Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Slide 1 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

This is a battle between two of the most talked about premium smartphones in India. Why are they so popular? Well, they are atleast Rs. 10,000 cheaper than their closest competitor in terms of the specifications and overall hardware offered. Xiaomi's flagship, the Mi4, in its 64GB variant, is a solid offering at Rs. 23,999. The Mi4 competes head-on with the 'Flagship Killer' OnePlus One 64GB that sells in india for Rs. 21,999. Over the next few slides, we compare the two smartphones across key areas like - performance, camera, battery life, design, build quality, service and support, value, screen quality and UI...all in a bid to get you a final winner. So, let the fight begin!

Slide 2 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 1: Performance
Both the handsets are loaded with a Snapdragon 801 chipset with 3GB of RAM keeping them at par with each other. The day to day performance is almost similar but if we go by the benchmark numbers, then the Mi 4 does have a slight edge over the OnePlus One in the graphics department. So, the performance round goes to the Mi4 by a very small margin.

Score tally
Mi4-1 vs OPO-0 

Slide 3 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 2: UI on OnePlus One
The OnePlus One comes with a Cyanogenmod based Android 4.4 ROM which is great for developers and for those who like to root their devices, but further Lollipop updates will be stock based ROM which will not be made by Cyanogen. This might be good news for stock Android fans but Cyanogenmod lovers will no longer see the OnePlus One as an attractive proposition.

 

Slide 4 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 2: UI on the Xiaomi Mi4
The Mi 4 runs on the company's own MiUi which is alot like iOS providing a whole new UI and the company has a defined update cycle which is always reassuring. It's a tie.

Result: It's a tie in the UI round, both get one point each

Score tally
Mi4-2 vs OPO-1

Slide 5 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 3: Camera on Xiaomi Mi4
Both the smartphones carry a 13MP camera with a Sony based sensor which is capable of making 4K videos as well. The image quality on the Mi4 is a mixed bag, while the camera performance in terms of focussing and shutter response is very good, the white balance performance and colors/image detailing isn't as impressive.

Head over to the next slide to know about the Oneplus One camera 

Slide 6 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 3: Camera on OnePlus One
The image quality on the OnePlus One is more accurate in low light than the Mi4. However, the auto-focus and the shutter takes its own sweet time. But in the end, we want better looking pictures, right? So, we declare that the OnePlus One has a better camera over the Xiaomi Mi4. However, both the cameras do have their own very obvious weak areas.

Score tally
Mi4-2 vs OPO-2

Slide 7 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 4: Battery life
The OnePlus One wins the round here as our tests clearly prove that it can play an HD video non-stop for 9 hours while the Mi 4 will only last for 5 hours and 30 minutes. OnePlus One wins this round without breaking a sweat

Score Tally
Mi4-2 vs OPO-3

Slide 8 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 5: Build quality
Essentially both the smartphones compromise a bit on the build quality as they offer flagship like specs at an affordable price. The Mi 4 has glossy plastic back with a metal frame which feels good in the hand but tends to slip out and the overly 'plasticky' feeling doesn't do much good to its "Flagship" image. The OnePlus One, while not being premium in terms of looks, offers a very unique and plesant 'Sandstone' finished back. The device feels more solid and premium to hold and also attracts a lot of attention. The OnePlus One is a better built device of the two in our books, not in terms of pure build quality but in terms of an ideal combination of good build and giving a solid feel to the user.

Score tally
Mi4-2 vs OPO-4 

Slide 9 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 6: Design of Xiaomi Mi4

The Xiaomi Mi4 has a safe and practical design, it manages to offers fairly slim bezels at the top and bottom, ensuring the device isn't too large and is easy to manage. The silver colored metal frame does add to the premium feel.

 

Slide 10 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 6: Design of OnePlus One
The OnePlus One offers a nice looking design, but it has a large 5.5-inch display with comparitively larger bezels, which might not appeal to some. We find the device to be too large and broad, making it tough for users to adapt, when moving from a 5-inch display based phone. We keep wondering, what if OnePlus One had gone with a 5-inch screen? Would it have made it even more popular? For now, the more compact and easy to manage Xiaomi Mi4 wins our design round, beating the OnePlus One 

Score Tally
Mi4-3 vs OPO-4

Slide 11 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 7: Service and support
Both the brands are fairly new, have an online sales model with no interface with the customer at the point of sale. Both of them offer limited number of service centres making them appear a little dodgy when it comes to customer support. But Xiaomi has a better and wider range of devices, while the OnePlus One is a one phone brand. Our bet is on the Xiaomi Mi4, when it comes to service and support.

Score Tally
Mi4-4 vs OPO-4 

Slide 12 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 8: Android update cycle
OnePlus One has already announced its Lollipop update schedule, while Xiaomi just rolled out the MiUI 6 that is based on KitKat. At the time of writing this comparison, we'd have to give the OnePlus One an edge over the Xiaomi Mi4 in terms of how soon one can expect to get the latest Android OS based update.


Score tally
Mi4-4 vs OPO-5

Slide 13 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 9: Screen quality
Both the devices aren't spectacular in terms of screen quality, the fact that both boast 1080p resolution, ensures that everything on the screen appears nice and sharp. Between the two, the Xiaomi Mi4 has a better screen in terms of pixel density and brightness levels. So, Xiaomi Mi4 wins the screen quality round.

Score tally
Mi4-5 OPO-5

Slide 14 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Round 10: Value
The 64GB OnePlus One is priced at Rs.21,990 and the 64GB version of the Mi4 will be available for Rs. 23,990. Given that the two devices are neck to neck in terms of their respective scores, the Rs. 2000 difference directly comes in play in deciding the value round. The OnePlus One offers more value over the Xiaomi Mi4 in terms of value by being approx 10% cheaper.

Score tally
Mi4-5 vs OPO-6

Slide 15 - Xiaomi Mi4 vs. OnePlus One: The budget flagship battle

Winner: OnePlus One manages to win with score of 6 vs. 5 for the Xiaomi Mi4 
With both devices having their own strengths and weakness, they seem to be evenly matched and the price differential tilts the verdict in favor of the OnePlus One. Having said that, we recommend you pick the right smartphone of the two depending on areas that are of higher priority for you. If you can't stand a heavy, bulky smartphone, simply go for the Xiami Mi4, it will clearly serve you better. Likewise, if you are a poweruser and want good battery backup, the OnePlus One is clearly a better device for you.

Also read: OnePlus One review
Xiaomi Mi4 review

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