Do we have a good one for you today - the new Samsung Galaxy Note Edge versus the new Xiaomi Mi4 (FDD-LTE model). Both smartphones offer impeccable builds with a quality that you can feel with your hands and see with your eyes. Both use full metal frames and trim for strength and a solid build. Xiaomi is taking the smartphone world by storm in China and India - bumping Samsung from the number one spot in China. They do expect to expand around the world, but they are taking 'baby-steps' as they lay a solid foundation.
There are not too many features that these two devices share other than the 3GB of RAM. The batteries are close - 3000mAh for the Galaxy Note Edge and 3080mAh for the Mi4...and both will easily get you through a full day of service. The do have the usual suspects - Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a microUSB connector for charging and data transfer. They also share having an IR Blaster on board, probably because both Samsung and Xiaomi sell HDTVs. They are both running Android 4.4 KitKat with the Galaxy Note Edge receiving its 5.0.1 Lollipop upgrade shortly, while the Mi4 runs its own overlay of MIUI 5.
Please take a look over the detailed specification sheet below and see exactly where the Galaxy Note Edge and the Xiaomi Mi4 differ and then we will look at each individual device, determine some pros and cons to help see if we can pick which one of these smartphones deserves to win this competition.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge was a real surprise announcement this year - rumors were running ramped that they had a curved screen display, but nobody realized it was ready for production. It combines the great Galaxy Note 4 with a twist of innovation and what we get is a premium device with a little "WOW" factored in. Its full metal frame and trim, combined with the curve display and the faux leather backing make for a sweet ride.
The Galaxy Note Edge sports a 5.6-inch Super AMOLED QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 x 160 (curved edge) pixels and 524 pixels-per-inch (PPI), a somewhat larger and sharper resolution than the 441 PPI found on the Mi4. The US version of the Note Edge uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz - the next generation of the Snapdragon 801 found in the Mi4. As we mentioned earlier, both devices come with 3GB of RAM - the Galaxy Note Edge comes with 32GB of internal storage with room to expand via a microSD card. This compares to the 16GB and no expansion found in the Mi4, although Xiaomi is promising a 64GB version sometime in the future.
Samsung cranked it up a notch on the Galaxy Note cameras this year - a 16MP sensor with autofocus, LED flash, ISOCELL technology for better pictures in low light, the ability to take live HDR shots and most of all, they included OIS. You can get some great photos with the Galaxy Note Edge...a notch above the Mi4. When it comes to the front-facing camera (FFC) on the Note Edge, it has a 3.7MP 120-degree wide-angled lens for great group selfies or a group video chat. The Mi4 does provide a large 8MP and it should take some fantastic selfies. The 3000mAh battery, while smaller than the 3220mAh of the original Galaxy Note 4 - they had to chop some off for the curved display - it will certainly get you through an entire day.
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is packed with special features - starting with the curved display and S-Pen. Those two features add a lot of functionality to this device that cannot be reproduced with the same feel by any other smartphone at this time. It is also set for VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling, when available. It can take advantage of LTE Cat-6, and uses three microphones for noise cancellation and great sound when making phone calls. It features Samsung's UPSM (Ultra Power Saving Mode), download booster, a fingerprint scanner, heart rate sensor, a UV and Oxygen saturation sensor.
The Galaxy Note Edge is running Android 4.4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz, although it should be receiving its new 5.0.1 Lollipop very soon. It is available on all major US networks for $399 on a two-year contract or about $850 off-contract.
This Xiaomi Mi4 is the new FDD-LTE model that works using Bands 1 (2100MHz) and 3 (1800MHz). Right now, it is available only in white and only the 16GB model, but according to their website, they will eventually release a black model and a 64GB model - neither model has room for additional storage. The full-metal body and trim give the Mi4 a solid feel and makes for a premium looking device, even with a plastic back. The Mi4 is comfortable in your hand and a pleasure to use.
The Xiaomi Mi4 comes with a 5-inch FHD IPS LCD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and because of its smaller size, it has 441 PPI - not quite up to the larger 5.6-inch display and 524 PPI on the Note Edge. The Mi4 uses the Galaxy Note Edge's 'baby brother' in the processor department, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core CPU clocked at 2.5GHz. This is the same processor found in the latest Samsung Galaxy S5 and is certainly no slouch. As in the Note Edge, it has 3GB of RAM, but only 16GB of internal storage and no room for expansion. When I checked on Xiaomi's website, they will eventually offer a 64GB model, like I said above. Xiaomi is very much like Google - they want you to use the cloud to store your data, not your device.
In the camera area, we find that both devices part company to some extent. The Mi4 uses a Sony produced 13MP sensor, auto-focus and a dual-LED flash, but the Mi4 does not have the OIS capability. The 8MP FFC is huge when compared to the 3.7MP of the Galaxy Note Edge, but the Note Edge uses a 120-degree wide-angle lens making for a great video chatting or selfie experience as well. The 3080mAh is not much larger than the 3000mAh found on the Galaxy Note Edge and both should easily get you through a full day of work or play.
When it comes to other extra features - beside the usual Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, IR Blaster and microUSB port that both devices possess, the Xiaomi Mi4 has a bottom mounted speaker and an FM Radio. This is the new FDD-LTE device, so please check with Xiaomi's website and your carrier to make sure that you can use 4G LTE in your country. The Xiaomi Mi4 is running Android 4.4.2 KitKat with MIUI 5 on top. Pricing is all off-contract via online ordering - approximately $400 for 16GB model.
...And The Winner Is...
This is another tough one to call, because it depends what you want in a smartphone. I put the picture of the Xiaomi Mi4 in the winner's circle, ONLY because most smartphone buyers do not need or even want all of the features that the Galaxy Note Edge offers. When it comes to specifications, features and looks, the Galaxy Note Edge wins hands down, but when it comes to practical value - here Samsung is pushing the limits at $400 on a two-year contract and $850 off-contract and Xiaomi brings in a well-made device with high-end specs for $400 off-contract. It is tough not to pick it as a winner when you get so much phone for that kind of money.
The decision would have to be based on two things - one, will you use all of the functionality of the Galaxy Note Edge and secondly, where do you live and what network are you on...can you take advantage of the fast speeds that LTE have to offer or do you use Wi-Fi most of the day. Pick your poison - the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge or the Xiaomi Mi4 - either device should make you a happy owner.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which device you would prefer and WHY...as always, we would love to hear from you.