Review Roundup: Xiaomi Mi 5
The Verge81%
GSM Arena90%
CNET82%
Ars Techinca80%
Mashable81%
GSM Arena90%
Pros
  • Lightning fast
  • Beautifully built
  • Extremely affordable
Cons
  • No waterproofing
  • So-so software
  • Hard to find
84%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
79%

When it comes to high quality, low cost smartphones, you’re pretty much spoilt for choice in 2016. Industrial design is taking huge leaps forward for the budget manufacturers and specifications are falling in line with the likes of Samsung’s flagship smartphone products. No one phone encompases those twin movements more than Xiaomi’s latest flagship device, the Mi 5. It marries absurdly high specifications with a price that ranges between £215 for the 32GB model, £250 for the 64GB model and £295 for the 128GB ‘Pro’ model, which also features 1GB of extra RAM (4GB) and a ceramic rear.

Whilst it provides great value for money and highly competitive specifications, we’ve only just found out what the critics think. Let’s dig in.

The Verge

Xiaomi’s Mi 5 fits a lot of easy classifications. Yes, it’s a poor person’s Galaxy S7. And yes, it’s another Chinese phone that wants to wow buyers with good looks and high specs. But what distinguishes it is how good it is at accomplishing its goals. I thought the OnePlus X was good value for money, but the Mi 5 demolishes that idea and sets a much higher benchmark, with better software and better hardware. The old copycat label has also been well and truly shed, and while I think Xiaomi can refine its designs and improve on the quality of its manufacturing, I have no lingering doubts about the originality of its work.

At a time when HTC has cynically fallen in line with other iPhone copycat makers, it’s heartening to see others like Xiaomi putting the strength of their convictions behind their latest devices. I’ve used almost every smartphone introduced over the past six years and the Mi 5 still feels fresh and distinct in its own particular way.

The Mi 5 drags premium performance and features down into an even lower price tier. Its arrival is bad news for Xiaomi’s competitors but good news for consumers. This is as much smartphone as almost anyone will need, and for its price, I’m willing to forgive a couple of understandable shortcomings.

GSM Arena 

Xiaomi made it easy for us. The Mi 5 is one of the most beautiful, most powerful, and most capable smartphones to date and there is little to dwell on it. If the Mi 5 is available in your geographic region, our recommendation is to grab one right away.

Xiaomi is not ready to offer waterproofing just yet, but we can forgive its omission by being dazzled by the looks and thin profile. The lightweight glass body and sturdy metal frame, both thoughtfully crafted, may have had suffered from water-proofing anyway.

The Snapdragon 820 chip, the very bright screen, the enhanced 16MP snapper with 4-axis OIS, and the beefy battery are all an excellent complement to the charismatic Xiaomi Mi 5. The Android 6.0 Marshmallow allowed for native fingerprint reader and USB Type-C support, while the MIUI 7 launcher is as neat as ever.

Throughout our review we found the Mi 5 acing most of the key tests, which easily puts it around the top of the flagship chain. Considering the Mi 5 costs half the price of a Galaxy S7 or similar, it’s an easy recommendation.

CNET

If you happen to be living in a place where the Mi 5 is sold — China or India — you should buy it, especially if all you want is a fast, no-frills phone with a great camera. If you’re in the UK or Australia and don’t mind taking a punt on a third-party reseller, you can find the 32GB model for around £340 or AU$800. It’s harder to find in the US, but should be around $300.

I enjoyed the time I’ve spent with the Mi 5: It’s a great all-rounder that bears comparison with its much costlier competition. It marks Xiaomi as a real challenger to Apple, Samsung and LG.

Ars Technica

Xiaomi offers amazing hardware for the money. The company managed to cram a Snapdragon 820 into a $305 phone while still doing a great job on the screen, camera, and build quality. There are even a few “extra” features here, like dual SIM cards, USB Type-C, a fingerprint reader, NFC, and an IR blaster. Xiaomi knows right where the price/performance sweet spot is, and it has tailored the Mi 5 to hit that target. The company cut costs in places where most people won’t notice, like with a slightly slower SoC, “only” 3GB of RAM, and a screen that opts out of the crazy DPI wars. The big features that customers want are all here, though.

Mashable

The Mi 5 is anything but cheap junk. You can accuse Xiaomi’s MIUI of copying iOS, but the phone’s polish is unmatched for $305. The One Plus X’s build quality is equally as remarkable for a sub-$300 device, but it’s saddled with an ancient processor and poorer cameras. It also doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor.

It would have been nice to see a microSD card slot for storage expansion. Water resistance would have been great. And the cameras could be a little better, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better phone at this price.

GSM Arena

Xiaomi made it easy for us. The Mi 5 is one of the most beautiful, most powerful, and most capable smartphones to date and there is little to dwell on it. If the Mi 5 is available in your geographic region, our recommendation is to grab one right away.

Xiaomi is not ready to offer waterproofing just yet, but we can forgive its omission by being dazzled by the looks and thin profile. The lightweight glass body and sturdy metal frame, both thoughtfully crafted, may have had suffered from water-proofing anyway.

The Snapdragon 820 chip, the very bright screen, the enhanced 16MP snapper with 4-axis OIS, and the beefy battery are all an excellent complement to the charismatic Xiaomi Mi 5. The Android 6.0 Marshmallow allowed for native fingerprint reader and USB Type-C support, while the MIUI 7 launcher is as neat as ever.

Throughout our review we found the Mi 5 acing most of the key tests, which easily puts it around the top of the flagship chain. Considering the Mi 5 costs half the price of a Galaxy S7 or similar, it’s an easy recommendation.

 

About The Author

Editor in Chief

Ten fingers, five senses, one man, loads of Chinese smartphones.

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