we expect? Is it the payable flagship we are all have been wait for? How does the camera perform which is also featured on the Google Pixel? CECT-Shop send us a sample for review to find out if the Mi5S is a great buy or not.

Packaging

The Mi5S is packaged in the well known white box by Xiaomi with a small white logo on the front and the specifications on the back.

When opening the package you are confronted immediately with the smartphone which is wrapped in bubble foil. The smartphone itself is protected with a temporary screenprotector and a protector on the back. Also the camera lens is protected with a foil. Below the smartphone carton there is a manual, sim-tray pin, USB Type-C cable and a Chinese adapter. CECT-Shop also added two European converters for the adapter, a checklist of the phone before packaging and also added two sticky stands which can be placed on the back.

Design and building quality

The Mi5S looks stunning and has a premium feel. The complete front is made out of glass. The body itself is made of CNC alluminium except for two small lines on the back to give the antennas a better reception. A pleasant pro of the design is that the camera lens is sunken in the backcover which means a smaller change for damaging the lens. The Mi5s feels very premium in the hand, probably due to the curved backcover, curved 2.5D glass and the convenient weight of the Mi5S.

Speaking of weight and size. The Mi5s has a size of 145.6 x 70.3 x 8.25mm and a weight of 145 grams.

In design you will find the double SIM tray on the left side. There is no MicroSD slot on the Mi5S, but who needs that with 128GB of ROM storage :-). On the right side there is the powerbutton and volume buttons. Talking about these buttons, it feels like they are a bit loose, but working well. Maybe it’s a personal thing.

On the front there is a RGB notification LED, lightsensor, earspeaker and a 4 Megapixel selfiecam. The Mi5S has capacitive buttons with backlight, which differs from the Google Guidelines,  where the right button is used as the backbutton and the left button is used for the multitask menu.

The most interesting part of the front is the multifunctional homebutton which can be found below the display between the capacitive buttons. The home-button is a 3D Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner where the Xiaomi Mi5s is the first smartphone in the world which is equipped with this ultrasonic fingerprint sensor by Qualcomm. The fingerprint scanner is located under the display glass and can scan the fingerprint even through the glass material. The sensor reacts and scans the stored fingers fast.

On top there is only the microphone jack. Unfortunately no extra feature like an infraredsensor which is featured on the Plus version. On the bottom there is a Type-C port and two identical grids where one is the speaker and the other a microphone.

And finally the back which features a 12 Megapixel Sony camera and the Mi logo.

Hardware

The Xiaomi Mi5S features a 5.15 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with a 71.4% screen-to-body ratio. The display has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels with density of 428 ppi and is protected with Gorilla Glass 4. The model we are reviewing (4GB RAM/ 128GB ROM) is supporting 3D touch too.

In use the display is very sharp, has great colors and can be viewed among all angles. The Mi5S has a good contrast ratio of 1294:1 in normal conditions and 3.276:1 in direct sunlight which makes the Mi5S display very easy to read in direct sunlight.

The Mi5S is running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset and has four cores (2x 2.15 GHz Kryo & 2x 1.6 GHz Kryo), the fast Mali Adreno 530 GPU running at 653 Mhz, 4GB RAM and 128 GB for your storage. A nice plus is that, despite the resolution of 1080p the Xiaomi Mi5s is compatible with Google’s VR program “Daydream” due to the use of the Snapdragon 821 chipset. All this gives the Mi5S an impressive Antutu score of 146729. As you can see the Snapdragon 821 is a very fast chipset which is placed in the current top 5 in ranking despite the use of just 4 cores. Games like Real Racing 3 and Clash of Clans are running smoothly which makes it a great gaming device too. Oh and yes, the Mi5S gets a little hot but not something to worry about.

The Mi5S has a non-removable 3200 mAh battery which gave use enough juice to get through the day. The battery is quite good for a flagship.

Camera

The Xiaomi Mi 5s features the latest sensor by Sony, the Sony IMX378 sensor which supports 12 Megapixels. It’s the same sensor that you is featured on the Google Pixel flagship. The sensor features , just like the Google’s Pixel flagships, comes with the new 12MP Sony IMX378 sensor. It’s not the highest amount of Megapixels on the market but this sensor supports a pixelsize of 1.55µm pixels which means lower noise in your photos.  The sensor has a relatively wide aperture of f/2.0 and the Mi5S has a two-tone dual-LED flash. A great combinaton, unfortunately optical image stabilization is not featured on the Mi5S.

The sensor support face-detection autofocus, faster and better HDR processing and a higher frame rate support for videos. One of the highlights is the image signal processor which can help you shoot HDR photos faster while the processing will also be faster.

When looking at the cameraperformance we were very impressed. The daylight shots have a high pixel quality where the noise is kept low and the photos are very detailed. The colors are very accurate, the white balance correct. Just beautiful.

The camera does not deliver a continious result while shooting in low light. When you take your time the photos can be great (make sure you have a steady hand or use a tripod), but in some occations the photos are blurred and have poor detail. By shooting inside the house with lowlight and flash, the results where avarage to above avarage. Overall a great camera and flagship worthy.

[Rearcam sample photos, resized for this review]

Below the difference in low-light with and without flash:

withandwithoutflash

The Xiaomi Mi5S also features a 4 Megapixel Ultrapixel front camera which should be perfect for selfies and videocalling, We have made some “normal photos” to compare the camera with the rearcamera. The quality of the photos are very dependend on the light circumstances and what you are shooting. When taking non-selfie photos with the camera there seems to be some focus problems and the photos are getting vague. We also noticed some “camera reflection” in the photos when shooting against direct light. But, the front cam is not made for these kind of pictures it’s of course made for videocalling and selfies and that is what the frontcam is doing very well. In example it the catselfie, the “selfie” image has more than enough detail, a good contrast and nice colors which makes the cam perfect for selfies and videocalling.

[Frontcam sample photos, resized for this review]

Of course the Mi5S can shoot videos too. You can choose between filming on 2160p (4K) with 30fps or 1080p with 30fps for common shooting and 720p with 120fps for slow-motion effects. The video quality is very high with sharp images. The colors are good too. The audio quality is OK, but can be better in some circumstances.

Connectivity

The Xiaomi devices are made for the China market which means that not all available bands are supported to provide 4G/LTE. The supported bands are:

2G/CDMA1X / EVDO (BC0)
GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz (B5/B8/B3/B2)
3G/WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz
FDD-LTE 850/900/1800/2100/2600 (B1/ B3/ B5/ B7/ B8)
TD-LTE 1900/2300/2500/2600MHz
TD-SCDMA 1880-1920MHz
TD-SCDMA 2010-2025MHz

While testing the 3G and 4G connection (dual SIM test) where very stable and 4G provides enough speed (tested in The Netherlands with KPN). The calling quality is just great, no hickups, errors etc. Just a clear crisp sound. The earspeaker has also a crisp and clear sound and has a good volume.

The Mi5S has also GPS with GLONASS onboard. The GPS had a fix in just 2 seconds where it also pointed out the correct location on Google Maps. Very impressive. While driving the GPS stayed stable without any losts.

screenshot_2016-10-26-06-17-28-140_com-chartcross-gpstest

Other connectivity features include WiFi a/b/g/n/ac support and WiFi Direct. Furthermore the Mi5S supports Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC.

Software

The Xiaomi Mi5S comes with Android 6.0.1 and has the Android security patch of last July. As with all Xiaomi devices the Mi5S comes with MIUI, in this case MIUI 8. This latest version of MIUI has some great improvements compared with earlier versions. It’s now possible to edit the color scheme of the weather app, drawing on photos and improved video editing. The buildin security app helps you to protect and maintain your device while MIUI 8 now adds to possibility to avoid autostart of apps after a (re)boot.

The most awesome feature we like is the possibility to create a second space. This feature let you make a second phone on your Mi5S where can separate private and business related apps, but also gives the possibility to run a second Whatsapp instance at the same time! Unfortunately running a second space had a bad influence on the performance and freezes the display sometimes.

MIUI8 runs smoothly but takes around 2,5GB of RAM to run. In average there is 1.2 till 1.5 GB RAM available. Overal MIUI is great, but you need to finetune it concerning optimalisation of MIUI to get for example your whatsapp notifications without a delay. Fortunately the Xiaomi forum gives you a lot of help and information.

Our partner CECT-Shop has pre-installed a international version of the ROM to get most of the text in your native language and has the Google Play Store pre-installed.

Conclusion

What an impressive smartphone is this! When it was announced we made our expectations and after using it for a while it did meet our expectations!
The Mi5S 4GB/128GB has top-notch specs, great benchmark scores and a price which can compete with the premium brands.
The smartphone runs smooth and is easy to use. The battery is well optimized while the UFS storage is very fast. With the use of 128GB ROM the lack of a MicroSD slot is not missed, but for the smaller ROM version it can be a real miss.

The camera makes great pictures concerning its price. The low-light pictures can sometimes be better but overall it performs great.

The Mi5S was the very first Xiaomi device we have ever reviewed and we had a blank experience with MIUI and MIUI impressed us with it’s features and user-friendlyness.
If you are searching for a great Christmas present, the Xiaomi Mi5S is definitely a smartphone that won’t be dissapoint you.

This Xiaomi Mi5S 4GB/128GB version is available at CECT-Shop for €359.00 ($387.15) and is also available in other versions like the Mi5S 3G/64GB for €299.00 ($331.68), Mi5S Plus 4GB/64GB for €349.00 ($387.15) and the Mi5S Plus 6GB/128GB for €399.00 ($442.61).

And the best part, CECT-Shop is giving our readers a €5 discount on their order of the Mi5S 3GB/64GB as well as the 4GB/128GB version with the special couponcode CTTENGMI5S.