Camera

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.


Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 2.8
4.3
799
742
Samsung Galaxy S5 2.5
3
300
243


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.


Multimedia

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.

Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 69
Samsung Galaxy S5 81


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24 Comments

1. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

XiaoMi has 3gb ram Samboy : I don't care Sammy win XiaoMi has 3080mah battery Samboy : I don't care Sammy win XiaoMi has 8mp front camera Samboy : I don't care Sammy win XiaoMi priced only $300 Samboy : cheap XiaoMi, galaxy s5 is more premium

5. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

XiaoMi: Get your phone spoiled IDC(Lack of service centres XiaoMi: Software updates unreliable and unstable IDC. Xiaomi: Camera sucks compared to Sammy IDC. Xiaomi: Data leaked to China servers IDC. Xiaomi: Drop your phone in water IDC. Xiaomi: Fingerprint scanner.. What? IDC. Xiaomi: Copying Apple style IDC.

7. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

We found another winner, who complain everything on $300 device and willing to compromise every single cons on $600 I thought only Apple fan do this?

12. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

1. You can just buy two for the same price. 2. MIUI gets updates all the time and is extremely stable. 3. Camera is a mater of opinion. 4. You can't prove it, and it wouldn't affect you in any way. 5. It's your fault if you do. and XiaoMi offers $16 accidental damage insurance. 6. Swipe-style fingerprint scanners suck and are hard to use. 7. ???

21. alexvv

Posts: 165; Member since: Oct 16, 2013

You are mostly right but Samsung leaks your data to south korea, practically America, what's the difference ? Everyone leaks steals your data not only bad Chinese xiaomi.

6. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Xiaomi: No Gorilla Gass 3 Xiaomi: Worse battery life despite large battery(based on trustable gsmarena test) Xiaomi: no memory card slot, stuck with 16gb Etc

9. pulkit1

Posts: 354; Member since: Jul 03, 2014

price ?

10. Noonting

Posts: 135; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Samsung has better audio quality Samsung has better camera quality Samsung has better optimization Samsung has more service center Xiaomi Fanboy : I don't care Xiaomi is cheaper! There are reasons for cheap price

19. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Yes, because Xioami doesn't have a $200 gross profit margin (aka mark-up) scam like Samsung. It's common knowledge Samsung smartphones are over-valued and dumb or naive buyers support Samsung due to their embarrassment of over-paying for crappy phones. A number of business articles talk about how the S5 has not sold as well (versus Samsung's expectations) and the unsold units are collecting dusts in the warehouses. Now, Samsung is discounting unsold S5's and that destroys the resell value of the S5. Samsung could only fool so many people for so long. At the end of the day, it's an android device and therefore it's a commodity. I have predicted this on phonearena.com many years ago.

16. laughmi

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

Agreed but not a single person would buy a Xiaomi if they are priced in the range of $100 less than Samsung (for mid-high range). Thats the truth and it hurts!! Samsung spends alot on R&D, Innovation, brand value and thats why they kick ass of even older brands like HTC, sony let alone the Chinese brands.

2. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

mi4 kills S5. (mi kills sammy) Go Xiaomi, disrupt the monopoly.

3. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

omfg mi4 has free music streaming?? :D

4. rocksy

Posts: 67; Member since: May 06, 2014

Breaking News - Bad news for Xiaomi. Xiaomi banned from selling, importing phones in Indiahttp://m.ibtimes.co.in/delhi-high-court-impose-sanctions-xiaomi-over-ericsson-patent-infringement-case-phone-sales-616798

15. laughmi

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

Xiaomi's run looks short in India. They outsell all brands except Samsung but the issues with patent infringing, copying, Worst service center, worst Redmi series phones, sending data to Chinese servers, security risks, phones getting badly heated, worst battery backup etc. have made sure this company just has a short run and would get turned to laughmi soon.

8. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

Mi 4 has on-screen buttons that aren't on the screen??? Also the S5 has IP67.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31092; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Best looking android phone by far, not surprising being as iPhone inspired as it is.

13. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

IMO the Mi3 was way better. The Mi4 looks a lot like the Galaxy Alpha though.

17. salaal

Posts: 109; Member since: Dec 08, 2013

The MI4 came out before alpha lol.

14. hotcaptain

Posts: 4; Member since: Dec 02, 2014

thank you for the review. indeed very informative. However, i still go for samsung s5 for a safer option.

18. chloeblack

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 18, 2014

It seems that XiaoMi is facing big challenges and resentments.

20. 09131809121

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 16, 2014

I don't like xiaomi

22. effimote

Posts: 20; Member since: Jan 06, 2015

s5 is better undoubtedly ,but if consider into the price , xiaomi 4 is cost-effective cellphone .i bought one xiaomi 3 from kingsbuying.com cost about 250 . working great .but just got heated easily

23. mirexcool

Posts: 65; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Bought at Aliexpress. Satisfied! s.click.aliexpress.com/e/VJ2rjEMrZ

24. Ricky14

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 12, 2015

For safety i choose Samsung galaxy s5 instead of Chinese phone.And i own galaxy s5 so far one of the best smart phone.

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