Choose your smartphone wisely: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Xiaomi Mi4

The time has come to acknowledge one of the recent flagships that has stirred interest word-wide coming from China: the Xiaomi Mi4. Since no smartphone on the market can be reviewed completely unless compared with another from its own category, we’ve chosen the Samsung Galaxy S5 as the Xiaomi Mi4’s competitor. Both flagships are top selling devices in the U.S. and China respectively, and Xiaomi is on the rise on the international market. The devices Xiaomi has launched so far have been critically acclaimed and deserve a spot on Load the Game as well.

Xiaomi has been dubbed the “Apple of China” and has surpassed Samsung’s China revenue, becoming a dominant member of the market. It has released the Mi1 and Mi2 series, the Mi3, Redmi and Redmi Note before releasing the Mi4 on July 22. The Xiaomi Mi4 is available for $459 at the moment, which is a convenient price tag for a high-specced Android smartphone. The Mi4 landed as a make or break attempt from Xiaomi to dominate the market and judging by all the hype it has created, it made rather than broke the company.

Xiaomi Mi4

The Xiaomi Mi4 and Samsung Galaxy S5 have some identical specs which we will get out of the way so we can focus on the differences. Both have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.5 GHz 801 processor and Adreno 330 GPUs and the same 1920*1080 screen resolution. They are both roughly the same size, maybe the Xiaomi Mi4 has a mm less bezels on its sides, but they do size up nicely next to each other. They both have roughly the same weight as well, at around 145 g, which is ok for smartphones packing the power these do.

Both phones come equipped with an accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, compass and proximity sensor. The Mi4 and S5 are both 4G LTE compatible, though the S5 does run on more bands than the Mi4 does, but connectivity on the Mi4 will probably improve in the near future, not yet compatible with U.S. bands. Android is running on both devices, the Mi4 having the 4.4.3 version with MIUI 6 UI available for users, while the Galaxy S5 has the 4.4.2 version with TouchWiz UI pre-installed. NFC, infrared and Bluetooth v4.0 are available on both phones.

Xiaomi Mi4 detail

Now, let’s skip to what differentiates the Xiaomi smartphone from the Galaxy S5 flagship. First off, the screens. The Xiaomi Mi4 has an IPS screen with 441 ppi, while the Galaxy S5 has a Super AMOLED display with 432 ppi. The S5’s screen is a tad more capacitative than the Mi4’s, but it does have lower pixel density. The Galaxy S5’s screen is protected via Corning Gorilla Glass 3, while the Mi4 does not have any outstanding screen protection. The Galaxy S5 is also IP67 certified: water and dust proof.

The Mi4’s chassis is made of steel, while Samsung’s flagship has stuck to a plastic casing, which has been criticized by many. Design-wise, the Mi4 looks more solid and rough than the Galaxy S5. Personally, I prefer the Mi4’s sleek and simple design rather than the Galaxy S5’s perforated back-plate.

Galaxy S5 colors

The Mi4 has a 13 MP rear camera and 8 MP front camera, while the Galaxy S5 has a 16 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front camera. Clearly, the Mi4 prefers selfies. Jokes aside, the Galaxy S5’s rear camera is better and users have reported good performance, while the Mi4’s rear camera has been reported to not work properly and sometimes snap blurry or grainy images.

The Galaxy S5 has the advantage of a fingerprint sensor, card slot, heart rate sensor and a removable battery. The Mi4 has more RAM than the Galaxy S5 does, namely 3 GB vs. 2 GB and has a 3080 mAH vs the S5’s 2800 mAH battery. The problem with the Mi4 is that it is not yet US 3G compatible yet, but Xiaomi said that a compatible version of the phone will be released soon. It is, however, compatible with European bands.

The Mi4 has 64 GB internal storage which tries to make up for the lack of a microSD card slot, whilst the Galaxy S5 has only 32 GB of internal memory. Users have complained that support is a bit lacking for the Mi4, the phone running with bugs and in need of fixes, but these are unconfirmed rumors. What makes the Mi4 attractive is its low price, which certainly trumps the Samsung Galaxy S5’s $600 price-tag.

Fact of the matter is that the Mi4 and S5 are indeed comparable phones, but the Mi4 does have its shortcomings for U.S. customers. The U.S. smartphone market would find it deal-breaking that the Mi4’s screen does not have adequate protection, though. Overall, the Mi4 is a phone that Europeans might enjoy having, especially because it features high specs for a low price, even though it has its shortcomings. We will see how the American market will react to the release of a compatible Mi4 model later this year.

The Mi4 has another competitor on the rise in the budget category, the Meizu MX4, priced at $320. The Meizu MX4’s base model will feature a unique 1,800 x 1,080 pixels screen resolution on a 5-inch display. The phone will be powered by a MediaTek MT6595 processor.  The high-end Meizu MX4 variant, on the other hand, will reportedly be powered by the latest Samsung Exynos 5430 processor, featuring a 2,560 x 1,536 pixels resolution on a 5.5 inch display. Also, the high-end model is expected to feature a fingerprint scanner.  Both models are expected to be backed by 3 GB of RAM. Also, one of the models will run on Meizu’s own Flyme OS 4.0, which is grounded on Google’s AndroidOS, while the other variant will reportedly run on Ubuntu Touch OS, says Phone Arena. Furthermore, both the models will be announced in September. 

Meizu MX4 leaked image