All three flavors of Xiaomi Mi 5 run on the Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 820 chip. The SoC features Qualcomm's custom built quad-core Kryo CPU. Qualcomm promises up to 2x higher performance than the Snapdragon 810.
The GPU - Adreno 530 is more capable too, but we weren't able to run dedicated benchmarks.
So, the basic 32GB model of the Mi 5 has two Kryo cores at 1.8GHz and two Kryo ticking at 1.6GHz. The 64GB and the ceramic flavors are utilizing 2x Kryo running on 2.15GHz and 2x Kryo at 1.6GHz. We managed to grab the more powerful 64GB model and here is how the new CPU stacks against the competition.
The multi-core performance has improved since the Snapdragon 810 chips (Nexus 6P) and matched the Exynos 7420 octa-core processor inside the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Meizu Pro 5. It also edged Apple's latest A9 chip.
The latest Exynos models of the Galaxy S7 are doing better than the Snapdragon 820 chip, though.
Higher is better
It's in single-core performance where the Kryo CPU shines. It did noticeably better than any other Android competitor, including the Galaxy S7 Exynos, and it indeed doubled the performance of its predecessor.
The Kryo is just short of Apple's Twister core, the best performer on the market right now. But it seems Qualcomm is finally on the right track, and it should help Android ease off the number-of-cores-in-CPU race. Quality can and should be valued over quantity.
Higher is better
Speaking of performance, Android Marshmallow and the MIUI 7 are buttery-smooth, no lag or stutter.
We ran GeekBench a few times, and then Basemark X GPU managed to crash it, but the phone didn't get any hotter. We did our best to make the Snapdragon 820 sweat but we only got a small warm spot on the back. The difference in heat emission betweenf the S820 and the S810 is spectacular.
The camera setup in the Xiaomi Mi 5 uses a 16MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and 4-axis optical image stabilization - a brand new technology. The sensor itself is the Sony IMX 298, which comes with phase detection auto focus and deep trench isolation technology.
The sensor seems like the real flagship deal, at least on paper and, interestingly enough, Xiaomi managed to fit it inside the body without a lens bump. Naturally, in combination with the powerful Snapdragon 820 chip, it can do 4K video as well.
The rear camera is protected by a piece of sapphire glass.
On the front, we have a 4MP UltraPixel camera - lifted from the Mi Note.
We took a few shots after the Mi 5 event and, while its software is yet to be finalized, the images look promising. We'll reserve our judgment for the retail unit.