Xiaomi Mi 5s has the worlds first ‘ultrasonic’ fingerprint reader

Thomas Wellburn
September 27, 2016

Xiaomi Mi 5s announced by Chinese smartphone manufacturer. This new flagship handset carries powerful hardware with one defining feature, an ultrasonic fingerprint reader.

Ultrasonic, you say! What is that? Actually, it’s a technology that’s been around for the past couple of years but was never mature enough to make it into commercial release. Xiaomi had originally planned to bring this technology to the Mi 5. The new sensor avoids the common pitfalls associated with current capacitive implementations, such as inability to recognize dirty fingers. It can also be cut flush to the screen, eliminating the need for a bump which we see in today’s handsets. While the last bit sounds cool, Xiaomi decided to forgo this as it apparently makes the sensor easier to find when pulling the handset out of the pocket.

Other highlights of the device include a 5.15-inch 1080p panel which offers a high maximum brightness and colour gamut, plus the new Snapdragon 821 processor, which is a supercharged version of the flagship Snapdragon 820 from Qualcomm. Processor speed has been bumped up slightly to offer a 10% performance increase, which is pretty substantial considering the 820 was already the best Snapdragon chipset available. RAM will come in two variants which each cater to different price points; a 3GB version with 64GB internal storage and a 4GB version with 128GB storage. Connectivity options include 4G+, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS/ A-GPS and USB 2.0. Even the battery is a decent size, at a larger than normal 3,200mAh.

Xiaomi Mi 5s not all about the fingerprint reader


Not to be left out, the camera also impressed with some excellent sample images. Inside is a 1/2.3-inch 12 megapixel sensor, which matches the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Aperture is a decent f/2.0, while optical image stabilisation is once again included for better low-light photography. There’s also a 4 megapixel front camera with extra-large 2μm pixels for capturing much more detail and far less noise. It all sounds very nice indeed.

The new Xiaomi Mi 5s will be priced at 1999 yuan (£230.69) for the 3GB 64GB version and 2299 yuan (£345.96) for the 4GB 128GB model. Xiaomi has started taking registrations for the handset in China, with a reported 1.82 million registrations already.

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