After much speculation and confusion, the specifications and prices of Xiaomi’s new flagship – Mi5 – have been revealed in Barcelona.
The core specifications are Snapdragon 820 processor, 4 GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 128 GB of storage.
The phone has been priced between Rs 21,000 to 28,500 in China depending on configuration.
The handset will be launched in various markets including India “soon”,Xiaomi’s Vice President of International, Hugo Barra said during the presentation in Barcelona.
After the event, Manu Kumar Jain, head of Xiaomi India, also promised that the handset is coming to the country “soon”. We expect the launch to take place by the end of March.
Indian prices will be largely similar if the device is launched in India after a few weeks. If, however, Xiaomi brings the Mi5 to India within a couple of weeks, expect the pricing to range between Rs 22,000 to 30,000.
According to Barra, the SD 820 is 100% faster than the previous 810. “It offers double the performance at half the power consumption,” he said.
The graphics unit, Adreno 530, is 40% more powerful compared to last year’s top mobile GPUs and is “console grade”, according to Barra.
The chipset is made on 14 nm process, which reduces power consumption and also allows the clockspeed to cross 2 GHz on a sustained basis without heating up.
DDR4 RAM — also found in the Yu Yutopia — is twice as fast as DDR3 memory found in most phones, Xiaomi said.
The storage memory architecture is UFS 2.0, which is about 85% faster than eMMC flash storage card — the current standard.
The LTE standard has been improved to Category 12, increasing the top speed to 600 Mbps. This allows for carrier aggregation of up to 3 spectrum blocks. Most LTE phones in the market today come with Cat 4 LTE which does not allow for carrier aggregation, and have a technical limitation of 150 Mbps download speed.
The other recent Qualcomm chipset — SD 650 — comes with 2x carrier aggregation and supports download speeds of up to 300 Mbps.
The Mi5 will also come with support for 4G voice or VoLTE.
The Mi5 comes with a 5.2-inch display that the company says is extraordinarily vibrant. It has used special technology to increase the contrast and vibrancy, Barra said.
The brightness of the phone is 600 nits, which is about 70% more than most phones.
The display uses special sunlight detection technology that automatically enhances the colors when it senses outdoor conditions.
The company also showed comparison shots of the Mi5’s screen with that of the Note 2.
Barra said the Mi5’s design is a continuation of the subdued aesthetics of Mi Note. “It was only natural to inherit all the beauty.. (we thought) why not build on top of it?”
The phone is built with high-grade Zirconia ceramic material at the back. The material scores about 8 out of 10 in hardness, double the score of steel.
“It feels natural to touch.. like marble, and will not crack easily.”
Ceramic is about 75% more expensive than even high-grade glass, Barra said, and has been manufactured in a 16-step process.
Colors include Gold, White and of course, Black.
The camera has a more advanced optical image stabilization, which negates not just static shake, but also transverse movement, which results in better quality photos in high-zoom situations.
The company showed the 4D OIS in action by comparing the picture of a shaking Mi5 with an iPhone 6S.
The sensor is Sony IMX298 with 16 MP resolution and PDAF support and deep trench iteration. The model is one of the first to get the IMX298 sensor, Barra said.
The front camera is the same unit as that found in Mi Note – including a 4 MP sensor with large pixels.
Xiaomi does not usually price its flagship phones as high as its competitors like Sony and Samsung, preferring to go for modest hardware to keep the devices affordable.
It’s previous flagship, Mi4, had not done very well in India because of the absence of 4G and a higher-than-expected price of Rs 20,000. Globally, however, it sold over 16 mln devices.
The company sold 70 mln handsets in 2015, which makes it the No. 1 brand in China according to IDC, Xiaomi said. The brand has a market share of close to 5% in the world.
Barra said the company has pushed out 275 updates of its MIUI operating system in the last 5.5 years, making it the most frequently operated mobile operating system in the world.
There are an estimated 170 mln MIUI phones in use in the world at present, Barra said. According to Tencent — a Chinese portal — the top nine user devices on their property is from Xiaomi.