Apple iPhone 6 Plus full review

We're very excited about the incoming Xiaomi Mi Note Pro. It looks like a staggering deal, pending an asssesment of the true price and a test of the device's true capabilities. Here we compare the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro with the iPhone 6 Plus, a similarly sized phablet. We have, of course, tested the Apple iPhone 6 Plus in a way that we haven't yet been able to with the rival Xiaomi. So by definition we can make no definitive statements: this is a comparison based on the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro's specs. Enjoy!

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: UK price and availability

The iPhone 6 Plus is easily available direct from Apple from £619 inc VAT with 16GB of storage, while the 64- and 128GB models will cost you £699 and £789 respectively. If you can't afford to buy the iPhone 6 Plus straight out then you will likely be tempted to pay a smaller amount upfront and get it on a contract. You will pay more in the long run this way, though.

Xiaomi's Mi Note Pro is not yet on sale in the UK, but it's expected at the end of March with a retail value of 3,299 yuan. A straight conversion is £353, making it a lot cheaper than the iPhone 6 Plus, although it'll probably cost a little more over here - remember we have to factor in 20 percent VAT, and the cost of localising for a small population and a strong currency. Oppomart is already listing the Mi Note Pro for $599, which equates to £399. Don't be surprised if the final price is closer to £450 inc VAT. Still, much cheaper than the iPhone. If cost is your primary consideration, the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro is the better bet. See also: iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison review.

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: Display

The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro is a phablet with a 5.7in screen. That display has a Quad HD (2560x1440) resolution, resulting in a staggering pixel density of 515ppi. Xiaomi opts for Sharp/JDI's IPS LCD tech in its display. It should be a brilliant screen. The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5in, 1920x1080 IPS multitouch panel that has a pixel density of 401ppi and it definitely is a brilliant screen.

But on specs alone the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro has a bigger, and sharper display. (See also: Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comparison.)

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: Design and build

The Note Pro is built around a sturdy metal frame, with a 2.5D glass front and 3D glass rear that should give it a premium feel. The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro is thin and light. Surprisingly so. It measures 77.6x6.95x155.1mm and weighs 161g.

By contrast the 77.8x7.1x158.1mm, 172g iPhone 6 Plus is famously big for a smartphone. Put it next to the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro, however, and we suspect you wouldn't notice too great a difference. With a big screen comes a big handset. The iPhone is the bigger, so if you want small go for the Xiaomi. What Apple always offers, however, is excellent build quality. The iPhone 6 Plus is a beautifully put together phone. The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro will have to work hard to beat it on that factor alone.

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: Processor, memory and performance

Although we've yet to run our benchmarks on the Mi Note Pro we can be pretty sure its Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip will be a speed demon. Clocked at 2GHz, this 64-bit octa-core processor is paired with Adreno 430 graphics and 4GB of RAM.

The iPhone 6 Plus uses the Apple A8 processor and M8 motion coprocessor, paired with 1GB RAM. It turns in storming benchmark results to match its excellent performance: In Geekbench 3's multicore test the iPhone 6 Plus scored an excellent 2917 points. It was fast in SunSpider, too, with a blink and you'll miss it 369ms. And in GFXBench the iPhone 6 Plus scored a fantastic 18.7- in the onscreen Manhattan and 41.1fps in the onscreen T-Rex tests.

This one is impossible to score. We expect the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro to be a top performer, but without testing we can't tell whether it will best the superfast iPhone 6 Plus. Suffice to say that both of these will be fast handsets. (See also: What's the fastest smartphone 2015 UK?)

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: Storage

In terms of storage the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro has 64GB as standard, and no expandable storage. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with either 16-, 64- or 128GB built in, and also has no microSD slot to add more. For versatility we would hand that one to the iPhone.

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: Connectivity and extras

Xiaomi has an ace up its sleeve with dual-SIM support, which is becoming increasingly popular - in particular with people who travel regularly for work. The Mi Note Pro accepts a nano- and a Micro-SIM, and supports 4G connectivity.

According to GSMArena you'll find Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band ac Wi-Fi in the Mi Note Pro, but other connectivity specs are to be confirmed.

The iPhone also features the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi and NFC (for use with Apple Pay), while 4G connectivity is a given. Bluetooth 4.0 is present.

We reckon the dual-SIM slot is a big win for the Xiaomi. Otherwise, it's a score draw.

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: Cameras

It's impossible to say which is the better camera without testing them. Around the back Xiaomi specifies a 13Mp camera, with optical image stabilisation. The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro's video camera maxes out at 1080p full-HD. Around the front the Mi Note Pro has a 4Mp camera with large 2-micron pixels.

The iPhone 6 Plus' 8Mp iSight (rear) camera specifies large 1.5-micron pixels and an f/2.2 aperture. The improved image signal processor in the new A8 chip means 'Focus Pixels' can provide the sensor with more information about a scene, allowing for a faster and improved autofocus. There's also improved face detection, exposure control, auto- and optical image stabilisation and a panorama mode. The 6 Plus' video recording is pretty good, too, with support for full-HD (1080p) at 60fps, slo-mo at 240fps, time-lapse video, continuous autofocus and cinematic video stabilisation.

We know that the iPhone 6 Plus has a good camera. And we hope that the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro does too.

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: Software

The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro runs Xiaomi's MIU 6 software, which is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with iOS 8. We like the latest version of Android a great deal, and presuming that Xiaomi doesn't mess up the interface too much, and allows full access to Google Play, there isn't much difference between the two. Android vs iOS is really a matter of personal choice.

iOS offers the ultimate in secure, curated computing. A locked-down world in which you know that every app and piece of media will work well - because it has been approved by Apple. Android is a little rougher around the edges, but comes with the advantage that you can purchase music and movies wherever you like, and if you already use Google for webmail, search or calender the tools come baked in. Really, it is impossible to pick a winner these days.

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison: Verdict

With a low price, dual-SIM capability and truly fast hardware, Xiaomi's Mi Note Pro is a seriously impressive proposition. But the iPhone 6 Plus is a seriously good phablet too. We can't wait to get the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro into our lab and take a proper look. If you are in no rush to buy, it could turn out to be an amazing bargain.


Apple iPhone 6 Plus: Specs

  • A8 processor chip with 64bit architecture and M8 co-processor
  • 5.5-inch 'Retina HD' screen with resolution of 1920 x 1080, pixel density of 401ppi and 1300:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • Rear-facing camera ('New iSight camera') with 8Mp photos, ƒ/2.2, optical image stabilisation and 1080p video recording
  • Front-facing ('FaceTime' camera) with 1.2Mp photos, ƒ/2.2, 720p video recording and burst mode
  • 16GB/64GB/128GB storage
  • Lightning connector
  • Touch ID fingerprint scanner
  • 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm
  • 172g