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Xiaomi announces the Mi 5, its latest flagship phone

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The Chinese company once again packs a lot of specs in a phone with a low price

Xiaomi has officially announced the Mi 5, its latest flagship device, at events in Beijing and Barcelona today. The Mi 5 follows the Mi 4 launched 18 months ago. It is a 5.15-inch smartphone with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor, up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, a 3,000mAh battery, and what Xiaomi is calling a "3D ceramic" body. It has a similar design language to last year's Mi Note and Samsung's Galaxy Note 5, with a metal frame, front and rear glass panels, and a fingerprint sensor integrated into the home button. The Mi 5's camera is a 16-megapixel unit with four-axis optical image stabilization.

Read now: First look at Xiaomi's Mi 5 flagship

The Mi 5 runs Xiaomi's MIUI 7 interface on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and comes with weekly software updates from Xiaomi's community. It's the first phone that ships with Xiaomi's Mi Video Calling app, a new cross platform video chat app that includes live video effects and multitasking modes. The phone will be available starting on March 1st and will be priced at $354 (2,600RMB) for the high-end 128GB model and $262 (1,999RMB) for the entry-level 32GB version, keeping in line with Xiaomi's tradition of offering a lot of specs for a low price. The Mi 5 will come in black, white, and gold color options. It will come to China first, followed by India and other markets Xiaomi sells its devices in.

Hugo Barra at the Xiaomi Mi 5 launch at MWC 2016 Photo by Vlad Savov

Xiaomi has experienced explosive growth in its home market of China and surrounding Asian countries, but it has yet to bring its phones to Europe or North America. It utilizes a direct sales model, where it sells phones from its website in limited numbers direct to consumers. It sells its devices at near cost, with little to no profit margin, with the eventual goal of making a profit via services. Last year, it sold over 70 million phones this way, and demand for each of its releases often outpaces the company's ability to keep the phones in stock. Still, that impressive figure was short of Xiaomi's own predictions of 100 million phones in 2015, and competition from Huawei and other Chinese companies has slowed the company's growth.

The company has said it will bring its phones to the US and other Western countries at some point, but has yet to give a specific time frame for when that will happen.

Xiaomi Mi 5

Xiaomi Mi 5
Xiaomi Mi 5