Xiaomi Mi 5 Review: Form And Function: Hardware Overview

By 10:55 Mon, 16 Aug 2021 Comments

Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi 5

Xiaomi Mi 5 may be one of the hottest flagships around, but its retail package is hardly anything special. The box contents include a Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C cable and a quick charger plug. That's it. But then again, the price is more than reasonable for the omission of a pair of headphones.

Xiaomi Mi 5 unboxed

You have got to remember we're looking at the box of the model meant for the Chinese market so its contents may vary from country to country.

Xiaomi Mi 5 360-degree spin

The 5.15" Xiaomi Mi 5 is indeed one of the most compact and lightweight flagships around. It spreads at 144.6 x 69.2 x 7.3 mm, which is 2mm taller, yet a hair narrower, and a whisker thinner than the 5.1" Galaxy S7. The Mi 5 weighs just 129g - 23g lighter than the Galaxy S7 which employs a similar design.

Design and build quality

Xiaomi Mi 5 won our hearts back at the MWC in Barcelona. But having it around, playing with it, and handling it for a week, we must admit we are falling in love. The Mi 5 is one of the best looking smartphones to date, with exceptional looks and design.

Xiaomi Mi 5 64GB in white

The Mi 5 employs a familiar dual-glass design with a silver framing accent. Both glass pieces are slit off the latest Gorilla Glass 4 material.

The rear glass is curved around the long sides, while the front piece is perfectly flat. Xiaomi put a chamfered edge on the frame to complement the gentle curves on the back, and this combo worked out for the best. We have always appreciated metal frames in phones, and the Xiaomi Mi 5 delivers. It also improves the grip, boosts the looks, and makes the handling more pleasant.

The display may see almost bezel-less, but it isn't. The metal frame is the border, and it took us a while to acquire used to it when swiping, as most of the time our thumb scratched the metal before proceeding seamlessly on to the screen. It wasn't unpleasant, but unusual at first.

The classy screen bezels

The white version isn't prone to smudges, but the black ceramic finish is a real fingerprint magnet.

The regular and the ceramic flavors

The ceramic flavor actually weighs 10g more, but we couldn't disclose the difference. It may be heavier, but it's still one of the lightest flagships we've handled so far.

The ceramic Xiaomi Mi 5 (128GB)

The lightweight Mi 5 is an absolute pleasure to handle and the cleverly crafted metal frame makes up for the slippery rear glass. The Xiaomi Mi 5 has the best grip among all other dual-glass smartphones we've met - snapping pictures, browsing, talking - there was not a single moment we feared we may drop it.

Handling the Mi 5

Xiaomi indeed got everything correct with the Mi 5, and you can rest assured the wait was worth it even just to handle this beauty. It is excellently crafted, with solid build, premium materials, and it puts a twist on the dual-glass design.


There is nothing out of the ordinary about the Mi 5's control set. Above the classy screen is the earpiece, flanked by the Light Emitting Diode (LED) notification light and a couple of sensors on the left, and the 4MP UltraPixel selfie capturing camera on the right.

Below the classy screen is the recent Home key, which also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. The capacitive Task Switcher and Back keys are around, marked with small dots with white backlighting.

Above the classy screen • Below the screen

The fingerprint scanner takes about 20 seconds to set up and instantly recognizes your finger from then on. Unfortunately, it isn't always on, but the classy screen unlocks immediately upon clicking the Home key - faster than the iPhone 6s.

The volume rocker and the power/lock metallic keys are on the right, while the left side has the lonely dual-SIM tray.

What's on the correct • The metal keys • The left side • The SIM tray

On top of the Mi 5 we find the IR blaster, the secondary mic, and the audio jack. You can also spot the antenna bands.

The bottom of the Mi 5 houses the Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C port, the primary mic, and the loudspeaker grille. There is a set of antenna bands here as well.

The top • The IR blaster • The bottom • The Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C port

Finally, the recent 16MP main camera, hump-free, is on the back accompanied by a dual-LED dual-tone flash. The lens is protected with a small piece of sapphire glass.

The Mi 5's back • The 16MP camera



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