5 reasons Xiaomi Mi 5 is a great deal and 5 reasons it’s not

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After almost two years of wait, Xiaomi has finally launched its flagship smartphone in India. The Xiaomi Mi 5 comes at a price of Rs 24,999 and will be looking at giving a good  competition to conventional flagship smartphones from Apple, Samsung, LG on one hand and to new age flagship killers from Lenovo, OnePlus on the other.

The phone was first showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016 and went on sale in China. The Xiaomi Mi 5 has been getting an outstanding response in the China market and India is the first international country to offer this smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphone that packs in Snapdragon 820 CPU, 3GB of RAM, a 16MP Sony sensor and a sleek design that weighs just 129g. In the China market the company is also offering a limited edition ceramic back model, which we will not be seeing in India for now.

The Xiaomi Mi 5 has a metal and glass combo for the chassis, with a seamless design that does feel really nice when sliding your finger along the side - it's crafted well to avoid any sharp edges. The smartphone comes with USB Type C connector. A connector that works either way up and allows for faster data transfer - plus this phone supports Quick Charge 3.0, so you'll be able to get 90% in charge in under an hour.

The front-facing camera is a 4MP affair, with pixels that are 2 microns wide - that's rather large and allows for brighter images. There is Xiaomi's Beauty Mode, which helps in touching up the pictures and putting it in Hugo Barra's words, "Make handsome men look even more handsome". We have tried this feature on some of the previous Xiaomi phones and can tell you that it is a great add on for the selfie addicts .

Not to forget the first of its kind 4-axis OIS integrated into the rear camera module.

Xiaomi does try to cover main aspects in this phone by offering great horsepower, a camera to write about and not to mention the battery but it is always good to weigh every pro with an equal number of cons. So we present to you five main points that make the Xiaomi Mi 5 shine out and also five points through which we feel it has missed the bus. Read out to make a smart investment.

A 'Powerhouse' for processing and gaming

Xiaomi Mi 5 is backed by the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 CPU, which is considered the fastest smartphone CPU of 2016 and is usually a feature of high-end pricey handsets such as LG G5, Samsung galaxy S7 (US variant) and HP Elite X3. It is not expected to be marred by the overheating issues, which made the previous Snapdragon 810 less desirable among the users around the globe.

If Snapdragon 820 takes care of your processing requirements, then the graphics department is handles by Adreno 530, which again sits at the top of the GPU's list. It is 40% faster than the previous Adreno 430 and also consuming 40% less power. The result is supreme gaming performance with less battery consumption.

Amazing 16MP rear camera with first time 4-Axis Optical Image Stabilisation

We recently reviewed Xiaomi Redmi Note 3's camera and found it to be best in the sub Rs 10,000 price bracket. In the past we had reviewed Mi 4, Mi 4i and other Xiaomi devices, which also showcased good imaging prowess. Coming on to Mi 5, the smartphone is equipped with a 16MP sensor from Sony IMX298 imaging sensor, with a sapphire protective glass and phase detection autofocus. What makes this camera sensor special is the 4-axis optical image stablisation, which for the first time will be seen on a smartphone. This interesting piece of imaging technology aims to reduce motion blur when shooting moving objects. It is more effective than the traditional 2-axis OIS mostly found in other flagship smartphones and will yield better results while shooting fast moving objects.

The front-facing camera is a 4MP affair, which packs in pixels that are 2 microns wide to allow more light for brighter images.

It's a beautifully crafted handset

During the launch event, we had a chance to experience the smartphone in personal. Xiaomi Mi 5 has a seamless design that does feel really nice in hands and is entirely crafted out of metal and glass. It looks premium and at the same time does not have any sharp edges to add the ergonomics. The curved design reminds us of the recent Galaxy S7 and the almost frameless display looks beautiful. The Pro variant comes with ceramic rear, which offers extra durability.

You also get a fingerprint sensor integrated on the home button at the front.

Quick charge 3.0

As the smartphone comes equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820, it takes the advantage of Quick Charge 3.0, which can be remarkably fast to charge the 3,000mAh battery unit of the handset.

Does not burn a hole in the pocket

Finally, the most important part is the pricing. While a flagship smartphone from Samsung, Apple, LG and Sony will set you back by almost Rs 50,000 and even more in some cases, the Mi 5 only asks half of it. The standard variant with 3Gb RAM and 32GB internal memory sells at Rs 24,999, which is a decent amount for the specifications and features the smartphone offers.

Read also: Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5

Where Xiaomi Mi 5 miss the spot

While there are enough reasons to like the highly praised smartphone, we found some negative aspects as well, which cannot be ignored.

No 2K display

The display is one of the things on the smartphone that do not match  the flagship moniker. Xiaomi Mi 5 features a 1080p LCD IPS panel, which  offers good color reproduction and contrast ratio but does not stack up  against the QHD panels (Nexus 6P, Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S7,etc.)  in terms of sharpness. 

3GB RAM and no Pro variant for the Indian market

Xiaomi has only launched the standard variant in the Indian market, which comes with a 3GB of RAM. While, it's enough for to offer a good level of multitasking, there are options available in the market with 4GB of RAM (OnePlus 2, Asus Zenfone 2) if you don't want to compromise on multitasking.

No microSD card slot

Xiaomi Mi 5 fails to offer the convenience of a microSD card, which is one feature deeply loved by the consumers in the Indian market. The smartphone's standard addition offers only 32GB internal storage.

No removable battery

A nightmare for consumers is the fact that Xiaomi Mi 5 does not feature a removable battery. So you are restricted with a 3,000mAh battery unit for the entire lifetime of the handset.

Not weather proof

Another noted feature which gets a miss is the water and dust  resistivity. Xiaomi has not equipped the MI 5 with any sort of  protection that can be found even in some budget handsets these days.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to like about the new  Xiaomi Mi 5 and then there are some hard reasons to give it a miss. At  the end we would like to rest the decision to you whether to buy the new  smartphone or consider other options in the market.

In case you want to read a detailed specs comparison of the Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5, here is the link.

Rohit Arora is the Senior Correspondent at Gizbot, OneIndia. He has been exploring technology since early 90s and started working with Print media in 2014. After writing for PC Quest, Voice & Data and Data Quest for over 14 months, I joined TechRadar in 2016 (Noida). Rohit provides strategic ideas to leading tech brands for new product launches and marketing campaigns.