Do we have a good one for you today – the Xiaomi Mi4 LTE model goes up against the new Samsung Galaxy S6. Thanks to the redesign of the Galaxy S6, both devices look and feel like a premium device. Both use a full metal frame with the Xiaomi Mi4 using a plastic back while the Galaxy S6 uses Gorilla Glass 4 for its backing. The new Galaxy S6, while made of all new materials, still looks like it is a member of the Galaxy S series. The Mi4 is only available via online, but we hope that Xiaomi devices start making their way to the US with availability on all networks.
These two devices do share a few specifications in common. For starters, they are physically almost the same size, with the Galaxy S6 slightly larger and Mi4 slightly thicker and weighing 11 grams more. The display on the Mi4 is 5.0-inches versus the 5.1-inch on the Galaxy S6. They both pack 3GB of RAM and neither one has room for expansion of its internal memory. Both the Mi4 and Galaxy S6 have a large front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chatting – the Mi4 has an 8MP and the Galaxy S6 packs a 5MP wide-angled lens. Both have a bottom-mounted speaker for better sound clarity. The usual suspects are all there – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0 on the Mi4 and 4.1 on the Galaxy S6), GPS, a microUSB port for charging and data transfer, Quick Charging features, non-removable batteries and an IR Blaster.
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 4 LTE
The Xiaomi Mi4 that we are comparing today is the newest model with FDD-LTE that works using Bands 1 (2100MHz) and 3 (1800MHz). As of today, it is available only in white and only the 16GB model – according to their website, there will be a black model and a 64GB model – neither model has room for additional storage. Even with the plastic back, the full-metal body and trim give the Mi4 a solid feel and gives it the look of a premium device. The Mi4 is comfortable in your hand and a pleasure to use.
The Xiaomi Mi4 sports a 5-inch FHD IPS LCD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and has 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI) – not in the same ballpark as the Galaxy S6's 5.1-inch QHD display with 577 PPI. The Mi4 uses the 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core CPU clocked at 2.5GHz, which was a great processor early last year, but it cannot beat the 64-bit Exynos octa-core in the Galaxy S6. Both devices carry 3GB of RAM on board, but the Galaxy S6 uses the faster DDR4 variety. The Xiaomi Mi4 only carries 16GB of internal storage and no room for expansion, whereas the Galaxy S6 offers 32GB, 64GB or 128GB options and it is using the newer UFS 2.0 Flash Memory.
In the camera area, we find that both devices are similar, but at the sametime, they are not. The Mi4 uses a Sony produced 13MP sensor, auto-focus and a dual-LED flash, but the Mi4 does not have the OIS capability. This compares to a 16MP Sony sensor with autofocus and LED flash, but also adds OIS, Live HDR and a large f/1.9 aperture. The 8MP FFC is larger than the 5MP of the Galaxy S6, but the S6 uses Live HDR, an f/1.9 aperture and a 120-degree wide-angle lens making for a great video chatting or selfies. The 3080mAh battery is larger than the 2550mAh found on the Galaxy S6, but both should easily get you through a full day.
When it comes to other extra features about all we can say is the Mi4 has an FM Radio. This model 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 – in the US it should work on AT&T and T-Mobile. 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.
Samsung Galaxy S6
The new Samsung Galaxy S6 seems to be a new direction for Samsung – gone is all of the plastic and now we have an all-metal unibody construction with glass adorning the display and the back on the phone. It is elegant, sturdy and premium looking from all directions – but unmistakably a Galaxy S device.
The Galaxy S6 sports a 5.1-inch Quad HD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 577 pixels-per-inch (PPI) compared to FHD display with 441 PPI on the Mi4. Samsung took a bold stance with the Galaxy S6 and did not use a Qualcomm processor this time around and instead, decided to go with their 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor. The four 'light-duty' cores are clocked at 1.5GHz and four 'workhorse' cores are clocked at 2.1GHz. The 32-bit Snapdragon 801 quad-core 20nm processor in the Mi4 simply cannot hold a candle to the new 14nm processor from Samsung. The Galaxy S6 is packing 3GB of DDR4 RAM, compared to 3GB of DDR3 RAM used in the Mi4, and it comes with Samsung's new, faster, UFS 2.0 flash memory offering 32GB/64GB/128GB models with no room for expansion – another first for Samsung's Galaxy S series.
The camera has a 16MP Sony sensor, autofocus, LED Flash, a wide f/1.9 aperture, Live HDR and OIS. The increase in aperture and OIS make this the best camera Samsung has ever put into a smartphone. The camera app increased in speed – taking less than a second to open and be ready to shoot. The FFC increased to 5MP and they wisely added the f/1.9 aperture and Live HDR for excellent low-light selfies and video chatting, and to top it off, they made it a 120-degree wide-angle lens for better group shots. The 2550mAh battery is smaller than the 3080mAh in the Mi4, but it should easily get you through the entire day – the new Samsung non-removable battery can charge up to 4 hours of usage in only 10 minutes and they included built-in wireless charging for the first time.
Extras the Galaxy S6 has over the Mi4 – a PayPal certified fingerprint sensor, it is Samsung Pay ready, includes a heart rate monitor, an oxygen saturation sensor and wireless charging for both Qi and PMA standards. It comes in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum and Blue Topaz. It is running Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and will cost you about $200 on a two-year contract and off contract you are looking at about $600 for a 32GB model.
…And The Winner Is…
Based on the specifications and pricing, I have to call the Samsung Galaxy S6 as the winner of this comparison. It has better specifications from the display to the components and even the build quality. The Galaxy S6 is available on all US networks and at $199 on a two-year contract it is a bargain considering its many upgrades.
The Xiaomi Mi4 LTE does have a larger FFC (8MP versus 5MP), but that is about all it can claim over the Galaxy S6 whose FFC comes with a wide-angle lens, Live HDR and large f/1.9 aperture, so I am not so sure that the Mi4 is even tops in the FFC department. The Mi4 LTE is still only selling a 16GB internal storage option and in today's world of smartphones, 32GB is the smallest you should offer, especially when there is no expansion available.
Either one of these devices could be effective for specific users, for instance if you were already on AT&T or T-Mobile, the Mi4 would save you about $120 – $250 if you were buying your device outright, but you would be giving up 16GB of precious storage and a lot of specifications.
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