Xiaomi Mi 5 mini-review (real life)


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Jul 11, 2014
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Hi everyone!

I've been using the Xiaomi Mi 5 for the better part of 2 weeks and here's my review. It's been paired with a Moto 360 (2014), running on T-Mobile in the greater NYC area - which included my hometown and my home apartment is known as a dead zone.

Not doing a full review as some of the ones on YouTube (like C4ETech's) is very comprehensive.

The Mi 5 is incredibly light...Samsung Galaxy S2/ Focus S like. Yes, much lighter than a Nexus 5X. So lightweight you don't remember it is a premium device. I originally had this with a clear case which really highlighted how lightweight it was. I upgraded to those dual TPU with hard plastic trim cases and it's added a bit more heft to the phone so it sits much better in hand. I've got the basic white with the 32GB + 3GB RAM model, and since the case itself has black with a silver trim, it does give things a nice visual touch.

Design language is nice...glass feels good, phone is narrow and single handed use is good overall. This is a slippery phone so a case is mandatory. It's like someone said "let's take the Note 5 and shrink it down to the iPhone 5S dimensions". Still, very nice.


1) Battery life is good. Pairing a 1080P LCD + S820 chip + 3000mah battery was a smart move. I get two days mixed usage, one day solid heavy usage.

2) 1080P panel is really good. A treat to use. Can get super bright and super dim. I don't miss the Maxx's screen (which as an AMOLED panel is vastly superior...maybe the best panel I've used overall - better than the G4's and a slight step down from the Note 5) as much when using this.

3) 2016 hardware is fast, no lag...especially when I shut off the system animations. Speed demon indeed.

4) Solid audio...headphone jack is good enough for me, and button speaker is decent. MIUI has some nice enhancements audio wise that are decent.

5) Quick charge 2.0 and 3.0 via USB-C. Very fast and convenient.

6) While I'm not a fan of the fingerprint reader on the front in terms of placement, this is a good one. You need to hold your finger a slight tock longer over the sensor, but once you learn that, very responsive.

7) Camera in good lighting is good.


1) Lack of appropriate band support. I knew this going in, and wherever I've gotten H+ steadily, it's been good. But I really wish this thing had AWS to give me the full LTE. Data isn't a pain in the *** until you need to do something and drop down to Edge.

2) I've got the base 32GB + 3GB RAM model. For the price it was offered to me at, I've got no complaints...still, I wish it was the 64GB + 4GB RAM model.

3) No micro SD. I wish it was a hybrid slot, meaning I could give up one of the sim slots for a micro SD. It would have made the point above much more bearable.

4) No Qi charging. That would have been nice.

5) Camera could have been better in low light, since it has OIS. While more usable than the Maxx, low light isn't great here. G4 still bests this, and the 950XL too.

6) Since I'm using the Chinese ROM retrofitted with Play store apps, it lacks US language support. So some apps don't play nice with this (Chase Bank, for example).

7) Auto brightness is really aggressive. I love the fact that the panel can get really dim, but every once in a while it does so at the wrong time. Not sure whose battery saver here is more aggressive...the G5 or the Mi 5.


1) MIUI is an acquired taste. I'm not a fan of how they handle the notification bar by splitting it in two panes, but I've seen worse. MIUI offers lots of granular controls, which is good. Still, there is a learning curve and it's not for everyone. For instance, the RAM management is aggressive. Maybe not Huawei level aggressive, a lot more aggressive than I'm used to. Being the Chinese ROM I had less Google bloat but more Xiaomi bloat.

Would I recommend this? Yes, provided you can get the full LTE on your carrier. And you get it at the right price. $350 (or under), hell yes as it crushes the 5X and Nextbit Robin easily. At $400 it becomes a harder proposition...if size isn't an issue, then no (especially in the US with the following phones offering full band compatibility). The Axon 7 and OP3 will slay this. I'd even pick the Idol 4S over this too at that price.

Still, Xiaomi did a very nice job here. I would have been super happy if this had the hybrid slot for more storage and T-Mobile band support. But as it is, I'll continue to use it. It's a really solid device.

Posted via Xiaomi Mi 5
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