The discontinuation of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has created a vacuum at the top end of the Android smartphone market, with many a phone vying to take the spot (and potential buyers' money). Google's new Pixel XL was an obvious choice for anyone whose plans to buy the Galaxy Note 7 were thwarted by the recall and eventual discontinuation of the handset. However, Xiaomi's new Mi Note 2 is another contender for the title of the best Android phablet, one that cannot be easily ignored.
If you are confused whether you should order Google Pixel XL or wait for the launch of Xiaomi Mi Note 2 as the replacement for Samsung Galaxy Note 7, read this comparison to make a decision. Readers should note however that we haven't yet spent any time with the Mi Note 2, and our final judgement will have to wait for our complete review. Thus, this comparison is based on features and specifications on paper.
In terms of design, Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is a lot closer to Samsung Galaxy Note 7 than the Pixel XL is. The new Xiaomi phablet has dual curved screen as well as 3D curved back, similar to what we had seen with the Galaxy Note 7; the frame on the side is made of metal. The bezels around the screen are pretty thin, due to which the phone's body is not much bigger than that of Pixel XL despite the bigger display.
The Pixel XL, on the other hand, looks similar to the iPhone 7 Plus and does not have the curves that its Xiaomi rival flaunts. Instead, it has thick bezels around the screen, metallic back panel, the fingerprint sensor on the back, and no physical buttons in front. At 8.5mm, it is a little thicker than Mi Note 2 (7.6mm). On the other hand, the Google phone is dust- and splash-resistant, something the Xiaomi model is vulnerable to.
(Also see: Google Pixel, Pixel XL First Impressions)
Both Xiaomi Mi Note 2 (5.7-inch) and Google Pixel XL (5.5-inch) feature the energy-efficient OLED panels; the Google handset comes with Gorilla Glass 4 protection, while Xiaomi has not announced what protection it has provided to the screen of its new model. Pixel XL has the same QHD display resolution as Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (1440x2560 pixels), while Mi Note 2's resolution lags at full-HD (1080x1920 pixels) Specs aside, wait for our first impressions of Xiaomi Mi Note 2 to decide which phone has the superior screen.
In terms of software, Pixel XL is ahead of Mi Note 2, on the back of Android 7.1 Nougat, the latest version of Google's mobile OS. The software comes with the company's new Google Assistant and Pixel Launcher (which offers a new Camera app, revamped Dialer app, rounded app icons, wider selection of wallpapers, etc). The software is the best Google is offering at the moment, offering snappy performance and smooth transitioning between apps. Plus, Google is giving Pixel XL buyers unlimited free cloud storage for photos for life.
On the other hand, Xiaomi Mi Note 2 runs the MIUI 8 system, which is based on last year's Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. The software has a number of cool features, such as Dual Apps, Quick Ball, Second Space and Scrolling Screenshots, among others. Despite the great features, the Mi Note 2 does not offer a virtual helper like Google Assistant, which is widely considered as the next frontier in smartphone software.
Google Pixel XL is for the early adopters who want the latest Android version and a taste of Google Assistant, while those who do not consider these a primary concern can wait for Xiaomi Mi Note 2.
Both Xiaomi Mi Note 2 and Google Pixel XL are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor; however, the Xiaomi model's chipset has primary cores running at 2.35GHz, compared to the 2.15GHz primary cores of Pixel XL. Moreover, while the Pixel handset comes with only 4GB RAM, Xiaomi offers buyers the option of going for either 4GB or 6GB RAM, depending on storage.
The base variant of Google Pixel XL comes with 32GB of inbuilt storage, while its top model has 128GB storage; both versions have 4GB RAM. Mi Note 2 buyers can either go for the 64GB + 4GB option or the 128GB + 6GB model. Neither smartphone supports microSD cards for storage expansion.
Google Pixel XL sports a 12.3-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) as well as laser autofocus, HDR+ support, 4K recording, and dual-tone, dual-LED flash. The only gripe some photography enthusiasts have with the camera of this smartphone the absence of Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), which is compensated with Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS); however, reviews have raved about the camera capabilities of the Pixel XL. The front camera of the smartphone has 8-megapixel resolution with f/2.4 aperture.
On the other hand, Xiaomi Mi Note 2's camera is an unknown quantity for everyone, as the device was unveiled just a few hours ago. The camera has a 22.56-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF and laser autofocus, HDR support, 4K recording and dual-tone, dual-LED flash, and Electronic Image Stabilisation. Its selfie camera has 8-megapixel resolution with f/2.0 aperture, meaning it may take slightly better photos in lowlight conditions.
If you are in the market for a smartphone that can handle all your photography demands, then you cannot go wrong with the Pixel XL.
Xiaomi Mi Note 2 has a 4070mAh battery, much bigger than the Pixel XL's 3450mAh capacity. The former supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 fast-charging technology, but Xiaomi has refused to provide charging time figures. On the other hand, Google relies on USB Power Delivery (PD) for fast charging, and Google says users can get 7 hours of battery life with 15 minutes of charging.
Google Pixel XL has an all-metal design with limited splash- and dust-resistance, powerful speakers, the latest software, and an AI-powered digital assistant. On the other hand, Xiaomi Mi Note 2 provides buyers with curved display on both sides, dual-SIM support, and relatively faster LTE speeds. Neither phone sports a stylus or an iris scanner, unlike the Galaxy Note 7.
When it comes to price, Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is a definite winner as it costs nearly 40 percent lesser than Google Pixel XL. The Xiaomi handset costs CNY 2,799 (roughly Rs. 28,000), CNY 3,299 (approximately Rs. 32,500) and CNY 3,499 (around Rs. 35,000) for the 64GB/4GB, 128GB/6GB, and 128GB+6GB Global Edition, respectively. On the other hand, Google Pixel XL's 32GB and 128GB models are priced at Rs. 67,000 and Rs. 76,000, respectively.
So go for the Xiaomi phone if you do not want to burn a hole in the pocket, while Pixel XL is perfect for those who do not consider money a criterion while deciding which smartphone to buy. We remind readers that our final judgement will have to wait for our complete review both phones.