HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST -

The 5.7-inch Mi Note ph­ablet is a cut above the wal­let-friendly of­fer­ings Xiaomi has of­fered in the past, and its pre­mium de­sign, build and specs put it in the same league as flag­ships from other smart­phone giants.

The Mi Note has ar­ray of im­pres­sive fea­tures such as a 13MP Sony cam­era with OIS, 3,000mAh ca­pac­ity bat­tery, dual-nano and Mi­cro-SIM card tray slots, and an on­board ESS ES9018K2M stereo DAC (dig­i­tal-to-ana­log con­verter) which grants the ph­ablet loss­less au­dio play­back. Its me­tal frame shares re­sem­blance to the iPhone and Sam­sung Gal­axy smart­phones, but with curved glass wrap­ping the front and back.

If we look at bench­mark num­bers, the Mi Note mea­sures on par with the iPhone 6 Plus and even out­per­forms the iOS-based phone at graph­ics-pro­cess­ing and CPU tests with its Snap­dragon 801 chip. Same could be said for its rear cam­era – im­age qual­ity is very good, and ri­vals any other flag­ship phone out there. The op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion works well, and low light shots re­tain de­tail and sharp­ness.

One in­ter­est­ing fea­ture would be Xiaomi giv­ing plenty of care to the au­dio ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Mi Note. The dif­fer­ence be­tween the Mi Note and the iPhone 6 was read­ily ap­par­ent, when you use the Mi Note's high-res (24-bit/192kHz) au­dio player, paired with a de­cent pair of head­phones and 192-bit AAC mu­sic tracks. While the in­te­grated speak­ers are suf­fi­ciently loud and clear, the one-di­rec­tional qual­ity of the au­dio does make it less than ideal for land­scape movie watch­ing.

Laud­able qual­i­ties aside, the Mi Note sadly doesn't come with a mi­croSD card slot. We feel fine with miss­ing out on the 16GB ver­sion, since the An­droid-based MIUI 6 would leave it with barely 10GB left on a phone with no ex­ter­nal stor­age. De­spite how closely it re­sem­bles the iPhone 6 Plus, Xiaomi prob­a­bly should have left this An­droid ad­van­tage in the ph­ablet. Also, the Mi Note heats up con­sid­er­ably with ex­tended high-per­for­mance us­age, but that seems to be com­mon­place among An­droid- based de­vices.

The Mi Note is still an un­be­liev­ably good buy. Ig­nor­ing the ab­sence of an ex­pand­able stor­age, it has no other ma­jor kinks. At just RM1,549 for the 64GB ver­sion, it's pretty much a steal, given its build and per­for­mance.

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