(Pocket-lint) - With Huawei a little out of the picture in 2020, Samsung's primary competition in the world of Android phones has to come from elsewhere. Two of the year's best flagships take the form of Xiaomi's Mi 10 Pro and the OnePlus 8 Pro. Both bear striking similarities to one another, but there's each has its unique features.
That begs the question: which phone is best? With both offering similar features and design, is there an advantage to either? Find out below.
- Xiaomi: 162.5 x 74.8 x 9mm
- OnePlus: 165.3 x 74.4 x 8.5mm
- Xiaomi: 208g
- OnePlus: 199g
- Xiaomi: Alpine White and Solstace Grey
- OnePlus: Glacial Green, Ultramarine Blue, Onyx Black
Looking at the two phones side by side, and you'll notice there's very little difference in terms of materials and styling. At least, when you ignore the camera housing design on the back.
Both phones feature curved glass on the front and the back, but even when you look at the radius and steepness of those curves, they both seem exacly the same. Even the metal edges feature the same ramps up to the corners. Both are also available with that same, glorious frosted matte glass finish on the back, although they're different colours. The displays on the front both have that hole-punch camera in the top corner too.
Size-wise, there's some difference. Xiaomi's phone is slightly shorter and very slightly wider and thicker, plus, it weighs a teensy bit more. Saying that, there's very little in it. They feel similar in the hand, and both are quite large devices.
OnePlus has IP68 rated water and dust resistance, which means it can survive being submerged in water for about 30 minutes, providing the water is relatively shallow. Xiaomi doesn't have an IP-rating.
Both are available in a few different colours. Xiaomi has a white model and a navy-looking colour, while OnePlus' two primary options are the glossy Onyx Black and the frosted Glacial Green. In some markets, OnePlus even has a rainbow coloured gradient finish and the vivid Ultramarine Blue.
While there are different button and port layouts, there's not a lot separating the two phones here. Both look and feel like proper flagship phones.
- Xiaomi: 6.67-inch Super AMOLED fullHD+ panel
- OnePlus: 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED QHD+ panel
- Xiaomi: 90Hz refresh rate
- OnePlus: 120Hz refresh rate
There's one winner here when it comes to display performance, and that's OnePlus. Although, even that feature isn't so massively better than its competitor that you shouldn't consider the Xiaomi. Both panels look great.
Watching Netflix or any other video delivers great colours, brightness and dynamic range. Where you notice the difference is when looking at the fine details like text, or the round edges of small icons on the screen. OnePlus' display is noticeably sharper than Xiaomi's, and with its 120Hz refresh rate, it's able to produce more frames per second too.
That second factor isn't quite as clear to see. The difference between Xiaomi's 90Hz panel and OnePlus' 120Hz isn't easily visible with the naked eye. What's more, there's very little content available that's even produced to max out those refresh rates.
Both phones use AMOLED technology, and that means you get bright, vivid colours and really dark inky blacks. Similarly, both manufacturers offer callibration options within the settings so that you can make them more natural, or adjust the colour temperature to suit your preferences. At arm's length, it's difficult to tell the two apart, but OnePlus' is the better one here.
Hardware, performance and battery
- Xiaomi: Snapdragon 865, 8GB/12GB RAM
- OnePlus: Snapdragon 865, 8GB/12GB RAM
- Xiaomi: 256GB or 512GB UFS 3.0 storage
- OnePlus: 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.0 storage
- Xiaomi: 4,500mAh battery + 50W wired/30W wireless charging
- OnePlus: 4,510mAh battery + 30W wired/wireless charging
Like the displays, you're going to get very similar overall performance from the two phones. Both devices use the same Snapdragon processor and even come with the same amount of RAM. You can have either 8GB or 12GB on either phone, but Xiaomi is more generous with storage capacity. It offers double the storage, and both use super fast UFS 3.0 flash storage.
When loading up apps or games, both phones are quick and responsive. Even comparing the two when scrolling through menus of the phone or switching between layers of the interface, the two devices are similarly snappy. It's clear then that when it comes to day-to-day speed, you could pick either of these two phones and be very happy.
It's a similar story with battery life. There's only 10mAh difference between the two batteries. We found that in daily usage we got to the end of a standard day with about 30-40 per cent left over on both phones.
Charging speeds are quite different though. Xiaomi's phone can charge at 50W speeds using its own proprietary fast-charging tech, while OnePlus uses a 30W Warp Charge tech. That difference is very noticeable when comparing the first 20-30 minutes of charging a completely empty battery. Both feature wireless charging, and both offer their own 30W wireless charging speeds, so they're the same in that regard.
- Xiaomi: 108MP f/1.7 primary camera (pixel bins to 25MP)
- 12MP f/2.0 telephoto with 2x optical zoom
- 8MP f/2.0 telphoto with 3.7x optical zoom/5x hybrid
- 20MP f/2.2 utrawide
- OnePlus: 48MP f/1.8 primary camera (pixel bins to 12MP)
- 8MP f/2.4 telephoto 3x optical zoom
- 48MP f/2.2 ultra wide camera (plus macro mode)
- 5MP f/2.4 colour filter
It's 2020 and that means both these flagship phones have multiple cameras on the back, but the makeup is different. Xiaomi has two telephoto zoom cameras alongside its primary and ultra-wide lenses. OnePlus has opted for an unusual colour filter camera which takes some intriguing shots, especially of IR-transparent materials, but is mostly just a gimmick.
Results from the OnePlus cameras are a little less vivid and colourful than Xiaomi's. In fact, we really like the HDR results from the Mi 10 Pro, particularly from the ultra-wide camera. Add that to the fact that it can zoom further without losing lots of detail with its 3.7x optical zoom and you have a camera system that's a little better than the 8 Pro's, in our opinion.
Which ever you go for, you'll get results that are great, and if you want a more natural look in your photos, OnePlus' might be the better one for you here.
- Xiaomi: MIUI based on Android 10
- OnePlus: Oxygen OS based on Android 10
Both phones might have software built on top of Android 10, but the two interfaces and approaches to software couldn't be a lot more difference. Xiaomi's launcher is more like the iPhone, with its endless sea of app icons on the home screens. There's no app drawer and no way to enable one (at least not in the version of software we've been testing).
Similarly, Xiaomi has added a number of duplicate apps and bloatware, to make the software feel anything like minimal and light. OnePlus has a different approach. Oxygen OS is so-called because of its lightweight and speedy design.
On surface level, Oxygen OS looks a lot like clean, pure Android, and acts like it, except OnePlus also has a number of ways to customise its appearance. You can change the theme to alter accent colours, icon shapes, quick settings icon styles and more. A lot of its standard apps are Google's own, but it does use a few of its own too.
When comparing the phones in their entirety, we think the OnePlus is the better buy for most people. We prefer the cleaner, lighter approach to software, and the display is better than Xiaomi's. Plus, it's a much easier phone to get hold of in most markets. Xiaomi has arguably better cameras, with more vivid colours and versatile shooting modes, and charges faster.
OnePlus has one of the best displays on the market though, and is quick to release software updates throughout the lifetime of its phones. What's more, it's available from number of different carriers and phone retailers. Xiaomi doesn't have too many partners in a lot of countries within Europe or the US just yet.