XIAOMI MI NOTE
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.