Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Xiaomi Mi 4: iPhone-Grade Specs For Half The Price

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How does Xiaomi make its phone so cheap? Surely if it was as easy as simply slapping a lower price tag on them at retail everybody, from Apple to Samsung, would be doing it. Much like OnePlus, Xiaomi is kind of a different beast compared to more traditional phone makers like Samsung, BlackBerry and Apple.

Essentially a start-up company, Xiaomi, like OnePlus, leveraged the internet, social networks and word of mouth to help raise the profile of its brand. This saves them HUGE sums of money. Case in point: Samsung once spent 12 billion on advertising in a single year — more than Apple, McDonald’s and pretty much any other business on the planet.

Xiaomi and OnePlus have proved that, with the right tools and production processes, smaller firms can be very competitive in the phone space and compete alongside bigger, more established brands like Samsung, Apple, HTC and LG.

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UPDATE: Xiaomi Mi 6 Launches – Galaxy S8 Specs For Around Half The Price

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Xiaomi has just announced its brand new flagship – the Xiaomi Mi 6. The handset, like its predecessor’s, is ALL about high end specs and mid-range pricing with its stunning 12MP dual-camera, Snapdragon 835 CPU and 6GM of RAM.

The Xiaomi Mi 6 is a beast of epic proportions. Even more so when you factor in just how much modern flagship phones cost. Xiaomi has a huge USP in the mobile space right now and if it can secure a proper US release for these handsets the company could be unstoppable.

I mean, just LOOK at these specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4GB/6GB RAM, 64GB/128GB onboard storage
  • 5.15-inch full-HD display (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)
  • 3,350mAH battery
  • Rear 12-megapixel dual-cameras

For a full break down on the handset and what makes it tick, check out our detailed analysis of the Xiaomi Mi 6.

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The advent of these types of handsets has created an entirely new niche in the phone space; a niche that offers flagship-style handsets for the price of a mid-range phone. Previously unheard of, this type of business is now the fastest growing segment of the mobile space.

According to Gartner, “Three Chinese vendors — Huawei, Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment — together accounted for 21 percent of the smartphones sold to end users worldwide in the third quarter of 2016. They were the only smartphone vendors in the global top five to increase their sales and market share during the quarter.”

“China led the growth in the smartphone market in the third quarter of 2016,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.

“Sales of smartphones in China grew by 12.4 percent, and the vendors who most successfully exploited the sales opportunities there were Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment. In Oppo’s case, 81 percent of its smartphone sales came from China, while BBK accounted for 89 percent of smartphones sales in China. These two vendors also grew strongly in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Russia,” he added.

But OnePlus and Xiaomi’s success prove that their is another way to do it in the mobile space. And while Xiaomi is presently only really available inside China, the likelihood of the company expanding into the UK and US in the coming years is almost certain. Investors are always looking to make cash and brands like Xiaomi and OnePlus are exactly where it’s at with the stripped down, leaner approach to global domination.

The Mi 5 is Xiaomi’s latest flagship. The device also comes in two versions: standard and the Pro. But how do those compare against the older Mi 4—just how much better are they? Let’s take a look!

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Xiaomi Mi 4: RAM, CPU, and Storage

Here’s the specs for the Xiaomi Mi 4:

  • Display: 5.0-inch display with 1920×1080 resolution at 441ppi
  • Dimensions: 139.2mm x 68.5 mm x 8.9 mm
  • Weight: 149 grams
  • Storage: 16 or 64GB
  • Memory: 2 or 3 GB RAM
  • Processor: Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801
  • Front camera: 8 MP
  • Rear camera: 13 MP photos. ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • Battery: 3080 mAh
  • Colors: Black or White

And here’s the specs for the Xiaomi Mi 5:

  • Display: 5.2-inch display with 1920×1080 resolution at 428 ppi
  • Dimensions: 144.5mm x 62.9 mm x 7.2 mm
  • Weight: 139 grams
  • Storage: 32, 64, or 128 GB
  • Memory: 3 or 4 GB RAM
  • Processors: Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820
  • Front camera: 4 MP
  • Rear camera: 16 MP, f/2.0 aperture
  • Battery life: 3000 mAh
  • Colors: Black, White, or Gold

The Mi 5 gets a not insignificant memory upgrade over the Mi 4. The older Mi 4 came with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM, depending on the model. The new Mi 5 ads an extra gigabyte to each: you’ll now get 3GB in the standard edition and 4GB in the Pro.

Storage has also gotten a boost. The Mi 4 came in 32GB and 64GB options. The Mi 5 still offers those, but if you buy the Pro edition you’ll be able to grab a 128GB size as well.

As for processors the Mi 4 features a relatively weak Snapdragon 801 chipset. The new Mi 5, however, packs in a top-end Snapdragon 820 CPU. The 820 leaves the 801 in the dust.

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Xiaomi Mi 4: Design & Build

As for the material of the main body the standard edition Mi 5 features a glass back panel while the Pro edition has a ceramic body.

Despite the new materials, the Mi 5 actually comes in 10 grams lighter than the Mi 4. The Mi 5 is also significantly thinner than the Mi 4 at 7.2mm versus the Mi 4’s 8.9mm thickness. Both phones come in black or white, but the Mi 5 also has a gold option.

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Xiaomi Mi 4: Display and Battery

As for displays, the Mi 5 gets a slightly larger display at 5.2-inches. That compares to the Mi 4’s 5.0-inch display. The disappointing thing is the Mi 5 is still stuck at the same 1920×1080 resolution that the Mi 4’s display has. Because of that, and because the screen is a bit larger, it means the Mi 5 display actually has a lower ppi at 428 versus the Mi 4’s 441 ppi.

The Mi 5 also has a smaller battery pack inside. It features a 3000mAh battery versus the Mi 4’s 3080 mAh battery. However, the difference isn’t that big and chances are the Mi 5’s battery will last just as long or longer than the Mi 4 due to more energy efficient components.

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Xiaomi Mi 4: Cameras

What’s interesting is the Mi 4 has a much better front camera than the Mi 5: 8MP versus the Mi 5’s 4MP. We’re a little confused as to why the downgrade too. However, the four megapixels the Mi 5 lost in front gets added to its rear camera, now coming in at 16MP virus the Mi 4’s 12MP rear sensor. Both shoot video up to 2160p at 30fps.

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Xiaomi Mi 4: Verdict

Despite the front camera downgrade and the slightly smaller battery, the Mi 5 is the clear winner over the Mi 4. It’s got a much faster processor, more RAM, and has a higher top-level storage option. It’s body and design have also received a much welcome—and sexier—glass or ceramic upgrade over the old plastic Mi 4. There’s no question about it, between these two models the Mi 5 is the one to get.

Gear Beat offers the most extensive selection of Xiaomi handsets we’ve found so far. They also have pretty decent delivery and returns options. You can see the full selection right here. 

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