Xiaomi Mi5's Test - The Snapdragon 821 Firecracker?

by 10. July 2017
The Xiaomi Mi5s is the late 2016 successor to the hugely popular Xiaomi Mi5. As one of the first manufacturers Xiaomi has installed the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, which is also used in the current Google Pixel. In the practical test, we took a closer look at the new Xiaomi smartphone.



Xiaomi Mi5s


Display Type: IPS
Display diagonal: 5.15 inches
Display resolution: 1920 x 1080 (FHD)

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Cores: 2.15GHz, Quad Core
GPU: Adreno 530
Memory: 64GB intern
Memory extension: no
Battery: 3200mAh

WIFI: 802.11a / b / g / n / ac
Bluetooth: 4.2

SIM: Dual SIM (Nano SIM), Dual Standby
2G: GSM B2/B3/B5/B8
3G: WCDMA B1/B2/B5/B8
4G: FDD-LTE B1/B3/B5/B7
TDD/TD-LTE: TD-LTE B38/B39/B40/41

Main camera: 12.0 megapixel with AF and flash
Front camera: 4.0 megapixel

What's in the box

1x Xiaomi Mi5s
1x charger
1x USB Type-C Charging Cable
1x SIM needle
1x user manual

First impression of the Xiaomi Mi5s

Update (July 2017)

Meanwhile that is Xiaomi Mi5s almost 10 months in the market. Since then, a lot has happened around the smartphone, which is why we have this Test report up to date bring. The smartphone is still used by me as a second device, which is why the review has been extended to include my current experience. To what extent the smartphone has been improved on the software side, bugs were fixed or if new bugs appeared, you will find out in the green boxes under the respective categories!

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What's in the box

The scope of delivery of the Xiaomi Mi5s is clear. In addition to one Quick Charger (5V 2.5A) and a USB Type-C cable is one more Chinese user manual including one SIM needle contain. Usually, Xiaomi smartphones are intended for the Chinese market, which is why the charger has a Type-A plug and no country-typical Type-C plug. Most online retailers attach an adapter.

Xiaomi Mi5S Smartphone Test Report / Review - Unboxing [Deutsch / German]

Design and workmanship

The smartphone is available in 4 different colors. Our test copy has the color "silver". But there are also the colors "Rose Gold", "Gold" and "Deep Gray". Only the model "Deep Gray" is the front side black. In the other 3 color variants, the front is white.

The housing is made of metal and impresses with a visually appealing Unibody design, The back is not removable, which is why the battery can not be replaced. On the sides of the case is slightly rounded, which makes the smartphone very well in the hand. The side buttons are also made of metal, are easy to reach and cleanly embedded in the frame. The pressure point of the keys is convincing and with fast movements no disturbing rustling is noticeable. Overall, there is nothing to complain about regarding the processing of the Xiaomi Mi5.

The design is a matter of taste. With the metal case, the Xiaomi Mi5s is closer to the models of the Redmi series. The big advantage of the metal housing is that it is not too slippery in the hand compared to the glass or ceramic back of the Xiaomi Mi5. Very nice is the placement of the fingerprint scanner, which is not on the back, but was integrated into the capacitive home button. Two more and also lit, capacitive navigation keys are located to the left and right of the Home button. The smartphone looks very sleek thanks to the 2.5D curved glass on the display. The bezel remains rather average. Above the display is a Notification LEDwhich is freely configurable.

Used over 8 months almost daily without a protective case and without a screen protector. There are no scratches on the display and the metal case is also extremely resistant. Susceptible to scratches is only the polished border of the frame. This showed in the long-term test slight scratches and notches, which, however, are hardly recognizable and do not affect the overall picture. Here Xiaomi has done a really good job and made a really durable smartphone with the Xiaomi Mi5s!

Display and touch screen

The display dissolves in Full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) on. At a Display diagonal of 5.15 inches gives the whopping 428 DPI whereby individual pixels are no longer visible to the naked eye. The color representation of the IPS display convinces. Colors are rendered alive and powerful. If the display seems too cool, you can adjust the color temperature at will in the display settings of MIUI 8.

Pluses the smartphone at maximum screen brightness. With a luminance of 600 Nit, this display is one of the brightest! If you use the smartphone in the dark you can be blinded, provided that the automatic brightness adjustment is disabled. In sunshine, the display remains easy to read. In direct sunlight readability is also slightly affected with this display. The viewing angle stability was also convincing. No matter how the smartphone rotates or tilts, the presentation remains unchanged.

Information on the display glass makes Xiaomi not. Probably no Corning Gorilla Glass, but a conventional display glass was used. After several weeks of active use, I have not noticed any scratches on the display yet. Nevertheless, you should as a precaution apply a screen protector!

The touchscreen convinced in the test by a precise recognition of individual inputs. With the Xiaomi Mi5s Xiaomi has for the first time known from Apple iOS devices "3D Touch" or "Force Touch" introduced. This is a pressure-sensitive control, which provides compatible apps with shortcuts. This feature currently only offers the model with 4GB memory! To what extent the 3GB model will receive this function, is still not known to date! In terms of hardware, it would also be possible to support the 3GB model with 3D Touch, since the same Synaptics Touch firmware is used. The only difference between the models is the amount of RAM and internal memory.

Update: Meanwhile, Force-Touch can also be activated on the 3GB model!

Performance of the Xiaomi Mi5

With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 the handheld is equipped with the currently most powerful Snapdragon SoC. This uses a total of 4 kyro cores that clock at up to 2.4 GHz. However, the clock rate of the Snapdragon 821 of this smartphone was reduced to 2x2.0 GHz and 2x2.15 GHz. Only the larger handheld "Xiaomi Mi5s Plus" offers clock rates of a maximum of 2.35 GHz. Compared to the Snapdragon 820, the performance was increased by about 10%.

The Xiaomi Mi5s we tested offer one 3GB Large Memory (LPDDR4) and one 64GB large internal memory (UFS2.0), However, the smartphone is also included 4GB memory and 128GB internal memory, A memory expansion option is missing!

The everyday performance could hardly be better. Applications open at the touch of a button and even in multitasking the handheld shows no weaknesses. Out of a total of 3GB RAM, the system takes good 1.8GB, so that about 1.2GB other apps available. Even with current Android games, the Mi5s makes a good figure. The Adreno 530 processor graphics It can quite with graphically demanding games record and is also suitable for a variety of emulators.

The performance of the smartphone has not noticeably improved or deteriorated after a version change to Android 7.0 (Xiaomi EU ROM). MIUI continues to run smoothly in everyday life and there have been no performance drops or even crashes. Especially in relation to the performance of the Xiaomi Mi5s even months after its release on a top level and can also with currently released high-end smartphone, such as Xiaomi Mi6 definitely keep up.

User Interface


If you buy a Xiaomi smartphone from a Chinese online retailer, you will get a device with MIUI for 90% "Shop-ROM" delivered. With a "Shop-ROM" mostly only the language selection is extended, but often also "Bloatware" is pre-installed, which of course you do not want on your smartphone. In addition, no updates are provided! If you know something about flashing ROMs, you can flash the official MIUI 8 ROM or ROM in just a few steps. The best way to tell the dealer is to leave the original ROM on the smartphone.

Also on our review unit, which we received from Gearbest, a "shop ROM" was preinstalled. Fortunately, the bootloader was already unlocked so we could flash any compatible ROM. MIUI 8 runs extremely smoothly on the Xiaomi Mi5s. Commendable is the update policy of Xiaomi. Weekly so-called dev updates appear, which constantly improve MIUI. Although Android 7 is not yet in sight, one can expect that an update to Android 7 Nougat will be released in any case!

CyanogenMod / LineageOS

Meanwhile, there are already the first CyanogenMod 13 Port for the Xiaomi Mi5s. Unfortunately, the ROM has only been published in the Chinese MIUI Forum so far, but the developer of the ROM is also active in the XDA Developers Forum. According to information, the kernel source will be released this year, so that soon more custom ROMs are expected!

Here is the link to the CyanogenMod thread in the XDA-Developers Forum:

Update: Xiaomi has the "Global ROM" released. The Global ROM is adapted to the international market, offers an extended language selection and also has the Google PlayStore installed by default.

Update: Meanwhile, the kernel source of the Xiaomi Mi5 has been released. With official ROM ports, especially LineageOS is expected soon! Also custom kernels are already in the works and should be released soon.

On the software side, less has happened in the past. Xiaomi has one now Global-ROM publishedwhich, unlike the MIUI China ROM, offers an advanced language selection and comes preinstalled with Google PlayStore by default. Unfortunately, the global stable ROM is rarely updated. The last update (V8.0.3.0.MAGMIDI) is from December 2016 and is based on Android 6. The (almost) weekly Global DEV-ROM is still based on Android 6. An official update to Android 7 is expected no later than September 2017. An alternative to the official Global MIUI ROM is the Xiaomi EU ROM, which is always based among other things on the current China-DEV-ROM. The Xiaomi EU ROM is already based on Android 7, so you already get a good taste of the upcoming, official global update.

More has done instead within the developer community. Although the Xiaomi Mi5s is by far not as popular as its predecessor without S addition, but the smartphone is well on the way to be fully supplied and permanently with ROM and kernel updates. The Kernel source was released just a few months ago. A working and official LineageOS is available since the end of May 2016.


main camera

The Xiaomi Mi5s uses the same for the main camera Sony IMX 378 image sensor, which is also installed in the Google Pixel Phone. However, the same image sensor does not mean that the picture and video quality is comparable. Rather, software optimization, the lens, and other subtleties also play a crucial role when it comes to recording quality. The Sony IMX 378 is a 1 / 2.3 inch large image sensor that allows taking pictures with up to 12 megapixels. The f-number is f / 2.0. Videos are recorded with a maximum resolution of 4K.

Practical test of the main camera

The main camera is clearly one of the best China smartphone cameras. In good lighting conditions, very detailed and colorful photographs are taken which barely reveal any image noise. In low light conditions it is quite difficult to take passable pictures. Just because of the missing, optical image stabilizer night shots are blurred very quickly in the smallest movements. With a steady hand or external stabilization, but also at night very handsome shots. Positive is the "Phase Detection Auto Focus"focusing without delay. The triggering time when taking pictures is commendable.

Videos are as already mentioned with a maximum 4K resolution at 30 images-per-second added. The recording quality also convinces here! Due to the lack of image stabilization, the smallest movements are unfortunately taken over accordingly. At a resolution of 1080p can be a electronic image stabilization activate that does a good job. Disappointing are again the low bit rates. An 4K video recording has an average bitrate of 35 MBit / s or 83 kBit / s in audio!

Also interesting are the settings options of MIUI Camera App, In addition to various photo effects similar to the Instagram filters, there are also more specific camera settings such as white balance, focus or exposure. In video mode, in addition to the manual recording mode, there is also a time-lapse and a slow-motion mode. Due to the Camera2 API compatibility, the setting options are almost limitless.

front camera

The front camera uses an unknown 4 megapixel image sensor and a f / 2.0 aperture. Videos shoots the camera up to 1080p. Due to the particularly large field of view of 80 ° and the "Beauty Mode", the front camera is quite suitable for handsome selfies. In low light conditions, the refresh rate becomes increasingly unstable and a slight image noise is noticeable!

By using the Sony IMX 378 image sensor, as it is also used in the Google Pixel, the hope was great that the Google Pixel Camera app or camera optimizations also be transferred to the Xiaomi Mi5s. So far no developer has accepted this hurdle. There were minor improvements in camera stability. The "camera freezes", which often appeared at the beginning, are now rarely seen. An optimization of the recording quality is not detectable so far.

Fingerprint scanner

There is also an innovation in the fingerprint scanner. This works no longer capacitive, but by means of ultrasound. Xiaomi promises this mainly advantages in the recognition rate. In practice, the new ultrasound fingerprint scanner has so far been less convincing. The recognition rate is hardly different from a conventional fingerprint scanner. The same applies to the unlock time, which could be felt faster!

Not only we noticed the rather average fingerprint scanner. Even in the official forums, there are isolated reports on the less convincing recognition rate. However, according to Xiaomi, this is a software problem. Upcoming updates should help!

Unfortunately, the fingerprint scanner is still working well below expectations. The slow unlock time is probably hardware-related and not software-fixable. At least Xiaomi has not yet accepted the problem!


All current 2G and 3G network standards are fully supported. The LTE tapes 3 and 7 used in this country are also available. Xiaomi usual you have to do without the Mi5s on LTE band 20. Does not matter, because even with HSDPA you are very fast on the road. With regard to the voice quality, there is nothing to complain about in both directions. Spoken appears crisp and noise-free. The SIM slot is located on the left side of the case and is capable of holding two Nano SIM cards.

Both in the 2.4G as well as 5G WLAN the smartphone is great. The transmission range is above average and the signal is extremely stable. The same applies to the transmission via Bluetooth. With Bluetooth 4.2 The latest Bluetooth standard is supported.

Headphones and speakers

Music is played smoothly over the 3.5mm headphone jack. The speaker is rather mediocre to rate. About it played music sounds comparatively flat. As a handsfree speaker is quite suitable.

GPS and sensors

The GPS fix finds the smartphone within a few seconds. Even within buildings, after a good 20 seconds, a GPS fix succeeded. A precise navigation is nothing in the way with this smartphone! In addition to GPS, AGPS, GLONASS and Beidou are also supported.

The sensors These include a brightness sensor, a proximity sensor, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a reverberator, a barometer, and an e-compass. In everyday life, none of the sensors has made a negative impact. An NFC support including the possibility of card emulation is available. By default, "Mi Pay" is available for contactless payment. Although Android Pay is also supported, but is not available in this country!


The capacity of the battery is 3.200mAh, You can not change the battery! In normal everyday use, you can get along well over the day. At the latest after 1 ½ days, however, the battery must be charged. The loading times are through Quick Charge 3.0 greatly reduced. Once fully charged with the included charger takes 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Despite almost daily use, the smartphone still achieves the expected runtime. By updating to Android 7.0, the Battery life even slightly improved, Especially the standby consumption has been significantly reduced. Even after about 100 charging cycles, the battery has not noticeably deteriorated.

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Final Words


Very good workmanship
Attractive design
High-performance hardware
High resolution and bright display
Camera with potential
Quick Charge 3.0
Strong GPS
Numerous sensors


Ultrasound fingerprint scanner in need of improvement
No LTE band 20
Camera not yet optimized in software
Weak and flat sounding speaker
Force Touch only with 4GB variant

First impression
User Interface
Fingerprint scanner
GPS & sensors

With the Xiaomi Mi5s, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer once again presents a decent flagship smartphone. Considering that Google's Pixel Phone is similarly equipped and costs more than twice the Xiaomi Mi5s, you get a smartphone for the hammer price.

Nevertheless, there is also a lot of room for improvement with this device. Although the camera convinces, it still needs to be optimized on the software side. The same applies to the ultrasound fingerprint scanner.

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Super Review, I like :). I do not think the pictures are so bad at night. Did you shoot them with lightning? And how do you cope without LTE Band 20?

Fabian B.

Hi, how can I flash another ROM? Know me with 0. Do you have a tip?


I ordered the Mi5S from Gearbest and selected Priority Line for shipping. How long does it usually take for the smartphone to arrive?


Hey, the Xiaomi Mi5S has installed the Snapdragon 821. Do you know if this also supports the new European satellite system "Galileo"? In the WWW I could not find anything!


Thanks for the detailed test! I ordered it from GB and wrote that the original software should remain installed. Hopefully it will be done that way.

Do you think it will soon be possible to unlock the 20 band? Other smartphones with the same processor support but also band 20 and more?! Vlt. Do you pursue the topic of the LTE unlock on XDA? What do you think about?


Hello, has the ultrasound fingerprint sensor improved meanwhile?