When looking to get a new phone, you either cut on the quality for the price, or pay extra to have premium features and design materials. It seems that all this is about to change as the Xiaomi Mi5 has bridged the gap between the expensive and feature-packed devices. It’s rare that a device can be so wonderfully constructed at such a wonderful price.

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Xiaomi Mi 5 Tech Specs

Display 5.15-inches (1080×1920)
Battery 3000mAh
Storage 32GB/64GB 128GB
Waterproof No
CPU Dual-Core 1.8GHz & dual core 1.36GHz
Memory 3GB (32/64GB) 4GB (128GB) not expandable
OS Android
WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Dual Sim Yes – Nano-Sim
Camera 16MP Rear, 4MP Front
Network LTE
Dimensions 129g (144 x 69.6 x 7.3mm)
Price R7999

In The Box

Xiaomi Mi 5

In the box you will find:

  • Xiaomi Mi 5 device;
  • Charger; and
  • Type-C USB charging cable.

Design

The most important thing to know going into this review, is that the Mi 5 costs R7 999. This is about half the price of a Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6S.

The device bears a solid feel with a glass back and metal sides. It weighs 129g, which makes it a decent weight without it feeling too light in your hands. The Mi 5 might be an affordable phone, but everything about its encasing screams premium design aesthetics.

The device has a 5.15-inch display, which touches the edges of the phone, making it a true design marvel. Many devices on the market waste space on the edges of your phone, but the Mi 5 seems to utilize every micro-inch on the front face. As for the display itself, it comes in at 1080×1920, which is not as high as many devices on the market.

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Instead of a typical Micro USB charging port, the Mi 5 has a Type-C port, which is the new direction most devices are moving towards. As much as we loved this, right now it is exclusive, which means that you probably will not have a dozen cables lying around, and you will be in a pickle when the device goes flat. The Type-C port does have its advantages though. The device charges at a lightning fast speed, probably the fastest we have ever seen on a phone, and its reversible, so no more scratching and messing around when plugging it in.

IMG_0474

The device also supports Dual-Sim for those who need it. It allows you to switch to different networks depending on the sim you have active, and it all runs pretty smoothly.

Performance

The Xiaomi Mi 5 runs on one of the cleanest versions of Android we have ever played with. The UI is clean and the layout reminds us of a better version of iOS. Everything is layered on top of the home screen with small animations adding to the experience. If you work on an Android device then you might find it hard at first to find your way around, but once you learn it, it will be worth it.

The OS runs smooth and quick, with gaming and multitasking being a breeze. Phone calls are clear and quick to find and dial.

We experienced some sound problems as the speaker sounds a bit weak and crackles on loud volumes.

IMG_20160701_090756_HDR

Battery life on the device is superb. We did everything we would normally do on a review device, and it lasted a decent day on casual use. The standby battery is also great, something which we weren’t expecting after a few Android mishaps with standby battery usage. There are also a couple of battery profiles to suite your style of usage. These will turn off certain things and reduce certain activities. You can set the device up to automatically switch to these battery profiles during certain times of the day.

We expected a mediocre camera on the device, but what we experience was the complete opposite. The back 16MP camera is a marvel. Low-light images were great, and photos in general were clear and focused. The Photo UI is a breeze to handle by putting everything you need on the screen. Many devices would require you to dig into settings to find what you are looking for, but the Xiaomi Mi 5 has it all there. We could turn HDR on and off instantly, and choose from a different filter. The front camera is standard.

Xiaomi-Mi-5

Verdict

Gold Award

The Xiaomi Mi 5 is by far the best budget device on the market, and dare we say that is even beats some high-end devices. What we loved the most about it, was that Xiaomi’s approach to the Mi 5 is completely honest. The device is not weighed down by useless features and gimmicks, rather the best of the best, for the price you are paying. For R7 999, you really cannot find anything close to this.

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Xiaomi Mi 5 review
AffordableExcellent CameraClean UIGreat Hardware
92%Fantastic
Design92%
Performance91%
Value for Money94%
Reader Rating 1 Vote
90%