MI 5s Comprehensive Hands on Review: New Heir to the Throne
by mitch002 (follow me on Twitter @MI_mitch002 for my latest Xiaomi Unboxing and Tutorials)
by mitch002 (follow me on Twitter @MI_mitch002 for my latest Xiaomi Unboxing and Tutorials)
After exactly 7 months and 3 days after the successful Mi5 launch last Feb 24th 2016, Xiaomi again stunned us with another beauty in the form of the Mi 5s last Sept 27th 2016. While the jump from Mi4 to Mi5 took 18 months in the making, Xiaomi wasted no time to launch its new beast in Mi 5s as soon as possible to go toe to toe with the recent Iphone 7 launch. Now lets see how this new flagship will fare in our review.
Whats In the Box:
We can see that Xiaomi went back to its old ways, having a plain box (only its white and not brown this time) and a carved MI Logo at the middle of the plain white box. It used to be a plain brown box with a MI Logo print on the top.
Xiaomi Mi 5s Specs:
· Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor 2.15 Ghz
· Adreno 530 GPU 624MHz
· 3GB / 4GB of RAM LPDDR4 1866MHz
· 5.15-inch full HD IPS display ultra bright, energy saving display, Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection
· Maximum 600-nit brightness, 95% NTSC color gamut uses 16 LED lights
· Brushed Aluminum Metal Back Finish
· 64GB / 128GB of storage
· 12-megapixel rear camera, F/2.0 lens, Phase Detection AF, Sony IMX 378 Sensor
· 4-megapixel front camera with 2 micro-meter sized sensor
· Ultra Sonic Finger print scanner
· Dual SIM (nano sim size)
· 3G, LTE, 4G +, VoLTE
· Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, NFC, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
· 3200mAh battery
· Android Marshmallow, MIUI 8
· USB-C port, UFS 2.0
· Silver, Grey, Gold, Pink
The Mi 5s sports an brushed aluminum metal finshed back, this is very different from the Mi 5 in terms of appearance, its sort of a revamp of design. As we have reported that many users of Mi5 has broken their back case due to accident, the designers of Xiaomi has taken this thing into hands and turn things around by launching a more unbreakable back cover in the Mi 5s. Now this is no surprise as we can easily compare the Mi 5s to the Redmi Pro in terms of design as they look somewhat identical. Now many people has noticed the missing MI Logo on the upper left corner of the display panel, we have no idea whats going on but we all know that the Mi Logo in the front symbolized a MI series smartphone, and a no Mi Logo in front signifies a Redmi Series smartphone. But as they say, Iphone never sported an Apple logo in the front panel, maybe they are just following their footsteps. There is a large chance that theya re doing just that.
Above the frame we have only the the 3.5mm audio jack. We are glad they did not take it off, otherwise our Pistons headset collection will just go to waste.
On the right side we have the volume rocker and the power button. We are not sure about the breaking lines above thevolume up and below the power button if it is the antennae or it’s just a design patterned to the Iphone 6S.
On the left side we have the sim tray which supports 2 Nano sim cards and sadly it’s not the same as Mi 4s which sports a hybrid sim 2 slot for either a Micro SD card or a Nano Sim. But all Xiaomi flagship never had a micro sd card expansion slot anyway. There are those enthusiast who were able to fuse the Nano sim to the body of the Micro SD card and made sim 2 and expansion storage work at the same time, but there is a risk of stuck up upon ejecting the sim tray.
Below the frame we have the USB-C port which is standard for all future smartphones released by Xiaomi, and the loudspeaker is placed at the left and right of the charging port, again these holes are pretty similar to the Iphone 6S.
In the front we have the physical home button with fingerprint scanner together with the 5.15" display and the 4MP selfie camera. The homebutton is a carved glass which has the ultra sonic finger print scanner inside and also has a special assistive touch function, you just need to tap the home button lightly and it will go back to home screen. Now this finger print scanner under the glass is the first in the industry, we are proud to tell you that.
The back sports a brushed aluminum metal finish together with the 12MP Sony IMX 378 Sensor Camera with dual LED flash. We can also find the noise cancellation mic hidden at the back, which for me feels pretty awkward. The overall feel on the Mi 5s is very smooth and very thin like the Mi5, Xiaomi did a heck of a job in squeezing in all those goodies inside the Mi 5s. Now people will start to ask why did Xiaomi downgraded the camera from 16MP of the Mi5 to 12MP in the Mi 5s, let me tell you that the quality of the photos does not rely on the number of megapixel present in th camera, this is not strength in numbers, rather it relies on the quality of sensor that the phone is using.
The Mi 5s comes with a full HD,5.15-inch display coupled with a 2.5D curved glass and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection for maximum resistance against scratches. One of the top reason why Mi5 did not have a QHD (2K) display similar to the Mi Note Pro is because it drains the battery too fast as witnessed by those who have the later unit described. Plus having a 2K display on a mobile is a bit practically useless as everyone gears towards better battery performance for the phone and not much importance on the rendered display.
Putting Mi5 and Mi 5s side by side and running Captain America: Civil War movie on 1080p, we saw the display is the same and have not much difference based on our careful observation.
One of the early adopter of the latest Snapdragon 821 is the Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus. This said SoC has 4 cores and can run up to 2.15Ghz of computing speed. Now of course coupled with the powerful Adreno 530, it will give you the best experience in gaming up to date. This powerful processor combined with the power of Adreno 530 makes this phone one of the beast to look out for this 3rd Quarter of 2016. We ran several test on this unit and we did not see any lags nor any slowdown on the opening of any apps in the Mi 5s. This SoC is already supporting the 64-bit architecture which means it can compute at a very fast phase. So good graphics, good multitasking plus fast processing makes Snapdragon 821 on of the beastly SoC we have handled. We tried playing NBA2k17 and all we can say is that it was really Awesome! We even made a video to compare the speed of both the 64GB variant and 128GB variant, check out our video below.
For more information about the Snapdragon 821, check this detailed explanation
The Xiaomi Mi 5s supports 10 different LTE bands as well as VoLTE, its easy to switch to LTE network inside the settings but once your do the second sim will be running on GSM connectivity only. You can freely choose which sim you want to use your LTE data, since this is a Dual LTE, Dual standby smartphone. This unit also has the 4G+ equipped, should your network provider have this feature, you can take advantage of it. Wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac is also smooth and it also supports Wi-Fi Direct. Wireless screen mirroring is also available via the Miracast protocol, tethering data is also working perfectly. Bluetooth 4.2,GPS, and GLONASS are all present, NFC (Near Field Communication) is also present as Xiaomi gears toward Mi Pay and it enables you to send data to a fellow NFC user with just tapping your phones together.
Here are the bands that Mi 5s supports based on the official site
FDD-LTE (band Bl, B3, B5, of B7, B8)
the TD-the LTE (band the B38, B39, and B40, B41 of)
the TD-SCDMA (band cylinder B34, B39)
the WCDMA (bands Bl, B2, B5, B8)
the GSM ( band B2, B3, B5, B8)
CDMA1X / EVDO? (band BC0)
The Mi 5s sports a pretty good speaker, loud and crisp. We have compared the output audio of Mi 5s against the Mi5 and we proved that the loudspeaker of the Mi 5s rocks the music as good as its predecessor the Mi5. Mi 5s supports a wide range of video format like MKV, MP4, M4V, AVI, XVID and more. I can even support 4k H265 videos in the process. While watching Blueray Ripped copy of Captain America: Civil War, we can conclude that Mi 5s has a good bright display with its 16 LED lights present under the display panel.
The main focus of Xiaomi in Mi 5s is primarily in its 12MP Sony IMX 378 sensor Camera. It’s no fluke that this camera is one of the top ones in the market which Xiaomi normally release in its premium flagship smartphones. This 12 MP snapper is equipped with a high definition sensor, with PDAF (Phase Detection AutoFocus, commonly present in DSLR cameras) and DTI (Deep Trench Technology) and one thing that is lacking is the OIS feature and the 4-Axis OIS present in the Mi5. While we have taken several snaps with this camera while on the road using the Mi 5s as a daily driver, we can note that the camera can focus pretty fast plus it takes pretty good snaps under bright sunlight as well as low dimlight. Here are some of our photos that are not edited. We will also show you some snaps comparing the Mi 5s and the Mi5 camera as well.
Mi 5s vs Mi5 Camera Shots (under automatic mode)
Battery and Benchmark
While packing in 3200mAh inside a thin unibody is no easy task, the Mi 5s has a pretty good battery life. The Mi 5s now supports the Qualcomm Quickcharge 3.0 and it takes in 2.5 Amperes based on our testing, this should be higher when you buy a Quick Charge 3.0 charger, the reason why Xiaomi only included a Quick Charge 2.0 charger is due to cost cutting to bring it to you at the lowest price possible. We were able to charge from 9% to 20% in 5 minutes out the box as that’s the only factory charge they gave us together with the unit. We were able to complete charging the phone in 1 hour and 15 minutes. We recorded a 11 hour 25 minute on the Mi 5s 64gb and 11 hour 55 minute on the Mi 5s 128GB under the PC Mark battery stress test. This was a huge improvement over Mi5 as we recorded 9 hours for the Mi5 on our previous review.
We were already surprised with the benchmark of the Mi 5s 64GB hitting AnTuTu benchmark for 133,519 points. The Mi 5s 128GB 2.15Ghz scored even higher at 139,007 points to make us want to get the Mi 5s Plus AnTuTu rating with a 6GB RAM, imagine its going to blow the score off the charts for sure. Xiaomi initially reported a score of 164k in AnTuTu for the 6GB variant of the Mi 5s Plus, we shall see.
The under the glass fingerprint scanner takes only 25 seconds estimated to setup and it is very responsive in unlocking the phone based on my end, but one thing for sure, the glass finger print scanner glass carving makes the Mi 5s looks cool and this is the industry. Some users reported delayed response, we hope Xiaomi gives it a bug fix in the future updates.
Mi 5s 64GB Test Results
Mi 5s 128GB Test Results
More Photos to Indulge:
Mi 5s, Powerful and Affordable Flagship
Now the question is Mi 5s worthy enough to be the heir of Mi5? Let me say we love everything the Mi 5s has to offer except 2 things, the lacking of OIS in the camera feature and the Redmi Pro-ish design of the flagship. This doesnt mean we dont like it, we absolutely love the phone, its just that Mi5 has set the bar pretty high for Mi 5s, now that we have covered almost everything, we love the camera of the Mi 5s, it focuses better than the Mi5 and takes more crisp shots as well based on our side by side comparison. The feel on the hand is also pretty good, no longer as slippery as the Mi5 this time around.
Worthy upgrade? I would have to say its a YES!
The 64GB variant retails for 1999 RMB and the 128GB variant retails at 2299 RMB.
You must be wondering who this pretty girl is? Her name is Ms. Lyra, she is a supermodel who we caught up during our photoshoot using the Mi 5s, we thank her for holding the Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus for us. Such a lovely lady.
Mi5 vs Mi5s vs Mi5s Plus Video Comparison
Disclaimer: Please don't send me any PM regarding any type of Sales related inquiries. I'm a Xiaomi enthusiast but not a seller of Mi Products. I'm just a hardcore Xiaomi Fan, one notch higher than many of you here. Also I'm a Tech Blogger in the Philippines and all my review devices are either bought by myself from Xiaomi or borrowed from someone for a short period of time.