It really wouldn’t have made much sense for Xiaomi to unveil its first in-house SoC today, and then the first Pinecone-powered smartphone next month, so instead, it’s time to meet both Surge S1 and the Mi 5c.

Given the relatively discreet nature of the double announcement on the Chinese company’s home turf rather than one of those noisier, glitzier MWC events in Barcelona, it goes without saying Xiaomi’s “first-gen chipset” and the refreshed Mi 5 handset are hardly flagship affairs.

But after a whopping 28 months of planning and development, the Surge S1 processor contends mid-rangers like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 or MediaTek’s P20 silicon with an intelligent balance of performance and power efficiency.

Comprised of four A53 cores clocked at 2.2 GHz and an additional 1.4 GHz A53 quartet, the octa-core 64-bit CPU combines with a quad-core Mali-T860 GPU to satisfy high-speed scenarios, provide lower energy consumption for “daily use”, support the latest Vulkan standard, reduce “blurry, unfocused photos” with some neat image processing tricks, and even offer “chip-level” security.

The Xiaomi Mi 5c takes all that, fitting it into a premium 132-gram full-metal body, and sprinkling 3GB RAM and 64GB internal storage on top, as well as a middling 2860mAh battery with 9V/2A fast charging.

Like the original Mi 5 and upgraded Mi 5s, the Mi 5c sports a compact 5.15-inch display and front-facing fingerprint reader. The camera arrangement is a respectable 12MP rear/8MP for selfies, with Android 7.1 Nougat running the software show out the box, and “faster updates” possible thanks to the homebrewed SoC.

All in all, this is the first of the company’s new, expanded mid-end portfolio, and it carries a fitting price tag – 1,500 Yuan, or USD 220. Let’s just hope availability won’t be too limited.

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