After the launch of the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus we thought that the Mi Note series has been stopped. On October 25, however, when the Mi Note 2 was presented, Xiaomi put us right. Having a look at the specifications and the price, the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus seems to be the more reasonable one of both. In China, the Mi5s Plus is sold at a price of 310$ with 4/64GB, a Snapdragon 821 processor, dual camera and a 5.7-inch full-HD display. The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus does quite a good job in the test, and you clearly notice a difference to the premium smartphone Mi5s. We also compared it to the direct competitor LeEco Le Pro 3.
Design and build quality
The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus is 78mm wide, 155mm long, only 8mm thin and very light with 167g. Looking at these numbers, you have to consider that the metal casing contains a 3800mAh battery as well as a 5.7-inch display. LeEco however manages it to use a 4000mAh battery in a 7.5mm thin casing in the Le Pro 3. Nevertheless, the Xiaomi Mi5s is thin enough and its weight and form secure a good feeling while holding it in the hand. In addition to aluminium, there are two plastic strips at the top and bottom of the casing. Here the Mi5s Plus clearly differs from the Mi5s or the LeEco Le Pro 3, which have only wafer-thin antenna stripes. You could stand this difference, but the Mi5s Plus’s rear unfortunately feels pretty much like plastic. In terms of feeling, the Mi5s Plus feels more like a Redmi Note 3 Pro than like a premium phone as the Le Pro 3 or Mi5s.
Below the display you can find the three common Android sensor keys and a notification LED shines in different colours at the top left side. The casing cannot be changed and you cannot get access to the battery. Two Nano SIM cards fit in the SIM tray on the right hand side. Power button and volume control are located on the right as well. The fingerprint scanner on the rear does a perfect job. The recognition rate is at 9/10 attempts, and the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus is unlocked within less than 0.5 seconds. The Mi5s Plus’s two cameras are excellently fit into the rear and are supported by a two-colour LED flash. You can find an up-to-date USB type-C port at the bottom.
The Mi5s Plus is not a bigger Mi5s. The casing is completely different and the Mi5s Plus feels only like a middle class smartphone. The build quality however is on a high level, as it is typical for Xiaomi phones.
Those who have a 5.7-inch display in their smartphones want to do one thing above all: enjoy multimedia. The Mi5s Plus’s IPS display is impressively bright (550cd/m²) and you can use it outside without any problems. This is mostly because of the Xiaomi sun-light display (screen brightness is adjusted in the spots where light shines on the display) and the automatic contrast (contrast is adjusted in bright sunlight). The colour representation is very accurate with standard settings, and in the options menu you can choose between three modes (standard, warm, cold). The Xiaomi Mi5s gets good 386 pixels per inch with a 1920×1080 pixels resolution. Therefore, you cannot detect any single pixels.
The touch screen reacts fast and very precisely to all input. A hardened display glass protects the display from scratches, but Xiaomi doesn’t fall back on big names like Corning Gorilla Glass for example. Choosing ‘display’ in the options menu, you can use the popular double tap function in order to wake the smartphone from stand-by. Concerning the display, the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus covers everything and does not have to hide neither from his little brother nor from the LeEco Le Pro 3.
The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus runs with the currently strongest Android processor that is available on the market: the Snapdragon 821, which is supported by either 4/64GB or 6/128GB. The two performance cores clock at maximum 2.35GHz, the energy-saving cluster clocks at 2.19GHz. Even the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus’s version with less memory (4GB RAM) has absolutely no problems in terms of performance. Apps are opened fast, games run 100% smoothly and there aren’t any delays or load time. The RAM’s speed is excellent with 15.7GB/s, the internal memory has a reading/writing speed of 465/173MB/s, and it runs just like you would expect a UFS 2.0 memory-chip to do.
The heat development is especially impressive. Like the Mi5s, the smartphone does not get noticeably warm even after 60 minutes of playing Asphalt 8. The MIUI V8 system runs as fast and nice as usual.
Xiaomi Mi5s Plus with MIUI V8
Our testing device was delivered by Honorbuy and a Custom/Shop ROM was preinstalled. After having installed five different anti-virus programs, we can confirm that this system is clean. The obvious disadvantage is that you do not get any updates. It is positive, however, that you can unlock the bootloader with the ROM by Honorbuy and therefore, you can change the ROM. Those who would like to use the official ROM can write an email to [email protected] before the purchase. In any case you should create a Xiaomi account and apply for the unlocking of the bootloader. One day after the delivery we unlocked the bootloader, installed the custom Recovery TWRP and flashed the popular Xiaomi.EU ROM. The ROM is based on the Xiaomi DEVELOPER ROM and is updated with OTA once a month. As an alternative you can download an update on Xiaomi.EU every week and install it via the update app.
During our 10 days of testing, MIUI V8 always ran perfectly; there were no perceptible delays or bugs. As MIUI V8 has been dealt with in great detail in each of our current Xiaomi reviews, I here just point to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 review.
The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus houses two Sony IMX258 camera sensors: one 13MP standard sensor and one 13MP black/white sensor with an F/2.0 aperture each. We already know these sensors from Xiaomi Redmi Pro. The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus’s main camera scores big with enough detail and a strong colour representation. The HDR-mode strongly lightens the image and the colours then seem unnatural. Nevertheless, the images can convince. The dynamic range leaves a lot to wish for in comparison to the Mi5s, the image is either too light or too dark in scenarios with a large light/dark difference. In bad lighting conditions, the ISO-value immediately increases and the pictures are blurred. The camera is worse than the one of the Mi5s, but it can easily keep up with the LeEco Le Pro 3’s camera.
You could suspect that the dual-camera was a highlight of the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus, but we cannot confirm that. Activating the “stereo-mode” in the camera app, the second black/white sensor is used together with the normal sensor. Unfortunately, the trigger time increases, but the image quality simply stays the same. We also miss the option to adjust the brightness of the background, which was a negative point with the Redmi Pro as well. Even in direct comparison, as a normal user, you cannot tell any difference between the normal and the double-camera mode.
There is no optical image stabilization, and the electronic image stabilization, which is available with the Mi5s, is currently missing as well. Xiaomi will probably deliver this via a software update at a later date. The 4MP front camera is the same as the one in the Mi5s. The video quality is surprisingly good, and you can take nice selfies. The sound recording in the videos is good was well. Videos can be recorded in 4K with the main camera, but they only have 25 FPS. Nevertheless, they are quite good and the autofocus works well, but in order to take wiggle-free photos you can’t go without a tripod. The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus is suitable for users who like to take selfies or pictures in daylight, but the dual-camera is currently only a gimmick and Xiaomi should deliver an electronic image stabilization for video recordings.
Connectivity and communication
As usual for Xiaomi, the M5s Plus supports the following network frequencies:
CDMA: 1X/EVDO BC0
The reception is extraordinary and I always had full reception. The voice quality is high, the caller can be understood loudly and the voice sounds good. Even the hands-free kit does a really nice job thanks to the additional noise-cancelling microphone at the top.
The dual-band Wi-Fi module (ac-standard) has a good throughput and an excellent range without interference. Of course, the latest 4.2 Bluetooth standard is available as well and has a range up to 15m. NFC and OTG are supported and even the infrared sensor is back. Besides the three standard sensors (acceleration, brightness and proximity sensors), there are also a compass sensor, a gyroscope sensor and a hall sensor. The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus’s speaker is a bit louder than the one of the Mi5s, and I also liked the sound better.
The GPS module performs a stable FIX within a few seconds and is perfectly suitable for car as well as pedestrian navigation.
The Xiaomi Mi5s Plus’s battery life is outstanding. The 3800mAh battery is not that big considering that it’s a 5.7-inch smartphone, but I got 2 days of run time with intensive use. After 2 days I had 7-8 hours of DOT (display-on time) including benchmarks, navigation and gaming. In the PCMark battery benchmark, the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus lasted 9 hours (100-20%) with a medium display brightness (300cd/m² – sufficient for the use outside). The charging speed is convincing as well, with any Qualcomm quick-charge 3 adapter you get 20%-steps in 15 min. Once reached 80%, it takes 30 minutes until the battery is fully charged. Therefore, it takes the 3800mAh battery 1 ½ to be fully charged. During the charging process the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus didn’t get any warmer than in normal use.
Conclusion and alternative
Only 368 USD*
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*Prices include shipping and toll. Intermediate changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs possible. Prices last updated on 21.01.2019