Xiaomi Mi Note: First Impressions

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The Mi Note and the Mi Note Pro were announced, a month back, in China. These two devices occupy Xiaomi’s phablet range, a category that was kickstarted at the lower end with the Redmi Note. Samsung used this suffix to denote the inclusion of a stylus, but for Xiaomi, it means only one thing, a larger screened version of a similar device. The Mi Note is positioned as the larger screened variant of the current flagship device, Mi 4. With similar hardware and design, it certainly is a phablet variant of the flagship, but could it possibly be more than just that? We unboxed the device to find out.


By design, the Mi Note is supposed to look like a bigger Mi 4, which it certainly achieves, with similarly thin bezels and similarly curved corners. However, with a sensibly engineered curved glass back and thinner sides, the chunkiness of the Mi 4 has, thankfully, not been replicated here. Thankfully, because this is a large device and a better fit in the hands is very necessary.

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The curved back is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass, which might reduce the chances of serious damage, but in case a drop exceeds the threshold, you won’t escape with just a dent, that is for sure. Speaking of dents, the sides are made of metal, with the same finish as the Mi 4, so it looks quite nice. Moving back to the front, the display is protected by closely bonded gorilla glass, with a subtle 2.5D curve on its edges. The colours on the display look great, even in broad daylight, which bodes well for a flagship grade device.

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We forgot to mention this in the video, but the SIM slot on the left side of the device houses a dual SIM tray, with slots for a nano SIM and a micro SIM. However, this is the Chinese variant that we had imported, so it could be entirely different when it launches here in India. Internals and software are pretty much the same as the Mi 4, with a Snapdragon 801 chipset powering the phone and MIUI v6 providing the standard Mi experience. The only changes as far as hardware is concerned are in the camera department. The front facing camera on the Mi Note is the 4 MP Ultrapixel camera that comes with a 2 micron pixel size for better clarity in most conditions. The rear facing camera remains the same, sensor and lens-wise, but is now more stable in shaky conditions thanks to the OIS unit tagging along.

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The Mi Note is, instantly, a lot more desirable to me, than the Mi 4. That is purely because of the screen size. As a longtime phablet user, the 5.7 inch full HD screen with thin bezels is perfect and the curved back, along with the 6.95mm thickness, makes the experience a whole lot better. However nice it sounds, I too, like the rest of you, am going to wait for the final price (of the 64 GB version) when it launches here in India, and then take a call. Hopefully we wouldn’t need to wait long. That aside, we will be bringing you more information on the Mi Note, so keep checking the blog and the YouTube channel, and if you have any questions, even obvious ones, ask away in the comments section below.

Author: Bharadwaj Chandramouli

Bharadwaj is a content creator who has been obsessed with technology since the early days of smartphones. He loves talking about tech, is a fan of good design and photography. You can follow him on Twitter @gadgetbuff_ to know what he's upto!