Xiaomi Mi 5s: When metallic elegance meets comfort

The one thing that I hated about the Mi 5 was that it felt frail and its sides would dig into my palms. When I played with the Mi 5s at the Mi Home a couple of days ago in Beijing, I realised this was an exercise is refining a flagship phone to death; similar to what Apple has done with the iPhone 7. Only difference here is that the course correction has come in a matter of months.

With its sculpted back, undoubtedly, the Mi 5s is the most elegant phone Xiaomi has created and that’s why my heart bleeds that it is not coming to India. Unlike the Mi Note 2 and Mi Mix which the Chinese company launched a few days ago, this phone isn’t meant for a niche. It is handy, it is more affordable and drop dead gorgeous.

Perhaps, for the first time I can say a fully metal phone feels like something which would’ve been made out of plastic or a material which is lighter. This is the magic this phone brings forward. And that to with upgrades in the internal hardware.

So, the Mi 5s gets Snapdragon 821 CPU, 3GB/4GB RAM variant and oodles of memory. Its rear camera now uses a 12-megapixel sensor which to Xiaomi is the very same one that’s there in the superlative Google Pixel. And in the short time I took pictures with it, the results spoke volumes. Xiaomi also becomes one of the first smartphone makers to add an ultra-sonic fingerprint scanner which promises better accuracy, not that we already needed it, but it is a massive upgrade from the irritating scanner on the Mi 5.

On the bigger Mi 5s Plus, the scanner shifts to posterior of the device and it also gets twin cameras like the iPhone 7 Plus. There are two 13-megapixel cameras which ensure better sharpness as one shoots in colour while the other shoots only in black and white colours. On the front the screen size is ramped up from 5.2-inches to 5.7-inches with the resolution remaining the same.

It also gets a bigger battery which seems to be the theme around Xiaomi’s product line this year.

Overall, these are very smart Android phones based on Marshmallow and Mi UI 8. They could be amongst the best we’ve ever seen, but as Hugo Barra told me, the plan is to not bring these phones to India.

Disclosure: Xiaomi paid for the writer’s travel and stay in Beijing

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