As promised, Xiaomi has unwrapped its new flagship phone for us here at Mobile World Congress. The Mi 5 is the long-awaited successor to the Mi 4 from 2014, which took a backseat to the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro last year. The new handset runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, a beefy processor that only breached the market in January. Every Mi 5 sports a 5.15-inch 1080p display, but you can choose between the regular model with 3GB of RAM -- coupled with either 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage -- and the Pro version, which comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of space. Display aside, the latter is an absolute beast of a phone, at least on paper.
Gallery: Meet Xiaomi's Mi 5 and Mi 5 Pro | 24 Photos
On the back of the device, you'll find a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, which uses Sony's IMX298 sensor and optical image stabilization, paired with a 4-megapixel selfie snapper on the front. Oh, and Xiaomi made a point that its rear-facing camera is flush, unlike the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Shots fired! There's also a fingerprint scanner just below the display and a snazzy USB Type-C port (take that, Samsung Galaxy S7). To keep everything ticking over, Xiaomi's packed the phone with a 3000mAh battery that supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging.
The specs are solid, but they're only one part of the story here. Xiaomi wants to emphasize the phone's design, too, which has seen some considerable refinements over the old Mi 4. The standout feature is the glass back panel -- made from ceramic, if you choose the Pro -- which slopes on either side toward the metal rail. The display and front panel are still flat, however, giving it a look similar to Samsung's Note 5.
As usual, the Mi 5 runs on Xiaomi's skinned MIUI version of Android. It's a pretty bold take on Google's mobile operating system, prioritizing flat iconography and warm, muted colors. The company's latest iteration, MIUI 7, is built on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, so you should still get the platform's under-the-hood benefits, like Doze battery saving.
The Mi 5 will be available (in Asia) in black, white, gold and rose -- the standard color palette these days -- and start at 1,999 yuan (about $310 or £220) when it goes on sale next month. The Pro version, which comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, will be going for 2,699 yuan (roughly $410 or £300). And alas, there's no word on an international release.
Xiaomi's decision to hold an event in Barcelona has piqued our curiosity. At the moment, none of the company's phones are available in the US or Europe -- at least not directly -- but there have been hints of an expansion. Some of Xiaomi's accessories, including headphones and battery packs, can now be purchased online in the West, for instance. Xiaomi's strategy has been to target users in China, its home turf, and developing markets such as India -- but maybe, just maybe, that'll change in the future.
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