Do we have a good one for you today – two powerhouses going up against each other to see which smartphone can win this battle of specifications. On one side, we have the flagship from Xiaomi, the Mi Note Pro (4G LTE model) with its glass and metal body going up against the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active – a hybrid of sorts, stripped of it glass and replaced by a heavy duty camo shell. Both devices have the specs, but only the Mi Note Pro has the real looks in this case…with the S6 Active, Samsung traded the beautiful of its glass S6 for a rugged, outdoors version covered in white, blue or gray camo.
Despite the difference in display size – 5.7-inch Mi Note Pro versus 5.1-inch S6 Active – the devices are very similar in physical size with the Note Pro weighing in at 11 grams more. Both displays use the QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, although they use a different display technology – IPS LCD versus Super AMOLED. Both devices use an octa-core processor, but different manufacturers…and neither device has room to expand their internal memory. The main cameras are close in specifications, but the Samsung camera takes exceptional pictures. Both front-facing cameras (FFC) are large – 4MP in the Mi Note Pro and 5MP in the S6 Active.
They both have the usual suspects – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, a microUSB port for charging and data transfer and both devices offer a method of quick charging the battery. Both smartphones have a non-removable battery – 3000Mah in the Mi Note Pro and 3500mAh in the S6 Active.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Xiaomi Mi Note Pro (4G)
Xiaomi, an up and coming Chinese company, known for offering well-built devices for a reasonable price, made every effort to impress us with their new Xiaomi Mi Note Pro 4G LTE. It is a real flagship and a work of art with its all glass and metal construction – however, it is priced accordingly. The Mi Note Pro uses Gorilla Glass all around – 2.5D for the display where the glass edge is slightly angled downward and Gorilla Glass 3D for the back, which means it actually curves up, in a ‘cup-like’ fashion. Once the parts and pieces are placed inside, these two pieces of glass are ‘strapped’ together by a metal band and it fits and feels great in your hands…not to mention giving it a very premium look.
The Mi Note Pro sports a 5.7-inch QHD IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 with 515 pixels-per-inch (PPI) versus the S6 Active’s 5.1-inch QHD AMOLED display with 576 PPI. Xiaomi uses the most advanced Qualcomm processor currently on the market – the 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and the other four clocked at 2.0GHz. This goes up against the 64-bit Exynos 7420 Octa-core processor with 14nm technology in the S6 Active. The Mi Note Pro packs a full 4GB of RAM and 64GB of fixed internal storage with no room for expansion. The S6 Active has only 3GB of faster DDR4 RAM and only 32GB of their new UFS 2.0 flash memory with no expansion possible.
The main camera uses a 13MP sensor with autofocus, dual-tone LED Flash and OIS compared to the 16MP on the S6 Active that adds a large f/1.9 aperture and live HDR. The Mi Note Pro uses a nice sized 4MP UltraPixel FFC for social media selfies and video chatting as compared to the 5MP FFC with wide-angle and f/1.9 aperture on the S6 Active. The battery is a non-removable 3,000mAh compared to the 3500mAh size battery in the S6 Active.
The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro is a dual-SIM device with a large bottom mounted speaker and enhanced audio circuits for better listening through headsets or external speakers. It is running the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop with Xiaomi’s heavy MIUI 6 running on top. It comes in black, white or gold. It works on US LTE networks that use 4G FDD-LTE on 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz and it will cost you $550 – 600 off-contract.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
The Galaxy S6 Active is nothing more than a Galaxy S6 designed to withstand the elements – excellent for the hunter, camper, people who like to fish or rock climb. The beautiful glass and metal body are replaced by shock-resistant plastic camo in white, gray or blue. Most of the technology of the Galaxy S6 came over to the S6 Active, but there had to be a few changes. Three physical buttons replace the fingerprint sensor and capacitive buttons. There are some added benefits as well, such as IP68 certification for dust and water resistance and a MIL-STD-910G certification, which means it is resistant to salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation, transport and is thermal shock resistant.
Samsung added an extra button on the side that is programmable – although they have it defaulted to open the Activity App, but you can change it to operate other apps – the camera, for instance. Designed for the camper or hiker, the Activity App immediately brings up a menu with a flashlight button, the weather, compass and other features an outdoors person might need to use.
The Galaxy S6 Active shares the S6’s 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display and uses the QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with a whopping 576 PPI. This goes up against the QHD 5.7-inch display on the Mi Note Pro with 515 PPI. Samsung skipped Qualcomm 810 this time around and opted for their in-house 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. It is packing 3GB of much faster DDR4 RAM and comes with Samsung’s new, faster, UFS 2.0 flash memory offered in only a 32GB option with no room for expansion. The Mi Note Pro uses the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 64GB of internal memory…also with no expansion possibilities.
The camera in the Galaxy S series is arguably the best camera currently found in a smartphone. The S6 Active uses a 16MP sensor with autofocus, an LED flash, a wider f/1.9 aperture, Live HDR and OIS. The FFC increased to a healthy 5MP and added the f/1.9 aperture, Live HDR and a 120 wide-angle lens for excellent low-light selfies and video chatting. This compares with the 13MP main camera in the Mi Note Pro with a dual-tone LED Flash, auto focus and OIS…along with a 4MP UltraPixel FFC. The 3500mAh battery is larger than the 3000mAh in the Mi Note Pro, and both should easily get you through a day with the S6 Active designed to last two days. The non-removable battery in the S6 Active can charge for up to 4 hours of usage in only 10 minutes and it has built-in wireless charging for the first time.
The Galaxy S6 Active has a large speaker on the back of the device and comes with a built-in IR Blaster, NFC, a heart rate sensor and oxygen saturation sensor. It will be running the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop and pricing on a two-year contract will cost about $200, and $695 full-price and is an AT&T exclusive.
…And The Winner Is…
This was a very tough decision to make and if this was the normal Galaxy S6, I would pick it over the Mi Note Pro, but this is not the normal Galaxy S6, it is the S6 Active. It loses a little in the translation – no more beautiful glass, fingerprint scanner or Samsung Pay, but you gain heavy duty physical buttons, water and dust resistance and a whole lot more…if you are into Rambo style activities. The Mi Note Pro is a premium device in both looks and build and it packs in an octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for about $150 less than the S6 Active. The Mi Note Pro is my choice as a daily driver in this comparison based on its design and specifications.
The Mi Note Pro is far from perfect – it has no NFC, IR Blaster, fingerprint scanner, and its camera is far from what it should be with those specifications. But it has the looks, display, processor and memory to keep up with the best of them, all while saving you some money.