The Rs. 12999 factor, after the previous one in the budget range where Xiaomi’s device was given a challenge by Lenovo’s A6000. Here, the two newly launched smartphones, both on the same day, face no big challenge from any third device, but they are a tough contention to each other for that price. Xiaomi’s own Mi3 was launched at the same price, and Asus had the ZenFone 5 priced lesser, but it wasn’t anywhere close to the Mi3 in a few factors. How are these two new devices standing against each other? let’s find out.
Note: We are comparing the Xiaomi Mi 4i with the ZenFone 2 ZE550ML priced at Rs. 12,999. (check ZenFone 2 variants)
What specs are packed into both? Following chart will make it easy for you, and we cannot compare this with the 4GB variant of Asus ZenFone 2, as that is priced quite higher compared to the Mi 4i.
Build, Form Factor
While both Asus and Xiaomi did their best to make a compact phone for that screen size, the Mi 4i feels easier to hold due to the smaller screen and size of the phone. On the whole, still, none of them is a strong winner as the ZenFone 2 with its curvy body and a back sliding down towards the sides, gives an equally good experience while using the phone.
For those conscious about these things, the back cover is removable on the ZenFone 2, but that won’t let you remove the battery. It still makes some space for placing a MicroSD card slot for storage expansion, which is missing in the Mi 4i. While the ZenFone 2 draws some inspiration from LG for placing the buttons on the back, the power button is pushed to the top, making it harder to reach and press. The Mi 4i on the other side, has all its button on the right frame, well placed for easy access.
While nothing major to complain about the build quality, both being plastic and having their own finishes on the back, it is more of a choice for the user on how big a device they need in the hand. The ZenFone 2 is indeed larger but if you are someone who used a large screen device earlier, this will be a perfect choice. Else, you know which will feel better in the hand.
IN this aspect, the Mi 4i wins, hands down. A lot of difference in the Mi 4i and the ZenFone 2 with 1080p display, but here, for the price range, Asus has given just a 720p display and that keeps the device in the lines of several budget devices having a similar configuration – 5.5-inch 720p display.
Sunlight display is what Xiaomi calls it, for the display that brings out natural brightening of content only at areas wherever necessary, without washing out the entire picture. It works pretty well, and the pixel density being higher for the 5-inch 1080p display, it looks sharp on the Mi 4i, when compared to the display of ZenFone 2.
While the OS can be a completely personal choice, we can put some focus on storage. Both the smartphones come with Android Lollipop OS and both have a 16GB ROM, but, there are quite a lot of differences when we detail them. Firstly, the MIUI 6 is a lot different from ZenUI, and you see lesser bloatware on the Mi 4i, while the ZenFone 2 has a load of apps in a new unit.
Both the smartphones have their own way of giving a one-handed usage experience, but serve the same purpose. Storage seems to be an issue for most of the users, and rightly for the Mi 4i, as there is about 11GB storage available to the user, and no MicroSD card slot for expansion. On the other side, the ZenFone 2 has a card slot, thus no memory woes.
While MIUI attracts with the customization possibilities for an active screen, the ZenFone 2’s ZenUI offers gestures such as double tap to wake, draw on blank screen to open certain apps. Again, it is more about a personal choice when it comes to the user interface.
Performance and Heating
Given how badly the devices have been heating up in the recent past, we had to give both the smartphones a proper test with long-time gaming and video playing to check how they performed, and whether there was a heating issue users had to take note of.
The ZenFone 2 heats up lesser, and there is some difference in the gaming performance as well, where the ZenFone 2 does well in the end. For the 2GB variant that is priced exactly the same as Mi 4i is, you are getting about 1.1GB RAM available for the user most of the time, and even that is the same on Mi 4i. If we are to compare this with the 4GB one as well, it isn’t much different. Why? both carry the same GPU although the processor is different with clock speed.
While playing the same game for the same time on both the devices, the Mi 4i went up to 46-degree at max, and ZenFone 2 stayed at 43-degree. Here, both of them get heated to a certain extent, but the Mi 4i makes the experience worse with the heating as well as the frame drops.
A vote should go to ZenFone 2 for the overall performance, not just gaming. Xiaomi’s Mi 4i although seemed better than the previous devices for the company in terms of heating problems, but we’re comparing it with Asus’ counterpart.
Again, the ZenFone 2 gets our vote for the primary camera. It does quite better in both, natural and low light conditions. The low light captures on Mi 4i are full of noise as the higher exposure just cranks up brightness and thus, very noisy. PixelMaster in ZenFone 2 makes it look much better with lesser noise, and because it is software optimized.
Mi 4i Capture Samples (Check Mi 4i Camera Review)
ZenFone 2 Capture Samples (Check ZenFone 2 Camera Review)
On the other side, the Mi 4i takes better selfies than the ZenFone 2. Given the fact that the beautification feature works to make the picture look better, but still, we took selfies in different conditions and ZenFone 2 although has a 5MP camera, it isn’t as good as the one on Mi 4i.
The Xiaomi Mi 4i does a lot better job in going through the day without draining down to zero, and while the 720p variant of ZenFone 2 could do well as well, the 1080p variant having the same processor drained the battery a little quicker. Not unexpected, but disappointing against how well the battery on Mi 4i with a 1080p display did.
On 3G connectivity, though, both were much comparable with the battery drain when the screen is active. Standby on 3G drains less power in Mi 4i when compared to the ZenFone 2, and that could be either Lollipop or ZenUI to blame.
The speaker is louder and a bit better on the ZenFone 2, as it doesn’t throw out sharp sound. The placement is no different, as you see muffling due to the speaker located on the back of both the phones.
No big difference
- The output of audio on the headphones seem to be the same from both the devices.
- Video playing at 1080p resolution is again, the same. No frame drops, and it was smooth all the time when playing videos not just from local storage but also on Youtube.
To make it easier, here’s how you can choose between the two devices with the similar price, i.e. Rs. 12999.
- The Asus ZenFone 2 should be your choice if you are looking for a good camera, a smooth performance with no issues while gaming, and you are someone who always needs a lot of storage, and use MicroSD card for the same.
- The Xiaomi Mi 4i should be your choice if you are looking for a good battery life, a better camera for selfies and a brilliant display. Only if you can compromise on the big factor – storage.
You need to be strict with your choices. A few compromises need to be done if you are choosing one of them, but there’s a price budget you are strict at. If the budget is a bit higher, the ZenFone 2’s 4GB variant has a better processor as well.