Xiaomi Mi 5 review: Not the one you want

Posted:  August 15, 2016   By:    27 comments   



Xiaomi‘s reputation precedes itself. The Chinese mobile internet company is legendary for punching above its class when it comes to consumer electronics and gadgets. When their flagship Mi 5 launched in Malaysia, it looked like a home run, but the truth is a little more complicated than that.

Take a look at one of their latest success stories, the Redmi Note 3, and you’ll see why Xiaomi is so adored in this part of the world. It’s a great smartphone in its own right and when you find out how much it costs, you have rational sound-minded individuals collectively flipping out with excitement.

The same could pretty much be said for the Xiaomi Mi 5 when it was first unveiled in Barcelona. Even the base model looked pretty good on paper with respectable specifications including a flagship processor, healthy amount of RAM and a reasonable amount of storage. Even the camera looked pretty good on paper.

But if I had to describe my time with the Mi 5 to you in one word, that word would be frustrating.

Android, Mobile Devices, Mobile OS, Product review, Xiaomi
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27 Comments for Xiaomi Mi 5 review: Not the one you want


Thankyou for the balanced review…


If Xiaomi is doing Great in China, we can understand that we are getting scraps over here in Malaysia. But latest figure suggests otherwise. With Oppo and Huawei seemingly streaming new models after new models in a blink after China launch, it is not hard to see why Xiaomi frustrates many of its fans.


There are a few great things with the mi5. Best is it can be comfortably hold by single hand and the back button can be customize to the left side which i prefer and the batterylife are great . The official set are only white color 32gb?? With the same price just buy a 64gb black from the local importer. The camera are great but not the best when taking the nightshot. With around rm1.5k it's a steal really consider this price range the u can only buy a samsung a5 or honor7 which are midrange.


for gaming performance and cpu get hot quickly i dont have comment….try check bloatware or something lurking around in the software…htc 10 and mi 5 has different custom made android installed maybe…try uninstall/disable as many bloatware as u can..

second for the HDR image captured….a few tweak or updated camera app from xiomi can solve the problem i think…its aint about the cpu….

as for autofocus in dark place….this is classic camera problem…try using other camera app or by using manual camera option,try increase ISO and/or increase shutter speed….

my opinion only…maybe im wrong….yadaaaaa

Abu Salimah

Can we get more details on your battery testing? Other reviewers put the HTC 10 at a lower result than Mi 5 (noticeably lower). Same thing with the charging, is it not supposed to get 83% in 30 minutes? Maybe the charger you received does not support Quick Charge 3, while the HTC 10 did?

    Rory Lee

    Hi. The Mi 5 was tested the same way we tested the HTC 10. We drained the battery then hooked it up to the wall socket with the bundled 5V2A/9V1.2A/12V1A charger and checked the battery percentage in fifteen-minute intervals until it's fully charged. The phone is switched on after the first 15 minutes but the screen is only switched on to check the battery percentage at every interval. 83% in 30 minutes is a little too fast for today's standard. From our experience, OPPO's VOOC Flash Charge is still the fastest fast-charging technology, giving you 75% in 30 minutes (3,000 mAh battery, OPPO Find 7).

      Abu Salimah

      Hi Rory, thanks for replying and clarifying this and giving more details. Clears out a lot of doubts.

        Rory Lee

        No worries! Glad I could clear things up.


      Hi Rory, as mentioned by cOMMANDER below, the phone itself supports Quick Charge 3.0. However, the charger provided for international models of Mi 5 only supports Quick Charge 2.0 unlike the China or imported versions. Perhaps you would like to correct the article so as not to give a wrong impression.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, these are the available models for Mi5 charger
      Quick Charge 2.0 charger (International set)- Output 5V/2A or 9V/1.2A or 12V/1A
      Quick Charge 3.0 charger (China set) – Output 5V/2.5A or 9V/2A or 12V/1.5A

      Thus, the charging time could have been improved by purchasing a suitable charger


Maybe the htc 10 are better but the rm2799 pricetag are way too expensive. Just go for the ‘perfect’ galaxy s7 around rm2499 if you willing pay that price.

    Abu Salimah

    That's not my main concern. I am trying to establish whether the battery test is using the same method between the two, which should be the case as they were compared in this article. However, another review website puts the two miles apart, where the HTC 10 performed badly compared with Mi 5 (the opposite conclusion).
    I am thinking of buying the Mi 5 – hence the concern on battery life.


    S7 isn't perfect – It's a beautiful phone but has its flaws – the lack of a Type-C port, QC2.0 (aka Samsung's Fast Adaptive Charging) isn't as fast as the Mi5 with a QC3.0 charger.
    The most important thing is that the S7 also has a slightly curved screen – so it may take many (I mean MANY) attempts in getting the perfect SP that covers the whole screen, properly.

    However, it's a phone worth for keeps for sure & you can definitely get it for below 2.2K if you scout around especially on cashback or online deals as Rory mentioned.


How does it fare against the much better spec'ed OP3?
Hope to see the OP3 review soon.


Aiyaakkk.. Rory…

cannot give leng lui to selfie ah?



any leng lui**

derek law

I would say that Xiaomi Malaysia is making a serious mistake by only officially bring in this version and plus through Thorus which jacked up the price. If it was selling for RM1.2K, the pain could be swallowed.

Cos of the Mi5 pricing, other like Asus also getting ambitious and adding in few hundred bucks extra as margins

pie cy

Mi4i and this Mi5..dont buy the XiaoMi flagship in malaysia market..they only bring in the lowest spec and set the price same as highest spec in other country..RedMi Note 3 is a good product though but its already out of stock for few months and never restock..seems like they dont care about malaysia market anymore


Those puns are good to read (Mississippi & Mustang).

The battery life seems to be what some other review I read mentions (average to good).

Otherwise, this is a good phone for those less adventurous compared to getting S7E which is expensive & HTC 10 which is quite useless.


Hi Rory,

Unfortunately, I have to agree to disagree with you this review. The overall headline of your review is correct but the wrong reasons.

Firstly, the design of the Mi5 is utmost disappointing – the weight balance and GG4 glass with aluminium body may be good (or great for many) but DO note that they actually coated the rear glass with an oleo-phobic coating (who the f*** coats the rear glass with any coating, especially oil-resistant coating).
This causes the phone to virtually slip out of your pocket, your sofa's armrest or even a slight inclined surface (like a table at the a Kopitiam) without much notice.
As for the battery, you need to stress out that although the phone supports a QC 3.0 charging, the supplied charger is only a QC2.0 charger – you can confirm this with Xiaomi or other review cites if needed.
Due to this, charging speed is slower and heat inefficiency during charging is present. you could purchase a Aukey QC3.0 charger for RM50 and pair it with this to get a pleasant charging experience.
Battery drainage is not to high although MIUI 7 is riddled with bugs – on this topic Xiaomi severely disappoints because they have a major bug that I believe is unfixed; try to connect your Mi5 to the stock or QC3.0 charger and work with Google Maps – you will never be able to lock unless the charger is disconnected.
MIUI 7 may be a oversimplified version of Android 6.0 (with an IOS UI) but it's pretty much missing the key essentials that you would expect in the stock 6.0.
In terms of performance, I cannot comment much on the variant you tested but the 64GB S820 2.15Ghz (with a higher clocked DDR4 memory) is very (VERY) snappy – so I agree with the point that we are receiving leftovers from Xiaomi with the 32GB S820 1.8Ghz being supplied to us.
Camera is mediocre as it has a small lens, so it's pretty much expected not to be breathtaking although snapping speeds are pretty good.
I used the phone for two weeks and I must recommend anyone buyign this phone to either be comfortable with MIUI & get yourself a SP and casing (else, its gonna slip and slide liek nobody's business).
For the price, I may probably spend 1.6k for a 64gb but then again that's only available in AP variants (that usually comes with a crippled warranty policy)

p/s – I had to sell the phone off for an S7, simply because I could not stand the (im)maturity of MIUI and the GPS lock issue.
While others may be able to live with those flaws, I still vouch for TouchWiz (even while bloated) being a far more matured UI & provides a superior user experience compared to MIUI 7.
Also, although MIUI 8 (Global Beta) has finally been released recently, I'm not surprised if it's just more of a skin enhancement)


    I forgot to mention – the speaker sound quality is horrendous, everything sounds like a 90s (18Khz) audio quality.
    The S7, though volume isn't any better, does have alot more clarity and a better DAC (at least for the Exynos variant)
    The HTC 10 definitely has the best speaker placement and sound clarity of the 3.


    MIUI 8 is a huge changes. Google the feature.


      Wow SamsungFan, your response is so breathtaking.

      I can imagine you putting up a review site – which would simply have a Google searchbar.

      Come on man, give credit to these guys – Rory & Commander; these guys actually came up with some solid reviews with hands-on experience instead of challenged responses like Google it up.

      Kids these days


Thanks for the honest review. I’d been using Mi phones for some time. I did not regret trying out huawei honor 7 during transition period when my redmi note is sold. Then i got a redmi note 3. Come to realize all of Mi camera is sub par. Though overall Mi phones are good, I may go for huawei P series next time for such pricings.


I am so happy with my Vivo V3Max. Xiaomi stopped being interesting since the Mi3.

Alan Kong

I been using Mi5 for 1 month, overall is good and performance is lightning fast.
Just camera shoot at dark environment given a lot of noise and finger scan need to improve.


    Where you buy Mi5 ?