When we order an expensive steak in a restaurant, we would expect that the first morsel would be succulent, juicy and, overall, an awesome experience.
It’s natural for the price of a product to commensurate with its quality but when it comes to the realm of mobile phones my thoughts it’s that many of the premium offerings are priced in a zone where there are little to no benefits for getting a flagship.
Enter the Xiaomi Note. Not only is this the best mobile phone that I’ve used so far, it’s also the best bang for buck device that you can possibly get in the market.
Awesome and affordable need not be mutually-exclusive
Having used the RedMi Note, I was initially skeptical on how well the Xiaomi Note would actually fare. The RedMi Note experience wasn’t great and pays heed to the phrase “what you pay is what you get” but the moment I held the Mi Note in my hand, I knew that it wouldn’t be an episode of deja vu.
The stunning part of how amazing the Mi Note is simply how it looks. It’s finish is eye catching and I’ve been remarked many an occasion if the phone was a Samsung or some other high end device. To the uninitiated, the Mi Note looks extremely snazzy. The phone sports an exquisite finish all around the phone and despite being in my pocket with no cover on, I wasn’t able to find any scratches on it 4 weeks on.
The back of the phone is a curved glass that reminds me exactly how a Sony Z device feels in my hand. The back is a single piece of Gorilla Glass, and probably the most usage of glass that you’d find on any phone surface in the market right now. It’s still not fingerprint proof but once again scratch proof.
After an intense few weeks of use, the glass held up extremely well and despite it scooting a fair bit around the table and in my bag it still looks good as new.
Power under the hood
The greatest strength the Mi Note has is its insane battery life. As with my other reviews, I’ve mentioned that my useage of phones is rather intense but the Mi Note had been nothing but stellar thus far.
I’ve been able to squeeze out so much battery from the device that I found it hard to believe that the phone actually only has a 3000 mah non removable battery within. It had probably got to do with the software within the phone. Nothing can keep this beast down. From anecdotal real life heavy usage, you’d probably leave home with a fully charged phone and reach home with plenty more left to spare.
As with all Xiaomi phones, the Mi Note comes with a dual sim slot and having travelled with the phone for a week overseas it was good to be able to tweak your data settings to allow only specific apps to access mobile data. Great if you have bought a mobile plan with a travel data cap.
Without going into how deep the Mi Note software offers, if you can think of feature that you would like to toggle, you can probably do it in the phone. From settings to how well the default apps have been designed and improved since my last dance with Xiaomi, the brand certainly has come a long way. I’m still not a fan of the iOS esque design but it gets the job done.
A fair warning would be the take it easy with the customisation via the theme store. While it might be tempting to tailor very thing to your tastes, there seems to be a lack of an approval system as some poor themes exist in the store. I’m kind of reminded how my old jailbroken iOS store looked like with plenty of Ferrari skins for the phone.
Picture (almost) perfect
Mobile phone cameras have come a long way and with the Mi Note a quality lens has been afforded in the device. While it’s hard to take a bad shot in daylight, the camera does well for low light situations. However, the front facing camera could do with some improvement. Avoid taking those clubbing selfies if you can help it.
Here are some test shots for you to judge for yourself. At the price that you are paying, you’d be getting incredible value for money with the 13MP Sony f/2.o camera.
The supplied camera software is amazing as well and I found that the only thing that I really missed was being able to gesture to take a selfie.
Double tap to take a picture on the focus point, this Mi Note has it!
Available at S$569 without any funny scarcity marketing the Mi Note is my favourite phone that I’ve reviewed thus far. The future for Android phones is looking bright for both the user and the wallet. While we wait for the next major mobile phone breakthrough, the Mi Note will be your best companion till the next jump. The price is just the extra sweetener to such a pretty package.