Xiaomi has been on a roll recently and the Mi5s Plus is one of the most powerful and beautiful smartphones the company has ever made. It costs just $400 but given its spec-sheet, the phone can rival even the most expensive flagships. Is this the case? Learn more in the full Gizmochina’s review.
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus Review: VIDEO REVIEW
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus Review: UNBOXING
In the box, you can find all the usual items you would expect to come with any phone. A nice touch is the included hard plastic case to protect your investment.
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus Review: SPECS
5.7″ 1080p LCD (~386 ppi pixel density)
Processor and GPU
Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821, Quad-core (2×2.35 GHz Kryo & 2×1.6 GHz Kryo), Adreno 530 GPU
4MP Front/Dual 13MP Back
Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, dual-SIM.
3.800 mAh (non-removable)
154.6 x 77.7 x 8 mm / 168g
MIUI 8 (Android 6.0)
128GB (not expandable)
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus Review: DESIGN and DISPLAY
As the name implies, the Mi5s Plus is a larger phone that the regular Mi5s and that is mainly due to its 5.7” 1080p display. It would have been nice to have a 2k resolution panel but the display is still plenty sharp, bright and detailed.
We have nicely backlit capacitive buttons and a highly customizable notification LED light, which sits next to the 4MP Ultrapixel selfie camera.
The device looks and feels like an expensive phone. It is all-metal (except for the top and bottom parts for antennas).
Also, the build quality is top-notch. There are no moving parts or rattling buttons and it is just nice to hold the phone in the hand despite its huge footprint.
The Mi5s Plus has 2 13MP cameras with f/2.0 aperture and PDAF. The first is a regular shooter and the other is a monochrome sensor that takes images in black and white. We also have a dual tone dual-LED flash for night photography. However, there is no OIS onboard, which is a shame for the Xiaomi’s flagship phone.
Just below the camera setup, we have a super fast and accurate fingerprint sensor that can unlock your phone straight from the standby mode.
I really like the balanced and rich sound that is coming out of the loudspeaker, which can also get pretty loud.
The Xiaomi brought the IR blaster back to control the devices like TVs. The sound via the headset jack is pretty good too.
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus design gallery:
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus Review: HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE
The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus packs some serious hardware components that sound very impressive on paper.
I have the high-end model that sports a brand new Snapdragon 821 chip, 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM and whopping 128GB UFS 2.0-based storage.
You can also opt in for a lower-end model that has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It’s actually a bit funny that we are talking about the lower-end model with these kind of specs.
As expected, the 3D gaming performance is just excellent. No matter what kind of games you play on the Mi5s Plus, the phone just flies and it is just a pleasure to play games on a huge display. Finally, the phone does not have any overheating issues. See a video review for gaming performance.
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus Review: BENCHMARKS
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus Review: USER INTERFACE
The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus ships with the Android 6.0-based MIUI 8 that we have already seen on other Xiaomi phones. As usual, we have a ton of customization options, various settings, tweaks and little features to make the phone look your own.
Some of the cool features include a baked-in theming engine, where you can choose from a lot of themes, fonts, wallpapers and so on. Also, you can go to the so-called second space, which is as Xiaomi says “like having two devices” at the same time. In other words, it is like having two accounts.
However, you have to know that the Chinese version of the phone comes with quite a few bloatware apps that may be annoying. A great thing is that you can easily remove most of them.
Finally, I’m fairly impressed with how fast the Mi5s Plus is despite having all those features. The phone is fast, fluid and I didn’t have any hiccups or lag.
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus Review: CAMERA and IMAGE/VIDEO QUALITY
IT IS HIGHLY-RECOMMENDED TO DOWNLOAD FULL RESOLUTION CAMERA SAMPLES TO SEE THE ACTUAL IMAGE QUALITY. THE PICTURES UPLOADED ON THE WEBSITE ARE 50% SMALLER IN RESOLUTION.
We have the usual Xiaomi camera app, which allows you to take the pictures very fast and you can play with quite a few shooting modes and settings.
The stereo mode should utilize both sensors at the same time and that is supposed to give you better quality photos in terms of saturation, contrast, and exposure. I took quite a few pictures side by side in auto-mode and the dual-camera mode and tried to analyze the differences.
In my eyes, the stereo mode does help in quite a few situations that lead to a better saturation, contrast, and exposure in most of the shots. However, the results are not always that noticeable and sometimes the auto-HDR mode can take pictures that are more pleasing to the eye.
Where the dual camera setup really shines is the low-light. All the pictures I took in the stereo mode look simply better as there is a lot less noise and more detail.
You can also use the mono mode, which utilizes the monochrome sensor for high-quality black/white pictures. I’m not a huge fan of black/white photography but I have to say that I love the results.
The last mode worth mentioning is the manual mode, where you can adjust quite a few settings if you feel creative.
As for image quality, the phone can take some nice-looking daylight images. They are not on par with the more expensive flagships but they still have natural-looking colors, look pretty sharp and detailed for a $400 phone. See a camera video review for side-by-side comparison with the Samsung Galaxy s7 edge.
Also, I’m happy that the auto-HDR mode does a pretty good job bringing out the detail to the shadows.However, I was a bit frustrated that the camera can’t capture a sharp image when the object is moving, e.g. the flower that is being blown by the wind.
The Panorama mode allows you to take some pretty nice panoramic photos. The stitching seems to be pretty good but some of the objects look blown out.
As for indoor shots, where the lighting conditions are far from the best, we see quite a bit of noise and less detail but in general, the images look pretty nice.
When it comes to the low-light photography if you use only the main 13MP sensor, the images definitely have less detail and more noise than the top-tier flagships but I would say that the Mi5s does a pretty good job considering it’s price tag. As I mentioned before, utilizing two cameras at the same time really help improve the low-light image quality.
The 4MP selfie shooter can take some really nice pictures that will be more than enough for the social media.
The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus can shoot 4k videos that are very sharp and detailed, and the colors look nice. I’m pretty happy with the way the continuous auto-focus works but sometimes it can be a little jumpy. Since the phone lacks OIS, the footage may look a little shaky.
However, my biggest frustration is the fact that there are quite a lot of video compression artifacts. The audio quality suffers from the compression too. The 1080p videos look pretty nice but they have less detail. Again, it would have been nice to have the OIS to reduce the shakiness.
The night 4k video looks very dark since the f/2.0 aperture is not able to capture enough light. Also, there is quite a bit of noise but besides that, the footage looks good.
I could not properly test the 720p slow-motion video or 1080/120fps since I’m sick at the moment. The slow-motion video looks quite good but I wish there was a bit more detail.
As for selfie video, the phone can shoot at 1080p. The footage looks quite good and it will be definitely enough for most of the users. However, I don’t like the aggressive auto-exposure and inaccurate white balance adjustment. See a detailed camera video review for the video samples.
Xiaomi Mi5s Review: CONNECTIVITY
The Mi5s Plus comes with a dual nano SIM card tray but there is no microSD card slot.
When it comes to connectivity, I didn’t have any issues with the call quality, Wifi, Bluetooth or GPS.
Xiaomi Mi5s Review: BATTERY LIFE
The 3800mAh battery supports Quick Charge 3.0 but the phone does not ship with the fast charger.
As for battery life, the phone will get you through the day even if you are a heavy user and you will get at least two full days if you are a light user. I could get over 5 hours of SOT when I used the phone very intensively and I would say this is a very good result.
Xiaomi Mi5s Review: CONCLUSIONS
The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus is very solid $400 phone. It brings a lot of flagship values like a premium design and top-notch build quality, nice and sharp display, bleeding-edge specifications and a very capable dual-camera setup.
Sure, the camera is not quite up there with the most expensive flagships but it performs very well in most of the situations. If you add a feature-rich MIUI 8 user interface and a great battery life, the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus is definitely one of the best $400 phones you can buy at the moment.