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When it comes to smartphones with an excellent price to spec ratio, Xiaomi’s always a name to heavily consider. Heck, i still remember when they came out with the Mi3. That one was such a hit.

Fast forward to 2017, and they now have a ton of devices that could compete with other brands at far more affordable price points. The Mi5X is a perfect case in point, sporting a powerful mid-range processor, a full HD display, and dual rear cameras for PhP13,500. Now that’s what you call bang for the buck. Widget City currently sells it, and you might want to consider getting one from their site.

The thing is though, Xiaomi doesn’t have an official distributor here in the Philippines just yet. So if for any reason your phone goes haywire, who do you bring it to? Well, let’s just say that’s another issue.

So you could imagine, with a price this low, there had to be some compromises right? well, I got my hands on a review unit, to see whether this phone is really worth the hype (and the risk).

Xiaomi Mi5X Specs:

  • 2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-Core Processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32GB/64GB of internal storage expandable via microSD card (Up to 128GB)
  • 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD Display, 401ppi
  • 12MP (Wide-Angle, f/2.2) + 12MP (Telephoto, f/2.6) rear cameras, Sony IMX386, PDAF, Optical Zoom
  • 5MP front camera
  • USB Type-C Interface
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • MIUI 8.5 on top of Android 7.1.2 Nougat
  • 3,080mAh battery

Design and Build Quality

There’s no doubt that the Mi5X sports a simple, yet premium look. You have the usual soft curves, the aluminum construction, and the matte finish that all blend so well that it looks more than its actual price.

All the buttons are located on the right side and are quite responsive. On the opposite end is the SIM card slot.

The Mi5X uses a USB Type-C port, which is a good sign that the company is moving with the times. The fingerprint sensor is located at the back, where your index finger naturally lands when holding the device.

The 5.5-inch IPS LCD display displays good color accuracy and is quite vivid. It’s able to take advantage of MIUI’s “colorful” approach to Android.

Performance

As expected from the Snapdragon 625, day to day performance was mostly satisfying. It’s no doubt, a very capable phone as far as your usual grind is concerned. I did notice a bit of heat buildup when taking pictures, but not enough to impact the experience.

It’s also a capable gaming machine, as NBA 2K17 on High settings yielded no major issues. For a more optimal experience though, I do suggest toning down some elements like crowd and Sideline.

Camera

The Mi5X sports a dual rear camera system which is composed of two 12MP sensors, one with a wide-angle lens, and the other, a telephoto lens. When combined, you get pictures that look crisp, sharp, and detailed. Color accuracy is on point as well.

What’s even better is that it’s the same case with the front facing camera. You get quality selfies with great detail and no sign of over-processing.

There’s a dedicated button in the UI for taking depth-of-field shots. And when it works, it works great. But that’s the thing. When using this mode, the camera does tend to struggle with focusing, so much that’s it’s actually frustrating to use.

Software

The Mi5X runs on MIUI 8.5 on top of Android 7.1.2 Nougat, and like always, MIUI is the very customizable UI that it has been ever since the Mi3 days. It’s colorful and feature-packed.

Much of the things I loved back then are still here, like the secret inbox (oops) for hiding your special conversations. You also have control over how warm or cold the colors on the display will be.

You also get gestures, such as double-tap to wake. There’s also Second Space, that kind of creates an entirely new workspace that you can customize separately from your main one. Useful if you’re letting someone borrow your phone. Dual Apps lets you log in to different accounts in a social media app such as Facebook. Useful for keeping track of your work and personal accounts minus the hassle of using another device.

The Camera App does give you most of the modes that you’ll need. You have group selfie mode, panorama, beautify, tilt-shift for giving object a miniature look, and of course, Pro mode which gives you control over individual elements of each shot.

Battery

Well, for all it’s pros, there’s always a con, right? remember that part where I was looking for compromises? I guess this is it. Horrible battery life. Just make sure to bring a backup phone or a power bank, especially if you’re into gaming.

Verdict

The Xiaomi Mi5X is a fantastic device in many aspects. The simple, yet elegant design, the vibrant display, the gaming performance, and the notable cameras that beat even some of the more expensive phones that I’ve tested. The software is fun to use, and well optimized too.

On the flip side, the battery life is a joke, and the lack of local support is a deal breaker for some. That being said, this device is still one to beat for its price.

The Good

  • Simple and elegant design
  • Vibrant display
  • Feature-packed software
  • Gaming performance
  • Camera performance
  • Price

The Not So Good

  • Camera struggles to focus when trying to achieve the depth of field effect
  • No official local distributor which can lead to support issues
  • Horrible battery life

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