Samsung and LG have had the lion's share of attention at Mobile World Congress this year, but the show ain't over yet. Xiaomi, China's biggest phone manufacturer, has a new flagship Mi5 and Mi5 Pro — with pretty damn impressive specifications lists and enticingly low price tags.
Xiaomi has a long history of building impressively powerful phones with impressively low prices, and the Mi5 continues that trend. Like LG's G5 and the international Samsung Galaxy S7, the Mi5 is built around Qualcomm's newest and most energy efficient Snapdragon 820 processor — a slightly lower-powered 1.8GHz version in the entry level Mi5, and a more powerful 2.15GHz version on the Mi5 Pro.
The 16-megapixel camera on the Mi5 has four-axis optical image stabilisation, impressive for a phone of the new Xiaomi's slim 7.25mm thickness and relatively light 129g weight. Using the new Sony IMX298 sensor — which has deep trench isolation, a tech that separates individual pixels and prevents light bleed between them — the Mi5 will also be a strong competitor to Samsung's 12-megapixel S7.
While the Mi5 has a glass and metal body, the Mi5 Pro has a ceramic finish with "the texture of marble", according to Xiaomi; that body hides a 3000mAh internal nonremovable battery with Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 tech — zero to 90 per cent charge in an hour — while the phone itself has a front fingerprint sensor and Xiaomi's usual extremely high screen-to-body display ratio.
Different storage options are the main differentiator between the Mi5 and Mi5 Pro. The basic version — all come in black, white and gold — has 32GB of storage and 3GB RAM, while the 64GB step-up has 3GB of RAM and the faster Snapdragon 820 and the Mi5 Pro is a 128GB-only model with 4GB of RAM. Pricing starts at RMB1999 — $425 in Australian dollars — and moves up through RMB2299 ($490) for 64GB to RMB2699 ($575) for the Mi5 Pro.
On paper, the Mi5 and Mi5 Pro are strongly competitive and largely similar internally to Samsung's Galaxy S7 — but Xiaomi is hobbled down under by the lack of an official Australian distributor. We're checking to see whether the usual importers will be bringing the Mi5 into our country, so stay tuned. The phone itself will be out on Mi.com on March 1, and coming to "selected global markets" at "a later date". [Xiaomi]