With Xiaomi Mi5X, the manufacturer once again complements the already overcrowded Mi5 series. Unlike Mi5C, you are now back on a Qualcomm chip and 3G reception is secured again. With Mi A1, the Global Version is born. The design is strongly based on the Iphone 7 Plus, the hardware sounds very promising with a Snapdragon 625, 4/64GB memory, a 5.5-inch Full-HD display, Dual-SIM (hybrid slot) and a dual camera. But why another Mi5 version? And then in the Iphone 7 Plus design? Whether Xiaomi Mi5X is a useful extension of the Xiaomi series, we will clarify in the following review.
Design and build quality
In contrast to Redmi Note 4X, Xiaomi Mi5X or Mi A1 uses a unibody aluminium case. It completely encloses the smartphone and is only interrupted by thin and imperceptible antenna lines. The four edges of the smartphone are rounded and the 5.5-inch smartphone fits well in the hand. With a length of 155mm, a width of 76mm and a thickness of 7.3mm, Mi5X is significantly thinner than Redmi Note 4X (151 x 76 x 8.45mm). Nevertheless, it is not one of the most compact 5.5-inch smartphones. The weight of 165g is exactly on Redmi Note 4X level, although 1000mAh of battery power is missing. The bezel left and right of the display is only on average with 3.5mm.
The fingerprint sensor is located on the rear and does impeccable work. It is not as fast as the scanner of Oneplus 5 or Xiaomi Mi6, but the recognition rate with 9/10 attempts is almost perfect and the unlock time with less than 1 second is exemplary for the price range. The dual camera on the rear is supported by a dual-tone LED flash and the cameras protrude 1mm from the rear. Power button and volume control are made of metal, have decent feedback and are easily accessible on the right outside. In the SIM card slot on the left you can use either 2 Nano-SIM cards or one Nano-SIM and one Micro-SD (up to 128GB) for memory expansion.
A contemporary USB Type-C connector is located on the bottom of the phone, along with a speaker, microphone and headphone jack. All you can find at the top is an infrared transmitter and a noise-canceling microphone. Xiaomi Mi5X and Xiaomi Mi A1 are controlled by the 3 classic Android sensor keys, which are illuminated by an LED. The function of the buttons can be individually adjusted in the options menu. A notification LED only lights up in white, but pleasantly bright. Rounded 2.5D glass provides excellent haptics and a seamless transition to the aluminium casing. In terms of build quality and design, Xiaomi Mi5X is at a flagship level beyond 400$. Everything is just right and after 10 days Xiaomi Mi5X turned out to be the perfect hand flatterer.
The display is also well-manufactured and Xiaomi uses a full-HD panel with LTPS technology. 403 pixels per inch ensure sharp content. In the MIUI system, the colour temperature and contrast can be individually adjusted. Furthermore, a special reading mode and a night mode are available. The automatic contrast ensures good legibility outdoors, especially with the Mi5x’s 450 cd/m² brightness. The display reflects in direct sunlight, otherwise reading on a very bright day is no problem at all. The colour reproduction is extremely accurate with standard settings and the contrast is at a very good level, typical for LTPS. No matter from which angle you look at the display of Mi5x, nothing changes.
The 10-point touch provides for very precise and equally fast inputs. Here typing is pure joy. The finger glides smoothly over the display surface, but fingerprints are quickly visible. There is no information about scratch-resistant glass from the manufacturer, but after 10 days of use, there were no visible scratches. Xiaomi used an excellent FHD display on Mi5X and can easily top the quality of a Redmi Note 4X. I was particularly impressed by the outstanding touch screen during the test.
Xiaomi currently includes the Snapdragon 625 processor in many devices, so it is used in Xiaomi Mi5x, too. Personally, like many others, I would have liked a more powerful Snapdragon 630 or 660. But well, this will probably only be included in Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. The Snapdragon 625 offers good performance with excellent energy efficiency. The 8 Cortex-A53 cores clock at a maximum of 2.0 GHz and are perfect for standard tasks such as chatting, surfing, video and standard games. If you want to enjoy demanding 3D games fluently, you should choose a more powerful smartphone. A Snapdragon 820/821/835 is always recommended for gamers. All other users will have no problems with Xiaomi Mi5x. The device achieves the typical benchmarks for a Snapdragon 625 smartphone.
Nevertheless, a Xiaomi Mi6 or Oneplus 5 opens any app much faster than Xiaomi Mi5x. This is sometimes also due to the UFS memory of the high-end phones. Mi5x and Xiaomi Mi A1 have well-dimensioned 4GB of RAM and 32 or 64GB of internal memory. The RAM is very fast with 5.4GB/s compared to devices in the same price range, the same applies to the reading/writing rates of 211/213MB/s for internal memory. The internal memory can be expanded via micro SD.
MIUI V9 on Xiaomi Mi5X
Xiaomi Mi6, Redmi Note 4X and Xiaomi Mi5X users are the first to enjoy the new MIUI V9 operating system. Xiaomi’s own user interface now runs on Mi5X with Android 7.1.2. The Android security patch is up-to-date. The most noticeable change concerns the design when “Limitless” is selected. Personally, the slim and chic new design immediately reminds me of Meizu. Of course, the classic MIUI design is still usable and the Theme App offers an endless variety of designs. The new pre-installed themes are not yet available in my DEV-ROM. A Smart-Assistant alla Google Now and Bixby is now also visible when swiping to the left, but can be easily deactivated. Otherwise, a split-screen mode is now also available in the multitasking overview.
Currently there is no official Global ROM available for Xiaomi Mi5X. With our instructions you can easily install the Playstore and Google service on the Xiaomi Mi5X, whether Developer or Stable ROM (MIUI V8, V9 – Android 7). Alternatively you can install the Xiaomi.EU ROM with this manual.
The spped has changed noticeably with MIUI 9. You can clearly see that they did a good job here. The change from MIUI 8 to MIUI 9 made Mi5x even faster. The system runs stable and as already mentioned, really nicely snappy. You shouldn’t expect a noticeable difference to Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X, especially if you own the 4/64GB version of the 4X.
Android One on Xiaomi Mi A1
Xiaomi Mi 5X is available in a global version with all LTE frequencies. A pure Android system is pre-installed on this version, of course with Google Playstore. Google and Xiaomi are working together on Mi A1, which is why Xiaomi Mi A1 will receive updates to the latest Android version for two years. Mi A1 will be one of the first smartphones to be equipped with Android Oreo and later with the following Android 9 version.
The Stock Android system will not become the Xiaomi standard, but can completely convince on Mi A1. MIUI has more features and a completely customizable look, but Stock Android wins the direct speed test and runs really fast on Mi A1. The stock camera app from Android has been replaced by the MIUI camera app. Otherwise, the system is completely clean.
Xiaomi Mi5X users can already switch to Stock Android (Instructions), the corresponding ROM for TWRP can be found in the MIUI forum! However, equipping Mi A1 with MIUI is not yet possible. As soon as there is an official Global ROM, this would be quite interesting and maybe we will find a corresponding way to switch from Stock Android to MIUI.
One of the greatest strengths of Xiaomi Mi5X is the camera. Xiaomi uses a dual camera system with 2 x 12MP Omnivision sensors. As with the Mi6, a double-zoom sensor and a normal sensor are used. This results in 2x optical zoom. While the double zoom shots cannot keep up with a Oneplus 5 or Mi6 in terms of sharpness, the bokeh shots are excellent. The Xiaomi Mi5X is clearly ahead of the Oneplus 5 regarding bokeh photos.
Even with standard shots, the Mi5X is nearly at the flagship level. The pictures are sharp, detailed and with beautifully accurate colours. For a 200$ mobile phone, even shots in low light conditions are still above average. However, image noise is clearly visible when zooming in and compared to our flagships, the photos are no longer competitive. The shutter release time is virtually non-existent and the focus works correctly and quickly with sufficient light. Focusing sometimes takes a long time and is occasionally inaccurate when taking night shots.
As far as video recordings are concerned, however, it has to be said that Xiaomi Mi5X is not on Mi6 or Oneplus level here. Even with Gimbal, the 4K shots are not very convincing because the autofocus is too slow and inaccurate. The 5 megapixel front camera shoots very nice selfies as long as there is enough light. The quality then decreases rapidly in less light.
Xiaomi does a really great with Mi5X in terms of the camera. If you can do without image stabilization, you get by far the best camera setup in the price range up to 250$. Only Xiaomi Mi5s shoots even better pictures in the mid-range price segment.
Connectivity and communication
Xiaomi Mi A1 supports the following frequencies:
- 4G LTE: 2100, 800, 1800, TDD 2600, TDD 1900, 1700/2100 AWS 1, TDD 2300, TDD 2500, 850, 2600, 900
- 3G: 2100, 1900, 850, 900
- 2G: 1900, 1800, 850, 900
Update: Meanwhile Xiaomi Mi A1 has been released. It is the same phone as Xiaomi Mi5X, but with an untouched Stock-Android as well as all LTE frequencies. We therefore recommend the purchase of the Mi A1.
Regardless of this, I had allways full reception. Voice quality is high. As soon as you activate the speakerphone, your own voice will sound slightly tinny, which is due to the noise suppression of the additional microphone.
The internal speaker delivers loud and appealing sound with rudimentary bass reproduction. There is nothing to complain about considering the price. The sound of the jack connection is loud and the quality is excellent.
For daily use, you get a sensor equipment without errors. In addition to the standard sensors (accelerometer, proximity and light sensors), a gyroscope and a compass are also installed. There is also an infrared transmitter and an FM radio. Dual band WiFi with ac-standard (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and a Bluetooth 4.2 module with good range are also included.
As a Redmi user you are naturally spoiled in terms of battery life. Xiaomi Mi5X has less battery power (1000mAh less) than the Redmi Note, and it is therefore thinner but not really more compact. Although the battery life is not on a Redmi level, Mi5X also gets power users through the day without any problems. In the PCMark battery test, the Xiaomi Mi5X runs for a solid 9.11 hours in a row and withstands a DOT (display-on time) for 3-4 hours without any problems. Mostly 40-50 percent of the battery were left in the evening. Over two days, Mi5X can be used actively for 7 hours.
The provided power adapter supplies 5V/2A and constantly fills the Mi5X with 20% battery every 20 minutes. These are not hardcore quick charge values and they cannot be achieved with a QC3 adapter. Nevertheless, 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach 100% is not a bad value.
Xiaomi Mi A1 – Mi5X
Xiaomi Mi A1 is identical to Xiaomi Mi5X, with 1 big difference. Xiaomi Mi A1 comes with a pure multilingual unchanged Stock Android with the latest security patch for each month and guarantees Android 8 (Oreo as one of the first devices). Even a later update to Android 9 is guaranteed by Google.
The accessories and the packaging are of course labeled in English. If you are looking for a good manual for Stock-Android, you can find it with Google (To the manual).