Xiaomi as a company have certainly grown in stature on our tech radar in recent months, especially after the launch of their current the Xiaomi Mi3 top-end device here in Taiwan (my current 5 inch smartphone of choice… more on that later), but also with the release of their first 5.5 inch phablet, the Redmi Note. We managed to get our hands on an early sample, and although we haven’t yet had the chance to put the Redmi Note through truly rigorous testing, we are extremely keen to share our first thoughts on the device with you today.
The Redmi Note is in many ways a larger version the company’s original 4.7 inch Redmi Smartphone (also known as the Xiaomi Hongmi) which has thus far become Xioami’s top selling model. The Redmi Note is a 5.5 inch phablet that packs a MediaTek 6592 Octacore Cortex-A7 processor and runs Xiaomi’s acclaimed MIUI 12.0 on Android 4.2.2. Let’s check out the specifications in more detail.
Xiaomi Redmi Note Specifications:
• 5.5-inch 720p display
• MediaTek 6592 Octacore Cortex-A7
• Mali GPU 450MP4
• 1/2GB RAM
• 8GB Internal Storage
• 3100mAh Battery
• 13MP rear camera
• 5MP front camera
• 199 grams
• 9.5mm thick
• MIUI 12.0 (based on Android 4.2.2)
Redemi Note: First Impressions
In terms of size, the Redmi Note is a phablet device that essentially similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but of course there are a few caveats to that statement; yes, the Galaxy Note 3 is noticeably slimmer and lighter than the Redmi Note, but when you consider that the Samsung device somewhere in the region of 600% more expensive, you are beginning to look at the Xiaomi device in the right perspective.
At 9.5mm thick, the Redmi Note does not look or feel so out of place compared to most 5.5 inch devices on the market. In terms of overall design, the Redmi looks good, the build quality is solid and it really feels good in the hand. To give you a more rounded impression of its overall appeal, we compared it directly to a selection of more expensive competing devices in the images below:
The Xiaomi MIUI: Simple and Classy
When you talk about a Xiaomi device, it is essential that you take a moment to enjoy the warm glow of their MIUI, which has to be one of the best Android implementations out there. I know this probably sounds hyperbolic in the extreme, but one really important reason the company has had so much success selling its hardware, is because of the fantastic job it done with the OS.
The slick and colorful UI arguably borrows a lot from Apple in places, and the real beauty is that Xiaomi offer an abundance of themes for you to try out and use for free. Check out the shots below from the default Redmi Note theme. The design sense and attention to detail is pretty impressive. If these devices eventually make their way to Europe or the US at some stage, end-users are going to be impressed.
The idea that Chinese hardware manufacturers are weak when it comes to software, will be blown away in the winds of change that follow Xiaomi in their wake. These guys really, really know what they’re doing.
If there is one area where you’d expect the Redmi Note to fall flat on its face, it’d be in terms of raw performance. Though our testing has not been as comprehensive as usual due us wanting to give you all an early Red Rice nibble, the results we are seeing prove that the device’s MediaTek octa-core processor should be more than capable of offering truly decent levels of performance.
In short we are blown away by the Redmi Note, in fact Sascha has now decided to elevate the device to now become his Phablet of choice and will accompany him on the road for the foreseeable future. That’s a real indicator of a decent phablet device. It will interesting to see how it holds up in terms of wear and tear in the weeks and months ahead.
The device is also a good indicator of how the low-end device segment is shaping up. In 2014, we are again seeing super aggressive price points, particularly from Chinese manufacturing, but the quality remains very impressive. The software is really top draw and overall Xiaomi are proving once again to be a disruptive force to reckoned with.