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Xiaomi Mi 5 review blog: A good phone, but prone to heating

Xiaomi Mi 5, the flagship device is now officially available in India at a starting price of Rs 24,999. Here's our review of the smartphone.

Written by Shruti Dhapola |
Updated: April 10, 2016 2:17:48 pm
Xiaomi, Xiaomi Mi 5, Mi 5 review, Xiaomi Mi 5 price, Xiaomi Mi 5 review, Mi 5 vs OnePlus 2, Mi 5 specs, Xiaomi Mi 5 features, Mi 5 specs, Smartphones, mobiles, technology, technology news Xiaomi Mi 5 costs Rs 24,999 in India and will go on sale from April 6. We will have a daily review of the smartphone.

Xiaomi Mi 5, the flagship device from the Chinese tech start-up, is now officially available in India at a starting price of Rs 24,999. Mi 5’s USP is that it offers premium specs like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 seen in high-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 as well as a great camera, but at a more affordable price.

India is getting only the 3GB+32GB version of the Xiaomi Mi 5 — sorry no Mi 5 Pro (4GB + 128GB storage) for now. The sale for the smartphone starts on April 6 from the company’s official Mi.com platform and it will be exclusive to the site for a first month or so after which it will go to other platforms.

Watch our first look video the Xiaomi Mi 5

At the India launch event, Xiaomi’s global VP Hugo Barra revealed that they spent two years working on the smartphone. For Xiaomi, there’s a lot riding on this ‘flagship’ smartphone, after all this is the first time that the company is entering the Rs 20,000-plus category in India.

From today we will chronicle how it is living with the phone for a week, and will post regular updates here. Read on to know what we think about the phone.

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Day 5: An overall strong attempt

As some of you may have read earlier, our Mi 5 unit just kept heating up, especially during camera usage, and I got a new one from Xiaomi on Thursday. Where the overall performance is concerned, the Mi 5 gave no me trouble, except for the over-heating.

The battery test gave the new Mi 5 a life of around 10 hours, but the standby time on this device is pretty impressive. I didn’t charge it overnight, and left it on with 20 per cent battery, and I woke to up to find that the Mi 5 had not died. I didn’t charge it all morning either, and the phone’s battery levels did not dip at all. I’d say the Mi 5 should last a user their work day (10-12 hours for medium to heavy usage). I’d highly recommending carrying that Type-C USB charger around, should you need to re-charge at some point.

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So is the heating issue entirely gone? Sadly I can’t say that, the device does hit 40 celsius; it happened when I was downloading a bunch of apps on the phone, but hey I can use the camera without worrying. Surprisingly it stays super-cool when I leave it on charge, and yes this ones take a long time to do so. Xiaomi is shipping this in India with Quick-charge 2.0 support as opposed to 3.0.

In terms of benchmark rankings, the Mi 5 appears to have taken the top spot, and is pretty much a perfect device. Gaming, general browsing, binge-video watching; the phone can handle it all. The only word of caution is that MIUI 7 version on Android 6 is still in beta mode, which means that the software is not all perfect.

With the camera on this unit, focussing is easier, even if it’s not the fastest. The Mi 5’s camera performs reasonably well under decent lighting conditions, and is suited for most people’s smartphone photography needs. However the colour accuracy is not entirely to my liking, and no the Mi 5 will not give you pictures like the S7 edge or the Nexus 6P. But if you are looking for a smartphone camera that will let you shoot good pictures, even inside a room where lightning might not be the best, the Mi 5 is more than capable.

In conclusion I’d say the Mi 5 is a very strong attempt from Xiaomi to create a premium looking device but at half-the-price. And no doubt Xiaomi has a lot at stake with this phone; in India this is their first device that costs Rs 24,999. In terms of overall performance, Mi 5 gives what you’d expect in a top-end phone; a good display, stunning design, and capability to handle most of a user’s daily needs. The camera I feel is still far from perfect, and yes the heating problem hasn’t entirely gone away, but hopefully Xiaomi will have some software fixes for these available soon.

Day 4: We’re pausing the blog

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One of the major concerns that I’ve faced with this phone is that it heats up significantly when I use the camera. About 10-15 minutes of usage is enough to get the heat going. I’ve already seen the temperature cross 42 degrees Celsius on this phone according to the CPU temperature app, and that’s really high.

The anomaly takes place only when I’m using the camera app, not even recording a 4K video. Surprisingly, the phone remains cool while charging, and there has been no other instance when I found the phone to be unbearably hot. The over-heating also means that I don’t have an exact estimate for how long the battery will last.

Given what we’ve read so far about the Snapdragon 820 chipset, we’ve not seen thermal issues, at least of this magnitude being mentioned. Xiaomi has offered to replace our review unit, and we’ll have to pause this blog till we get the new unit.

Based on the over-heating in the camera, we’ve believe the unit we’ve got could be defective, so we’ll have to wait for a replacement to confirm our thoughts on battery, and overall conclusion for the camera.

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