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Mobile World Congress is the biggest annual tech show that sees the best of the Android smartphones becoming reality. At the MWC event this year, from top tier brands like Samsung, Sony and LG to the highly competitive Chinese smartphone makers like Xiaomi, Lenovo, Gionee and others, all came up to show their greatest offerings for the year. However, out of hundreds of products, only a few caught our attention. These are the phones that club innovative design with interesting features and specifications to stand out of the crowd.
At the MWC 2016, Xiaomi Mi5 made a mark with its killer features in relatively lower price, while LG impressed with an innovative modular design of the G5. Samsung, on the other hand, set a new standard for premium with its beautiful and powerful Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones. Sony brought a new series of Xperia smartphones into limelight and gave us the Xperia X Performance as a powerful option in the high end segment. All of the smartphones are high-end offerings from their respective companies and have something unique about them.
We pit the four powerful smartphones against each other to see what do they have in common and where do they vary, in terms of specifications as given on papers.
Starting with Xiaomi Mi 5, the smartphone looks like any premium high-end device. It flaunts a refined design that comes in three versions - the most affordable with 32GB storage and a 3D glass rear back design with clock speed of 1.8GHz, a middle one with 64 GB of internal storage and a 3D glass rear panel and the Pro version with 4GB RAM and ceramic back design. Hugo Barra mentioned while unveiling the smartphone that the company has paid attention to the minutes of details to make it great ergonomically and aesthetically. The front has a fingerprint sensor on the home button that is similar to the Samsung's Galaxy S7 button below the display, though Barra insisted that the fingerprint sensor is much faster and accurate. The Xiaomi Mi5 looks nice from front as well as rear, as seen in the images.
The Samsung Galaxy S7, on the other hand, is all about being uber premium. It dons a glass and metal body design that was introduced with the Galaxy S6 last year, however the latest models have slight changes in design. You get curvier edges, which make the phone much more comfortable on hand, as per the company. The combination of glass and metal is superior, classy and sturdy.
The LG G5 is the phone that brings innovation and looks futuristic due to its modular design, which seems fresh and impressive. LG has refreshed the design of its G series completely with the anodized aluminium unibody smartphone that has a swappable bottom panel. The bottom part can be pulled out, holds a removable battery, and is swappable.
The Sony Xperia X Performance is a part of the company's newly launched trio in the first generation X-series smartphones. It dons matte body that has brush metal finish, which resembles the Xperia Z5 design. The company has placed the fingerprint scanner, embedded in the power or standby key, on the side.
The display up front of the Xiaomi Mi 5 is a 5.15-inch full HD IPS LCD screen with 1080p resolution, which is similar in resolution to the Sony Xperia XP's 5-inch Full HD display. Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 get an upper edge in this section as LG features a 5.3-inch quad-HD display offering 1440x2560 pixels resolution and the Galaxy S7 flaunts a qHD display at 5.1-inch.
LG's display has quantum IPS display technology, which works better than the AMOLED display but consumes higher power. Though, LG claims that it will need only 0.8 percent of battery capacity on per hour basis. The G5's display has always on mode, but lacks pressure sensitivity, which is also a part of the Samsung Galaxy S7's display. Samsung's Galaxy S7 has an AMOLED screen which is the best quality screen that is also power efficient. The display on the Galaxy S7 can also stay 'always-on'.
All the four smartphones are powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 820 chipset with a new Adreno 530 GPU, both of which should run the phones smoothly, without any glitches. The 2.15GHz 64-bit SND820 chipset will be even better for processing graphic heavy apps and multitasking to offer buttery smooth performance. The chipset has a more efficient 16nm processor that is clubbed with a massive 4GB of RAM.
However, the difference lies in the cooling process, as Samsung's Galaxy S7 has liquid cooling to take care of the overheating problems of the device.
The Xiaomi Mi comes in three models, with 3GB of RAM supported by 32GB and 64GB respectively, and a 4GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage in the Pro model.
All the phones boast brilliant imaging capabilities to offer the best to their consumers. Xiaomi Mi 5 boasts a 16MP IMX298 Sony sensor that integrates Xiaomi's 4-axis optical image stabilization technology to produce sharper images when taking moving pictures. The company claims that its 4-axis OIS technology will result in better images than the 2-axis camera on other smartphones. Up front, it has a 4MP snapper with f/2.0 aperture lens with 80-degree wide-angle.
Samsung is now focusing more on the pixel size than the pixel count, as it uses a 12MP on the Galaxy S7 instead of the 16MP camera on the Galaxy S6. The camera offers a wider aperture at f/1.7, against the f/2.0 in other phones. This new set up will let the camera perform much better even in low lighting conditions. Also, the camera has optical image stabilizer, and dual-pixels tech for faster phase detection autofocus. On the front, there is a 5MP camera with f/1.7 aperture, which is a big advantage. The camera on Galaxy S7 seems more powerful and promising than ever.
The LG G5, on the other hand, catches attention for its two cameras set-up on rear. You get a 16MP primary camera, and an 8MP 135degree wide angle camera for taking beautiful wide angle shots. Both the cameras can perform independently as well as be used for layering and stitching images. The main camera has an optical image stabilizer, laser autofocus, and f/1.8 aperture. Front has an 8MP camera.
Sony Xperia X Performance features a 23MP rear snapper, which is its highlight. It has a new predictive Hybrid autofocus system which can focus instantly by tracking the subject, even if it is in motion, to result in sharper pictures. The camera has a maximum ISO of 12800. The Sony offers a 13MP snapper on front which will catch attention of selfie enthusiast consumers.
Speaking of software, LG has brought about a major change in its UI with the G5. The LG G5 uses the latest version of the company's native skin that has been slimmed down than before, and bids adieus to the App Drawer. The no-app-drawer UI is more like what we get on the Xiaomi's Mi 5 with the MIUI 7 interface or Apple's iOS for iPhone. This essentially means that you get all your apps on the home screen, where you can group them into folders.
All four smartphones run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, topped with the companies' respective UI. On the Samsung Galaxy S7, you get the company's TouchWiz UI while on the Sony's the Android 6.0 Marshmallow is wrapped under the Xperia skin.
Resistance to water and dust is one part where the Samsung's Galaxy S7 and Sony's Xperia XP get an edge over the LG G5 and the Xiaomi Mi5. Samsung impressed its fans by finally introducing water and dust resisting capabilities on its latest flagship, while Sony has been known for making its top of the line smartphones water and dust friendly.
The Mi 5 comes carrying a 3,000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0, which offers 20 percent faster charging speeds than 2.0, and promises an 80-90% battery charge in just an hour time. The Galaxy S7 also boasts a 3000mAh battery but it is sealed shut, just like the Sony Xperia XP's 2700mAh battery. The LG G5, on the other hand, impresses the most with its 2800mAh battery that can be swapped by pulling out the bottom panel and using another battery.