The new large format version of Xiaomi’s Mi5s no longer has the Samsung Galaxy S7 in its sights. With its diagonal of 5.7 inches, the Mi5s Plus aims larger. In its viewfinder, the Huawei Mate 9, failing the deceased Note 7. On paper, the device is well armed. Snapdragon 821 (the lareview high-end processor from Qualcomm), 4 or 6 GB of RAM, 64 or 128 GB of storage (depending on version) and… a dual photo sensor. A paraphernalia that allows him to threaten his rival for … 370 euros less (or even 530 euros less than the Note 7, if it was still on the market!). We reviewed here the 64 GB version with 4 GB of RAM of the Mi5s Plus, sold for 330 euros at Chinadroid.fr who lent us this copy.
The Mi5s, less originality
Xiaomi has not played the role of Apple’s ersatz for several years. The Chinese manufacturer knows how to manufacture, but also knows how to draw. The proof with the Xiaomi Mi5 and Mi5s, as beautiful as they are original. Unfortunately, the Mi5s Plus does not really look like them and loses some of their originality. The manufacturer wanted to integrate a second sensor – monochrome – on the back of his smartphone. To avoid stopping on the right path, he also placed the fingerprint sensor under this binomial, which is itself arranged vertically. Result, we end up with a “Xiaomi Mate 9” which stands out only by its brushed metal.
After mourning this lost creativity (or put in brackets), we still appreciate the finish of the device, whose thickness does not exceed 8 mm. There is a curved shell, which provides excellent grip. On the edges, the beveled effect is successful. We would simply have seen the power and volume control buttons placed a few millimeters below. The screen is surrounded by two thin white bands and occupies a large part of the height of the front panel, in particular thanks to the disappearance of the physical button. The jack plug is housed on the upper edge. As you would expect now, a USB Type-C port can charge the device.
An impressive screen
In 2017, it seems that Chinese manufacturers are starting to recognize that there is no need to display a 2K resolution to get it right, even on a large diagonal. Presumably they already suspected it, but that the balance has taken precedence over a marketing strategy which consists in showing that we have the biggest – resolution, of course. The Full HD panel and its 5.7 inches therefore offer us a resolution of 386 ppi, far from those offered by Quad-HD screens. It’s still more than the Mate 9 and its 373 ppi, also Full HD but with a 5.9 inch screen.
Once lit, the panel impresses with its display quality. Simply put, the measurement results are among the most impressive on the market, especially for IPS. The contrast ratio rises to 2141: 1 and the brightness soars to 728 cd / m2. Figures that ensure excellent visual comfort in any situation.
We find the MIUI 8.1 interface, the overlay signed Xiaomi and based on Android 6.0.1. Among the significant points, the possibilities of personalization taken to the extreme. For example, you can choose whether or not to display the notification icons alongside the time, at the top left of the screen. Handy if you don’t like the visual pollution. The Second Space function is always present and allows you to create a secondary session when you want to lend your device. There are also some shortcomings of MIUI, such as the installation of too many applications which it is impossible to separate.
Ideal for play
On the version we had in our hands – 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, we did not encounter any slowdown, even when juggling between many applications. As on the Xiaomi Mi5s, the fingerprint sensor is extremely keen, with few hiccups.
Unsurprisingly, we owe this overall fluidity to the Snapdragon 821, which is also a delight for the game. After a short stint with Epic Citadel (60 frames per second) and AnTuTu 6 (130,000 points against 117,000 for the Huawei Mate 9) , we spent a while on our usual games (Riptide GP, Real Racing 3), again without the slighreview hitch and without heating. As can be a OnePlus 3T, the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus is ideal for gaming.
Despite its power and large screen, the Mi5s Plus is not an energy sinkhole. Like his little brother, he passed our reviews in a very honorable way. During our versatile autonomy measurement, it went out after 9:10 am. It’s not as good as the Mate 9 (10:20 a.m.), but enough to keep the day going. Thanks to the presence of the Snapdragon 821, the device is compatible with Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging technology.
The second sensor is not everything
Propose a Plus version in large format and equipped with two photo sensors: hard to say where Xiaomi could get this amazing idea, but the option is interesting. Instead of the Mi5s 13 megapixel sensor, there are two 12 megapixel sensors. As with Huawei, one is monochrome and it is supposed to pass more light. Unfortunately, it’s disappointing.
In good conditions, the result is on the border between correct and good, with fairly natural colors. But the level of details is not as good as on the Mi5s, with a smoothing that does not go unnoticed. Stereo mode – which activates the second sensor – allows you to recover some details in dark areas, with less sustained contrast. In low light, it’s just mediocre. The colors are bland and the shots lack exposure.
This result was not unpredictable. If the Mi5s Plus has two sensors, the pixel size drops from 1.56 micron to 1.12 micron. Which amounts to bringing in less light .. and losing what we are supposed to gain with the monochrome sensor. We only have to see our ranking of the best smartphones in photos to see that the dual sensor is not necessarily the panacea. As on the Mate 9 and the Huawei P9, however, we enjoy a very nice black and white mode.