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High from beating Apple in China, Xiaomi launches the $220, dual-camera Mi 5X phone

On the same day analyst data shows Xiaomi winning back market share in China, the popular smartphone manufacturer has announced a brand-new device: The Xiaomi Mi 5X, and it’s a return to what the company does best. It’s not going to cost very much, offers must-have features, and looks great in an iPhone-like way. Exactly what we expect from Xiaomi.

The Mi 5X is a midrange smartphone modeled on the recently revealed Mi 6 flagship phone, from which it borrows its standout feature — a dual-lens rear camera. The two lenses both take 12-megapixel photos, but perform different tasks. The first is a wide-angle lens with a 1.25-micron pixel size and an f/2.2 aperture. The second lens has an f/2.6 aperture, a smaller 1-micron pixel size, and takes telephoto images.

This makes it similar to the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera setup, and like Apple’s phone, the Xiaomi Mi 5X takes “portrait” photos where the background around the in-focus subject gets blurred out. This, along with dual-lens cameras, have become main smartphone features over the past year, with Huawei, Honor, and other brands all introducing something very similar. Xiaomi has also experimented with dual-lens cameras in the past, including on the Redmi Pro.

Otherwise, the Mi 5X is what we’d expect a 2017 midrange Android phone to be. It has a 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel screen with a 2.5D curved piece of glass over the top, and a Snapdragon 625 processor with 4GB of RAM provides the power. It has 64GB of storage, a MicroSD card slot, a 5-megapixel selfie camera, a fingerprint sensor on the back, and an all-aluminum body in black, gold, or rose gold. A 3,000mAh battery stores the energy, and Android 7.0 with MIUI 8 is the operating system.

Xiaomi will update the Mi 5X and other phones in its range with MIUI 9 in the near future. The latest version of Xiaomi’s user interface gets a smart assistant, further system optimization, quicker app launch times, and a new app launcher. Initially it will only be available in China, and an international version will follow in the future.

The Xiaomi Mi 5X will cost the local equivalent of about $220 when it goes on sale in August, when it should help Xiaomi’s renewed attack on China’s smartphone market. Data from research firm Canalys shows Xiaomi has now taken back fourth place in China from Apple, and amassed 15 million phone sales over the last three months. It still trails Vivo, Oppo, and Huawei.

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