Mi Note: Xiaomi’s most stunning smartphone is now in Malaysia

Mi Note launch
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It’s been an incredible journey for China upstart Xiaomi, rapidly growing to become a household name in its home country. As it gradually spreads its wings across South East Asia, the internet company has built an almost cult-like fan base. In the first half of 2015, it has shipped over 34.7 million devices. An impressive feat indeed. Closer to home, Malaysian fans have already been exposed to six mobile devices in a span of a year. Well the good news is that, it isn’t stopping there. Here comes the next: Mi Note, Xiaomi’s latest premium flagship phablet.

Make no mistake, Xiaomi wants you to choose the Mi Note over the iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Note 4, two pricier flagships that it compares itself with.

The Mi Note is a stunning device with a 5.7-inch Full HD QHD LCD display (386PPI) sourced from Sharp/JDI.

Xiaomi’s most beautiful

Its beautiful exterior is wrapped in 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass, with a reassuring metal frame. Compared to an iPhone 6 Plus, it’s actually slightly smaller in overall dimensions despite having a bigger 5.7-inch display. This is thanks to a thinner bezel. The Mi Note measures just 6.95mm thin and weighs a scant 161g.

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Mi Note launch
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Powering the device is the slightly older, Krait-class quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip mated to an Adreno 330 GPU and whopping 3GB LPDDR3 RAM. In terms of storage, Xiaomi has made the right decision of sticking a large 64GB eMMC into the device. No expandable memory though.

Xiaomi has fitted a large 3,000mAh battery that comes with Quick Charge 2.0 (up to 4.4V), which charges up to 75% in just an hour. That’s 75% faster than conventional charge methods, though not as fast as OPPO’s VOOC or Samsung’s Fast Charging seen on the S6/S6 Plus.

The Mi Note is a dual-4G LTE, dual-standby device, taking both nano and micro-SIM.

Great snapper

Xiaomi touts the Mi Note’s camera – a 13MP Sony IMX214 (2nd generation) camera f/2.0 with OIS. It also get a two-tone flash and some fancy software modes including manual mode, 32-second exposure, night more and HDR.

The front module is a 4MP unit with large 2-micron pixels, perfect for selfies. This seems to follow HTC and Apple’s ideology in terms of cameras, opting for bigger pixel sizes as opposed to megapixels. From sample photos, both cameras look impressive.

Sounds good

The next big trick up the Mi Note’s sleeve is in the audio department. Hi-resolution audio isn’t a common feature in mobile phones, aside from a couple of Sony Xperia flagships and the recent vivo MX5 Pro. In fact, audio tends to be largely ignored in mobile phones.

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The Mi Note, however, gets a professional grade DAC in the form of an ESS chip, the best in the market for mobile. A dedicated audio decoder is a big thing if you love music and appreciate detailed sound. There’s also a two-stage op amp to reduce distortion. With the hardware, the Mi Note supports high-res lossless audio playback – 24-bit/192kHz. Throw it high-definition formats like FLAC, DSD, APE and more.

The Mi Note runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat out of the box with the latest MIUI v6. Disappointingly no Lollipop love unlike the smaller Mi 4i.

Pricing and availability

The Mi Note goes on sale from 28 July 2015 for RM1,549 and will be available in White colour only. You’ll be able to get a device from mi.com/my.

Digi, Celcom and U Mobile are supporting telco partners and will be offering the Mi Note in the coming weeks.

Quick hands-on impressions to come.

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