The Xiaomi Mi Note took the world by surprise with its impressive build quality, powerful specs and insane price point. This device is huge, and not only speaking figuratively. It carries a massive 5.7-inch screen that puts it up against smartphones like the iPhone 6+, Huawei Ascend Mate 7 and today’s contestant, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the most obvious competitor to the Xiaomi Mi Note. Samsung has been making these phablets for a long time, so any device measuring in at similar sizes has to be put up against Sammy’s world-famous Note flagship. There’s no way around it.
Can the Xiaomi Mi Note really go up against the king of phablets? Let’s jump into this comparison and see.
Xiaomi Mi Note specs
- 5.7-inch 1920x1080p display
- 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
- 3 GB of RAM
- 16/64 GB of internal storage
- 13 MP rear-facing camera
- 4 MP front-facing camera
- 3000 mAh battery
- 155.1 x 77.6 x 6.95 mm
- 161 grams
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 specs
- 5.7-inch 2560x1440p display
- 2.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 or 1.9 GHz octa-core Samsung Exynos 7 processor
- 3 GB of RAM
- 32 GB of internal storage
- 16 MP rear-facing camera
- 3.7 MP front-facing camera
- 3220 mAh battery
- 153.5 X 78.6 X 8.5 mm
- 176 grams
Design and build quality
I think we can all agree that Samsung has never been a leader in design and build quality. Their phones are known for being made of cheap plastic and feature less-than-pleasing aesthetics. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is not the exception to this rule, and so I will have to give the upper hand to Xiaomi in this department.
The Xiaomi Mi Note looks much more sleek and comes with metal accents that really make the device feel solid. Not to mention, it looks damn good. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 keeps the same overall look that Samsung is known for.
Rumors say Samsung has gone back to the drawing board and is planning a complete redesign for the next-generation Galaxy smartphones, but we likely won’t see any real changes in their flagship devices until the Samsung Galaxy S6 (and company).
Performance and software
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 may have the more advanced processor here, but we would be lying if we told you we noticed any real improvements. In fact, I would say that both devices are right on par with each other in terms of performance and speed. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is arguably stronger, though, even if by a bit.
They feature the same amount of RAM, which means you will get the same multi-tasking power with either phone. Where you will find a big difference is in the software, though. These phones are completely different in that respect.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with Samsung’s custom UI. This software interface is known for being bulky, over-worked and overall annoying, but boy does it have a good set of features. And that is where the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 really wins. Samsung has a plethora of functions, including multi-tasking capabilities and a healthy list of shortcuts and widgets. This is in addition to Samsung’s S Pen capabilities and optimized stylus. No manufacturer has yet to match Samsung’s implementation of the stylus.
If you want functionality, your best bet really is to go with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Those of us who prefer a simple interface (even if a bit bubbly) will be much more pleased with the Xiaomi Mi Note 4.
If we are talking phablets, one of the most important factors to discuss is the screen. Any large device worth its salt needs to have competent display. Which one is the winner here?
Well, it depends on preference, but I will say that the overall winner will have to be the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Samsung’s contestant comes with a Super AMOLED display with a QHD 2560x1440p resolution. Meanwhile, the Xiaomi Mi Note comes with an LCD screen featuring a basic 1080p resolution.
I have always said that a good 1080p screen can trump a QHD display, but it’s really about more than that here. Aside from the amazing resolution, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 displays stunning colors and very vibrant hues, as well as deep blacks.
Now, that’s not to say the Xiaomi Mi Note is doesn’t have a great display. In fact, it’s nearly as good as the Samsung Galaxy Note 4’s, save for the resolution.
Samsung is known for its great flagship cameras, but this time around Xiaomi has opted for a high-quality Sony shooter. I won’t say it’s better, but it certainly puts Xiaomi at least at the same level as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
Now, in terms of the front-facing camera, Xiaomi has actually chosen the same 4 MP UltraPixel camera you can find on the HTC One M8 (and M7). This sensor takes better advantage of light, making for much better low-light quality.
We can’t give you all the details on Xiaomi Mi Note’s battery performance just yet, as we are still testing it, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is hard to beat here. The battery on the Note 4 is slightly bigger, but we must also keep in mind pushing all those extra pixels is not easy on the juice. Regardless, they should be at about the same level.
Price & conclusion
Now, here is where very few manufacturers can really beat Xiaomi – price. The Xiaomi Mi Note starts at 2299 Yuan off-contract, which equals to about $370 USD. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 nears the $700 price mark. This means that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 costs nearly twice as much as the Xiaomi Mi Note.
Yes, you will ultimately get more for your money if you opt for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. If you really care for Samsung’s features and the S Pen functionality, Xiaomi can’t really compete. Not to mention that screen! The thing is that you will have to pay a high premium price for that.
If you want something simpler that is nearly as powerful as Samsung’s alternative and offers a great deal, the Xiaomi Mi Note will offer the better deal. Now, which one do you prefer?