Do we have a good one for you today – the Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro goes up against the new Google Pixel XL. The Mi 5 Pro comes to us with a ceramic backing while the Pixel XL uses a polished glass on the front and metal on the back end. Both devices have a solid build and certainly look the part of a flagship smartphone. Does the $500 Mi 5 Pro have what it takes to stand up to the $869 Pixel XL with 128GB of memory? Let's look at just what these two devices have in common and then we will take a closer look at each one in hopes that we can determine a winner of this comparison.
The Mi 5 Pro and Pixel XL do not have too many things in common – certainly not in size or weight where Pixel XL outweighs the Mi 5 Pro 168 grams to 129 grams. The displays are within one-half of an inch, but they use different display technology and different display resolutions. One thing they do have in common is a Snapdragon quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM. The Mi 5 Pro is using the Snapdragon 820 while the Pixel XL uses the updated Snapdragon 821. The Mi 5 Pro model comes with 128GB of non-expandable memory, while the Pixel XL comes with 32GB or 128GB of expandable memory – we priced out the 128GB Pixel XL so it would match up with the Mi 5 Pro's base 128GB. They both have fingerprint sensors and both come with a non-removable battery with rapid charge. The usual suspects are there – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and both have a USB reversible Type-C port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a careful 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.
Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro
Xiaomi is a recognizable name among phone geeks, but until they start making and selling globally, they will be a best-kept secret. They are known for making quality smartphones for a reasonable price going on six years, and the Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro is no exception. Xiaomi still only sells their smartphones online, although they promise they will soon make their way to the US. The Mi 5 is the long awaited follow-up to the Mi 4 – almost a year and one-half. The regular Mi 5 series is a metal and glass construction and mimics a Galaxy S7 to a degree. The Mi 5 Pro uses a special ceramic backing to make it stand out from the crowd, although the only real difference is internal where you get 4GB of RAM versus 3GB and the standard memory is 128GB. Let's see just how the Mi 5 Pro holds up against the Pixel XL.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro sports a 5.15-inch IPS LCD display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 428 pixels-per-inch (PPI.) Xiaomi put in the best processor on the market at the time – the Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHz and another at 2.15GHz. The Mi 5 Pro uses an Adreno 530 GPU that will handle any graphics you can throw at it. The Mi 5 Pro packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 128GB of the faster UFS 2.0 memory with no means to expand.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro's primary camera uses a 16MP Sony sensor, with PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus), a dual-tone LED Flash, a large f/2.0 aperture, and even has a 4-axis OIS for better stability. The front-facing camera (FFC) camera is a 4MP with a f/2.0 aperture for selfies and video chatting – even with only 4MP, the FFC took great shots. The Mi 5 Pro uses a non-removable 3000mAh, but they include Quick Charge 3.0 that will give you up to an 83-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro is a beauty to look at and curved enough on the sides to make it comfortable to hold, much like a Galaxy S7. It sports an IR Blaster, and our review had high praises for the camera area. However, in the US about the only signal we could get from AT&T and T-Mobile's GSM networks was an occasional 4G signal. It measures 144.6 x 69.2 x 7.3mm, weighs in at 129 grams, and will cost you about $500 for the Pro version with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.
Google Pixel XL
This is the time of year where we should be comparing the newest Nexus devices against the competition, but thanks to Google, the Nexus name will RIP. Google is taking a change of direction – more like an 180-degree switch – in an effort to create their own Apple-like ecosystem. In Google's ecosystem, Google Pixel owners can use Google Assistant to communicate directly with their new Home products – buy one device and Goggle is hoping that you will want them all. We will be looking at the Google Pixel XL this time around to see just how this newly designed Pixel XL with its polished glass and metal construction holds up to the ceramic-backed Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro.
The Google Pixel XL sports a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with 531 PPI. Google is using the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHZ and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz. The Snapdragon 821 is 10-percent quicker than the original Snapdragon 820, used in the Mi 5 Pro, according to Qualcomm. The Snapdragon 821 also works with the Adreno 530 GPU to take on the toughest graphics you can throw its way. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB or 128GB of the faster UFS memory, although there are no means to expand the built-in memory. For this comparison, we are looking at the 128GB model since the Mi 5 Pro model comes with a standard 128GB. It uses a large 3450mAh non-removable battery for power and has rapid charge capabilities.
The primary camera does not have impressive looking specifications – it packs a 12.3MP sensor along with an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus (PDAF,) a dual-tone LED flash, and no OIS, but does use EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization.) However, those specs fooled everybody when the camera was tested by DxOMark and received a score of 89 – the highest rating yet for a smartphone camera. The Pixel XL provides a large 8MP FFC that comes with a f/2.0 aperture, a 1.4µm pixel size, and 1080p video support offering up great selfies to share with your friends on social media as well as video chatting.
The Pixel series are the first smartphones with Google Assistant built into the device. That means it will work with other Google products such as Google Home. A rear-mounted fingerprint sensor will allow you to unlock your device or to authorize mobile payments and of course, Android Pay purchases. It will be running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and receive the fastest software updates. The Pixel XL measures in at 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6mm and weighs in at 168 grams. There are three different colors available: Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue (a limited edition color.) The Pixel XL is IP53 rated against dust and splashing water. The 32GB model will cost you about $770, and the 128GB model will cost you $869.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This decision was a tough one because of the huge price difference, but for the US market, I have to pick the Google Pixel XL as the winner of this comparison. It has a larger display, AMOLED technology, and QHD resolution. It has an excellent processor – just slightly faster than the one used in the Mi 5 Pro – as much memory, the highest rated camera so far, splash and dust resistant, a larger battery, and is running the latest Android 7.1 Nougat.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro is an excellent device if you live in China or Asia, but without full service on all US networks, it makes it hard to pick as a winner. It has an excellent processor and camera, and at only $500 for 128GB of storage, it is a great bargain.
On the one hand, you have an $869 Pixel XL and on the other, a $500 Mi 5 Pro going head-to-head where the Pixel XL clearly has better specs and service in the US. There is a huge price difference, but one I think we must overlook in the case of these two devices.