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Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Apple iPhone 6s

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Apple iPhone 6s


Xiaomi is one of China’s most popular brands: the company started by making Apple clones and selling them for super affordable prices, but it has now largely moved past that stage. For a long time, it’s been hard at work to bring a new flagship and recently, it’s finally released it: the Xiaomi Mi 5.

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Apple iPhone 6s
Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Apple iPhone 6s
While the Mi 5 is not officially available in the United States or Europe, it could be tempting to get a Mi 5 on eBay shipped from China. But let’s get this straight right here: unlike other major phone brands like Apple or Samsung, you have no service for the Xiaomi Mi 5 in the US or Europe. If you shatter your screen or some other problems occur, you’d need to rely on third-party repair shops, pay for those repairs from your pocket and wait longer for repairs.

This is probably the biggest downside to owning a Xiaomi phone and it’s an important consideration. Now that you’ve been warned about all this, let’s keep it out of the way and focus on the performance of the Xiaomi Mi 5 as we pit it against one of the best phones available at the moment: the Apple iPhone 6s.


Both have great looks and are built to a high standard: the iPhone is more compact with a metal body, while the Mi 5 is very light and has a glass body that looks very stylish.

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Apple iPhone 6s
While most people associate devices made in China with unoriginal and often uninspiring designs, the new Xiaomi Mi 5 goes to show that it does not have to be that way: it’s a beautiful phone that features a tapered glass back, a sturdy metal frame and all of that in an elegant and slim body that feels solidly put together. Some might actually think Xiaomi copies Samsung with its designs in the Mi 5, but the truth is that this is an evolution of a design line Xiaomi started with its Mi Note before Samsung had released the Galaxy S6.

The iPhone 6s, on the other hand, is a metal affair with a small, comfortable size that fits well in the hand with those rounded edges. The iPhone 6s is, and feels, a bit heavier than the larger, but more airy Xiaomi Mi 5. Comparing the two in terms of size, the difference not too big, but you can still notice how the iPhone is the more compact. Here are the official dimensions of the two:

Mi 5: 5.69 x 2.72 x 0.29 inches (144.55 x 69.2 x 7.25 mm)
iPhone 6s: 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches (138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm)

Xiaomi Mi 5
5.69 x 2.72 x 0.29 inches
144.55 x 69.2 x 7.25 mm
4.90 oz (139 g)

Xiaomi Mi 5

Apple iPhone 6s
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Everything else in the design of the two devices seems to be well thought of: even the buttons on both are made of metal and feel clicky and solid.

Below the display, both have a fingerprint scanner. It works impressively fast on both and while when we first saw the speed of the iPhone 6s’ scanner we thought it would go unmatched for a long time, we’re pleasantly surprised to see the Mi 5 match it in terms of speed. Both work very well and are among the finest we’ve used. The iPhone, however, clearly has the more useful finger reader: you can use it to authenticate App Store purchases and also use it to pay for goods with Apple Pay.


Two great displays: the Xiaomi Mi 5’s larger 5.15” screen impresses with its bright colors, while the iPhone 6s has a 4.7” screen that is slightly better balanced.

Both the Xiaomi Mi 5 and iPhone 6s don’t have the most pixel-dense displays: the Mi 5 features a 5.15” screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, while the iPhone 6s has a 4.7” display with 750 x 1334 pixels.

We won’t complain about the resolution on either: both displays appear very sharp from regular viewing distance and you won’t see any jagged edges or pixelization.

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs Apple iPhone 6s

What matters more is how the two show color. Luckily, we’re dealing with two great displays in this aspect as well: the Mi 5 stands out with its very bright and vivid display, it’s really astonishing how good a display can look with such a high level of brightness that animates everything and with very deep blacks and great contrast. There are some slight color imbalances, but overall the Mi 5 has a very good looking display that conforms with the industry sRGB color standard.

The iPhone 6s, on its part, also has a very good-looking display. It’s not as bright and whites appear a bit colder on the iPhone, but it has even better contrast and color is better fine-tuned to fit the important sRGB color standard that is used for most photos and videos on the web.

Outdoors, the Mi 5 is a bit easier to see: it has a bit more reflections but its higher brightness makes it easier to read what’s on the screen outdoors.

iOS has added a nice Night Shift mode that turns colors to the red gamut at night since science says that blue colors prevent us from falling asleep easily, and that’s a nice addition, but its screen is still way too bright at night with a minimum brightness of 6 nits. The Xiaomi Mi 5 can achieve a similar to Night Shift effect with a third-party app like Twilight (free on the Play Store), but it also gets down to a much more comfortable for night reading brightness level of just 1 nit.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Xiaomi Mi 5 638
Apple iPhone 6s 554
View all

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posted on 13 May 2016, 09:36 7

1. zeeBomb (Posts: 2304; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)

Still can't wrap my head around how PA gave the Mi5 a 7.

posted on 13 May 2016, 10:24 4

7. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1524; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

Well PA really is biased toward Apple products.
Its like the whole review is meant for US people only(who have no official availability of Mi5) and intentionally hiding the value for money Mi5 is offering on other market.
Of course I do agree latest iPhones are better overall device but Mi5 cost half of an iPhone and you cant hide such factor by judging them from where you cant get them.

posted on 20 May 2016, 23:07

21. Chris.P (Posts: 567; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)

We're a US-centric media, so it makes sense that our reviews are crafted with consumers in the States in mind, don't you agree?

Not to hijack Victor's review or anything, but since I'm a long-time Xiaomi user, I can assure you that the value of their devices isn't lost on us. But it's 2016, and unless you live in China, India, or one of few other SEA regions that have official support, a Xiaomi device is still on the risky side of investments. With no official support, both on the software and hardware side, Xiaomi devices are still long ways from appealing to the regular consumer who doesn't know anything about flashing unofficial, English ROMs and can't be bothered to himself order parts and service his device if something goes wrong.

posted on 21 May 2016, 04:51

22. EcoCare (Posts: 443; Member since: 30 Jul 2014)

If that's the case then this phone shouldn't be reviewed in the first place, since it's not marketed for users outside Asia.

Or, you could be region-agnostic when reviewing phones, like every other reviewers do across the web. Remember, we're only rating the phone for its quality, not the aftersales service or anything beyond that. Lowering the overall score for the phone doesn't make sense, because it gives false impressions to the readers that the phone is of lower quality, when it actually performs just as good (or better) as other phones. Remember, carriers, services, all those mileages vary and is highly dependent on the users, but the hardware stays the same, right?

posted on 22 May 2016, 06:12

23. Tooluka (Posts: 66; Member since: 27 Nov 2014)

In my European country iPhone is about the same risky investment as Xiaomi, completely depending on the 3rd party reseller.
And regarding software support - I wouldn't call Apple's forum replies a support of any kind. iMessage black hole issue, wi-fi completely stop working issue, some minor and major syncing and firmware issues - nothing serious was resolved in any way, except for "you're doing something wrong" or complete ignore.

PS: my Mi4 died with any visible damage after 6 months of usage and reseller which issued 12 months warranty returned me money without any problem. I'll probably buy Mi5 in summer as my next phone, iOS infrastructure is great, really great but sometimes it is like hitting a brick wall - bluetooth send, file sharing, copying files to or from phone etc. Very frustrating sometimes.

posted on 24 May 2016, 09:26

24. preetmalhotra (Posts: 110; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)

You are absolutely right Chris.P. Sorry, reading this article a bit later. PhoneArena is definitely a US-centric media, but uses a ".com" domain which actually points towards 'global' availability rather being '.co.us'.
Secondly, what makes you think "Xiaomi devices are still long ways from appealing to the regular consumer who doesn't know anything about flashing unofficial, English ROMs"? Xiaomi devices already have english roms available with little to no knowledge required.
Third, I have used smartphones from many manufactures including many phones from Xiaomi, and I must say, Xiaomi is the only brand that offers practical smartphone packages at reaonable prices with better than value quality.

posted on 07 Jun 2016, 03:41

28. ColinW (Posts: 254; Member since: 04 Jun 2014)

Let me assure you that support in many places in the world is far better and cheaper than for Apple products. Getting an iPhone repaired in most places in the world is a nightmare. When you review a piece of hardware you have to review it as that, not a piece of hardware that will be used in a major city in the US with an Apple store near, especially when it is published on theWWW. Apple Pay for instance may be an advantage in parts of the US but in most of the world and in by far the majority of purchasing outlets is is useless.

posted on 13 May 2016, 09:39 2

2. YOURDADkid (unregistered)

Xiaomi Mi 5 is far better then any other Apple Shi**t. can't compare any phones to Apple phones. Its insult of other phone. Apple is Just Fake, Stupid Garbage. Only Sheeps Follows it not Smart People!

posted on 13 May 2016, 10:07 3

6. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1524; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

Comparison is fair when it is 2 X Mi5 vs 1 X iPhone.
It is the budget flagship.

posted on 13 May 2016, 11:40

12. 47AlphaTango (Posts: 385; Member since: 27 Sep 2015)

Unless you are buying chinese fake iphones. Then you are known to be scammed a lot. Meanwhile, how good is the firmware of the entire line of xiaomi smartphones? Do they get the latest android update? Also, if you accidentally damage or broke your xiaomi device? Where would you repair it? I'm a sony xperia user and having a nearest sony center counts. Same goes for samsung.

posted on 15 May 2016, 20:41

20. EcoCare (Posts: 443; Member since: 30 Jul 2014)

Xiaomi isn't bad, it's just that a lot of resellers load custom (read:potentially malicious) ROMs to the phone. Their entire line get updates regularly, while they prioritize their skin updates over Android version, their skin usually complements and replaces features found in newer Android version, so Android version isn't that relevant anymore.

As for after-sales service, I don't deny that they basically have almost nothing for non-Chinese and non-Indian customers since their products aren't marketed outside those regions, it's understandable.

posted on 13 May 2016, 09:40 1

3. siddharthayadav202 (Posts: 286; Member since: 23 Apr 2016)

Mi5.... It bends better than ip6
See bend test.

posted on 13 May 2016, 09:41

5. siddharthayadav202 (Posts: 286; Member since: 23 Apr 2016)

lol '+' vanished

posted on 13 May 2016, 10:29 2

8. refillable (Posts: 1070; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)

What are you trying to proof with this?

posted on 13 May 2016, 13:58

15. siddharthayadav202 (Posts: 286; Member since: 23 Apr 2016)

That Xiaomi saved money by shaving off build quality.
And PA has not mentioned this.
Only inference you could have got.
Also its a negative point toward Mi5 and I would never get a handset that bends in pocket or hand.
Maybe I am too strong to have one.. Lol

posted on 13 May 2016, 14:54 2

16. refillable (Posts: 1070; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)

Lol, are you going to bend them intentionally just for fun?

posted on 14 May 2016, 04:28 2

18. Guaire (Posts: 740; Member since: 15 Oct 2014)

It's a design flaw, not cost reduction effort.

I guess to make it thin and lightweight without compromised the battery capacity they probably used much thinner chassis.

HTC M9 and Nexus 6p got similar results too.

posted on 07 Jun 2016, 03:34

27. ColinW (Posts: 254; Member since: 04 Jun 2014)

I have a xiaomi and I can assure you it every bit as good as any iPhone. It even looks better quality, no plastic lines or bulgy cameras. Both are made in China and rumour has it that iPhones bend like Beckham!

posted on 07 Jun 2016, 03:42

29. ColinW (Posts: 254; Member since: 04 Jun 2014)

I have a xiaomi and I can assure you it every bit as good as any iPhone. It even looks better quality, no plastic lines or bulgy cameras. Both are made in China and rumour has it that iPhones bend like Beckham!

posted on 13 May 2016, 09:40

4. legiloca (Posts: 1460; Member since: 11 Nov 2014)

Can I just be off topic for a moment to say Victor is cute? :D

posted on 15 May 2016, 04:27

19. redmd (Posts: 1367; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

I am saying it. Victor is cute. I'm a fan!

posted on 13 May 2016, 10:58 1

9. tontolou (Posts: 16; Member since: 29 Mar 2014)

i don't get it, iphone take better picture? please, i looked at the color poster picture(cat's face) i don't think iphone are better in term of details or color. now for sample picture, i take a quick check on the tree's branches, again i don't think iphone is better in term of detail, which described as "step ahead" and "detail is also higher" lol. try harder :)

posted on 13 May 2016, 11:45 2

13. refillable (Posts: 1070; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)

Since you gave the Redmi Note 3 and Mi5 6.8 and 7 respectively, I do have to say that I lost trust on you. I was expecting another stupidity before I read this, and my expectation was spot on. Even though, I liked your S7 vs Mi5 comparison. There seems to be a belief that you possess that apple products must be better than others.

"the company started by making Apple clones and selling them for super affordable prices"

Seriously, you keep repeating this crap on every Xiaomi article. Do you ever know about the Mi1 and Mi1S and so on? They're designed very far away from apple with pretty similar User Interface as iOS. If you think this makes Xiaomi "starting out by copying apple", you're completely delusional.

"both have a fingerprint scanner. It works impressively fast on both"

It seems to me that you feel insecure to say which one works faster.

"both displays appear very sharp from regular viewing distance"

Same story, at least tell us which one is sharper.

"it has juicier, more pleasant to the eye colors"

Very subjective

"Excellent app ecosystem"

Seriously? How come you don't highlight the bigger storage that the Xiaomi has got in the base (cheapest) model?

And this one,
"This means that our reviews do not present the point of view of a single person (the author), but instead, they encompass a much wider range of various views"

You should be aware that your audience is NOT only from the US, many are from emerging countries such as China, India and Indonesia where Xiaomi phones are widely available. You should not think that all readers here are from the US and Europe. If this is considered, you will actually know that giving 7 to the Mi5 is a stupid decision.

Seriously, I am not trying to tell "Don't go to PA" or "PA Authors are eternal knuckleheads" whatever it is. I'm saying what in fact is stupid. Take this as an advice. I might be like that earlier, but I changed my mind.

posted on 13 May 2016, 23:33 1

17. gauthamkailash (Posts: 9; Member since: 23 Jan 2016)

Mi5 has way better battery life and all other websites seem to agree. It got a 92h endurance rating on gsmarena whereas the 6s scored only 6h. The only thing the iPhone significantly beats the mi5 is the camera. All else, the mi5 is on par or even better than the 6s hardware wise.

posted on 28 May 2016, 05:42

25. Moose (Posts: 415; Member since: 05 Jan 2015)

You keep saying that Xiaomi is not available in Europe on LTE. Get your facts straight. Most Chinese phones come with LTE Bands 1, 3 and 7. If you look at the Wikipedia list of LTE carriers in Europe, virtually every country has a carrier with either band 3 or 7. Same in Canada where I live, we have Rogers/Fido and Bell that have LTE Band 7 (2600). I am using the Mi5 right now on Fido, LTE band 7, and it is the best phone I have ever owned, especially for battery life, beats any iPhone hands down.

posted on 30 May 2016, 10:45

26. preetmalhotra (Posts: 110; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)

Friday the 13th on iPhone 6s! RUN!

posted on 06 Jul 2016, 21:59

30. tyer205 (Posts: 40; Member since: 16 Jun 2014)

Thanks for your review, I use Xiaomi before, now I'm using iPhone

posted on 07 Jul 2016, 00:41

31. AnnieChow (Posts: 59; Member since: 28 Jun 2016)

It seems Xiaomi is good.

posted on 17 Aug 2016, 16:52

32. serg4307 (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Aug 2016)

Xiaomi Mi5 great smartphone for their $ 285 (I have version 3 / 32Gb., Snapdragon 820). I use it almost a month and there is no problem). By the way, i advise to buy the European version of the model (it supports OTG and chinese havent). European version i bought in this store goo.gl/UBYrtl

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