Here is another Chinese high-end challenger, the Xiaomi Mi4, going up against the beloved HTC One M8. Both devices are real beauties – the M8 has the 'full-metal jacket' or all-metal body, sculptured on the sides with a curve that makes holding the M8 a pure delight as far as comfortable in your hand. However, it can get either cold or very warm depending on the ambient temperature and it is also known to be a tad slippery under certain conditions. The Mi4 has a full metal frame and a quality feel about it – some have compared it to the iPhone 5S – and soon you will be able to order optional backs for the Mi4 to give it even a better look and feel, based on your tastes.
The Xiaomi Mi4 and HTC One M8 have very little in common – their displays are practically identical in in size, pixels-per-inch (PPI) and LCD technology. After that glaring similarity, we see they both carry an IR Blaster and an FM Radio (stereo for the M8) and both are running Android 4.4 kitKat with a skin on top – Sense 6 for the M8 and MIUI 5 on the Mi4.
Please look over the detailed list of specifications below and study the differences – after that we will take a more indepth look at the individual devices and discuss their pluses and minuses to help us determine the winner of this comparison.
We had been waiting for Xiaomi to come out with a true flagship that can compete against the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony – that wait is over with the arrival of the Mi4, if not for missing one feature…4G LTE. We will have to wait for the 4G LTE and a true U.S. model until 2015, when Mr. Barra (formerly from Google) says they will be expanding their market to the U.S.
Once we get passed the almost identical displays, we have to look at the 'brains' behind the device and here the Mi4 nudges out the aging M8…but not by much. The M8 uses a souped up Snapdragon 800 quad-core clocked at 2,3GHz, but not quite the Snapdragon 801 used in the Mi4 clocked at 2.5GHz. The Mi4 also has it beat with its 3GB of RAM versus the 2GBs found in the M8. When it comes to internal storage, here the pendulum swings towards the M8 – with its available microSD card slot. With the Mi4, you have a choice of only 16GB or 64GB and no expansion – with about an $80 price differential, I would definitely opted for the 64GB version.
When it comes to the camera, that old pendulum will swing back toward the Mi4 – it has a Sony 13MP sensor with auto focus and a dual-LED flash versus the unconventional setup on the M8 using 4MP of UltraPixels and a Duo Camera – we will talk about that more when we look at the M8. Xiaomi also gave the Mi4 a generous 8MP front-facing camera (FFC) which trumps another generous offering from HTC and the M8's 5MP FFC – these two cameras will provide a fantastic video chatting experience, as well as some of the nest selfies around.
The rest of the features include a 3080mAh battery, which betters the 2600mAh found in the M8 – the batteries are non-removable in both devices. Although both devices are designed to fit in your hand comfortably, the Mi4 is slightly smaller and lighter than the M8. They both have the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a microUSB port for charging and transferring data. The Mi4 has the DLNA feature, but does not have NFC, like the M8. Both devices have an IR Blaster, FM Radio and the Mi4 has the convenient bottom mounted speaker, although nothing to compare to the BoomSound on the M8.
As far as availability and price, the Mi4 must be purchased from its China website and any repairs must be done in China at this point – possibly once they sell their U.S. version, they will have repair facilities in the U.S. The Mi4 works on the WCDMA network so it hooks up fine with T-Mobile, however only 3G. Pricing is approximately $320-$400 for the 16GB model and $400-$450 for the 64GB model.
HTC One M8
The HTC One M8 has been out a while, so it will be interesting how it holds up to the new kid on the block. We already mentioned that the displays are the same and that the processors are pretty similar – the M8 loses out with only 2GB of RAM…certainly enough to do the job, but not as much as the 3GB in the Mi4. When it comes to internal memory, the M8 wins out with a microSD card slot that will allow you to expand and add an additional 128GB, whereas the Mi4 has no expansion past the 64GB version.
The M8's camera is a strange beast – it only has 4MP, but HTC calls them UltraPixels – they are larger than normal pixels, so you do not need as many of them. That reasoning really didn't fly on the M7, but HTC carried it over to the M8 without upping the pixels at all – instead, they added a second camera, called a Duo Camera, which does not help take a better picture, but is used for adding depth or special effects. The pictures are not bad, but not up to par with other flagship devices that use conventional pixels. It does sport auto focus and a dual-LED dual-tone flash…it also has a very respectable 5MP FFC for video chats and selfies…not quite the 8MPs found on the Mi4, but plenty good enough for its function.
The M8 features a smaller 2600mAh battery versus the 3080mAh of the Mi4. The M8 does have an IR Blaster like the Mi4, but also has the dual front facing stereo speakers with BoomSound…arguably the best sounding smartphone on the market. Its all-metal design is striking and different from most other devices and it seems that most critics and users love it. Like the Mi4, it too has an FM radio…stereo in this case and it also has a TV-out connector. It runs Sense 6.0, one of the more popular UIs over top of Android 4.4 KitKat. It is available on all major U.S. networks and it can be found for a good deal if you shop around.
…And the Winner Is…
This was one of the toughest decisions I had to make in these comparisons – the HTC One M8 is showing some little signs of aging and the new Mi4 has a slightly better processor, 1GB more of RAM, a slightly larger battery, and somewhat better camera – but, in the end the HTC One M8 came out on top in this comparison. The expandable storage capacity, the NFC capability, the unbeatable dual stereo BoomSound, easy availability and especially the 4G LTE just makes for a better overall package for use in the U.S. at this point. One of the benefits of being around a while is that you can get your hands on the M8 for a very reasonable amount…on a two-year plan.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which one of these smartphones you would pick as a winner and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.