It was no surprise that the Xiaomi Mi 5 shipped with the same hardware specs as the likes of Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, but it was priced at about half the price of the latter.
Xiaomi, OnePlus, ZTE and a number of Chinese companies have been using this strategy for a while now, where they come in with smartphones with top-notch specs and features matching the flagships from Samsung, Sony, LG, Motorola and Google but priced very affordably. Last year, the Xiaomi Mi 5 joined the likes of OnePlus 3/3T, ZTE Axon 7, and ASUS ZenFone 3 in this list of growing self-proclaimed flagship killers.
With Samsung having released the Galaxy S8, the Chinese firms are at it again, with Xiaomi leading the way thanks to the new Mi 6. Like last year, the new Xiaomi Mi 6 has the same – or even better – hardware specs found on the Galaxy S8 and S8+, but you’ll be blown away by the asking price, which is half what the Galaxy S8 is selling at. Without going into too much chitchat, here’s what makes the new Xiaomi Mi 6 a significant upgrade over its predecessor, Mi 5.
Design and display
There are not so many changes on the looks of the Xiaomi Mi 6 when compared to the Mi 5. The former has a glass back with curves on all four sides as opposed to the latter’s only curves on the laterals. You’ll still come across metal and glass on both phones, but the Mi 6 has a more polished finish than the Mi 5.
While the front has no major appearance changes, the back has something different. There are dual-lens cameras as opposed to the single-lens setup on the Mi 5, however, the fingerprint scanner remains on the bottom bezel of the front panel, although Xiaomi says the Mi 6’s is an under-glass sensor. In terms of measurements, the new Xiaomi Mi 6 is slightly taller and thicker at 145.2mm and 7.5mm, respectively. As for the Mi 5, you get a height of 144.6mm and thickness of 7.3mm. The Mi 6 is also heavier at 168g for the basic model and 182g for the ceramic back variant while the standard Mi 5 weighs 129g while the premium variant weighs 139g.
As for the display, the two are the same at 5.15 inches with Full HD resolution. However, the Xiaomi Mi 6 gets a new feature that makes the screen easy on the eyes when reading or watching stuff at night.
Processing specs and software
On this end, the Xiaomi Mi 5 has three variants whereas the Mi 6 has two variants. All variants of the former ship with the same processor but different RAM, but the latter is only separated by the amount of storage.
The Xiaomi Mi 5 has a Snapdragon 820 SoC paired with either 3GB or 4GB RAM. Where the former’s processor has a clock speed of 1.8GHz, the latter’s SoC is clocked at 2.15GHz. As for the Xiaomi Mi 6, the processor running the show is, as expected, the successor to the 2016 model – a Snapdragon 835. This is clocked at an impressive 2.35GHz and paired with a RAM of 6GB.
For the software, the new Xiaomi Mi 6 has Android Nougat running the show out of the box and even though the Mi 5 has Android Marshmallow, it has already received an OTA update to Nougat. Both phones have a MIUI skin running on top of the stock Android OS.
Storage and camera
As for the storage, the Xiaomi Mi 6 takes this game to the next level. The phone has two storage options of 64GB and 128GB, but like the Xiaomi Mi 5, there’s no microSD card slot. As for the Mi 5, you get three storage options of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.
Another big improvement that the Mi 6 comes in with is the camera. As noted earlier, the back panel has a pair of 12MP lenses that are equipped with PDAF, OIS, HDR, dual-tone LED flash and many other features while the front has an 8MP shooter. For the Mi 5, the back has a 16MP shooter with PDAF, OIS, dual-tone LED flash and more, but the front has a 4MP sensor for selfies. As you can see, both ends of the Mi 6’s cameras represent huge improvements over the Mi 5.
Battery capacity and pricing
Despite shipping with a more power-efficient processor and the same display screen and resolution as the 2016 model, the new Xiaomi Mi 6 has a bigger battery of 3350mAh. This is bigger than the 3000mAh unit used on the Mi 5, but both support fast charging technology via a USB-C port. As far as pricing is concerned, the Mi 5 is obviously cheaper at the moment and could be bought for anything between $200 and $300. As for the Mi 6, you only need about $360 to grab the base model and $420 for the high-end model. For the ceramic back variant, it costs about $440.