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1. Xiaomi Mi 6 – Dual Camera Beast

The more promising Flagship

Compared to previous Flagships from Xiaomi, so far the Xiaomi Mi 6 has offered a lot of great potential. With only the OS seen as the biggest CON as of late, the features and specs speaks for itself. It is fill to the brim with features, like Snapdragon 835, 6 GB RAM and Dual Camera Features, which are currently the trend as of late. It has also jumped the bridge into CDLA and thus maybe a deal breaker for some. But overall, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is a great Flagship, and perhaps a great step for more Flagships to come from Xiaomi.

  • Flagship Quality Build
  • Splash proof design but not completely waterproof
  • Fast Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner, huge improvement over the Mi5s
  • Powered by the latest Snapdragon 835 and Adreno 540 (scores over 180,000 points on Antutu)
  • 6 GB RAM out of the box
  • Fast UFS (Universal Flash Storage) 64.128 GB Choices
  • Dual Cameras: 12 MP SonyIMX386 Sensor with 4x OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), 4K Video Support
  • Secondary Camera: Samsung S5k3m3 (2x Lossless Optical Zoom) – works only on Photo mode
  • Portrait mode (Bokeh effects – Dual Camera Combination function)
  • 5.15″ IPS 1080p
  • Portrait mode (Bokeh effects – Dual Camera Combination function)
  • 5.15″ IPS 1080p with Anti Scratch Protection
  • Equipped with 6 GB RAM out of the box
  • Comes with either 64/128 GB Storage
  • Uses CDLA (Continuous Digital Lossless Audio) – via USB Adapter (to connect to 3.5mm Audio Port)
  • Light package at just $170g
  • 3350mAh battery and charges via USB Type C (Quick Charge 3.0)
  • IR Infrared Remote Sensor
  • Dual Microphone Design with Front Facing Loudspeakers

Some Cons:

  • Same with the Xiaomi Mi 5c and Xiaomi Mi Pad 3, the OS is very unstable
  • No MicroSD Card Expansion support (no memory expansion)
  • No more 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Dual sided Glass design makes the phone very slippery
  • The Secondary Camera will only work on Photos (no zoom on video unfortunately)
  • Loudspeakers are quite similar to the Xiaomi Mi5s, less bass, loud but more on treble
  • The Audio Quality coming from the camera has a low bit rate (low quality audio)
  • No 1080p video @ 60 fps, still stuck at 30fps
  • only a 1080p Resolution Display (but this is purely subjective) – as for me, this doesn’t bother me, great for battery also

The Xiaomi Mi 6 (6+128GB) retails at $228 (on Sale) – Free Shipping

You can read also read the full info: Xiaomi Mi 6 full info

 

2. Xiaomi Mi5s – Affordable Flagship with SonyIMX378 Camera Sensor, similar to the Google Pixel

Actually, I was looking more on the camera on reviewing this Phone. Because I knew, the performance of the new Snapdragon 821 would not hold a lot of breakthroughs, except for maybe on benchmarks. Honestly, the SonyIMX378 is great, both in good light and low light. One of the biggest blunders I think is the lack of OIS on 4K. I mean, without OIS, the video quality is totally unusable except when you use a tripod. You can downgrade to 1080p and get a much better and stable shot with EIS but the obvious lack of OIS is a big headturner. Xiaomi could have improved or might as well make the camera the best feature of the Smartphone.

  • Overall premium build and design, expect for the Volume Rocker and Power button
  • Light weight, Portable and can easily be used one handed
  • Great performance (basing on benchmarks, highest result of Antutu), signify significant boost of performance
  • Fast UFS (Universal Flash Storage) – Read: 375 Mb/s and Write speeds: 75 Mb/s
  • No Thermal Throttling, runs cool even on heavy use
  • One of the best 1080p Display I have tested, Vibrant colors, no tinting, maintains colors even on extreme angles, and the touch sensitivity is accurate.
  • MIUI 8.2 Global ROM (few bloatwares installed in the system)
  • The 12 MP camera takes amazing still shots, 4K video is also good with tripod use and 1080p supports EIS
  • Fast and Stable WiFi (Dual Band WiFi support)
  • Supports NFC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Good Audio Quality from the loudspeakers
  • 3.5mm Headphone great Audio Quality and supports Mi Enhancer and Equalizer (no static)
  • Almost 10 hours of battery life on casual use
  • Quick Charging support, Charges fully in just 90 mins.

Cons:

  • Personally, the performance boost is mainly for benchmarks, there are still stutters sometimes and the overall OS is a bit of a Memory Hog.
  • No App Draw
  • No Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) 4K recording, only EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) on 1080p
  • The Camera UI hasn’t changed, from the midrange Smartphones like the Xiaomi Redmi Pro (identical)
  • Limited in Shooting modes
  • Underutilized Camera Sensor (limited features)
  • Weird issues on the Fingerprint Scanner (Sometimes it’s accurate, sometimes it’s not)
  • Camera Audio Output is not that good (only 16 bit at 96kbps)
  • No MicroSD Card Support

Xiaomi Mi5s (4+128GB) retails at $202 (on Sale) – Free Shipping

Xiaomi Mi5s Full Review 

 

3. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X – 13 hours plus Battery life is good enough?

Clearly more efficient with great battery life

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4x, the Snapdragon 625 version is a lot more efficient when it comes to battery life, it will give you more than 10 hours of battery life per use. Although the camera is not particularly exciting, the budget price is quite considerable making it a great value smartphone to have.

  • More Efficient Chipset
  • Powered with Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa Core Chipset
  • 3 GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC (supports MicroSD Expansion)
  • Good Quality 5.5 inch IPS 1080 pixels
  • Snapdragon is more efficient than the Snapdragon 650 but is slightly slower especially in gaming (Adreno 506 versus Adreno 510)
  • MIUI 8.1 (Can be flashed to Global ROM) – based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Rear Fingerprint Scanner
  • Hybrid Dual SIM Support
  • Good Battery Life
  • Global Edition, supports multiple frequencies

Some cons:

  • It does come with Chinese ROM (bloatwares), but you can easily flash it to Global ROM
  • Camera performance is nothing to be excited about
  • No USB Type C (Micro USB 2.0 on 2017)
  • No 4K Video Recording
  • Not really a huge upgrade over the first Xiaomi Redmi Note

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4x (3+32GB)retails at $189 (on Sale) – Free Shipping

You can read the full info of the: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X here

 

4. LeEco Le Max2 – Snapdragon 820 CPU,5.7-inch Smartphone

2K Quad HD Display and Snapdragon 820 at less than $180

Clearly one of the best bargains available right now, the Le 2 Max X829 offers more storage space compared to the first but is also cheaper. This is also the Global version, meaning 4G LTE is likely supported in most regions. Probably one of my biggest gripe for this is the Unimpressive camera, despite the 21 MP Camera Sensor, it also lacks OIS and the quality is not that great especially at night, a bit ironic considering it is a CMOS BSI sensor. Also the 3100mAh battery doesn’t last long, quite expected for a 5.7 inch Phone as well as a 2K Retina Display. Despite those shortcomings, this is one of the best and Affordable Flagship you can buy without breaking the budget.

  • Global version (FDD-LTE Frequencies)
  • comes with twice the storage at 64 GB UFS instead of only 32 GB
  • Snapdragon 820 Chipset and Adreno 530 GPU (great for multitasking and gaming)
  • Premium Build Quality
  • 5.7 inch IPS 2560 x 1440 pixels, Ultra High Pixel
  • 21 MP SonyIMX230 Main Camera with 4K Video Support
  • CDLA Support (Continuous Digital Lossless Audio) – best Audio Quality
  • USB Type C and support for Quick Charging
  • Mirror Type Rear Fingerprint Scanner (accurate and fast recognition)
  • Good Loudspeakers

Cons:

  • No Expandable Storage Support (no MicroSD support)
  • Similar issues with the Le 2 Max (Archaic UI)
  • EMUI has developed well through the years
  • Despite the 21 MP Camera Sensor, it still not impressive
  • Average Battery life (3100mAh on a Phablet, last typically 5 hours screen time)
  • Not compatible or no support for VR despite having a 2K Display
  • No OIS (Optical Image Stabilization on 4K or 1080p videos)

LeEco Le Max2 (4+32GB) retails at $181 (on Sale) – Free Shipping

LeEco Le Max2 full info here

 

5. Xiaomi Mi5 (Exclusive version) – Old, but still fast and cheap

Prices matter, and this one is still one of the best value available

Not the new Mi5s but just the Standard one. It still a great value for the price. This is also the older one with an OIS  (Optical Image Stabilizer) on its camera. So image quality as well as video is still top notch. It comes with the Snapdragon 820 with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB UFS. Basically, the features from the new Mi5s except for the camera and chipset is identical to this one.

What makes it good?

  • Premium Build Quality (Glass Rear Shell)
  • MIUI System (supports Android 6.0 Marshmallow)
  • Great Gaming and Multitasking Performance
  • 5.15 inch IPS, 1080p FHD Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • 16 MP Sony IMX298, PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus), DTI (Deep Transition Isolation) Technology, 4 Axis OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), 4K Video Recording, Sapphire Lens
  • Fingerprint Sensor (Home Button)
  • Supports NFC, Miracast (Wireless Display)
  • Dual Band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB Type C (reversible Connector)
  • built-in 3000mAh (Quick Charge feature)

Cons:

  • Camera not as good as the SonyIMX378 of the Xiaomi Mi5s but it does have OIS on 4K

You can read the full info of the : Xiaomi Mi5 here

Xiaomi Mi5 (4+128GB) retails at $204 (on Sale) – Free Shipping