Chinese phone maker Xiaomi has had an awesome 2017. This was the year the company became the largest smartphone maker in the country in terms of overall market share. This is a remarkable feat for a company that has only been in India since 2014. The reason for Xiaomi’s meteoric rise in India can be attributed to only one thing: value for money products. 2017 was also the year the company launched a barrage of affordable, value for money smartphones. In this article, let us take a look at three devices from the company and how they fare against each other specifications wise. The goal of this article is to make you, the consumer’s task easier in the selection of the most appropriate phone for you. The handsets that we are going to talk about today are the Xiaomi Mi A1, the Redmi Note 4, and the Redmi Y1. Just for fun, we will also talk about the mythical Redmi Note 5 which is yet to be officially announced by the company.
Redmi Note 5 vs Mi A1 vs Redmi Y1 vs Redmi Note 4: Design, Display
We start off things by talking about the design aspects of these handsets.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 features a premium metallic body with the frame and the back panel made of pure aluminium. The handset also gets a toughened glass at the front. The overall design language is similar to other Xiaomi handsets that were released in 2o17. The Mi A1 features a large 5.5-inch LTPS IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The display is in the standard 16:9 aspect ratio and has a pixel density of 403 PPI. For scratch resistance, the handset uses the tried and tested Gorilla Glass 3 coating.
Next up, we have the Redmi Y1 that gets a plastic body. Being a handset from a lower price range, the device gets a lower resolution display compared to the other handsets in this list. As you might have guessed, this one ships with a 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 pixel IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 267 PPI. Like the Mi A1, the handset gets a Gorilla Glass 3 layer for scratch resistance
The Redmi Note 4, launched at the beginning of 2017 continues to be a strong seller for Xiaomi. The handset gets an aluminium body and uses a full HD (1920 X 1080 pixels) IPS LCD display that measures 5.5 inches across.
The Redmi Note 5 is still a rumoured handset, and we do not have any confirmed specifications for the phone. The current expectation is that the Redmi Note 5 will get a 5.99-inch display in the 18:9 aspect ratio.
Redmi Note 5 vs Mi A1 vs Redmi Y1 vs Redmi Note 4: Hardware, Software and Performance
Let us now take a quick glance at the hardware specifications of these handsets.
The Xiaomi Mi A1 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset and comes in a single version that gets 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The chip uses the Adreno 506 GPU for graphics. The Mi A1 like other Xiaomi smartphones supports dual SIM cards and comes with a hybrid SIM slot that also accepts a microSD card for additional memory.
The Redmi Y1 being a lower priced device finds itself powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 chipset with an Adreno 505 GPU for graphics. The Redmi Y1 comes in two versions, a base 3GB/32GB version and a more expensive 4GB/64GB version. The Mi A1 also supports dual SIM cards – but unlike the other phones that use a hybrid SIM slot, this one gets a dedicated microSD card slot.
Moving on to the Redmi Note 4, this device also uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset with the Adreno 506 GPU for graphics. The phone is offered in two versions, a base 3GB/32GB version and a top-of-the-line 4GB/64GB variant. The Redmi Note 4 is also dual SIM capable but ships with a hybrid SIM slot.
While we do not have any details about the Redmi Note 5, the current speculation is that it will also use a 6 series Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. It is also likely to come in two versions a 64 GB, 4 GB RAM version and a 32 GB, 3 GB RAM variant.
Most smartphones in this article being from the same brand run the same software and UI. However, there are some differences here as well. The Xiaomi Mi A1 is the only handset in this list to currently run Android 8.0 Oreo and that too in a stock Android form. The Redmi Y1 and the Redmi Note 4 still run Android 7.1.1 Nougat. When the Redmi Note 5 is eventually launched, it is most likely to run Android 8 Oreo.
Redmi Note 5 vs Mi A1 vs Redmi Y1 vs Redmi Note 4: Camera
It is now time to compare the camera specs of these four devices.
The Mi 1A gets a dual camera set up at the rear that consists of a 12-megapixel primary camera with f/2.2 aperture and a 12-megapixel secondary camera with f/2.6 aperture. The camera supports phase detection autofocus, 2x optical zoom, and dual-LED dual-tone flash. The primary camera also supports 4K video recording and slow-motion recording at 120 fps. At the front, the phone gets a 5-megapixel shooter with the capability to shoot full HD videos.
The Redmi Y1 gets a 13-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and LED flash at the rear. The secondary camera on the device happens to be a 16-megapixel shooter with f2.0 aperture and the capability to record full HD videos.
The Redmi Note 4 gets a 13-megapixel, f/2.0 camera with phase detection autofocus and dual-LED dual-tone flash. The phone also records full HD videos and slow-motion videos in 720p at 120 fps. At the front, the phone features a 5-megapixel, f/2.0 lens. The front camera can also record full HD videos at 30fps.
The mythical Redmi Note 5 is rumoured to feature a dual camera setup at the rear consisting of dual 12-megapixel cameras with support for phase detection autofocus and dual-LED dual-tone flash. The rear camera is also likely to support 1080p video recording and slow-motion videos in 720p at 120fps. The secondary camera is likely to be a 5-megapixel unit with support for full HD video recording.
Redmi Note 5 vs Mi A1 vs Redmi Y1 vs Redmi Note 4: Price in India, Verdict
We will not talk about the Redmi Note 5 here since the phone is yet to be officially announced. As for the other handsets, you will notice that the Redmi Mi A1 is the priciest handset of the three with it retailing at Rs.13,999. The USP of this phone is the fact that it is part of Google’s Android One project and that it runs a stock Android UI. It is also likely to receive priority updates from Google for the next two years. The phone also has the best camera setup among the three and has been acclaimed for its above-average imaging capabilities.
The Redmi Y1 is touted as a selfie-centric smartphone with several selfie-centric features like soft tone selfie light, a dedicated beauty mode and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. The handset, however, loses out on the processor front. With the price for the Mi A1 starting at Rs.8,999, the better spec’d Redmi Note 4 looks better on paper with the latter being just Rs. 1,000 more expensive. Even the higher end 64GB model at Rs.10,999 doesn’t seem to meet Xiaomi’s usual pricing standards.
The Redmi Note 4, even a year after its release remains a very good phone. Several price cuts to the phone ensured that the handset is still on many people’s recommendations list. The 64GB version of the phone at just Rs.11,999 is great value for money.
Overall, though, we feel that the Redmi Mi A1 is the best among these three devices thanks to it being a relatively new product and the fact that it has been promised regular updates for at least the next two summers.