So how does the Xiaomi, the 'Apple of China,' match up against Apple? We could see very soon in the smartphone market where Xiaomi is poised to take a bite out Apple. But for now, we'll take a preliminary look to see how they match up. Should Apple be worried? Find out in our Xiaomi Mi 5 vs iPhone 6S comparison.
With past Xiaomi devices, there was uproar over the design being too derivative of iPhones, which I always considered to be unwarranted. With the Mi 5, there is nothing for iPhone diehards to complain about, the design of the Mi 5 looks far different to the iPhone 6S, probably because the Mi 5's design is better.
The Mi 5 has a sleek, clean design that is ergonomic and has a comfortable feel. Its metal frame and glass sides are seamless and have a creative balance that you can admire.
The design of the Mi 5 is different from the iPhone 6S, probably because the Mi 5's design is better
The iPhone 6S is no doubt an attractive phone but has a bulky feel. Apple went too far in curving the edges and corners. Xiaomi decided to make the Mi 5 more edgy and this gives it a better look and feel.
Amazingly, the Mi 5 is one of the lightest flagship phones on the market at just 129 g. That's a whopping 14 g lighter than the iPhone 6S.
The Mi 5 camera sits inside of the frame and that makes it easy to set down flat on surfaces. The iPhone 6S has a camera that sticks out of the back of the phone, a cumbersome design issue that takes away from its functionality and aesthetic quality.
The home button and fingerprint scanner of the Mi 5 is oval and fits with the overall design of the phone. The round home button on the iPhone 6S may fit with the overall rounded build of the phone but is bulky and unnecessarily large.
The only design area where the iPhone 6S outshines the Xiaomi Mi 5 is the interface. The Mi 5 icons don't have any depth and look cartoonish while the 6S has more of a shaded look and seem more three-dimensional.
Xiaomi Mi 5 vs iPhone 6S comparison: display
The Xiaomi Mi 5 comes with a 5.15-inch 1920 x 1080 (427 ppi) HD LCD display that is very crisp and bright. The screen takes up around 73% of the front body. The display features a sunlit display feature that optimizes the display in bright outdoor conditions. Best of all, the bezel is almost imperceptible.
The iPhone 6S display does not match up against the Mi 5's at all. The LCD screen is 750 x 1337 (326 ppi), far lower than the Mi 5. The screen is smaller, 4.7-inches, and takes up only 66% of the front body. The bezel is noticeable and distracting in the lighter-colored models.
Xiaomi Mi 5 vs iPhone 6S comparison: camera
We already discussed how the camera design of the Mi 5 is superior but it doesn't stop with the design, the entire camera system on the Mi 5 is better than the iPhone 6S.
The Mi 5 houses a Sony designed 16 MP IMX 298 main camera. The iPhone 6S, on the other hand, comes with a 12 MP main camera. The Xiaomi Mi 5's camera system comes with a 4-axis camera system that makes focusing so much better than the iPhone 6S.
During MWC, Xiaomi put the 4-axis camera focus system to the test in a head-to-head 'shake off' with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. You can watch the video below, the winner is pretty clearly the Mi 5.
Xiaomi Mi 5 vs iPhone 6S comparison: battery
There really isn't that much to compare between the Xiaomi Mi 5 battery and the iPhone 6S battery, except that the Mi 5's battery is about twice the size of the iPhone 6S battery. The Xiaomi Mi 5 has a non-removable 3,000 mAh battery and the iPhone 6S has a 1,715 mAh battery.
This complete superiority cannot be overlooked. You have more battery capacity and still have a lighter device with the Mi 5.
Xiaomi Mi 5 vs iPhone 6S comparison: software
The Xiaomi Mi 5 will come running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. This newest version of Android OS is a small step up from Lollipop but it does have one new interesting feature, Doze. Doze increases the battery life of the device, something smartphones with Lollipop struggled with.
The iPhone 6S comes with iOS 9, a small upgrade from iOS 8. The iOS 9 has a simplistic, minimalist and accessible feel but if you want something with more customization possibilities then you may find Marshmallow the better choice.
Xiaomi Mi 5 vs iPhone 6S comparison: performance
Under the hood of the Xiaomi Mi 5 sits a Snapdragon 820 processor that runs at 2.1 GHz. This is bolstered by 3 GB of RAM with 32 or 64 GB of internal storage. This shiny new processor should enable fast performance, and during our tests we were able to quickly move through apps with no problems.
The Apple A9 processor runs at 1.84 GHz, less than with the Mi 5. It's also supported by only 2 GB of RAM, 1 GB less than the Mi 5. While it comes in models of 16, 64 and 128 GB memory, the Xiaomi Mi 5 Pro (a small upgrade in terms of price) also has 128 GB of memory.
Xiaomi Mi 5 vs iPhone 6S comparison: price and conclusion
The most affordable version of the Xiaomi Mi 5 (32 GB) is expected to be around US$300. The iPhone 6S currently runs for US$649. That's pretty obnoxious when you consider we are comparing apples to apples here.
The incredible price disparity underlines a big problem for Apple. The Xiaomi Mi 5 beats the iPhone 6S in almost all measures. An argument could be made that a higher Mi 5 price would be justified, comparatively.
Xiaomi's availability issues in the US has hindered its prospects to capture an easy market opening. When Xiaomi does get its smartphones into the US market, you will see a sea-change happen with customers flocking to its superior phones at lower prices.