Xiaomi has been making some awesome devices at a budget for quite a few years now. In a span of just five years the company has risen to become the 3rd largest smartphone OEM in the world. Their next hurdle in the list is Samsung.
In a bid to rise to displace the Korean giant from the spot the Shenzhen based company launched their own iteration of the Note dubbed the Xiaomi Mi Note/Note Pro. The Note segment has done quite well for Samsung and Xiaomi realised that fact that if they have to displace the Korean giant they have to make a device that can match up with their flagship Samsung Note 4. Today we will be pitting the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro, which is the bigger of the two Mi Note siblings against the Samsung Note 4.
Build and Design:
Samsung Note 4 comes with the familiar faux leather back that first made its appearance on the Note 3. The Korean giant finally changed their design language which had kinda become boring. The Note 4 now features a chamfered metal frame which feels rather premium. Even the quality of the faux leather back cover has gone up and it now feels more natural.
The Mi Note on the other hand can be called the first Xiaomi device with an original design language. Gone are the iPhone like looks of the Mi4! The Mi Note Pro despite using the dual glass design of the Mi4 comes with a slim profile. It is narrower than the Note 4 (8.9mm) at just 6.9 mm! It uses a curved glass on the back of the device. The best analogy would be to say that - the back of the Mi Note Pro = the front of the Samsung Note Edge. Unlike the Mi Note which comes with a silver frame on the sides, the Mi Note Pro boast of a golden one. This makes the device look rather premium.
Both the devices sport a 5.7 inch Quad HD (2560x1440) displays with 515ppi. While the Mi Note has an IPS LCD Panel, the Samsung Note 4 boasts a Super AMOLED display.
The display are top notch on both the devices, but to be honest the brightness is not up to the mark in the Mi Note Pro. Samsung's Note 4 on the other hand is an all-rounder with punchy and vibrant colors with equally good sunlight legitimacy. The viewing angles should have been theoretically better on the Mi Note Pro since it boasts a 2.5D curved glass on the front, but in reality there's not much a difference between the two. The glass used in both the devices are Gorilla Glass 3.
Under the hood:
While the Mi Note Pro comes with the latest gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.0 SoC, the Note 4 features the Samsung's own Exynos 5433 chip. Despite the fact that Samsung Exynos 5433 (with 4 high performance Cortex A57 and 4 energy saving A53 cores) is an older chip when we can already find a latest gen Exynos 7420 in the flagship S6, the SoC is no slouch. It matches up every bit with a Snapdragon 805 SoC, but can't hold its place with the SD810 though.
Nevertheless I won't mind having this chip in my smartphone as it can still play everything I throw at it with ease. It's better than having a chip like SD810 which heats up to quite an extent. Xiaomi has specifically used a 2nd gen of the SD810 for the Mi Note, and as per the company claim the device heats up to a lesser extent. That's partially true, as the temperature of the device shoots up to 48-50 degree Celsius after half an hour of intensive gaming. But it never becomes unusable. In a word I can the device get's warm, but not hot! Plus Qualcomm has fixed the throttling issues.
With the Mi Note though we have an extra gig of RAM. The Note 4 and the Mi Note feature a 3GB and 4GB of RAM respectively. And yes it makes a lot of difference when multitasking is a concern. Running heavy games like Asphalt 8, MC4 on the background and switching between them is a breeze. So if performance is a concern then Mi Note Pro would be the safest bet.
Now let's come to the camera. Both the Mi Note and the Note 4 feature top class cameras and they also come with OIS. While the Mi Note Pro has a 13MP f2.0 Sony IMX214 unit, the Note 4 features a 16MP one. The same unit has been carried over to the Galaxy S6.
The cameras can shoot flawless 4K video as well as 1080p videos at 30fps/60fps. The images come out a little better in the Samsung Note 4 though, and that's the case when you zoom in. So if you are planning to print the images in a banner or something like that, then the Galaxy Note 4 should be your obvious choice.
The front camera on the Note 4 and the Mi Note Pro are 3.7MP and 4MP respectively. The snapper on the Mi Note Pro is none other than the Ultrapixel camera on the HTC One M9, resulting in a large pixel size of 2 micro meters. The Note 4 on the other hand provides an option for a panoramic selfie, which helps to fit more people into the frame. But the camera clarity is way better in the Mi Note Pro.
Despite featuring nearly identical batteries, there's a lot of difference between the two in real life performance. Here's the Note 4 with a 3120 mah completely edges out the Mi Note with a 3050mah unit. The on screen time of the Note 4 is almost 1.5 times the one found in the Mi Note Pro. The reason behind this is the Snapdragon 810 SoC. SD810 has been the culprit in many a cases before where it hogged down the battery of the devices using it. So if battery is an area of concern then you have no other option but to opt for the Note 4.
The devices run on Android Lollipop (5.0) with their own custom UIs on top. As with every version of Touch Wiz, the UI on the Note 4 is no different - it's filled with a no of bloatware (lesser than before though) and hog's down the RAM.
MIUI v6 running on the Mi Note Pro is no light though, as it too takes a heavy toll on the RAM. But the USP of the Xiaomi's custom UI is the customisability and the functionality. It boasts a no of useful features like the Security App (with inbuilt Clean Master), Permission Manager (gives you granular control on every app permissions), and Theme Manager etc.
The Note 4 features no of sensors like the Heart Rate Sensor, Oxygen Sensor, and UV Sensor - which I personally feel is gimmicky. There is also a fingerprint sensor on the home button for added security. One has to swipe his finger in a either vertical or horizontal direction to unlock the device. Neither of these are present in the Mi Note Pro though. The S-Pen is also missing.
If I was you I would have gone with the Mi Note Pro, solely due to the fact that I will be getting majority of the features of the Note 4 at a much lower price i.e. $480/ Rs 30,000. The Note 4 presently sells for Rs 43,000-Rs 45,000 via e-commerce websites. The features I miss in the Mi Note is the presence of the S-Pen functionality of the Note 4 and the better battery performance. So if these aren't an issue for you then Mi Note Pro should be your number one choice!