Battle of the Flagships – Xiaomi Mi 4i vs Mi 4 vs Asus Zenfone 2

We are all happy with the Mi 4i officially launched and the pricing and availability revealed. But there are also other things that will strike us! ASUS launched the Zenfone 2 on the same day and there is the Mi 4 which is the flagship, oops sorry ex-flagship from Xiaomi and so on. So what should one go for? What is the safest bet? While we wait up for the review units to turn up and we use them thoroughly and show up with a verdict, we decided to write this one up to bring out differences and what we think is good at this moment. Lets start with the specs sheet:

Specs Comparison between Mi 4i, Mi 4 and Zenfone 2 –

Mi 4i Mi 4 Zenfone 2
Display 5.0 inch 1080 x 1920 pixels (~441 ppi pixel density)Corning Core Glass 5.0 inch 1080 x 1920 pixels (~441 ppi pixel density)Corning Core Glass 5.5 inch 1080 x 1920 pixels (~403 ppi pixel density)Gorilla Glass 3
Processor and GPU Qualcomm MSM8939 Snapdragon 615Quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.1 GHz Cortex-A53Adreno 405 Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400Adreno 330 Intel Atom Z3580 64 BitQuad-core 2.3 GHzAdreno 330
RAM 2GB 3GB 4GB
Internal Memory 16GB 16/64GB 16/32/64GB + expandable upto 64GB
Camera 13MP + 5MP 13MP + 8MP 13MP + 5MP
OS MIUI v6 – Lollipop MIUI v6 – KitKat Zen UI – Lollipop
Battery 3120 mAh 3080 mAh 3000 mAh
Connectivity Dual SIM, 4G LTE & 3G on both, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspotA-GPS, GLONASS, OTG 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot , A-GPS, GLONASS,  OTG 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot , A-GPS, GLONASS,  OTG
Price 12,999 INR 17,999 / 21,999 INR 14,999 / 19,999 /
22,999 INR

Key highlights of Mi 4i –

IMG_20150426_141652

  • MIU v6 on Lollipop
  • Dual SIM – both support 4G
  • Sunlight display
  • 80 degrees wide angle 5MP front camera
  • Dual tone flash
  • Thin and light
  • Polycarbonate unibody
  • 2nd Generation SD 615 64-bit processor
  • Quick charging
  • Range of colors but only white and black will be available for now

Key highlights of Mi 4 –

IMG_20150128_1440106

  • Brilliantly crafted metal build
  • Sony lens on the 13MP and the 8MP cameras are one of the best
  • IR Blaster
  • 3GB RAM
  • Quick charging

Key highlights of Zenfone 2

DSC_01206

  • 4GB RAM
  • Wide range of options and price range though all too confusing
  • IR Blaster
  • 3GB RAM
  • Quick charging
  • Range of colors

With the launch of Mi 4i, Xiaomi is now looking to be back in the game after a poor response on the Mi 4 that was preceded by history setting Mi 3. So will it? Let us look at this from different perspectives.

Is Mi 4i a flagship?

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We beg to differ with Xiaomi on this one and following are the reasons why:

  1. The SD 615 processor they are using may be a 2nd generation one but clearly this processor is not in the league of what their own Mi3 and Mi4 had in the form on Snapdragon 800 and 801 respectively. It may deliver a good performance but even without using the device and the AnTuTu scores Hugo spoke about are 40k on the Mi 4i vs 45k range on the Mi4 – so obviously Mi 4 would deliver a better performance backed by the fact that it has an additional 1GB of RAM to cater to the resource hungry thick skinned MIUI! And be warned that the Snapdragon 615 processors are infamous for overheating issues already observed in the likes of YU Yureka and the same can be expected here as well no matter how much Hugo and team may dismiss it

  2. The camera used on the Mi 4i could be a brilliant one, the one used in Mi Note and so on but the Sony lens on the Mi 4’s rear and front are so good that they are still one of the best out there

  3. Of course the MIUI v6 on the Mi 4i could be built off Android Lollipop but we clearly see this as a marketing strategy to delay the upgrades on the older phones so the new ones sell more

  4. Rest else apart, if you were to hold both the devices in your hands clearly Mi 4i is nowhere near the kinda premium feel the Mi 4 would give you, which is expected of a flagship device

Is the pricing good? – Hell yes the pricing is too good! Many would instantly start arguing that YU Yureka has similar specs as the Mi 4i and comes at 8,999 INR and that it is a better bang for buck. But is that what a phone is all about? A bang for the buck deal? Well may be not for all. Mi 4i is a well crafted device with some of the coolest features like the Sunlight display, the dual tone flash and of course the 3120 mAh battery will smoke the Yureka outta the game in the battery department which infact is one of the top 3 issues facing smartphone users. Xiaomi may have gone slightly comical when it comes to the pricing of the Mi 4 but they are bang on target on this one.

DSC_0157

What about the ASUS Zenfone 2?  – ASUS is the world’s first smartphone with 4GB RAM and is loaded with lots of goodies for the price it is offered at. The problem with this is that there are so many variants that one can easily get dizzy figuring out what is being offered and what should one go for. Lets make it simple for you – decide how much RAM would you be happy with, 2GB or the 4GB and get yourself the 16GB variant as you have the additional 64GB microSD that you can add in. Either case you’d end up spending 12,999 or 14,999 INR and it’s a steal for that price! But hold on there are certain things you’d need to be aware of – the ZEN UI is not as appealing as the MIUI, in fact MIUI is so good that it is hard to beat. Also the Zenfones come with the Intel Atom processors which are not as highly regarded as the Snapdragons and also the developer support or the availability of the custom ROMs are bleak. So mostly likely you’d end up being on the Zen UI forever. Many design quirks such as odd placement of buttons, no backlight on the capacitive buttons are a real annoyance. Barring these, it is a very good camera smart phone.

So what should I get?

  • Love MIUI? Want an awesome display? Want an awesome camera? Not a power user? – Slide over to buy a Mi 4i

  • Love MIUI? Selfie freak? Absolutely love true metallic, posh, premium builds? Crazy about custom ROM supported for SD 801? Ready to shell a little above 15K INR? – slide over to buy a Mi 4

  • Super crazy power user? Do not care much for the aesthetics of the UI? OK with live with some design quirks? Not a custom ROM freak? – slide over to buy a Zenfone 2

  • Feel Mi 3 is elusive? OK for a pre-used phone? Love the metallic build and a SD processor? – hunt down on sites like OLX or eBay and you’d still find a Mi 3 in a super condition and trust us – you will NOT be disappointed with it. It is still regarded as many as one of the best deals for phones with that specs. We know this question would come up and hence added this as well!

Cosmic Paladin

Cosmic Paladin is a Tech Enthusiast and a Gadget Freak! From Nokia 3310 from back in the day to OnePlus One today, he has used tons of devices and has dived deep into the nuances of what it takes to make a good phone. As a Product Manager building enterprise mobile and web apps, his passion is music, photography and tech blogging!

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