Xiaomi Mi 4 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The Mi 4 sports a 13-megapixel camera with lots of shooting options, but still image quality is not perfect. The Galaxy S5 has a 16-megapixel main cam that captures more detailed images.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 comes with a 13-megapixel main camera, while the Galaxy S5 sports a 16-megapixel shooter, both coming with a single LED flash. Up front, the Mi 4 has a bigger than usual, 8-megapixel camera, while the S5 makes do with a 2-megapixel selfie cam.
The Mi 4’s average-sized, 1/3.06” 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 sensor comes with a 4:3 native ratio, while the Galaxy S5 sports a larger, 1/2.6” 16-megapixel Samsung-made sensor with a 16:9 native aspect ratio. These sensor sizes result in a pixel pitch of the quite tiny 1.1 micron on both cameras. In terms of optics, the Mi 4 comes with a very fast, f/1.8 29mm lens, while the lens on the S5 is a slower, f/2.2 one with 31mm focal length.
The Mi 4 camera looks a bit similar to that of the iPhone, but it also has a lot of hidden menus and settings. Swipe from left to right on the viewfinder, and you get to see all sorts of options, giving you control over many aspects. The Galaxy S5 camera allows a similar, deep level of control over most settings.
When it comes to image quality, the Mi 4 is a good performer that has some issues holding it back from being truly outstanding. On the positive side, images have a decent amount of detail (especially in the center), and colors are mostly nice and true-to-life. On the downside, detail in the corners is often blurred, and the handset tends to prefer higher ISOs resulting in noisier images. Also, white balance is occasionally misjudged, but those are rather the exception than the rule. The Galaxy S5, in comparison, captures images that are more rich in detail and have consistently great colors, overall a step above the photographs of the Mi 4.
Turning over to video recording, both the Mi 4 and Galaxy S5 are capable of recording 4K video recording at 30 frames per second and 1080p. 4K video looks good on both, but it is the Galaxy S5 that captures the more pleasing recordings: with more vibrant colors, way faster and more accurate focusing (while the Mi 4’s camera focus is unstable), and higher level of detail. Unfortunately, neither handset has optical image stabilization, which results in jittery video.
Media is an enjoyable experience, but Xiaomi is obviously crossing some legal borders with its free music service.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 is a great device for media with rich apps and has no problem playing back all sorts of different video encodings, but practically the same can be said about the Galaxy S5.
The music app on the Mi 4, however, is where things get interesting - it offers all the usual options, but in addition to all of the music categorization and playback options, it also serves as a free music streaming service. It’s like having Spotify Premium, without paying any money, and without having to listen to any ads. Is it legal? We doubt that, and probably apps like the music player are part of the reason why Xiaomi handsets are not being officially sold in the Western world. If Xiaomi's handset ever reach Western shores, we highly doubt that its music service will be intact, at least not in its current form.
In terms of music playback, the loudspeaker on both the Mi 4 and S5 is good but not great. The Mi 4 in particular is not among the loudest, and it lacks in depth. The S5 is a bit louder, but both sound similarly average in terms of clarity of sound.