Xiaomi and OnePlus are two smartphone vendors that are known for providing great smartphones at extremely affordable prices. While that’s certainly one of the main reasons for their increasing popularity, you’re sorely mistaken if you think that’s the only trick they have up their sleeves. Both Xiaomi and OnePlus realize that a large part of their following comes from the enthusiast community, which is why they’ve both refused to impose some of the restrictions that most other smartphone vendors impose on their customers. So you don’t void your warranty by rooting any device from either of these two companies, which is more than what can be said about most other Android manufacturers. Marketing is another area where they tried similar tactics in their early days, although, they’ve both since moved away from the much-criticised ‘flash sales’ strategy. It is only apt then that we compare two fantastic value-for-money smartphones from these two standout Chinese vendors as part of our daily smartphone comparison today. While the OnePlus 5 is the fresh new device from the Shenzhen-based company, the Mi Note 2 is a seasoned campaigner that was released by the Beijing-based Xiaomi late last year. So which one should get your nod if you’re looking for a sub-$500 premium phablet? Let’s find out!
The OnePlus 5 was one of the most talked-about smartphones in tech circles over the past couple of months, and while the Pixel 2 and Galaxy Note 8 are dominating the news cycle right now, the OnePlus 5 continues to remain a favorite across large sections of the online tech media. The device features a 5.5-inch 1080p Optic AMOLED screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC that comes with the Adreno 540 GPU and an integrated 64-bit CPU with eight custom Kryo cores. While four of the eight CPU cores are clocked at up to 2.4GHz, the other four are clocked a bit lower at 1.9GHz. The base version of the device comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, while the more premium version ships with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage.
The OnePlus 5 sports a dual-camera module on the back with gyro-based EIS and a dual-LED flash. While one of the cameras incorporates a 16-megapixel Sony sensor with an f/1.7 lens, the other one comes with a 20-megapixel sensor that’s paired with an f/2.6 telephoto lens. The front-facing camera on the OnePlus 5 also comes with a 16-megapixel sensor, but with 1.0μm pixels and a lens that has an f/2.0 aperture. As far as videos are concerned, while the front-facing camera can shoot 1080p videos at 30fps, the rear-facing module can actually shoot 4K videos at 30fps and full HD videos at up to 120fps. On the software side of things, the device comes with Android 7.1.1 Nougat pre-installed in the form of Oxygen OS.
Connectivity features on the OnePlus 5 include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA and Bluetooth 5.0, while cellular connectivity includes support for 34 different frequency bands. The device also supports GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS, while sensors include a fingerprint scanner, an NFC chip, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a proximity sensor and a magnetometer. The device ships with a USB Type-C port for charging and data syncing, but also keeps the 3.5mm audio port for backwards compatibility with older headphones and audio systems. The OnePlus 5 carries a non-removable 3,300mAh battery and, measures 152.2mm in length, 74.1mm in width and 7.3mm in thickness while weighing in at 153 grams.
Mi Note 2
Xiaomi had launched the Mi Note 2 late last year as a replacement for the aging first-generation Mi Note that was originally unveiled back in early 2015 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM. The second-generation device is quite an upgrade over that original one, and comes with the Snapdragon 821 ‘Performance Edition’ Soc that incorporates a quad-core CPU clocked at up to 2.3GHz along with the Adreno 530 GPU. The device features a 5.7-inch dual curved-edge AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. In terms of RAM and storage, the device comes in three different models, starting with a 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM version at the most basic level. There’s also a version with 6GB RAM and 64GB of storage, while at the top-end of the spectrum, Xiaomi also offers a 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM option.
In terms of photography, the Mi Note 2 sports a 22.5-megapixel primary camera that comes with a 1/2.6-inch sensor and 1µm pixels. The lens has an f/2/0 aperture and gyro-based EIS (electronic image stabilization). It also comes with PDAF and is accompanied by a dual tone, dual-LED flash. In terms of videos, the camera can shoot 2160p videos at 30fps. The front-facing camera on the device has an 8-megapixel sensor that's paired with an f/2.0 lens. The Mi Note 2 carries a 4,070mAh battery with support for Quick Charge 3.0.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Mi Note 2 is its support for 37 different cellular frequencies, making it compatible with most carriers around the world. The device comes with an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner and an NFC chip to authorize mobile payments. Like most Xiaomi devices, the Mi Note 2 also has an IR Blaster that allows it to be used as a remote. The smartphone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out-of-the-box and, measures 156.2mm in length, 77.3mm in width and 7.6mm in thickness, while weighing in at 166 grams.
And The Winner Is
The Final Word
The OnePlus 5 wins our battle of the budget flagships, but it is entirely conceivable that the upcoming Mi Note 3 will turn the tables on OnePlus’ latest handset if some of the rumors about Xiaomi's next-generation Note flagship turn out to be halfway accurate. But for now, the OnePlus has Xiaomi’s second-generation Note phablet beat pretty much in every department apart from design. The Mi Note 2 not only looks significantly better than its OnePlus counterpart, it also comes with a slightly larger display, which is certainly a big plus for most consumers these days, although, we do appreciate the fact that not everybody likes to grapple with gigantic devices. All things considered, both are great smartphones that should serve you well over their lifetime, but if you had to pick between the two right now, the OnePlus 5 is pretty much the device to go for.