Mi 5: Sylph of a phone, with a punch

The Mi 5 is the first Xiaomi phone with a physical home button.
The Mi 5 is the first Xiaomi phone with a physical home button.PHOTO: XIAOMI

The first thing I noticed about Xiaomi's latest flagship phone, the 5.15-inch Mi 5, is how small and light it feels in the hand.

Compared to Samsung's Galaxy S7, which has a similarly sized screen, it is a sylph of a phone. While the S7 weighs 152g and is 7.9mm thick, the Mi 5 weighs in at 129g and is 7.25mm thick. It is an easy fit in the hand.

This is the first Xiaomi phone with a physical home button, that houses a fingerprint sensor. The Mi 5 is no lightweight in the specs department, though. The top-end model ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, the same chip at the heart of other flagship phones like the LG G5, and up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB of memory.

It also has a 16-megapixel camera that uses a Sony sensor, with a F/2.0 aperture.

The camera has four-axis stabilisation, a feature which Xiaomi's vice-president Hugo Barra was delighted to show off at the keynote by comparing it to the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus. In a video, all three phones were shaken as they tried to focus on a blotted sheet of paper. While the iPhone cameras showed noticeable jitters, the Mi 5 was coolly steady.

The images showed up fantastically on the screen, a 1080p in-plane switching LCD display.

As with all Xiaomi phones, the best part about it will be its competitive pricing. It comes in white, gold and black, and costs from 1,999 yuan to 2,699 yuan (S$430 to S$580). It is not known when the phones, already out in China, will be available elsewhere.

Lisabel Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2016, with the headline 'Mi 5: Sylph of a phone, with a punch'. Subscribe