Do we have a good one for you today – the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 tries to ward off the massive Xiaomi Mi Max. Ever since Samsung introduced the first Note device, various manufacturers have sought to duplicate its success – with little success. How well does the Xiaomi Mi Max stand up to the 'king of the phablets?' The Note 7 is a mixture of a metal frame and Gorilla Glass 5 front and back – the first smartphone to use the new glass. The Mi Max is an entirely metal design and weighs a hefty 203 grams. For all of its size, it does have a solid build quality, but the Note 7 would have to take the overall win on looks and build. Let's look at just what these two devices have in common, if anything, and then we will take a closer look at each one in hopes that we can determine a winner of this comparison.
The Galaxy Note 7 and Xiaomi Mi Max have very little in common. Nothing is comparable in the physical size area, nor the display area – both are different sizes, technologies, and different resolutions. The US/Canadian versions of the Note 7 and the Mi Max do use a Snapdragon processor, but entirely different models – same with the Adreno GPUs. They both have 4GB of RAM and both offer internal memory expansion. They both use a 5MP front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chatting. They both sport a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device, although, with no NFC, the Mi Max cannot make mobile purchases. Both devices have a non-removable battery that supplies the power. The usual suspects are there – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, and a USB port – Type-C in the Note 7 and microUSB v2.0 on the Mi Max – for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful 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 device in greater depth 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.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
The new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is a mixture of a Galaxy S7 Edge and Note 5 – not a bad thing, but many would like to have seen Samsung do a little more. The Note 7 finally gets its dual curved display in the form of Gorilla Glass 5, but not quite as pronounced as the S7 Edge and certainly not like the original Note Edge that many were hoping to see. The new display certainly gives the Note 7 a more elegant look. The S Pen and its accompanying software are really what separates the Note series from the other phablets. Teaming up with Wacom years ago has allowed Samsung to create a unique writing experience that gets better every year and even waterproof this year.
The Galaxy Note 7 sports a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED QHD display with the addition the dual curved edge, giving it a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) The Galaxy Note 7's sold in the US/Canada will pack a Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.6GHz and the other four cores clocked at 2.3GHz. In other countries, it will sport an Exynos octa-core with a quad-core clocked at 1.6GHz and a quad-core clocked at 2.3GHz. The Note 7 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal memory along with expansion via a microSD.
The Galaxy Note 7 has an excellent camera – a Dual Pixel 12MP sensor with an increase in the aperture to f/1.7, including faster phase detection autofocus (PDAF), auto HDR, and Smart OIS. For its FFC, it uses a 5MP wide-angle lens with a large f/1.7 aperture and Live HDR. The Note 7 has a large non-removable 3500mAh battery but also features rapid charge features as well as quick wireless charging capabilities.
Samsung made its move this year and added a new Iris Scanner for more security that allows you to unlock your Galaxy Note 7 by looking into the top area of the display. There are plans to upgrade the software shortly to have the scanner authorize mobile payments. It still has the obligatory heart rate monitor and oxygen saturation sensor, as well as Samsung Pay, and built-in wireless quick charging. The S Pen has many new added features giving it more, functionality, and sensitivity – it's even waterproof and will not go in backward this year. Samsung included the newer USB Type-C reversible connector for charging and data transfer. Depending where you buy the Galaxy Note 7, it will come in Blue Coral, Silver Titanium, Black Onyx, and Gold. It measures 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9mm, weighs in at 169 grams, and will cost you about $865.
Xiaomi Mi Max
Xiaomi sells two versions of the Mi Max, but we are looking at the 4GB/128GB model to make it a more fair comparison with the Galaxy Note 7. With its massive 6.44-inch display it is more like a tablet than a phone, but with a price tag of less than $400, it is quite a bargain as well. The Xiaomi Mi Max is an all-metal design and has a solid build quality for a device this size and price. It measures 173.1 x 88.3 x 7.5mm and weighs in at a hefty 203 grams, although the large battery takes some of that weight. Does this rather large, mid-priced phablet have what it takes to stand up to the new Galaxy Note 7?
The Xiaomi Mi Max sports a massive 6.44-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 342 PPI. It packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor with a quad-core clocked at 1.4GHz and a quad-core clocked at 1.8GHz. A capable Adreno 510 GPU handles graphics, and it packs 4GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable internal memory via a microSD card.
The primary camera uses a 16MP sensor with phase detection autofocus (PDAF), a dual-tone LED flash, and an aperture of f/2.0. The selfies and video chat duties are handled by a 5MP, f/2.0, FFC. It packs a large non-removable 4850mAh battery for power that will last you all day long.
The Xiaomi Mi Max has its fingerprint sensor on the back of the device and includes an FM Radio and IR Blaster. It looks like there are dual speakers on either side of the microUSB port, but only one contains a speaker – maybe a future enhancement? Remember, this device was not made for the US, but is still usable on 3G, and there is no NFC for mobile purchases. Both models ship in black, white, and gold colors. The Mi Max is now running MIUI 8, which runs atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The price for the 4GB/128GB will vary, but is close to $365 – $400.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This selection is a tough one – the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is clearly the specification winner, but at a price that is over double that of the Xiaomi Mi Max. The Galaxy Note 7 is by far the superior device, and I must crown it the winner of this specification comparison. It beats out the Mi Max in every category except display size and price.
However, if you want a huge screen, decent performance, mediocre pictures and sound, great battery life and only 3G usability in the US for less than $400, then the Xiaomi Mi Max may be the smartphone you are looking to own.