Mi 5: Incredible Phone, Incredible Price

It has been the week for flagship releases and all the big hitters from Android have showcased their wares. The last, and certainly not the least, to do so at the Mobile World Congress was Xiaomi. The Chinese company has still yet to really venture out of the Asian markets, although its CEO Hugo Barra keeps insisting that such a move is imminent.

For those who may be unaware of Xiaomi, it may be helpful to know that the company has a very Apple like cult following in China. Its phones often sell out within a few seconds of being available. The company was labeled as just another Apple copy cat in its earlier days, however, Xiaomi has proved all of them wrong and continued to provide compelling phones at a fraction of the standard flagship cost.

It’s latest offering, the Xiaomi Mi 5, shows signs that the company is maturing and becoming as adept at design as it has been at hardware specs. The phone has a 5.15-inch screen with minimal bezel around it. The phone is also exceptionally light, thanks to its metal-glass build and feels like a quality device.

It has a curved back that should make it comfortable to hold and to pick up from tables. Customers can choose between a glass back on the regular Mi 5 and the ceramic one on the Pro model. As can be expected, the specifications are top of the line. It will be the first phone on the market to have a snapdragon 820 chipset, comes with a minimum of 3 GB RAM and has the latest Sony camera sensor on the market.

It also does NOT have the camera bump that its much lauded competitors have.

All of this for an expected retail price of $250 for the standard and $350 for the Pro Model. Xiaomi CEO Hugo Barra has been insisting in interviews that hardware is only a part of Xiaomi’s business which sees phones as a means to get its software services into the most hands possible.

One of the things that Xiaomi is trying to ensure is that the performance of its phones is blazing fast. Top of the line hardware has to be complemented with optimized software and on the basis of a quick look, it seems that Xiaomi has achieved its ambitions.

The allure that Xiaomi has over its loyal customers is fully understandable after having a look at the Mi 5. It is a no compromise product being sold at a scarily low price. It is a matter of time before the company decides to compete in mature markets like the USA and provide a lot of headaches to companies like LG and Samsung which will struggle to justify their high prices without any real differentiating factors.

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