Xiaomi Mi Note hands on and first impressions


xiaomi mi note review

Want to see what we think of the latest flagship from Xiaomi? Keep reading for our first impressions of the Xiaomi Mi Note plus hands on video.

Early last week I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Xiaomi Mi Note for the first time. It was only a brief look and fondle, but it was long enough for me to be ultimately impressed with the flagship Xiaomi, and look forward to receiving my own.

Last evening the DHL courier dropped off my Xiaomi Mi Note and I quickly got in to the package, swapped my SIM and connected my Google account. It’s my phone now and I’m not letting it go.

Xiaomi Mi Note: Hands on and First Impressions

xiaomi mi note review

I’m sure not everyone is going to have the same “love at first sight” moment with the Mi Note as I have. For some the 5.7-inch display might put you off (although it isn’t that much larger than a 5.5-inch phone), and you might worry about the all glass body, but for me it’s an instant hit, well at least in the short time I’ve had with the phone.

xiaomi mi note review

The big surprise is the design and build quality of the Xiaomi Mi Note. I’ve been impressed with Xiaomi before, but alwasy for their specification:price ratio never their design. We saw a big update in build quality with the Mi4, and although a very good device, it wasn’t a phone I could ever really get along with.

xiaomi mi note review

The Mi Note is a different story. Pick it up for the first time and the first realise just how thin if feels. At 6.95mm it isn’t the thinnest phone on the market, but with a curved 3D glass design it doesn’t need to physically be the slimmest as it sure feels it.

The thickess of the Mi Note is optimal for any phone, we don’t need to see thinner phones with tiny batteries and no headphone jack, we need well designed and engineered devices, and that’s what Xiaomi are offering.

Read Also:  Xiaomi 11i and 11i HyperCharge get Android 12-based MIUI 13 update

xiaomi mi note review

The all alloy chassis is the next part of the design I noticed. If feels like a larger Vivo Xshot, only better made. It all looks very good, and as you can tell I am throughly impressed with the build, but I am also a little cautious of the implications a fall to the ground might make to all that glass on the rear.

Xiaomi wanted to prove they could make a premium phone and they certainly have left no doubt in my mind that they can. In the next few days I’ll see if the hardware matches the premium feel of the phone.

Xiaomi Mi Note Hands on Video

Xiaomi Mi Note Photo Gallery

It’s still early days with the Xiaomi Mi Note, but everything is looking rosy so far. I have been on the look out for a phone that will replace my ageing Vivo Xshot, and I think I may have finally found one!

Later today I will post some side by side photos with the Meizu MX4 Pro and Huawei Honor 6 Plus to give you an idea of the size of the 5.7-inch Mi Note.

The full Xiaomi Mi Note Review will be up in the coming weeks.

For those of you interested in buying the Xiaomi Mi Note, I got mine from HonorBuy.com who offer shipping from either China or Italy. Pricing for the 16GB White version I went for is $489.99.

Previous Xiaomi claims to have amassed 100 million MIUI users
Next Size Comparison: Mi Note vs MX4 Pro vs Honor 6 Plus vs Xshot vs Xplay 3S

43 Comments

  1. Miko
    February 13, 2015

    I enjoy watching Xiaomi, Meizu, 1+1 phones. Seems these companies keep getting better. I’m still far away from my next phone (I usually change phone every 2 years) but after my MX4 I will have, once more, to think really hard what to choose…. one thing I know for sure though, definitely getting something from Chinese market again. (unless ofc there is a dramatic change in mobile market until then).

    • balcobomber25
      February 13, 2015

      Wish I had your restraint I need a new phone every 6 months haha. The only good thing is I work for a Chinese OEM so I get free phones all the time.

  2. opus25
    February 13, 2015

    Andi thanks for the video. Any chance you can check how much RAM is used / is free after a restart? Looking forward to the full review as this could be a great phone – expecting great battery if it’s 1080p instead of the Pro’s 2k.

    • February 13, 2015

      Sure, mine is saying 2.1GB of RAM is available after restart.

      • opus25
        February 13, 2015

        Thank you. Sounds like there’s plenty of headroom for apps.

      • ansh
        March 23, 2015

        how much time are you going to take for a full review???
        over a month and a half has passed since your first hands on review..

  3. malifact
    February 13, 2015

    Hi Andi, I would appreciate it if you could cover in the review how the audio capability and sound signature of the Mi Note compares to the Meizu MX4 Pro and Vixo xPlay 3S. On paper the Mi Note has an impressive amplifier and DAC, but that means nothing if the tuning is off. Thanks in advance.

    • Barbara
      February 19, 2015

      ok I don’t know about “sound signature” but I ran the following test: I played Jason Derulo “Talk dirty” on amazon music on the note, and measured the dB at various distances playing at 100% volume. The sound was not distorted at all. Following were the measurements (made with an app on my daughter’s iPhone 6):
      – directly next to the Note: 80-85 dB
      – 1 meter away: 78 dB
      – 2 meters away: 70 dB
      I ran the Clash’s “should I stay or should I go”, and the measurement 1m away was 75 dB at full strength, and 70 dB at 50% volume.
      Hope this helps.

  4. Darevintage
    February 13, 2015

    Nice one Andy. They could’ve at least added a memory card slot. I really love the design and size of the phone. The trimmed edges really makes the OPO look silly. I wonder who will buy the monster ?. If Xiaomi would care to upgrade this, they should remember a card slot, NFC, I.R blaster and a 64 bit soc. Am I asking for too much? Lol

    • Sergei
      February 13, 2015

      It does actually. Instead using of 2 sim cards, you choose to use 1 sim card slot as a sd card slot

      Edit: Incorrect

      • Bogdan Botezatu
        February 13, 2015

        No, I don’t think it can be done. That is available for UMI Zero.

        • Sergei
          February 13, 2015

          It says so in the reviews, the english, the spanish and the Chinese one’s…

          Edit: Incorrect

          • Bogdan Botezatu
            February 13, 2015

            Haven’t noticed that. That’s great.
            Let’s ask Andi to check into that.

            • Sergei
              February 13, 2015

              I’m gonna get myself a 64GB version anyway coz I need the 2 sims slots.

            • Bogdan Botezatu
              February 13, 2015

              Can you post a link to a review where they test this feature, please?
              All that I found that it has dual sim, one of them beeing microsim.
              Maybe you got it all wrong.

            • Sergei
              February 13, 2015

              You’re right, they corrected the mistake and edited the text. My bad

  5. Muhammad Yasir
    February 13, 2015

    way waaayyy to overpriced!

    • Bailey
      February 13, 2015

      Where I usually buy my phones this is priced including packaging at £354.57 which I think is a good price for the quality of phone or maybe that’s just me

      • Ping
        February 15, 2015

        Where is that? Can’t find any place with that price.

        • Bailey
          February 16, 2015

          http://www.1949deal.com they are safe I have bought 5 phones from. I am using mi4 that I bought from to answer you

    • Dan
      February 18, 2015

      Extremely overpriced! The Xiaomi Mi2 with high end specs was only 1999 ¥. Nowadays Xiaomi reached the usual overrated pricelevel as Samsung and co.

      • Muhammad Yasir
        February 18, 2015

        thats the problem with established names like Xiaomi and Vivo , they’re over pricing their products and going down the SAME path that they originally started up AGAINST !

  6. Bailey
    February 13, 2015

    Thanks for this Andi I was really looking forward to see if this phone was good and it appears to be great build quality and worthy of costing a little bit more. I have the Mi4 which I am really enjoying but I have to say I am tempted to get the mi note in black

  7. MaxPower
    February 13, 2015

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and last time you enjoyed a Xiaomi phone was back to the MI2. You have been very critic with MI3 and MI4 so I wasn’t expecting this enthusiasm.I honesty wasn’t considering this phone at all but now this article is tickling me.

  8. liljohn
    February 13, 2015

    hi andi! please add redmi note to the side by side photos if possible, i need to know the difference in size, big thx in advance!

  9. JOrien
    February 14, 2015

    Dammit! I just bought the Mi 4 which is great but I really like the design of this mi note. It looks good.

  10. pedro
    February 14, 2015

    Very nice unit

  11. thoroc
    February 14, 2015

    What’s the connector? a proprietary version of USB2 ?

  12. Slav
    February 15, 2015

    Hi
    Can You check if You put both sim cards in the phone, both have access to same network speed?
    4g – 4g, 3g – 3g, 2g – 2g?
    In my note when I have to cards only one is working in high speed, second one is drop bandwidth level down.

  13. Bijaya Sharma
    February 16, 2015

    can u plz tell me about its battery life??

  14. Barbara
    February 17, 2015

    I just got my Note yesterday in Switzerland and love it (fast delivery through iBuyGou). It feels somehow lighter than the Mi4, probably due to the thin metal frame. The tactile experience is very nice. I made some side-by-side photos with the Mi4 (left picture in the series) and the Note (second picture). The pictures are straight snapshots with normal settings, no filters etc. The Note is truer to color. After putting on all my apps I ran antutu. The picture is attached.

    • Fuzz541
      February 17, 2015

      Really looking forward to some photos, NOT taken in gray skies China, especially compared to the Vivo XShot or another very good camera phone. Buying one or the other soon.

      • Barbara
        February 17, 2015

        Here is the same view as above (not in China, but Arosa Switzerland) but with full light. For your benefit I took one with my normal camera Sony RX100 III, and with the Note. Can you tell which is which?

        • Fuzz541
          February 17, 2015

          First is Xiaomi?

          Interesting, for whatever reason your first photos didn’t load when I first saw this. So the “richer” photos in your first series are the Mi4?

          Also, do you need a butler? I work for lift tickets.

          • Barbara
            February 18, 2015

            Ha, thanks for the offer.
            Correct, the first is xiaomi.
            In the first series, the first of each double was the Mi4, more yellow in the landscape picture, less definition in the candle picture and less precise focus point in the low-light newspaper picture.

            • Daniel
              February 18, 2015

              How much did you pay for customs duty. Zoll usw?

            • Barbara
              February 18, 2015

              This time round, nothing, it just came through ( ibuygou.com may have underdeclared the value, it arrives wrapped as a gift) . In past purchases from them the Zoll asked me for proof of purchase and then I emailed them the copy from PayPal and they sent me a bill (VAT 8 %).

        • Maciek Buczkowski
          February 18, 2015

          Really good picture quality. Did you try tu use RAW to see how the sensor actually works? There is Mi2Raw app so you can check if it’s the algorithm or it really is so good.

          • Barbara
            February 18, 2015

            I tried the app, but I couldn’t do anything with the huge file as I don’t Photoshop, so while the picture looked great on the phone, I couldn’t open it after uploading to my PC.

  15. Barbara
    February 17, 2015

    just put on some classical piano music, which is the hardest music to render naturally – wow, the sound is impressive.

  16. Maciek Buczkowski
    February 18, 2015

    I am really interested in sound quality and SOT battery. Looking forward to reading your full review of MiNote.

  17. Atef Elkhesion
    March 12, 2015

    Hi Andi , do you think this phone better than vivo xshot ?

  18. Venci
    May 3, 2015

    What happened to the full review? Coming soon or Mi note disappointed you?