We are again provided with a new gadget from Gearbest! In this case, we have received the new Xiaomi Mi 5X smartphone which we already unboxed here. Actually, this review is also 99% applicable to the Xiaomi Mi A1 which is now also out! The Xiaomi Mi 5X is a 5.5 “Full HD Smartphone with 4GB memory and 64GB storage! If we look at the specifications, the Mi 5X is the successor of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X) that we have reviewed before. This review can be found here.
The Xiaomi Mi 5X was released in September 2017 as a near-flagship smartphone with great specs and features. Seven months after, the device is still trending on shopping stores. Probably due to its affordability and the overall quality it offers. We got the Xiaomi Mi 5X from our partner store Gearbest, and its safe to say the device isn’t as overrated as you would think.
Although the device was reported to be Xiaomi’s first smartphone running on their latest operating system MIUI 9. We found out the Mi 5X was running on MIUI 8.5 but can be upgraded immediately to MIUI 9.2 with 1.4GB of data. The Mi 5X was initially designed for China only, while its brother Mi A1 was like the global version of the device that runs on stock Android. So I’m guessing the Mi 5X sold in China will probably be running on MIUI 9 out of the box.
Enough of the operating system for a moment, the Mi 5X is here with us and I’ll be reviewing it thoroughly. Starting from the packaging to the performance and battery. But before we go any further, let’s take a look at its key specs and see what the Xiaomi Mi 5X has in store for us.
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Xiaomi Mi 5X Key Specs and Features
・Aluminum unibody design
・5.5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1280 x 1920 pixels
・Android 7.1.2 Nougat, upgradeable to 8.0 Oreo
・Octa-core 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
・64GB built-in storage, upgradeable up to 128GB
・12MP + 12MP rear camera and 5MP front camera
・3080mAh non-removable Li-Ion Battery
Xiaomi Mi 5X Package Box
The affordable beauty comes in a white paper box with Xiaomi’s “Mi” logo sitting at the center. There’s also an indication of its storage capacity at the top left corner, which reads “4GB/64GB”. When we turned over to the sides, we saw other specifications of the device including the screen size.
When you unbox the Xiaomi Mi 5X, you get to behold the device itself, which is above the accessory box underneath. Inside the accessory box, you’ll get a SIM ejector tool to open the sim slots by the side. It’s important to note that the Mi 5X supports dual SIM, but you have to forfeit a SIM slot if you need to use a memory card.
There’s a documentation of the Mi 5X in a manual guide, letting you know more about the device and how to use it. Of course, there’s a 5V/2A charger and a USB type-C cable to charge up the device. The chipset underneath this smartphone supports fast charge. We’ll get to know if Xiaomi utilized this feature when we get to the battery department. Finally, there’s a screen protector film which can be used to protect the screen.
Xiaomi Mi 5X Design
The Xiaomi Mi 5X feels very solid when you take it out of the package. It remains a great 5.5 “Smartphone. The phone feels heavy itself, which we find very nice on a phone because then you just feel that you have something stuck. The entire housing is aluminum and sealed. So you can not just replace a battery with this phone. The housing and screen are seamlessly merged and look more than tight! The Mi 5X is of course also equipped with a fingerprint scanner. This is placed at the rear. This placement is well chosen because the unlocking is very easy and especially fast. For fun, there is now also the ‘Facial-Unlock’ present (by MIUI9) via the Selfie-Camera !! Another advantage of this Mi 5X is that you can find many different types of protectors. Both back-covers and flip-cases and tempered glass screen protectors! If you can not find a nice cover for the Mi 5X, then look for the Mi A1, because they are 100% equal?
Focusing on the important item in the package box, all hail the Xiaomi Mi 5X, a stunning Aluminum beauty. The device sports an overall Aluminum Alloy unibody with Matte finish that’s non-removable. Holding it, it weighs just 165g and has a measurement of 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3 mm in dimension. Overall, the design doesn’t have any breathtaking feeling of some sort, it has a very familiar design we are already used to from Xiaomi.
Nonetheless, it looks premium to some extent, thanks to the dual curved antenna lines at the rear, making the device look sleek and appealing. I mean, how hard can it be to make Aluminum very attractive in terms of details, I’m guessing little efforts? Another important feature at the rear is the fingerprint scanner, it’s always “ON” and unlocks the device before you could even blink an eye.
The dual rear camera comes after the dual-LED flash from the left which is a very different placement from what we are used to. The cameras are slightly bulging as well and will get to have scratches when placed in rough places over time. Turning over to the sides, starting from the left where the hybrid SIM slot is. It accepts either two nano SIMs or one nano-SIM and one microSD card. While the volume keys and power buttons are by the right.
On top of the Xiaomi Mi 5X, we can see the IR blaster aka Infrared blaster and the second mic, more like a hole and its small hole brother. Checking underneath, there’s the 3.5 mm audio jack for listening to music privately, a mouthpiece for calls, the USB Type-C port for charging the device and transferring files. Then there’s a loudspeaker for loud quality sounds, all in that direction. Overall, the device feels very comfortable to hold and flaunt, fitting perfectly to the palm of your hand.
Xiaomi Mi 5X Display
From the front, it’s obvious it will be a disappointment to bezel-less lovers. Sporting a basic kind of screen from afar with a significant amount of bezels. However, most of the front has been occupied by the massive 5.5-inch LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen. Even though the screen could only sit on 70.1% of the overall front. Three navigation buttons sit at the bottom bezel, while the top houses the selfie camera, sensor and speaker grille.
Protecting the entirety of the screen is the Corning Gorilla Glass 3, offering durability in terms of falls and scratches. However, you’re advised to use the screen protector it comes with to avoid stories that touch. When it comes to the detailing of the screen, it brings out colors and clarity from side to side. Boasting of 1080 x 1920 pixels in resolution and 403 PPI density, dishing out a 16:9 aspect ratio.
The matrix screen has RGB arrangements with 470 nits of maximum brightness and a contrast ratio of 1738:1, according to our display test. We also noticed it has one of the deepest blacks ever on an LCD screen. The way it brings out other bright colors as well is also noteworthy. It displays better than most screens on smartphones in its price range.
Xiaomi Mi 5X Hardware and Software Performance
The processor of the Xiaomi Mi 5X is, of course, one of the important components that determine how fast the smartphone is. The Xiaomi Mi 5X is equipped with the Snapdragon 625, which we have also seen in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X) and various other smartphones. This is an Octa (8) -Core processor running at 2.0GHz. This processor is more than fast enough for all your daily tasks and also fast enough to play a game on the phone. This phone is also fast enough to play Full-HD movies without stuttering. From its own findings, this Snapdragon 625 runs faster in the Mi 5X than the Helio P25 (8-Core @ 2.5 GHz) in, for example, the Doogee Mix.
The chipset is based on 64-bit and has a 14nm process technology with 4GB of RAM as well for multitasking. Apps on the phone launch before you could blink an eye, the device reached a total score of 69688 on AnTuTu. Making it perfectly capable of handling any task thrown at it than most midrange smartphone.
We have opted for a wide selection of benchmarks. Geekbench 4 for single core and multi-core performance distinction, PC Mark Worx 2.0, AND Bench and RL Bench for general and CPU impressions, PC Mark Storage for well, storage performance, and then Performance Test for a number of scores of specific elements.
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Well, a bit of a middle class, sometimes above average, sometimes below it. But although the graphs do not suggest it directly, the practical experience is a bit smoother than the Cat S41, which is often right next to it.
We are not phone gamers ourselves, but the little one who has appropriated this phone and plays the necessary games on it, we see no problems with many popular games.
In the graphics department, the Adreno 506 graphics processor is in charge. The processor is absolutely capable of handling all your Full HD movies or intensive 3D games. We played a couple of games on the device, it was hassle-free with no slow-mode whatsoever.
On to the storage, also not entirely unimportant in a Smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi 5X, which we have tested, is equipped with 64GB storage. There is also a Mi 5X available with 3GB memory and 32GB storage. This is more than satisfying for me personally because 16GB would have been enough, but OK. Now the storage in the Mi 5X is not very exciting, because you can easily increase the storage yourself by inserting a MicroSD memory card! You can, therefore, place up to 128GB extra storage in this phone. Do you then sacrifice one of the two SIM locks, so that Dual-SIM is no longer possible. You now see more and more phones appear where the storage can no longer be increased with a MicroSD card. With the Mi 6 and of course the well-known iPhones, this is no longer possible.
The available 64GB is more than enough to store a whole music collection and then there is enough space left for your photos and series! Again, you see that every Smartphone user has his own ‘requirements’ and wishes regarding the storage capacity of a Smartphone.
You can store as many games as you want on this baby with over 50GB left of the 64GB. If you can forfeit one of the SIM slots, then you can easily upgrade up to 128GB with a memory card.
Operating system (OS)
Basically, the Xiaomi Mi 5X is equipped with the latest Android 7.1.1. Only Xiaomi uses a ‘private’ shell around Android. At Xiaomi this is called MIUI (Mi User Interface). Normally we are not really in favor of adjustments to an operating system, because often there is a lot of extra nonsense put on the supplier (Samsung, Sony) with own Apps that you never use, but can not get rid of! In this case, MIUI9 is an asset to the Smartphone. MIUI9 is equipped with a number of very useful functions, making the use of the Smartphone even easier and safer! It is possible that your Mi 5X is delivered with MIUI8, but then there is an update waiting for you to update the phone to MIUI9? There are some very nice features built into MIUI9:
This is a function to divide the Xiaomi Mi 5X into 2 environments. With this you can, for example, make the telephone suitable for yourself and an environment for the children, for example. For example, you see everything, but the children only the games that you have installed. Another possibility is setting up 2 environments: 1x private and 1x business. This way you will never be disturbed in your private environment by all business e-mails and agenda appointments! So it’s like you have 2 phones on one phone!
Dual Apps is a function to do the 2nd installation of a certain App. For example, you can install 2x Facebook. 1x with your own account details and 1x that of the woman or girlfriend. This also applies to WhatsApp (if you have 2 SIMS in it) or Twitter. So easy if you have multiple accounts for a particular App.
Another useful feature to provide certain Apps with a password or pin code. Not all Apps, or for example WhatsApp, is suitable for everyone. It’s not nice that one of the children sees your private conversations or nice part-pictures in the WhatsApp …
By default, MIUI8 makes it very easy to switch themes. With a Theme, you can customize the complete appearance of Android with the press of a button. These can be themes that are already on the Mi 5X, but you can also find a lot online. With the MIUI Forum App, there are countless other themes to be found. In addition to the themes, there are also many backgrounds and ringtones in this section. So nice to adapt to your own wishes!
OTA – Automatic updates
Xiaomi has already proved that they are very active with the release of updates. The Xiaomi Mi 5X also has the OTA function, which means that the Smartphone always has the latest version of MIUI and new/improved functions of the phone itself (firmware).
There are many more fun functions that can be found in MIUI9, without the phone being filled with applications that you do not want at all! An example is the security center and the gallery that has been adopted! Just discover it! If you want to know more about MIUI9, take a look at http://en.miui.com
The Xiaomi Mi 5x runs on MIUI 8.5, a variant on Android 7.1.2. With the A1 on Android One that is, of course, a bonus, though you can apparently also flash to the A1 software.
In itself, it seems like a good skin were it not that my version was richly filled with Chinese applications and a store meant for the Chinese market.
And that is where the frustration started because if you do not speak or read Chinese, it will be rather spicy. And you can not even read about it and do your own thing because without Play Store to download your apps in the usual way you will have to do everything manually. The solution: Global ROM from Xiaomi, aimed at the European user with, among other things, the familiar tricks like the Play store that the average European Android buyer will be used to.
I dutifully listen to the instructions of a more China-driven friend who told me where I could find the so-called Global ROM on en.miui.com, so far from fine, but then the frustrations started again. The appropriate ROM / Bootloader / Unlock tool or whatever the f- I then needed exactly for the Mi 5x was not there yet. Wait a minute…
Somewhat later apparently. Download Mi Unlock on your PC, cell phone in Fast Boot mode, unlock on your PC .. and unlocking does not work.
Ok, you have to ask permission on the Xiaomi site to unlock, for which your phone must be connected to your Mi account. Sounds good? Sure, neatly log in to Xiaomi, unlock requests, and wait.
A few days later, nothing yet. Until I myself found out that you really must first have the phone connected to your account and it is not so that your account when ‘released’ can unlock any phone. Something with abuse by webshops and stuff, but with the result that I also had bad luck.
That in itself was not such a problem, were it not that the link between my Xiaomi account and the phone could not be made .. well, at the moment I was already through my patience and it did not matter much the phone had a droplets of about 10 meters in the direction of a bucket of asphalt. The reason it did not work? I do not know, I do not care, it did not work. Request submitted, again, but release? Ho, but.
After the necessary days, weeks of waiting for a number of reactions to this process indicated that it sometimes takes a long time, I was actually done with it. I can tell you the necessary rebellion. Anyway, you are a geek so you want it to work anyway? Eventually with a VPN tool downloaded from the Chinese app store, and the VPN on China set, it was possible to connect the phone to Xiaomi, and I could ask them neatly if I could unlock, which then went better forward.
72 hours later, yes, again a waiting period and again some angry words are spoken (and now the phone was here for a month) I could finally unlock, install the latest Global ROM and boot. I think I called this Xiaomi phone more unkind things in one evening than all ‘tech’ together in the 20 years before. With the last bit of patience, we managed to install the second to last Global ROM, and I had a ‘normal’ phone. It is easy to talk if you do not have a super tight budget, but the feeling of just buying a new Samsung S8 just because of this headache was very strong.
Xiaomi Mi 5X Camera
The dual 12MP (f/2.2, 26mm, 1.25µm) + 12 MP (f/2.6, 50mm, 1µm) shooters are one of the best combinations of dual shooters in the midrange segment. The cameras have OIS, bright lens and other features like HDR, Portrait Mode, and the dual-LED flash sitting by the left. For filter lovers, the camera has 17 inbuilt filters available with live previews as well. You would get a different kind of image quality depending on your shooting modes. There’s Panorama, Timer, Audio, Straighten, Manual, Beautify, Group Shot, Tilt Shift, Night (HHT) and others in the camera settings.
We tested a couple of shots with the Xiaomi Mi 5X and it took pictures really fast, with low noise levels in general. It’s also important to note that the cameras seem to be trying too hard on buildings and trees, making them sharper than they appear in real life. Nevertheless, the second telephoto camera comes in handy when you need to zoom further to capture from a distance. Overall, it has a high dynamic range even without toggling the HDR button. Videos of 2160p and 720p can be recorded at 30 and 120fps respectively.
For night shots, the camera comes with Handheld Twilight (HHT) feature, which enhances photographs taken in low light environments. The low light shots we took with the Mi 5X came out very nicely in a variety of scenes. With the dual shooters, the device shoots portrait modes impressively fast. Although we noticed it took some time before it could read the scene and determine where the depth effect should be.
Indoors is very reasonable with a little light, but there we begin to see the difference between something like an S7 and this Mi 5x. With a steady hand, we can shoot fine images even in very dark environments, and the quality remains pretty good, but keeping track becomes harder as the camera is less light-sensitive than the top models and compensates with a somewhat longer shutter. It is nice that it is not a noisy party in the standard mode, but our little monsters ‘in action’ on the photo is just less easy than with the S7 or P10. Selfie cam we apply the same description (third photo, if that was not clear) as the rear cam.
The 5MP selfie camera takes high dynamic selfies with high contrast and pleasant colors as well. To get a great bokeh effect using the front camera, I had to install Gcam (Google Camera) for the device, something that my iPhone 7 Plus cannot offer on the front camera. Read this tutorial on how to install Gcam on Mi 5X.
These are, however, much more expensive phones, and compared with the rest of the graph, it is just a step forward. Also, the Kodak Ektra has to recognize its multiple in this phone, and the Cat S41 and Wileyfox Swift 2X cannot handle this performance either. In view of this price point, we actually find the camera very good. Top model? No, but far from the problem that the camera is normally at this point.
Xiaomi Mi 5X Battery
The Xiaomi Mi 5X houses a non-removable 3,080mAh Li-Ion battery and supports the regular 5V/2A fast charging. You can get up to 25% of the battery after 30 minutes of charging, which means Xiaomi didn’t fully utilize the Qualcomm fast charging feature the chipset came with. When it comes to endurance, the Mi 5X lived up to the expectations here. The Snapdragon 625 chip underneath did exactly what it was meant for in that department. When fully charged, you can play games, browse the internet and watch movies for a full day before thinking of charging up again.
Xiaomi Mi 5X General Features
The dual-SIM phone comes with 4G LTE and supports band 1(2100), 3(1800), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 20(800), 38(2600) and 40(2300). It also has WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou. The FM radio on the device comes with FM recording, while the USB Type-C supports USB On-The-Go as well. The Xiaomi’s MiSound enhancer helps improve the quality of sounds when you use headphones, especially a Xiaomi-branded headset like the
There’s a Security app on the MIUI 9 that’s very useful, especially when it comes to scanning your phone for malware. Easily manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage from the app. You can also configure your battery behavior, free up some RAM and manage the permissions of your installed apps and reduce battery consumption as well.
The Xiaomi Mi 5X is a perfect blend of flagship specs meet midrange price. Even though it doesn’t look modern from the front due to the huge bezels, the device is quite powerful overall and houses the same dual rear shooters on the Xiaomi Mi 6 flagship.
Alright, where do we end up? The Xiaomi Mi 5x is actually a fantastic phone. In itself, on practically every front, and then completely when you consider that it costs less than 200 euros and what we often see for 200 euros at the competition. The battery is not very thunderous, but something like a Galaxy S7 is not really enough to stand still. The camera does it nicely in good light, especially at this price point, and in poorer conditions, we see it as affordable compared to the Galaxy S7 and the Huawei P10. But we are talking about a 200 euro phone, and one that shoots photos that many 300-400 euro models will be jealous of, and often also has a smooth focus. 200 euros for what is essentially an iPhone-style metal monster with a smooth user experience, more than the attractive screen and what we also just call a more than a fine camera. What you get for this money is simply fantastic and you must have a reasonable amount of knowledge and experience before you distinguish this experience from a doubly expensive phone.
GearBest gave away the Mi 5X smartphone. You can get the Xiaomi Mi 5X for $ 199.99 with free shipping, but without importing fees. And if you still do not know how to order, just check our step by step guide on how to buy phones from Gearbest.
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