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Xiaomi Mi 5s and 5s Plus set to challenge iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

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Another Xiaomi launch, another pair of Apple clones. This isn’t to say the Chinese brand’s newest flagships aren’t any good; in fact, the Xiaomi Mi 5s and 5s Plus are up there with the very best, and they don’t cost a fortune.

Despite having a little “s” attached to their names, the pair of smartphones are significant upgrades over the original Mi 5 launched last February. Back then, we compared Xiaomi’s flagship at that time to the Samsung Galaxy S7. Now, the similarities are closer to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Even the promotional image below screams copycat.

xiaomi-mi5s-iphone7-20160927

Compare the Xiaomi Mi 5s promotional image above with the iPhone 7’s below

The signs are all there: a completely metal unibody construction for both the 5.15-inch Mi 5s and 5.7-inch Mi 5s Plus, the usual iPhone-like MIUI Android interface, and some features taken straight out of Apple’s playbook. Let’s look into them now.

The highest-end Mi 5s, which is the 4GB RAM with 128GB internal storage configuration, has a pressure-sensitive display, similar to what Apple applied on its last two iPhone generations. It’s definitely a bonus if you want expanded interactivity with your apps’ options, but if it goes down the same path as the iPhones, then third-party support might be limited for a while. Huawei did it first on Android with its Mate S handset last year, yet there has barely been any backing from software developers since then.

What’s unique to the Mi 5s — and this isn’t even available on the larger Mi 5s Plus — is the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner powered by Qualcomm’s Sense ID. It may sound needless with regular sensors already being blazing fast, but this type is a lot more secure thanks to its added accuracy, plus it can work through wet hands and may be placed under the handset’s glass panel. We had a chance to try it ourselves and we must say, it really is the best fingerprint-scanning technology out there, and we’re glad Xiaomi finally managed to incorporate it.

xiaomi-mi-5s

The specs are expected of a newly launched flagship: We have Qualcomm’s best processor in the Snapdragon 821, a 12-megapixel shooter at the back with a 4-megapixel one up front, and an acceptable 3200mAh battery capacity.

The 4GB memory with 128GB storage model we mentioned earlier will retail at RMB 2299 (almost $345), and the 3GB memory with 64GB storage version will go for RMB 1999 (slightly above $299). Colors offered are silver, gray, gold, and rose gold, with availability beginning on September 29 in China.

Surprisingly, the Mi 5s Plus doesn’t just lack the high-tech fingerprint scanner of its smaller sibling (although, there’s a regular one at the back), it also doesn’t offer a pressure-sensitive display. Instead, the 5.7-inch phablet opts for a 13-megapixel dual-camera setup, very similar to Huawei’s implementation on the P9; one image sensor captures in monochrome, while the other in full color. Image detail will be a lot sharper thanks to the combined effort of two lenses, which is far better than Xiaomi’s previous attempt.

xiaomi-mi-5s-plus-2

Other advantages of the Mi 5s Plus are the larger 3800mAh battery, bigger display (it maxes out at 1920 x 1080 pixels like the more compact Mi 5s, though), and the choice of having 6GB of RAM. The processor is the same as the chip found in the Mi 5s, and both phones have Quick Charge 3.0-enabled USB Type-C ports. As you can tell, the Plus variant may not be as innovative as the Mi 5s, but it definitely has more multimedia muscle in its circuits.

Its cheapest configuration, which has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, costs as much as the top-end Mi 5s at RMB 2299 ($345). The model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage isn’t much of a jump in price, and seems like a more worthwhile purchase; you can buy one for only RMB 2599 ($390). Colors options and availability are the same as that of the Mi 5s.

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[irp posts=”12207″ name=”One month with Xiaomi’s Yuemi mechanical keyboard”]

Source: Xiaomi

Enterprise

Xiaomi blacklists “Samsung” and other terms from its phones

But there’s a reason why

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Throughout the past few years, Chinese smartphones have received a lot of flak for its ties to geopolitical issues. Both Huawei and ZTE have already suffered through bans from the American government. Naturally, Xiaomi is in a similar boat. Unfortunately, because of a new research report, things might get worse before they get better.

According to a report published by the National Cyber Security Centre in Lithuania, Xiaomi’s smartphones automatically download a list of terms that they blacklist. The list includes sketchy terms like “China,” “Taiwan Solidarity Union,” and other geopolitical terms. Obviously, including China-related terms can cause a bit of alarm for users elsewhere. However, the blacklist might have uses outside of the obvious.

Spotted by XDA Developers, Xiaomi uses the list for advertising purposes. Besides the China-related terms, the list also includes its brand rivals like “Samsung” and “ZTE.” It also includes pornography and piracy terms. Most ironically, the list also blocks its own smartphone models. The publication spotted that the blacklist is used solely by the smartphone’s advertising platform. Which does make sense now.

The list is designed to block out ads from competing companies and its own (which makes sense since someone who owns a Xiaomi phone probably doesn’t need to see a Xiaomi ad anymore). Blocking pornographic and piracy-supporting ads also makes sense. The China-related terms remain problematic, but there is no indication that Xiaomi uses the list for anything other than advertising.

Further, Xiaomi should activate the filter manually. The automatic download doesn’t automatically mean that the phone is censored. That said, there is still a possibility that Xiaomi can use the filter for more geopolitical reasons. At the very least, current reports don’t point toward that for now.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 11T series focuses on mobile filmmaking

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Xiaomi brings the Mi TV P1 to the Philippines

4K UHD Android TV for your viewing pleasure

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Mi TV P1

Xiaomi truly has it all for you. Not only do they have a wide range of smartphones and devices, they also want to take over your living room with the Mi TV P1.

The Mi TV P1 is a 4K Android TV. It has all the bells and whistles that we’ve come to expect from 4K TVs. Other than being 4K UHD, the display has a 60Hz refresh rate with a 178°(H)/178°(V) viewing angle. It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+.

On their website, it comes in four sizes — 32″, 43″, 50″ and 55″ making it a pretty accessible TV set for any household.

You can’t have a good display with subpar sound. For audio, the Mi TV P1 has a speaker sound output of 10 W + 10 W with support for Dolby Audio and DTS-HD. Looks good on paper but we’ve yet to experience how it actually sounds.

For connectivity, it has the following: Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 2.4GHz/5GHz, three (3) HDMI ports — one of which is eARC for a soundbar connection, two (2) USB ports, Composite In (AV), Ethernet Port, CI Slot, Optical Digital Audio Out, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

Powering the device is a MediaTek 9611 chip with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage for all the TV apps.

The specs are a little different for the 32″ version. It has less ports and a lower resolution but still a good TV nevertheless.

As mentioned earlier, it has the Android TV interface that should be fairly easy to navigate. This means it’s also compatible with Google Assistant and it’ll be receptive to voice commands. It also has a 360 bluetooth remote so you don’t necessarily have to point it to the TV for it to work. There are also dedicated buttons for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Price and availability

The Mi TV P1 will be available starting September 30, 2021. Pricing are as follows:

  • 55″ — PhP 24,990
  • 50″ — PhP 22,990
  • 43″ — PhP 18,990
  • 32″ — PhP 10,990

The Mi TV P1 Series can also be availed on a special early bird price with freebies from September 30 until October 1. Those who will purchase the 32” and 43” variants will get a free Redmi soundbar or PhP 8,990 and PhP 16,990 respectively.

A Mi Soundbar for the 50” and 55” variants will serve as freebies with price cuts at PhP 20,990 and PhP 22,990, respectively.

These offers will be available exclusively on Xiaomi Authorized Stores and in Xiaomi official stores on Shopee and Lazada.

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Xiaomi Pad 5 now in the Philippines

New tablet to consider

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Xiaomi Pad 5

Unfazed by the recent release of the new base iPad and iPad mini, Xiaomi is bringing over a tablet challenger to the Philippines — the Xiaomi Pad 5.

Meant for work, school, and then play, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is an all around tablet. You’re getting an 11-inch WQHD+ 120Hz display so you’ll definitely enjoy tapping on this slate. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor for all your work and play needs.

Taking work even further, you can pair it with the Xiaomi Smart Pen. Its 4096 pressure sensitivity and 240Hz touch sampling rate hopes to emulate a natural writing experience.

Here’s a rundown of the specs:

  • Display — 11″ WQHD+ 120Hz
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 860, Adreno 640 GPU
  • Audio — Quad speakers, Dolby Atmos, Hi-Res Audio
  • Configurations — 6GB+128GB, 6GB+256GB
  • Battery and Charging — 8720mAh, 22.5W wired charging
  • Included accessory — Xiaomi Smart Pen1
  • Colors — Cosmic Gray, Pearl White

Pricing and availability

The Xiaomi Pad 5 will be available on Xiaomi Authorized Stores starting October 1. Pricing are as follows:

  • 6GB+128GB — PhP 14,990
  • 6GB+256GB — PhP 19,990

A limited early bird price of PhP 14,990 and a free Xiaomi Smart Pen for the 6GB+128GB variant will be offered exclusively on Xiaomi Official Global Store via Lazada on September 24 only.

 

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