Do we have a good one for you today – two powerhouse phablets go up against one another…the Mi Note Pro (4G LTE model) versus the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5. We have a classic battle of Chinese design by Xiaomi competing against its South Korean rival, Samsung. Both devices are the true flagships of their namesakes, each sporting their own version of a metal frame and all-glass construction and they look every bit the part of a premium smartphone. Let's take a quick look at what these two devices have in common before we look at each one on an individual basis.
Surprisingly, the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro 4G and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 do have several features in common. For starters, let's look at their size – they both have a 5.7-inch QHD display size and even in physical size they are almost identical and differ only10 grams in weight. Both devices are running a 64-bit octa-core processor and both are packing 4GB of RAM and neither one has expandable internal storage – 64GB in the Note Pro and 32GB or 64GB in the Note 5. The main cameras are close in specifications, but the Samsung camera takes exceptional pictures. Both front-facing cameras (FFC) are large – 4MP on the Mi Note Pro and 5MP on the Note 5.
They both have the usual suspects – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.1 on the Note Pro and 4.2 on the Note 5), GPS and a microUSB v2.0 port for charging and data transfer. Both smartphones have a non-removable 3000mAh battery and both devices offer a method of quick charging the battery.
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, a 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, some may balk at its higher price. The Mi Note Pro uses Gorilla Glass all around – 2.5D for the display where the glass edge angles downward and Gorilla Glass 3D for the back, which means it actually curves up, in a 'cup-like' fashion. Once the parts 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. This is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 5's construction.
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 Note 5's 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with 518 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 Note 5. The Mi Note Pro packs a full 4GB of RAM and 64GB of fixed internal storage with no room for expansion. The Note 5 also has 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM and a choice of 32GB or 64GB 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 shooter on the Note 5 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, HDR and f/1.9 aperture on the Note 5. The battery on both devices is a non-removable 3,000mAh and both have quick charge and the Note 5 also has built-in quick wireless charging.
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 $500 – $600 off-contract.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Samsung took their popular Galaxy S6, stretched it out from a 5.1-inch display to a 5.7-inch display, added a few things, deducted a couple of things and called it a Galaxy Note 5. They increased the RAM from 3GB to 4GB and did away with the 128GB option found on the Galaxy S6. The IR Blaster – a mainstay with Samsung on the S series and Note series was also removed. These changes upset many Note 5 customers as Samsung always improved the camera area and/or processor over the Galaxy S series. The Note 5 is probably the most advanced smartphone currently on the market, but it is disappointing it did not distinguish itself more from the Galaxy S6.
The Galaxy Note 5 is sporting the same size 5.7-inch display as the past two years with Samsung implementing improvements every year. It has a QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 PPI and is one of the best displays on the market. This goes up against the QHD LCD display found on the Mi Note Pro with 515 PPI. The Note 5 uses Samsung's 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and the other four cores clocked at 2.1GHz. This goes up against the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor in the Mi Note Pro. The Note 5 packs 4GB of faster DDR4 RAM rather than the 4GB of DDR3 found in the Mi Note Pro. When it comes to internal storage, the Note 5 has a 32GB or 64GB option of much faster UFS 2.0 Flash memory and no room for expansion. The Mi Note Pro offers only one option – 64GB with no means of expansion.
The main camera on the Galaxy Note 5 is the same one used on the Galaxy S6. It has a 16MP Samsung ISOCELL sensor with a fast startup, faster focus, larger aperture at f/1.9, Live HDR and better software – and it will take some of the best pictures found on a smartphone. The Note 5 also has a large 5MP FFC with the f/1.9 aperture and wide-angle and Live HDR for selfies and video chats. This compares to a 13MP main camera on the Mi Note Pro and a 4MP FFC. The Note 5 has a non-removable 3000mAh battery, but it has quick charge and quick wireless charging capabilities…the Mi Note Pro also has a 3000mAh removable battery with a rapid charge battery.
The Galaxy Note 5 has a fingerprint sensor, heart rate and oxygen saturation sensors, is Samsung Pay capable and PayPal certified and has its speaker on the bottom of the device. It comes with a much improved and more sensitive S-Pen with added features giving it even more functionality. The Note 5 has more flexibility with longer documents, can send live broadcastings of your videos and you have an optional slip-on physical, BlackBerry-style keyboard. It is running Android Lollipop 5.1.1 and will cost you about $700 outright.
…And The Winner Is…
This was a tough one – ONLY because of the price difference – however I am choosing the Galaxy Note 5 as the winner of this comparison. There is no questioning that the Note 5 is more technologically advanced – better display, 14nm processor, much faster DDR4 RAM and UFS 2.0 Flash memory. The Note 5 is much better at taking pictures and has built-in quick wireless charging. It also has NFC for mobile payments and a fingerprint sensor that is PayPal certified and also has Samsung Pay as well as able to handle Android Pay and it will work with the baked in fingerprint functions in Android Marshmallow. For the extra money you also get the infamous S-Pen and all of the functionality that it lends to the device.
The Xiaomi is a beautiful and capable device, but it has no NFC, fingerprint scanner and its camera is far from what it should be with those specifications. But it has the looks, a QHD display, octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM and all while saving you some money. Only you can decide if making mobile payments, a fingerprint sensor, the heart rate sensor, better photos and the S-Pen are worth the extra money – to me they are and that is why I am picking the Galaxy Note 5 over the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro 4G LTE as the winner of this specification comparison.
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