The Great Xiaomi Family Feud for the Rs 13,999 Phone!

Redmi Note 5 Pro vs Mi A1 vs Mi Max 2

by: - Last updated on: February 16th, 2018

In difficult times, we generally turn to our families for support and strength but what do you do when your own family members stand against you? Well, we hope you never face such a situation, but unfortunately, one of the recently launched Xiaomi devices is having this problem. Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 5 Pro in the country, the first ever Redmi Note with a “pro” attached to its tail (in India) and the company has priced the smartphone at Rs 13,999 for the 4 GB/ 64 GB variant. With this pricing, the phone lands right in the super competitive mid-segment.

redmi note 5 pro mi a1 mi max 2

But while most smartphones face competition from other brands, the Redmi Note 5 Pro has a bigger problem to tackle. It not only faces fierce competition from other brands but also from its own siblings. The Redmi Note 5 Pro stands right against not just one but two Xiaomi devices, the Mi A1 and the Mi Max 2, both of which are priced exactly at Rs. 13,999 (the Mi Max 2 for the 4 GB/ 32 GB edition). These three devices have different stories and come with different strengths and weaknesses. But with the exact same price tag. Which means it can get a little difficult to see which one is meant for you. Let us try to figure out.

Design

The three Xiaomi Musketeers are pretty different from each other in the design and looks departments. Starting with the recently launched Redmi Note 5 Pro, the device comes with a 5.99-inch full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio. Apart from the usual placements of the volume buttons, the front-facing cameras, and earpiece, the Note 5 comes with on-screen buttons which means it has an empty chin. While the metal back, the pronounced antenna bands and the fingerprint scanner bring in an element for familiarity, the company has placed the dual camera on the smartphone in a vertical capsule unit on the upper left side (reminding us of the iPhone X). The Note 5 Pro comes with a few elements of surprise, but it seems like the device is not designed to dazzle.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review 6

The next one in line is the Mi Max 2, the giant in the room that comes with a massive 6.44-inch full HD display. The device looks more like a tablet than a smartphone, but this does not mean it looks bad. Along with a huge screen, the smartphone comes with a clean metal back. The antenna bands are pushed to the edges, and the camera along with the flash are placed in the top left corner. Apart from a clean back, the massive smartphone is impressively sleek, which is again a plus for the Mi Max 2.

This brings us to the Mi A1. The front of the A1 might be a little ordinary with a usual 5.5-inch full HD display and capacitive buttons, but the phone covers up well when it is turned around. There are subtle antenna bands on the edges, and the dual camera horizontal capsule unit is on the top left side.

All the three devices have some kind of beauty marks that help them stand out, but we think it ultimately gets down to the Mi A1 and the Mi Max 2. Both of them follow a similar, clean design language but we think this round goes to the A1 because of its sheer compactness. For those who like big devices, the Max 2 is definitely one of the sleekest and gorgeous tablet-like smartphones around.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

Hardware

This is a sheer number battle and we have some interesting numbers in all three. When it comes to processor, two out of the three smartphones come with the same chipset. The Mi Max 2 and the Mi A1 are both powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. This leaves us with the Note 5 Pro which is the first smartphone in the world to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor. This gives the Note 5 Pro a strong upper hand over the other two. All the three phones come with 4 GB RAM, but the Mi Max 2 comes with 32 GB internal storage (expandable up to 256 GB) while the Mi A1 and the Note 5 Pro come with 64 GB internal storage (having 128 GB and 256 GB expandable storages respectively).

Moving on to the display, the Max 2 sports the biggest display amongst the three devices- it comes with a 6.44-inch full HD display, the Note 5 Pro comes with a 5.99-inch full HD+ display 18:9 aspect ratio and the A1 comes with a 5.5-inch full HD display.

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In the camera department, the Max 2 sports a single lens 12-megapixel primary camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. This leaves us with the two phones with dual primary camera units, the Mi A1 and the Note 5 Pro. The Mi A1 comes with 12-megapixel dual cameras with 2X optical zoom paired with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The Note 5 Pro sports 12+5 megapixel dual primary cameras and a 20-megapixel front camera.

In terms of battery, the massive size of the Max 2 gives it an edge over the other two devices. The Max 2 comes with a large 5,300 mAh battery while the A1 comes with 3,080 mAh battery and the Note 5 Pro comes with a 4,000 mAh battery.

In the connectivity zone, the Note 5 Pro lags a little behind as it comes with an older connectivity option, a micro USB port, while the other two come with a USB type-C port.

To sum this up, we think the Note 5 Pro wins the number battle. The better processor, better camera combinations (the 20-megapixel selfie camera) and the six-inch full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio allow it to trump its rival siblings in the battery and the connectivity departments.

Winner: Xiaomi Note 5 Pro

Software

In Xiaomiland, this usually is the section for Android topped with MIUI in all the three phones, but the story here is a little different. The recently launched Note 5 Pro and the relatively older Mi Max 2 are powered by Android 7.1.1 and are topped with MIUI 9 at the time of writing whereas the Xiaomi Mi A1, being part Android One program, runs on stock Android (with a few Xiaomi additions) and has been updated to Android 8. This makes the fight a little one-sided and because the A1 comes with the most recent version of Android and the fact that it is stock Android gives the smartphone a lead against its other two siblings, who are still in Nougatland.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi A1

Cameras

This really is a battle between two smartphones out of the three. The two that come with dual primary cameras. The Xiaomi A1 and the Note 5 Pro both come with a combination of lenses on the back while the Max 2 comes with a single lens which unfortunately makes it bystander in the race. Do not get us wrong because the Max 2 comes with a good single lens camera but the other two offer more functionality.

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Moving on to our two contenders, the Mi A1 comes with two cameras, 12 megapixels each where one is a telephoto lens offering 2X optical zoom, whereas the Note 5 Pro comes with a 12 + 5 megapixel combination where the secondary camera collects information for depth of field.

The primary camera on the Mi A1 is marginally better than the one on Note 5 Pro. It produces better color, better detail and offers one of the best portrait mode outputs in this segment. But this is not where the battle ends.
The Note 5 Pro houses a 20-megapixel front camera while the Mi A1 comes with a 5-megapixel camera. This is a very one-sided front camera battle because apart from the sheer number of megapixels and better image quality, the Note 5 Pro also offers Portrait mode on the front camera.

This is one of the tightest rounds, but if the primary camera is your priority and you can ignore the mediocre front camera, the Mi A1 is your device, but if you want an overall good camera phone, we would suggest the Note 5 Pro.

Winner: Xiaomi Note 5 Pro

Battery

This has to be the easiest fight of them all. In this department, the Mi Max 2 virtually crushes the other two smartphones. The Mi Max 2 comes with a massive 5,300 mAh battery that can easily last for two and a half to three days under normal to heavy usage while the Mi A1 comes with 3,080 mAh battery which struggles to see through a heavy-duty day and the Note 5 Pro comes with 4,000 mAh battery that can see close two days under normal to heavy usage. We have a clear winner, people.

Winner: Mi Max 2

Multimedia

Many people might think that the latest processor is all you need to have a great multimedia experience, but we beg to differ. The Note 5 Pro may be supported by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, but the Mi Max 2 offers the three essentials for a great multimedia experience: a massive display, stereo speakers, and a huge battery. And the poor Mi A1 does not even stand a chance here.

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The combination of these three is not only perfect for watching movies and binging on your favorite TV series but also offers a more immersive gaming experience. And those getting worried about the 625 processor not being better than the 636 processor for gaming need not bother their heads too much because there is not an exceptional difference between the performance of the two when it comes to casual as well as high-end gaming.

Winner: Mi Max 2

Verdict

This has been a super close fight between three Xiaomi siblings fighting for their share of attention in the market. There have been six rounds, and each of the three devices has won two rounds each. The Note 5 Pro won the hardware and camera rounds, the Mi A1 won the design and software rounds, whereas the Mi Max 2 won the battery and multimedia rounds. So, this essentially boils down to what you are looking for in a phone:

  • You want a good looking phone with clean software, regular software updates and good primary camera, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is your device.
  • If you are looking for a great multimedia phone with exceptional battery, massive display, and great sound, then the Mi Max 2 is the smartphone you are looking for.
  • And if you are big on numbers, want the latest technology, paired with a good battery and great camera combination, then the Note 5 Pro is the one to go for.

All right, Mi Boys, you are all very good and handsome.
Stop fighting and get along.

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