Introduction


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

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 Android phones available at the moment: the Samsung Galaxy S7.

Design

Both have a stylish, beautiful design with a tapered back, metal frame and a solid feel, but both are fingerprint magnets.

Who came first: the hen or the egg? The same question can be asked about the design of the Xiaomi Mi 5 and Samsung Galaxy S7. Thing is that both look similar to a very large degree: comparable in size, with a tapered glass back and metal frame. And of course, you can already hear the angry crowds shouting about the Chinese copying again, but don’t be so fast in your judgment.

While the Galaxy S7 shares the Galaxy S6 looks, and you might think that Xiaomi copied from Samsung’s appearance, the truth is that before that new Samsung Galaxy design language made its debut in spring 2015, Xiaomi had already released its Mi Note (in January 2015), which is in fact the first Android phone to have that tapered glass back/metal frame accents.

With that settled, let’s focus on the specifics of each phone. The Xiaomi Mi 5 is the lighter and thinner of the two. It’s remarkable how light this phone is, and despite having only slightly slimmer body, that slimness is noticeable. The Galaxy S7 – in stark contrast – has a very noticeable heft in the hand, with a much more solid feel, it’s almost built like a tank (if tanks were made of glass). The tapered back does wonders to make both rest very comfortably in the hand. It is such small details that make a huge difference in daily use, and we’re glad that both Samsung and Xiaomi paid attention to those.

Alas, both phones are fingerprint magnets: with a glass back on both that’s no surprise. If we were very discerning, we’d say that the back seems to look a bit messier on the Galaxy S7, but the Mi 5 also catches a ton of fingerprints.


Little gets said about physical buttons, but we feel that’s an important topic: after all, you press them thousands of times. A hard-to-press button could not be a dealbreaker, but it’s a daily annoyance. The Xiaomi Mi 5 has its volume and power keys all on the right side, which subjectively feels like the right way to position them. The keys are light to press, but with sufficient travel and are very comfortable. The Galaxy S7 has its volume keys on the left and power key on the right, and all those buttons also have a remarkable, clicky feel, though they are not as light to the press.

Both phones also feature a fingerprint scanner right below the display. It’s a slimmer button on the Xiaomi Mi 5, while the S7 has the larger key, but both work extremely well. The Xiaomi Mi 5 is a bit faster: it’s almost a bit shocking to see the homescreen appear right after your register your fingerprint, while on the Galaxy S7 you first see the lock screen for a short while and then you are taken to the homescreen, and it’s a bit slower.

Yet, when it comes to the use and functionality of the fingerprint: Samsung is a step ahead with its international Samsung Pay system, while you simply cannot use your Xiaomi phone to pay for things, or at least not yet. We’re still far off from the times that we’d be all paying with our phones everywhere, but for many that’s a nice feature.

Then, there is waterproofing: the Galaxy S7 can take a short plunge in water and survive it, and that’s a great thing to have, while the Xiaomi Mi 5 lacks water protection.


Xiaomi Mi 5

Xiaomi Mi 5

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.72 x 0.29 inches

144.55 x 69.2 x 7.25 mm

Weight

4.90 oz (139 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

Xiaomi Mi 5

Xiaomi Mi 5

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.72 x 0.29 inches

144.55 x 69.2 x 7.25 mm

Weight

4.90 oz (139 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

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



Display

Two gorgeous displays: the Galaxy S7 has very accurate colors, while the Mi 5 has amazing high brightness that animates everything.


We’re dealing with two absolutely gorgeous screens here: the Galaxy S7 uses Samsung’s latest and best Super AMOLED technology in a 5.1” Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixel) display, while Xiaomi Mi 5 has a very beautiful and vivid 5.15” Full HD (1080 x 1920 pixel) LCD display. While the Galaxy S7 is sharper on paper, it’s hard to notice much of a difference in detail or sharpness in real-life usage. To the regular viewer looking at his phone from a hand’s distance, both will likely appear equally sharp.

Resolution, however, is not the only thing that you should look for in a display. What’s much harder to measure, yet is of paramount importance, is the color representation. Colors on both look very, very good. We do some complex measurements to see whether the colors on smartphone screens fit the sRGB industry standard. When you put the Galaxy S7 in Basic screen mode (go into Settings > Display > Display Mode, and change it there), it fits those color targets nearly perfectly, resulting in a nearly perfectly balanced screen. The Mi 5 also gets close, but not as close in terms of accurate colors as the S7, but the difference is really minimal. Let’s emphasize that at the end of the day both screens have very, very good color representation.

It’s also astonishing how bright the screen on the Mi 5 gets: with a peak brightness of 638 nits, it blows the Galaxy S7 and its meager 484 nits of brightness right out of the water. Higher brightness results in a subjective perception of more vivid colors and that’s why everything on the Mi 5 appears very lively. Outdoors, the Galaxy S7 boosts its brightness to higher-than-usual levels, so it ends up as easy to read its display outdoors as on the Mi 5. Both phones are also capable of reaching a minimum brightness of just 1 nit on the Mi 5 and 2 nits on the S7, and those low level are particularly useful when you read on your phone at night and don’t want a way too bright display burning your eyes.



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62 Comments

1. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

Seriously?? Slow news day? Basically, the Xiaomi is another knockoff, but this time of Samsung. The only thing that it has over the Samsung, is its cheap price!

2. ruby1303

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 20, 2015

are you dumbb?? samsung copy xiaomi not the other way only people who dont know say that, the first phone to have curved back was a xiaomi with the mi note not the note 5

6. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

Right, because Samsung needed to copy a Xiaomi (a what?) to succeed...

16. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

To say Samsung copied Xiaomi would definitely be wrong. But also, to say Xiaomi copied Samsung is not right either.

10. hohoho

Posts: 65; Member since: Dec 12, 2014

hurrr

13. TerryTerius unregistered

If you genuinely believe that was the first phone in the world to have a curved back, I'm not sure what to tell you .. well, other than the fact that it wasn't.

4. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I would say Samsung is a knockoff Xiaomi. Xiaomi used this design way before samsung did. This also show how much we get ripped of with samsung as its only slightly better but cost twice lol..

7. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

Xiaomi... is like the king of kockoffs lmao. Iphone, ipod, ipad etc. Just look at their marketting, their website etc.

24. cherry.dev

Posts: 107; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

and Samsung isn't? lol.

38. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

No, Samsung was first with the 64 bit processor and Samsung pay

61. JadiGaming

Posts: 1; Member since: May 14, 2016

Iphone 5s Was actually the first to incorporate a 64bit Arm V7 Processor also dont get me wrong I absolutely hate apple but they were the first and then HTC was the first Android with a 64bit processor Samsung came way after. Also Samsung pay yes they were first because other companies arent gonna call their payment software samsung pay. But contactless NFC payment was nothing new when samsung came up with their's actually the Nexus S was first to include full scale NFC and NFC payment With the google Wallet And Xiaomi and also samsung weren't the first with a glass curved back. Come on guys before commenting actually include some facts instead of your useless opinions do your research please. Anyway Yeah Samsung copied Xiaomi they werent the first with 64bit android processors it was HTC and they were the first with "Samsung" Pay but not a wireless payment system and no body else can use Samsung Pay because it is copyrighted.

57. NicAngel unregistered

Kockoffs!? Ha! Ha! Ha! Check your spelling before talking sh*t!

58. NicAngel unregistered

Kockoffs!? Ha! Ha! Ha! Check your spelling before talking sh*t!

8. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

...but yeah, my point is that xiaomi's got the price advantage by a huge margin. ...but if it were equal, why get a xiaomi when you can get a s7 lol. Camera, display, more original design (ok, maybe not to xiaomi fans), branding.

14. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

You're a funny hater, go on.

9. hohoho

Posts: 65; Member since: Dec 12, 2014

hurrr

22. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

Hahaha.. You are funny and stupid. Even my old galaxy star has curved backs.. Anything new??? And slightly better?? Mi5 has very weak and cheap body. Camera is nowhere near as fast. Also quality is not as good. Display quality is actually much better. More than what PA is telling. AOD is a great feature that adds to it. and 2 times price? Mi5 4 GB costs over $400. Though you get 128 GB, it ain't as fast as S7's UFS 2.0 and do not give you SD card option. Also you get much better customed service (I do not know about how it is in china).

30. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Name your old galaxy phone with a curved back... PS, Don't call anyone stupid...your comment speaks a lot about you already.

41. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

Xperia X8 had a curved back... Anyhow, what about the front. TYpical Samsung home button (very s3 like), now suddenly on a Xiaomi. They've always used to have capacitive buttons. Coincidence?

52. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

So that's Galaxy Xperia X8 for you?? Okay, a typical home button like S3...if that's the case, you would agree if i say HTC 10 copied Samsung because of the home button? If it works that way, i usually don't say this but for you i'll make an exception, Samsung copied Apple!!! There it is!

70. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

Sony Ericsson Xperia X8, genius...

63. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

Really? Your comment proves you do not know to read properly. Also My Old galaxy "Star" as I mentioned above (improve your reading skills" would look limilar if it was big and a bit more square. Mine was a bit too round. But back was curved.

31. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

correction- both have ufs 2.0

3. ruby1303

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 20, 2015

you should consider the price more, in this case xiaomi would dominate, better design, better interface, which you dont know what are you talking about, for example saying that to have nigh shift only with an app which is a lie you have that option way before iphone on the notification bar

11. hohoho

Posts: 65; Member since: Dec 12, 2014

spotted the xiaomi shill

23. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

Better UI? App laucherless UI are copied from apple and look s**t. Also Samsung's current UI is better as it gives you faster acess like the notification panel offer instant options better than any UI (though some copied this function too)

5. newtonguimaraes

Posts: 1; Member since: May 13, 2016

Where i can find the galaxy s7 without frontal logo in usa? :/

15. TerryTerius unregistered

Can't.

17. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

I quote from GSMarena, "The Xiaomi Mi 5 delivered great audio output when hooked up to an active external amplifier. The flagship was not only able to match the best for clarity, it also delivered splendidly high volume for arguably the best performance among the 2016 flagships so far. Stereo crosstalk was the only reading to be affected when headphones came into play and the increase was rather well contained. The rest of the readings remained unchanged and so did loudness for a truly impressive showing." Why is there so much difference with their audio test and yours???

19. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

I'll have to agree with you for raising this important question.

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