XIAOMI REDMI NOTE
Phablet for the masses
Imagine the 4.7-inch Redmi smartphone in a 5.5-inch form factor and you get the Redmi Note. And while plastic continues to be the dominant material used in its construction, it has a glossy rear unlike the regular Redmi. Most of you should be familiar by now that this design attracts fingerprints and smudges like bees to honey, and does not provide as good a grip as one with a matte surface.
Also, one would think the use of plastic will keep the weight manageable, but the Redmi Note really needs to go on a diet. Tipping the scales at 199g, the Redmi Note is as heavy or even heftier than phones with bigger screens. In a class of devices that include the HTC Desire 816 and Huawei Honor 3X, the Redmi Note is considered very bulky. That said, we have to cut Xiaomi some slack as the Redmi Note isn’t meant to be a flagship or premium device that is thin and sleek.
Unlike the Redmi, the buttons on the Redmi Note now come with backlighting. You can disable the backlight under the Settings menu or set the duration (1,2, 5, 10, 20 seconds or always) it remains on.
At the rear, one finds a 13-megapixel camera and its accompanying LED flash. The rear cover can be removed although it will require some effort since there is no dedicated slit to leverage a fingernail in. Removing the rear cover gives you access to two normal-sized SIM card slots and a microSD memory card slot.
Both SIM card slots support data connectivity and dual-standby, but its operation works just like the smaller Redmi; the slot on the left supports up to 3G, while the right slot is rated for 2G. There is still no 4G LTE on the Redmi Note. Its memory card slot can support cards up to 32GB in capacity, which will come in handy as the Redmi
CONCLUSION The Redmi Note continues the tradition of best-in-class affordability, but user experience could be better.
Note has about 5.05GB of available storage space out of the box.
With a screen size of 5.5-inches, the Redmi Note has an unflattering pixel density of 267ppi. The 720p display may seem underwhelming or even unacceptable at first, but it would suffice for the average consumer. Considering that the display is generally the more expensive component of a mobile device, it is only logical that Xiaomi couldn’t fit in a premium display and still keep the Redmi Note at its price point. Moreover, a higher resolution display will have a negative impact on battery life and we believe most consumers will prefer a longer battery mileage.
Being in the same Redmi family, the Redmi Note currently runs on MIUI V5 OS based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The Redmi Note sold in Singapore and Malaysia is the enhanced model featuring a MediaTek MT6592 octa-core 1.7GHz processor and 2GB RAM.
Do 8 cores bring any improvement in the user experience? Unfortunately, it’s still not a smooth as expected. When running Asphalt 8: Airborne on the Redmi Note and HTC Desire 816, we found gaming experience on the Qualcomm Snapdragonpowered Desire to be a tad smoother than the Redmi Note.
The 13-megapixel rear camera has an aperture of f/2.2 and sports 28mm wide angle lens with a LED flash. As it doesn’t employ a backside illuminated (BSI) sensor like the Desire 816, the Redmi Note fares slightly worse in low light photography testing. Under normal lighting conditions though, image quality is generally good.
Equipped with a 3,100mAh battery, the Redmi Note lasted about 7 hours and 28 minutes in our battery test, but again, our Desire 816 with a smaller 2,600mAh battery, actually outlasted the Redmi Note by 37 minutes. Under real world conditions, we could use the device for 25 hours before the battery level dropped to 13%. Screen-on time was about close to 4.5 hours.
Still at just $199, it’s really easy to overlook these flaws. Its closest competitor, the Desire 816 has an SRP of $498. The Redmi Note is no doubt one of the most irresistible, value-for-money Android phablets you can get today.
The Redmi Note is rather thick at 9.5mm.