Evaluating The Xiaomi Mi Note
This review looks at the Mi Note, the 2015 flagship smartphone from China’s Xiaomi. While not yet marked for official US release, the Mi Note was introduced during a press event in February at Xiaomi’s accessory store for the US market.
The Mi Note offers users premium hardware with a robust software experience. Take note of the Mi Note’s pro’s and con’s which we list below.
- Design: Uses 2.5D glass for the font and 3D glass in the back. The glass subtly curves along the edges in front with more pronounced curves found on its sides. The glass is held together by the frame which is metal with chamfered edges. There are two color versions of the Mi Note: white and black.
- Thickness: The Mi Note is a thin device, only around 7 mm thick.
- Dimensions: 155.1mm tall and 77.6 mm wide.
- Weight: 161 grams
- Display: The Mi Note has a 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with a 1080p resolution which gives it a pixel density of around 386 ppi. The display has good viewing angles and color saturation. While the default color settings of the phone are already good, the display’s color calibration settings are easy to use to adjust the level of contrast and warmth The brightness levels and outdoor visibility of the Mi Note’s display are also good. All in all, the Mi Notes display offers a good viewing experience whether you are watching videos, playing games or just browsing the web.
- Hardware: Has a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.5 GHz. This is backed by the Adreno 330 GPU with 3 GB of RAM. ‘The processing package is more than capable of supporting the phone’s functions. Overall performance is smooth and fast and the Mi Note can handle gaming functions comfortably.
- Connectivity: Usual suite of connectivity options, including 4G LTE. Also has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot Bluetooth 4.1 and GPS + GLONASS
- Storage: The Mi Note has two options for built-in storage. You can choose between 16 GB or 64 GB.
- Speaker: The speaker is bottom mounted. Good sound and can get loud.
- Battery: Uses a 3,000 mAh unit.
- Battery life: You can get approximately a day and a half of battery life or around 5 hours of screen-on time. Heavy usage, such as extensive gaming or photo taking, will drop the screen-on time to 4 hours, but the battery should still last the whole day. The Mi Note also has a good standby time with a loss of just 1-2 percent of batterylife overnight.
- Battery saving profiles: When put in this profile, Wi-Fi, data and other network functions are disabled. This helps to extend battery life. The Mi Note can be set to automatically go on battery saving mode when a specific percentage of battery life is hit.
- Camera: Has a 13 MP rear camera with optical image stabilization and dual tone LED flash. Simple to use with decent suite of features and modes. Allows the use of a variety of filters and also for the user to manually dial in the exposure. Has a refocus mode where a photo can be refocused even after it has been taken. Picture quality is good with great color for both indoor and outdoor shots. The front camera uses a 4 MP sensor and features a beautify mode that can enhance appearances by identifying age and gender.
- Software: The Mi Note runs on Android 4.4 Kitkat and uses Xiaomi’s MIUI interface. No Google Play Store automatically available but easy to down load and install.
- Has Hi-Fi audio which can improve audio quality when one is using headphones.
- Icons and wallpapers are colourful and look good on the display.
- Features a one-handed mode which is activated by swiping the home buttons outward. This shrinks the screen down from between 4.5 – 3.5 inches.
- Not easy to use one-handed because of thin bezels along the side
- Currently no support for US LTE brands.
- Because the back is glass, the black version of the phone could be prone to being smudgy or dirty and capturing fingerprints.
- Speakers on the bottom can be easily covered resulting in muffled sound
- Right now, not officially available in the US.
- Has no microSD so doesn’t have expandable storage
All in all, the Xiaomi Mi Note is a phone that is quite capable of standing up for itself in the US smartphone market. It is a solid and enjoyable device that we hope will soon be officially available in the US.
How does the Xiaomi Mi Note sound to you?