Xiaomi Mi 5s/Plus Phone Features Unique Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor

Mi5
Xiaomi's Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus new smartphones build on its successful Xiaomi Mi 5 flagship. Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi leads innovation with the release of its new flagship smartphone duo, the Xiaomi Mi 5s and the Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus. As Engadget reports, the brand takes a conventional approach to device security by implementing under-glass ultrasonic fingerprint readers into each handset.

We’ve all tried to unlock our phones and failed authentication because the sensor was unable to read through a little dirt or lotion. An alternative to the capacitive fingerprint sensors found in existing smartphones, the ultrasonic sensor technology is not super recognition resistant to dirty, oily, or sweaty fingers. This tolerance prevents inaccurate readings which may temporarily lock users out of their device or prompt them to select another unlock method such as entering a pin code or pattern.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun revealed at Monday’s Mi 5s launch event that its unique fingerprint sensor technology has been in the works since October 2014. Amid working on its highly successful Mi 5 smartphone, the idea came about to design a fingerprint reader that wouldn’t require cutting the display’s glass to embed the sensor. Xiaomi made two prototypes of the Mi 5 phone at the time, one with a conventional fingerprint sensor and one with an alpha version of the ultrasonic type reader. Deciding to go with the former for its Mi 5 flagship, the brand has since perfected sensor, making it mass production ready for its new Mi 5s devices.

The unique under-glass biometric sensor solution is based on Sense ID fingerprint authentication technology from Qualcomm. One of the best features about this ultrasonic innovation is its versatility.  Since it’s compatible with a wide range of materials, it can be housed in devices made of metal or glass—anywhere on the phone’s construction. Taking advantage of the sensor’s flexibility, Xiaomi positioned the fingerprint sensor on the front the new Xiaomi Mi 5s smartphone with a slight dent in the 2.5D glass as a finger guide. The metallic body design of the Mi 5s Plus features the conventional fingerprint reader on the backside.

Now let’s rundown all of the impressive specifications these two new Xiaomi phones are equipped with. Both phones are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core chipset, the same CPU build that made its debut in the all metal ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe phone. Clocked at different speeds, the processor inside the Mi 5s has a 2.15Ghz clock speed and the Mi 5s Plus is faster, clocked at 2.35GHz. Adopting the familiar design of its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi 5s features a 5.15-inch JDI 1080p force-sensitive touch display, which shows mercy on the phone’s 3,200 mAh battery. For mobile users who prefer a bigger screen real estate, the Mi 5s Plus is an alternative solution. It features a 5.7-inch non-force-sensitive screen from Sharp and a 3,800 mAh power pack to get you through the day.

Image is everything and Xiaomi took absolutely no short cuts in designing the dual cameras for its latest smartphone offerings. The Mi 5s includes a 12-megapixel main camera and the Mi 5s Plus packs a 13-megapixel camera, both fitted with Sony’s 1 2.3-inch IMX378 CMOS sensor and an f/2.0 aperture for superior light gathering and detailed, clean images. To conquer low-light scenarios, each phone’s camera includes a dual-tone LED flash that won’t leave you in the dark. Phase detection auto-focus, auto HDR and life-like video recording capabilities up to 4K at 30 frames per second all make for fool-proof image capturing.  The primary cameras of the Mi 5s and its larger sibling, the Mi 5s Plus, are complemented by a 4-megapixel selfie-camera to meet the demands of FaceTime video chatting as well as photo and video sharing on social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. With an aperture of f/2.0, these front shooters provide an 80 degree wide angle field of view and real time 1080p video recording for clear, crisp imagery.

Pre-orders for the Xiaomi Mi 5s smartphone and Mi 5s Plus phablet kick off in China on September 29th. The base model Mi 5s comes with 64GB of internal storage, 3GB of RAM and a price tag of 1,999 yuan which converts to approximately $300. The high-end model which has 128GB of on-board storage and 4GB of RAM will go for 2,299 yuan, equivalent to about $345. Potential Mi 5s Plus device owners who opt for the 64GB of storage and 4GB RAM combo will shell out the same 2,299 yuan or $345. The high-capacity 128GB, 6GB RAM version costs a smooth 2,599 yuan or about $390 USD. Each variant of the Xiaomi Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus comes in four flavors including Silver, Gold, Grey, and Rose Gold. 

What do you think?