Do we have a good one for you today – the Google Pixel takes on the mighty Xiaomi Mi Note 2. The Google Pixel uses a flat glass display but adds a new twist with a polished glass and metal backing. The Mi Note 2 uses a beautiful dual curved display and a curved glass back – much like the Galaxy Note 7. Some say the Google Pixel may take a while to grow on you with its looks, but we find it very attractive. The new Pixel devices are the first with Google Assistant built-in and are part of Google's ecosystem with Google Home, Chromecast, and other products. Xiaomi devices always had an iPhone look to them, but as Xiaomi moves closer to US distribution, they are building a more global unit with a more advanced look. Let's see 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 Pixel and Mi Note 2 were released just a month apart, so they do have a few things in common. Their sizes are vastly different because of the display sizes with the Pixel coming in at just 5.0-inches and the Mi Note 2 at 5.7-inches. They both use an AMOLED display, and they both use the same Full HD resolutions. In the more critical processor area, these devices both use the revised Snapdragon 821 and a graphic powerhouse, the Adreno 530 GPU. Both the primary cameras take terrific pictures but go about it in a different way while the front-facing cameras (FFC) both use an 8MP sensor. Both devices have a fingerprint sensor to unlock the device and to authorize mobile payments. They both have a non-removable battery – 2770mAh in the Pixel and 4070mAh in the Mi Note 2 – with Quick Charge 3.0 capabilities. They have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and they both have the newer reversible Type-C USB port 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.
Look as you may, you will find the old Google Nexus devices nowhere to be found for 2016. Instead, Google has given us their new Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. They are the first smartphones to incorporate Google Assistant and are part of the new ecosystem that Google is developing. The Pixel devices will speak to your Google Home device, and from there your wishes will be carried out. They say 'made by Google,' but we all know that HTC built the devices via Google's specs. It makes you wonder who will be asked to make the 2017 model Pixels. We will be looking at the smaller Google Pixel this time around to see just how this newly designed Pixel with its polished glass and metal construction holds up to the Xiaomi Mi Note 2.
The Google Pixel sports a smaller 5.0-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and roughly 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI). The Pixel models came out late enough in the year to take advantage of the newest revised version of the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor. This Snapdragon 821 should give the device a 10-percent performance boost over the original 820. It comes with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHZ and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz and uses a powerful Adreno 530 to handle the graphic needs. It packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and either 32GB or 128GB of the faster UFS 2.0 memory with no means to expand. The Pixel includes a 2770mAh non-removable battery with rapid charge capabilities.
Both models of the Pixel use the same cameras that are not very impressive in specs but are rated the best smartphone camera in a recent DxOMark report. The primary camera uses a 12.3MP sensor, an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash, and EIS rather than OIS. There is an excellent 8MP front-facing camera (FFC) that also comes with a f/2.0 aperture, a 1.4µm pixel size, and 1080p recording, offering great social selfies and video chatting.
The design of the Pixel with its polished glass and metal back has been questioned by some, but it looks just fine, and this is where you will find a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The sensor will allow you not only to unlock your device but to authorize mobile payments, including Android Pay because it has NFC capabilities. While the Pixel does not have an IP68 certification, it does have an IP53 certification rating for splash and dust resistance. The Pixel is running Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and will continue to receive the fastest updates from Google. The Google Pixel measures in at 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5mm and weighs in at 143 grams. It comes in Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue. The 32GB Google Pixel will cost you about $650, and the 128GB will run you about $750.
Xiaomi Mi Note 2
We were waiting and waiting for Xiaomi to launch its most powerful device, the Mi Note 2, and it looks like it was worth the wait. Except for its Full HD display resolution, the Mi Note 2 looks the part of a Galaxy Note 7 – which means it is one sexy device. It has the dual curved AMOLED display and the same '3D Glass' backing and the front 'Home' button. The Mi Note 2 was initially designed to go up against the Galaxy Note 7, so it will be interesting to see just how well it sells now that the Note 7 is out of the picture. It could give Xiaomi the publicity it needs to make it in the US. We are looking at the soon to be released Global model for sale in the US that will handle AT&T and T-Mobile with 37 Bands. Let's see how well it holds up to the Google Pixel.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 2 sports a large 5.7-inch AMOLED display, but only a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels giving it 386 PPI because of the larger screen size. Xiaomi used the excellent 64-bit Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor with dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15GHz and paired it with the Adreno 530 GPU. If that was not enough, the Global model packs 6GB of DDR4 RAM and 128GB of non-expandable internal memory.
Xiaomi used two Sony lenses in the camera area and obtained excellent results. There is a 22.5MP Sony lens for its primary camera, an aperture of f/2.0, PDAF, a dual-tone LED flash, and EIS gyro for stability. For its FFC it uses a nice sized 8MP Sony sensor with a f/2.0 aperture, and autofocus capabilities to give you great selfies or video chatting. The Mi Note 2 uses a large 4070mAh non-removable battery that should easily last you the entire day and comes with Quick Charge 3.0 for when you need a rapid charge.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is one fine-looking device and Xiaomi's first attempt at the US market with its Global model. It comes with built-in Hi-Res audio, and that means some great sounds through the earphones. It has no dust or water resistance built-in. It has a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device and NFC for authorizing mobile payments. It measures 156.2 x 77.3 x 7.6 mm and weighs in at 166 grams. It comes with an IR Blaster, and the colors are Piano Black and Glacier Silver. The phone comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and the company's MIUI 8 OS installed on top of it. The price is a mere $515 for this flagship.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This was a tough decision because these two devices are evenly matched in most areas. Sure, the Mi Note 2 has a larger display, and the Pixel comes with Android 7.1 Nougat already on the device, but the price difference is where the real difference comes into play. The Mi Note 2 is about $250 cheaper when comparing the 128GB model, and its major drawback is that it only works on AT&T or T-Mobile networks.
Starting on the outside, the Mi Note 2 is just too pretty for the Google Pixel. On the inside, we have the same processor but 6GB vs. 4GB of RAM in the Pixel, and neither device has memory expansion past the 128GB. You get a much larger battery and an IR Blaster to boot.
If you must have pure vanilla Android with the fastest updates, feel the need for Google Assistant, or must run on Verizon or Sprint, then your choice is clearly the Google Pixel. However, if you want a beautiful phone, are willing to use AT&T or T-Mobile, and want to save $250, then grab yourself a Xiaomi Mi Note 2.