Exclusive: Xiaomi Mi3 Review

Xiaomi Mi3
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If you are planning to buy the Xiaomi Mi3 later this year then this is the review you have been waiting for! Read the complete, in-depth Nvidia Tegra 4 powered Xiaomi Mi3 review here!

To kick off the review this version of the Xiaomi Mi3 is a Nvidia Tegra 4 model which is designed to work on China Mobiles TD-SCDMA 3G network. As I am based in Spain 3G won’t work here, but GSM and Edge do. Also, this is a pre-production version of the Mi3 so I did come across a few bugs which hopefully won’t be present on the retail version.

Xiaomi Mi3 Unboxing and hands Video

For those of you who saw our Xiaomi Mi3 unboxing post a few days back you will have already seen the video below, but in case you missed it here it is again:

The first feelings are amazing, so fast and the menus and transitions work very well. There was some lag with the stock firmware, but updating to the latest weekly build system performace became much better. We did also experience some lag with the camera, but this is likely to be fixed with updates and might not even be present by the time the phone goes on sale.

Xiaomi Mi3 screen

The screen of this phone looks top quality, manufactured by Sharp, this 5 inches screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 allows a very clear picture. Screen brightness is intense and allows the phone to be seen in most situations without issue. Responseness is very good and follows your fingers when you touch it without any lag. Viewing angle are excellent and the screen can easily be read at almost any angle.

 

Xiaomi say that the display is ultra sensetive, and I can confirm it works with the tip of your finger even when wearing a glove or covered with a cloth.

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The display features Corning Gorilla Glass protection so you need not worry to much when using the phone as it should survive the odd knock and drop.

Xiaomi Mi3 camera

Many people asked me to throughly test the camera, I have done so but as the firmware isn’t running as it should (being a pre-production model) it did seem laggy  and some of the built-in features could not be fully used. Some of the effect filters are actually missing the filter, focus was an issue sometimes and panorama mode was slow. Again, this isn’t a production model and other Xiaomi phones we have used have not had these issues so we are going to put these issues down to it running a firmware which Xiaomi are not ready to launch with.

1080p Video Sample

720p Video Sample

The camera quality is very good and easily on par with rival phones. To avoid issues with the firmware though I took these sample photos at 10 mega-pixels rather than the full 13. Still the quality is very good and I think you will agree that the results are excellent. For the night photos I was able to use a 2 second exposure to capture even more light and create great photos.

Xiaomi Mi3 photo samples

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NOTE: Photos from Mojácar (Almería in Spain) icon smile Exclusive: Xiaomi Mi3 Review

Below are some screen shots of the MIUI camera interface. As you can see there are plenty of options to tweak photos how you like and create the perfect photo.

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Xiaomi Mi3 performance

As you will be aware Xiaomi will launch a few versions of the Mi3, an Nvidia Tegra 4 model and a Qualcomm Snapdrgaon 800 version. The Tegra 4 model is aimed purely at China Mobile customers and will launch soon, where as the Snapdragon 800 model will be for China Unicom’s 3G system. This is also the version of the phone those of you reading this will be most interested in also as it will work with most European 3G networks too.

As for performance both the Tegra 4 and S800 models are real powerhouses, however with this firmware I was unable to reach the Antutu Benchmaks Xiaomi have claimed from the phone.

Xiaomi Mi3 (Tegra 4) Antutu Benchmark

I published an Antutu result lower than 30.000 points but this was before the software upgrade, after that, the result was more than 35.000 points. Xiaomi claim a score of 37,000 so we can expect more from future updates.

Xiaomi Mi3 3D Mark

Ice Storm

I needed to run the Extreme version which uses FullHD resolution to make the GPU works harder as the basic version of the test just didn’t push the phone at all.

Ice Storm Extreme

Quadrant Standard Test

As with the 3D Mark in the normal version, this test is too weak for the phone and always shows the maximum result

GFXBench

This test makes the GPU works harder so I don’t know if will be better once the software is released as final version.

NenaMark2

As with the Quadrant Standard Test, the Nenamark2 benchmark doesn’t even make the Mi3 sweat so the average FPS was 59.9.

Xiaomi Mi3 Gaming video

Just to test, I donwloaded the Real Racing 3 and the result was good graphics with good speed, as you can see in the video, very smooth.

Xiaomi Mi3 software

As all the Xiaomi phones, Xiaomi Mi3, which is a very high customization of the Android system, it looks completely different from the base Android system. It has a very good quality level of details and makes some functions easier than in a normal Android, but I must criticize that Xiaomi must translate many things, some aplications still has Chinese menus and options, an almost all the online content of themes and apps from their market is in Chinese. But this is only a temp problem, because I’m sure they will solve it soon or later to “conquer” the mobile world.

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It has a great quantity of apps to make a easy experience and very comfortable than a standard Android version. It allows easy backups, restore them and control the root rights.

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The MIUI doesn’t include Play Store, but it comes with their own Market and it is very easy to install it, I will make a video showing the process, however the link below goes through the steps which are the same for all Xiaomi phones.

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General speaking, I like MIUI, but this review is more for the phone than software and I will postpone the MIUI review for another post.

Xiaomi Mi3 Design

The design of the Xiaomi Mi3 is one many love and many do not like. In photos it does look very similar to a Nokia Lumia, the similarities are less apparent when the phone is in your hand but they are still there.

Looking around the phone you will find the front facing camera above the 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display.

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The rear camera is located in the top left along with a powerful dual LED flash. The placing of the camera is a little close to the edge and care is needed to not get your finger in the way of the lens when taking photos. This is especially apparent when coming form a phone with a camera in the top center such as the Xiaomi Mi2S or Samsung Galaxy phones.

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The base of the phone houses the main speaker, a great location especially when the phone is lay on it’s back, however playing games can cause you to cover and muffle the sound. Next to the speaker we have a MicroUSB which is where you can move data, charge or use MHL (which is not functioning on this prototype).

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A  sim lives in a SIM tray at the top of the phone. It is great to see that Xiaomi have managed to keep the a normal size SIM rather than an Nano or Micro. The top is also where a 3.5mm headphone jack can be found.

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In the right side we have the power button and also the volume buttons.

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Below the screen we have the capacitative buttons, which are backlit.

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Conclusion

I want it! I have been thinking about which phone was the best option to replace my ageing Galaxy S3 and I believe I have found it with the Xiaomi Mi3. This phone is almost perfect and any issues can easily be solved with future firmware updates. My only issues is that the phone is just too powerful for my daily needs, and I might not do it justice!

The camera, even with this buggy version, makes a high quality photos, better than a normal phone and also, I’m sure that will work better once it is launched to the world. I want to test soon the Snapdragon version to see the performance and also to see the camera issues have been solved. So we must be with an eye on Xiaomi annunce (Gizchina will inform you, of course) to see when the Snapdragon version will be launched.

As I mentioned in the beginning, if you want to see a test, you can ask in the comments, I will try to collect as much as possible and prepare a new post.

Thanks to Powerplanetonline for sending us this phone for review!

[ Gizchina.es ]

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Lover of tech devices and all gadgets related to mobile and tv and a Linux user and supporter for a long time.

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  • Amit

    Can you let us know how to replace the battery of mi3?

    • http://www.xiaomiworld.com ym20011060

      MI3 Battery is non-removeavle, but Xiaomi has a ultrathin mobile power its capability is around 8000mAh.

      • http://6044310201 der

        What’s that? Can you elaborate a little bit more?

  • http://www.flaviosilva.com.br Flávio Silva

    I want it! And I have the same question about the battery. Could you tell us more details about that? Great review, congrats!

    • http://www.xiaomiworld.com ym20011060

      Battery is non-removeable, you can’t exchange . i suggested u buy a mobile power bank.

    • http://der der

      Damn this phone is BEAUTIFUL! And it runs like a true beast too, not even pulling a sweat on most benchmarks. Potential Nexus 5 challenger? I wish I can get those phone. Great review Gizchina!

  • Konged

    Thanks for great article, I hope they can iron out the firmware. But with Xiaomi they probably release on their support site real quick after launch.

    I think 37K scores may need some serious ROM optimisation and they probably done it in the lab and overclocked things a bit. Anything above 30K is probably reasonable as I went to see a Z1 the other day that I think is 800 Series. OK may be a few things running in the background etc, but it barely hit 30K. Hit 27.5K once.

    • debe

      Bro my Xiaomi mi2s with sd600 scores 28000+ on Antutu with something like 170 apps on it, no oc (closed kernel, no oc possible yet, not needed at all btw) so nothing weird, that z1 result is pretty odd

      • Sunshine

        Chinese phone makers, just like Samsung, are known for over clocking in benchmarks applications, so essentially they are faked…

  • anony

    No matter how many time I see it, this phone still looks ugly.

  • josejorge

    hey do you guys now a good place to preorder xiaomi mi3 snapdragon version?

  • Job_CF

    since it is made for the Chinese market I guess it is not WCDMA capable; making it useless in Europe and many other countries.

    • JoeSta

      The snapdragon 800 version is WCDMA capable.

  • srps

    How does the phone feel in the hand when compared with the Galaxy S3?

    The bezels are kinda big.

  • Tom

    How is the batterylife?

  • Tadas

    Can you tell about the speaker performance ? Bass ?
    And please tell what materials is main body made of ?

  • hoang vung

    Battery life+1

  • dhenny

    i need xiaomi phone…love at the first sight…very difficult send to indonesia…tax n customs

  • Stuart

    +1 for battery life

  • ajit

    which version will work in india

  • olivier

    Note 3 are fare better !!!

    • Paul

      And far more expensive!!! I am still wondering how can somebody really say that this phone is so much better than his ageing Samsung Galaxy S3 phone that was the best phone out there till S4 came out…

  • Paul

    Hi, can you recommend me a trusted web shop with clones?

  • munio

    Hi, can you recommend me a trusted web shop with clones?

  • ved

    can the tegra 4 version run on GSM sim ?? we have all GSM networks in india so if that is the case i will happy to buy it …

  • Jose Maria

    Hi Eduardo,

    Can you upload the untouched photo and video samples?

    Greets from Jaen (next to Eduardo’s town in Spain!)

    Saludos desde Jaen! España!

  • BenChina

    This phone looks amazing. My friends have the M2 and M2s and they’re both brilliant phones suffering no issues in 12 months, like I have with Huawei, HTC and ZTE ones.

    I’m moving to Shenzhen inn November so will be looking to find a Zhongguancun, Beijing equivalent to purchase one. I thought the 2499RMB 64GB price on Xiaomi’s site was a misprint as that’s just unbelievable value when you consider it’s over £300 in the UK for the S4 mini or HTC One Mini.

  • chaudharyashu13

    And when will the Snapdragon version will launch???And which version is compatible with Indian Network???And how can I buy Xiamoi MI3???On Xiamoi’s Site the Mobile sells out in a Minute…Plzzzzzz reply.

    • http://www.gizchina.com Andi

      Release date has not been announced for the S800. The only way you can buy it is through a reseller as Xiaomi are only officially in China, Taiwan and Hongkong for now.

      • TerrorSpawn

        Andi,

        Can you give us a website from a reseller that you trust? I really want this phone!

    • http://none harveen

      I ordered this phone, tegra4 yesterday. I just hope it works in India otherwise i just spent 20000 on a piece of brick….will get the phone within a week so lets c wat we have.

      • http://www.gizchina.com Andi

        It won’t work on 3G that’s 100% for sure

      • Nikhil

        Is this phone(TEGRA 4 VERSION) working in INDIA ON GSM BAND??? I’m buying it..I really want a proper confirmation.

  • Fran

    We can see Movistar in the photos. Does it work on Movistar net in Spain??? The Tegra 4 I mean.

    • http://www.gizchina.com Andi

      Only on GSM not 3G

      • sam

        hey andi i am confused about the gsm band that the tegra version is compatible with. could you simply tell me the gsm bands the tegra version is compatible with? im from pakistan and there is no 3g there. only 2g. tell me would the tegra version work with gsm band 850?

  • Neb

    1080p looks rather disappointing, yet your comment says it’s on par with rivals. Makes me wonder about the rest of review too…

    • Anonymous

      It suck it

    • loo

      Observe how jerkily the cars move, the video recording feature needs alot of improvement and at 1080, the quality is questionable!

  • Farukh Alandwale

    Phone’s specification seems to be very very good. The worry is only it is chineese….
    Please let us know when this will be available in INDIA or how to buy?

  • Dylan

    Does the mi3 have an notification led?

  • sam

    both the tegra 4 and snapdragon version are compatible with all gsm networks in india and pakistan.

  • Nithin

    Hi Andi,

    I’m Nithin from India (Bangalore). Need to know few things. Could you please confirm these for us:

    1. Which variant (Snapdragon or Nvidia) is good best performance?

    2. Which variant (Snapdragon or Nvidia) is good as for 4G (I think GSM) in India or other countries? Do they support 4G first of all?

    3. Do u have any other mobile better than this in your mind in an affordable price for a middle class guys?

    • http://www.gizchina.com Andi

      1. The Tegra 4 has the better benchmarks at the moment.
      2. Neither has 4G
      3. You could save money and waiting by buying a 32GB Xiaomi Mi2S, also I hear the Nexus 5 is headed ton India soon.

      • evarest1

        2months now. Wouldnt know if you still need this information. The two versions support 4G and are equipped with LTE. I live in China. The phone has no rivals now, be it iPhone or Samsung. But brand names with world outreach would always win the market share, at least, for now. But xiaomi is coming, indeed, something red is coming. I have never used any phone like this. It solves multiple wants and needs. Safe yourself of spending on tablets and ipads and galaxies. You don’t need all that with Mi3 snapdragon version, WCMDA. January 7th, 2014, they will make another major announcement.

  • felix

    hello,

    How do I buy it from India ?

  • sam

    hey andi will the tegra 4 mi3 be available in any china mobile branch?

  • Anonymous

    Where Xiaomi

  • kumite

    What about battery life????

  • naxop

    Photo quality is quite dissapointing

  • Андрей МАЛАХОВ