Xiaomi Mi Note Review: get the standard not the Pro


xiaomi mi note

The Xiaomi Mi Note has been my daily driver for the past few months and I honestly see no reason to replace these beast of a phone. Here is my full Xiaomi Mi note review.

Over the past few months I have ran a standard, white, 16GB Xiaomi Mi Note as my daily driver. Only when the LeTV Le 1 (LeTV Le1 review here) arrived did I deviate from the premier Xiaomi phone, but even then (now) I continue to carry both with me at all times.

Xiaomi Mi Note Standard or Pro?

When Xiaomi launched the Mi Note they announced the standard edition Mi Note with 3GB RAM, 1080 display and Snapdragon 801 chip, and the Pro model with a 2K display, 4GB RAM and Snapdragon 810 chipset.

The SD801 model was the first to ship but some fans opted to wait for the Mi Note Pro to become available. A decision many people have regretted due to the continued overheating and performance issues of the more modern SD810 processor.

Xiaomi Mi Note Review: First impressions

Xiaomi Mi Note Review: Design and build

There was a lot of criticism when Xiaomi decided to release a smartphone costing more than their usual RRP, but that extra cost has gone purely into better materials and a higher standard of build quality. Compared to other phones I have used this year, the Mi Note still remains the best built phone of the year (at least in my mind).

xiaomi mi note

Not only does the Xiaomi Mi Note boast the largest display of any current Xiaomi phone, it also sports the narrowest screen bezels of any Mi phone, it’s the only Xiaomi with glass front and rear and has the thinnest build too.

xiaomi mi note

It’s not just on paper where the Xiaomi Mi Note looks and feels premium though, the quality really shines when you first pick the phone up and handle it too. It feels thin and extremely well made. Even with a 5.7-inch display it doesn’t feel much larger than some 5.5-inch phones currently on sale (only slight wider and longer than the LeTV Le 1).

xiaomi mi note

The all glass and alloy construction means that the Mi Note really does ooze quality, but the glossy curved rear panel can also cause a few scares when you first use the phone. Place the Mi Note on a surface that isn’t completely flat and the phone will slip away on its own. Thankfully the only tumble my phone has had is on to my Macbook Pro and its the Macbook that came away with a dent.

Xiaomi Mi Note Review: Hardware

The processor in the Xiaomi Mi Note is last years Snapdragon 801, the phone ‘only’ has 3GB RAM, and the main camera is the same 13 mega-pixel Sony IMX214 camera that Elephone and Ulefone use on their phones. To top it off there is a 1080 display too. These specs are pretty much the same as the flagships of 2014, and that’s all fine by me as it all works flawlessly together!

The Snapdragon 801 is still an amazing processor, with killer performance and super fast GPS. To use a well optimised SD 801 phone and complain about performance is just totally unheard of. The same can’t be said about the newer Snapdragon 810 (and 615).

I might be used to using phones with 4GB RAM, but you don’t really feel the difference when going to a 3GB RAM phone, and a 1080 display is not an issue when the screen looks as good as the one Xiaomi are using.

xiaomi mi note

The Sony IMX214 might be the same camera that Elephone and Ulefone are now using, but it is also the same camera that OnePlus and Vivo used on their flagships last year. It remains the top choice as manufacturers are able to correctly optimise the sensor and get the most out of it. The same cannot be said about the 20.7 mega-pixel Sony IMX220 found in some phones.

Usually there is one point that might let down a phone but the only hardware complaint I have about the Xiaomi Mi Note is the lack of SD card memory expansion. With that said though I do have all my apps on my phone plus 957 photos and a little music with just under 1GB to spare. I could probably save some space if I cleaned up the junk photos, and downloads I have and have closer to 2GB left. So an SD card slot would be nice, but I haven’t felt the need for it yet.

Xiaomi Mi Note Review: Camera

Having owned the Xiaomi Mi Note for such a long time I have had ample time to test the camera in all situations and find it to be a stunning shooter. In MIUI V6 on the Mi Note the camera app comes fully equipped with a whole host of features, one of those being HDR (available in Auto, Enhanced, Live or Off). Generally I would choose to shoot a photo in normal and HDR and choose the best, but on the Mi Note I have been taking all my photos with HDR Auto.

Read Also:  Xiaomi is set to discontinue the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

The speed of capturing photos in HDR Auto is still very fast and you aren’t likely to miss a shot due to slower save times (present in earlier phones with HDR) and the results of using HDR on the Mi Note are simply stunning.

I could go on to praise the camera on the Mi Note, but I’ll simply say that the camera performs better than the Vivo Xshot, is amazingly fast and currently the only phone I own which is a close match in performance is the LeTV Le 1.

Xiaomi Mi Note Photo Samples

Xiaomi Mi Note Review: MIUI V6

Xiaomi ship MIUI Version 6 on all their current phones, but although they have the same version number they don’t all offer the same features. On the Xiaomi Mi Note for example there are a lot more camera features available than say the MI4i or Redmi 2.

Overall though the features and general usage is the same as MIUI on any modern Xiaomi phone. It is feature packed and easy to use. The system also runs exceptionally well on the Snapdragon 801 with 3GB RAM, with instantaneous app loading.

Is there anything to complain about? Well personally no, but some of you might not be happy buying a flagship phone that still runs Android 4.4.4 Kitkat when most phones are coming with Android 5.0 Lollipop. In reality though this Kitkat version of MIUI V6 has every feature that I could want, and runs as fast as lightning. In comparison the Xiaomi Mi 4i has Lollipop based MIUI on a 64bit Snapdragon 615 chip and we all know how badly that turned out.

Xiaomi Mi Note Review: Performance

I’ve changed the format of this review and clumped many different features under performance as I believe they all affect the useability of the phone in different ways and the “performance of the phone as a whole.

Performance in terms of speed of the phone doesn’t really need to be remarked upon. The Mi Note (remember this is the standard version of the phone) is a fast beast by anyones standards, plus it doesn’t suffer the overheating issues of the Pro version.

Battery life is very good too. I am easily able to get through a day and a half of heavy use and 2 days of light use. Obviously different activities will run the battery down quicker so take your USB wire and charger if you plan to navigate using Google Maps and LTE for a couple of hours as this will eat your power. A typical day for me will see the Mi Note running LTE, GPS and WIFI all the time, with the display on 3/4 brightness, with a 2 hour bike ride streaming music and Strava collecting data.

As you can see from my use of Strava and Google Maps I’ve also used the GPS a lot and found ti to be fast and accurate and not easily confused with in city centres. This is one area that Qualcomm always do well on.

Call quality is perfect, with calls sounding crystal clear and no dropped calls. LTE and WIFI signal strength have also been nothing for me to comment on or worry about.

And finally Audio. Audio is much better than any previous Xiaomi both through the large external speaker in the base and through headphones. I would say that the LeTV Le1 is better overall for audio, but there is very little to distinguish the two.

Xiaomi Mi Note Review: Conclusion

xiaomi mi note

With the exception of the extremely slippery back there is nothing to complain about with the Xiaomi Mi Note in my experience. There was a bug in an earlier version of Gmail which would close the app when trying to view mail from all your mail boxes but this has now been fixed, so the Mi Note get’s an all clear.

Speed and performance is what you would expect from a flagship phone. Even if the Pro version of the phone performed well and didn’t overheat I would still recommend you to go for this version as the Snapdragon 801 with 3GB RAM is still a potent power plan.

Camera performance is incredible, Audio is very good, and the stability and overall usability of the phone is just what the price would suggest. The Xiaomi Mi Note is a premium flagship device.

You can buy the white version of the Xiaomi Mi Note from the GizChina shop for $374.99 or the black or bamboo version for $379.99. There is even a pink version of the phone available to should you fancy it.

So should you buy the Xiaomi Mi Note? Well this is a little more tricky. In my opinion the LeTV Le1 boasts equal performance, almost equal camera performance and equally good battery life for only $314.99, but if it is build quality and design that you want then the Xiaomi Mi Note is certainly worth buying (just keep clear of the Pro version).

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199 Comments

  1. Muhammad Yasir
    July 18, 2015

    wait wait wait…. WHAT ON EARTH DID THE geeks at XIAOMI DO WITH THAT IMX 214 ?!
    A/c to OP , it OUTPERFORMS THE VIVO XSHOT !
    HOLY **** !

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      I don’t want to go full nerd on you but basically every digital camera sensor works based on algorithms that create a full color image by converting light and color samples from the sensor. A good engineer can work on and improve these algorithms to get better results from the same sensor. It’s the same reason that different camera apps can have much better results than the stock app. The stock app usually uses the default sensors algorithm to process the raw data into a picture. Alternate apps use more advanced algorithms which can result in cleared more detailed pictures. It’s basically what Meizu did with the Mx5 this year, instead of using a new sensor they took the existing one for the MX4, gave it a new 6p lens and figured out how to get the best possible pictures out of it. This is one of the few phones I would actually prefer using the stock app with.

  2. Zami
    July 18, 2015

    Can anyone clarify that which phone has a better camera , Mi Note or Honor 6 Plus .

  3. mf1gt3r
    July 18, 2015

    It is just the phone? Or is Andi Sykes a good photographer? He tends to get good shots on average with most phones he reviews. I’ve gotta say, these rear cam shots look really good.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Probably a combination of both. The Note has an amazing camera but Andi also takes thousands of pictures a year for review and I’m assuming everyday life. Even with crappy sensors he seems to get some pretty good shots.

  4. Xalis
    July 18, 2015

    Anyone know how to fix the whatsapp and facebook push notifications on the Mi4?

    • MaxPower
      July 19, 2015

      it works by “locking” them:

      – open the apps
      – click on the “recent app button” (the first of the 3 on the left
      – swipe the app down to lock it

      • Xalis
        July 19, 2015

        Oh! just like my old Nubia z7 Mini.

        Mine hasn’t been delivered but my brother got his and he told me whatsapp and facebook notifications didn’t work.

        • MaxPower
          July 19, 2015

          it’s a common issue.
          i don’t have Facebook but it works with Whatsapp so I’m assuming it might work for both.

          i really reboot my phone only when they push updates, but if you are used to reboot it often then you want to make sure that both Whatsapp and Facebook are set to autostart and then “lock” them

          to autostart:

          -click the icon “security” on the wall
          -select permission
          -select autostart

          it will list you all the downloaded apps.

          – switch on any app you’d like to autostart.

          • balcobomber25
            July 19, 2015

            It works the same way for Facebook from what I remember. I used FB when i first got the Mi4 but then stopped for awhile.

  5. Guest
    July 18, 2015

    wait wait wait…. WHAT ON EARTH DID THE geeks at XIAOMI DO WITH THAT IMX 214 ?!
    A/c to OP , it OUTPERFORMS THE VIVO XSHOT !
    HOLY **** !

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      I don’t want to go full nerd on you but basically every digital camera sensor works based on algorithms that create a full color image by converting light and color samples from the sensor. A good engineer can work on and improve these algorithms to get better results from the same sensor. It’s the same reason that different camera apps can have much better results than the stock app. The stock app usually uses the default sensors algorithm to process the raw data into a picture. Alternate apps use more advanced algorithms which can result in cleared more detailed pictures. It’s basically what Meizu did with the Mx5 this year, instead of using a new sensor they took the existing one for the MX4, gave it a new 6p lens and figured out how to get the best possible pictures out of it. This is one of the few phones I would actually prefer using the stock app with.

  6. Guest
    July 18, 2015

    Can anyone clarify that which phone has a better camera , Mi Note or Honor 6 Plus .

  7. mf1gt3r
    July 18, 2015

    It is just the phone? Or is Andi Sykes a good photographer? He tends to get good shots on average with most phones he reviews. I’ve gotta say, these rear cam shots look really good.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Probably a combination of both. The Note has an amazing camera but Andi also takes thousands of pictures a year for review and I’m assuming everyday life. Even with crappy sensors he seems to get some pretty good shots.

  8. Guest
    July 18, 2015

    Anyone know how to fix the whatsapp and facebook push notifications on the Mi4?

    • MaxPower
      July 19, 2015

      it works by “locking” them:

      – open the apps
      – click on the “recent app button” (the first of the 3 on the left
      – swipe the app down to lock it

    • Guest
      July 19, 2015

      Oh! just like my old Nubia z7 Mini.

      Mine hasn’t been delivered but my brother got his and he told me whatsapp and facebook notifications didn’t work.

    • MaxPower
      July 19, 2015

      it’s a common issue.
      i don’t have Facebook but it works with Whatsapp so I’m assuming it might work for both.

      i really reboot my phone only when they push updates, but if you are used to reboot it often then you want to make sure that both Whatsapp and Facebook are set to autostart and then “lock” them

      to autostart:

      -click the icon “security” on the wall
      -select permission
      -select autostart

      it will list you all the downloaded apps.

      – switch on any app you’d like to autostart.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      It works the same way for Facebook from what I remember. I used FB when i first got the Mi4 but then stopped for awhile.

  9. RRRobert
    July 18, 2015

    To big, no sd-card, no dual sim and no support for FDD-LTE band B20 (800 MHz). I can only hope that the 2nd gen. Mi4i (Xiaomi Libre? Mi4S?) will correct that, or maybe even the Mi5 will do such…

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      You probably won’t see band 20 until companies have an official presence in Europe. Most brands don’t support it. And SD cards are disappearing throughout the industry, even Samsung’s newest phone the S6 didn’t have one. I don’t know why that is but it’s becoming an industry trend, and when a trend hits it makes waves throughout the industry.

      Interestingly enough I read the official reason of why One Plus One didn’t include band 20 and they claim the speed of band 20 isn’t true LTE and in many cases it is no faster than 3G+ and that is the reason they didn’t include it.

      • July 19, 2015

        SD cards AREN’T disappearing “THROUGHOUT” the industry.

        Stop misleading people.

        There are still a number of companies that offer SD cards with their smart phones. The fact that Samsung just excluded that in the GS6 does not exactly mean they might not add it in their next phone or that none of their phones are ever going to have that feature again.

        • balcobomber25
          July 19, 2015

          More and more phones that are being released today don’t include an SD card, I would call that disappearing you apparently call it misleading people.

          • July 19, 2015

            IMO, more phones are actually being released with SD card support. If just one or two companies stop supporting it, it does not mean that the numerous other ones that are supporting has suddenly gone into oblivion.

            • balcobomber25
              July 19, 2015

              You must not read the comments on here very often then, that is the number on complaint on almost every story.

            • July 19, 2015

              Of course I do read the comments here and I do see the complaints, but still it doesnt necessarily mean that more and more companies are stopping the use of SD card slots in their smartphones.

              You and I know that a lot more are still offering this very feature in their devices.

              You are making it sound like there is hardly any company still offering SD cards.

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              You and I both know more and more phones being announced aren’t offering it otherwise there wouldn’t be so many complaints. You are making it sound like every phone still has it. If it did we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

              I rest my case.

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              And no one said they have gone into oblivion. Once again you go to extremes that aren’t necessary and are kinda silly. If those two companies are two of the largest companies in the world producing cell phones that is a problem. But it’s not just limited to those two companies there are others as well that have released phones without it in the past year:

              Meizu, One Plus, Samsung, Xiaomi, Le TV, Ulefone, Zoppo, ZTE and Elephone and more. Either one of us can’t count or that is more than one or two companies. If it was just one or two problems it wouldn’t be an issue and we wouldn’t spend this much time debating it. But it’s not just those companies. It’s like dual sim, a few years ago just about every Chinese phone offered dual sim, now not so much. Before you have a hissy fit yes some still do offer dual sim.

  10. Freeje
    July 18, 2015

    Ciao I phone with only 16GB storage? What’s the use of a good camera when you don’t have enough space for your high quality pics? Maybe it works in China as Xiaomi wants you to use Mi Cloud. No SD card slot. Not for me.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Or you could use OTG with a USB Thumb Drive.

    • MaxPower
      July 19, 2015

      i agree that in 2015 a minimum storage should be at least 32GB but going for the 16GB version means that you are trying to save some money and you can simply:

      get 10Gb of free space from MI cloud regardless of you live in China or not.

      you can use a third party cloud services like the one provided by Google for free

      or, they provide the 64GB version of any phone they make.

      this seems to be the rule within Chinese manufacturers: the brands that provide SD card are really few

      • Fly agaric
        July 19, 2015

        You’re right, but it remains a bit annoying, that Xiaomi’s manner of offering their phones with either 16Gb, or 64GB, with nothing between (as 32GB option seeems natural here), huge price difference and no SD slot.
        It seems their marketing strategy, but is it really the right one?

        • balcobomber25
          July 19, 2015

          It seems to be the strategy most companies are going to, 16 or 64 with no SD card. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but using OTG/Cloud has been easy enough for me.

          • Fly agaric
            July 19, 2015

            Unlike you, I like to keep everything on my phone, even though I keep backing up my media files. Thumb stick is no solution to me – It’s big (even the small ones), that’s exactly why people come up with micro SD cards.
            At the moment I use a phone with 32GB and no SD slot and it’s fine. I would however replace it with something more impessive if only there was one like that.

            • balcobomber25
              July 19, 2015

              A thumb drive is big lol? Mine is less than an inch long. I realize an SD card is simpler but the industry is moving away from them.

            • Fly agaric
              July 19, 2015

              Less than an inch? Now compare the size to microSD card. One more thing – SD can be placed in a phone (if it’s the right one), pendrive has to be carried separately. Not much of a lol to me …

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              I am not saying an SD card isnt more convenient. It has it’s advantages over OTG but OTG has some advantages of its own:

              1. It is cheaper, a 128 GB USB can be found for as little as $20 (even less if you don’t care about brand names). The same size SD card will cost you at least $50.

              2. Hot swapping. Some phones don’t feature hot swapping, meaning if you want to switch SD cards you need to shut the phone down completely for it to recognize the new card.

              3. Size limits. Some phones have a max size of how much they can read for an SD card, some are small as 32GB. Those same phones will read just about any thumb drive without issue.

              4. SD cards are more prone to failure.

              Both offer advantages and disadvantages.

        • MaxPower
          July 19, 2015

          so far only Meizu and maybe somebody else make the 32GB version.

          i think that everybody should start at least from 32GB for a flagship phone ( they can keep the 16GB for low end devices).

          this issue is common among most of the Chinese brands and i would say also the Taiwanese and Apple.
          So, even if i don’t like it, i would not give the whole blame to Xiaomi.

          it is a marketing strategy indeed (i can’t figure out any technical issue). Is it the right one?
          well, it seems it works for them, people keep buying from those brands and “always settle” (I’m mocking a famous marketing campaign here).
          we can all start buying from Meizu only (or other brands that provide that feature) but they might still lack of a feature that is a deal breaker for someone else….

          still waiting for a super phone that makes everybody happy!

          • Fly agaric
            July 19, 2015

            I couldn’t agree more.

      • balcobomber25
        July 20, 2015

        Not just Mi Cloud but the following services all offer free cloud storage regardless of which country you are in:

        Adrive – 50GB
        Amazon – 5GB, unlimited storage of photos for Prime members
        Copy – 15GB
        Mega – 50GB
        One Drive – 15GB

        I know certain people will attack this post and accuse me of being ignorant to data prices. I use the cloud for all my pictures, I live in a country where LTE data is very expensive and often limited in your monthly plan. I have yet to visit a country though were you can’t find free wifi signals. I even found one in a remote region of Mynamar. I wait till I have a wifi signal and upload all my photos to the cloud. Takes maybe 15 minutes to upload a days worth of photos on an average public wifi connection.

        • MaxPower
          July 20, 2015

          why everybody wants sd cards?
          because they are cheap.
          the 64GB version of the phone costs at least 50$ more than the 16Gb one.

          what they can’t see is that the trend shows that more brands are abandoning this technology.

          if they can’t find an alternative then they will be stuck with one or two choices when it’s up to get a new phone until even those ones won’t provide them anymore.

          if someone use to shot 4k video then why not just go with the 64GB version of the phone which is more reliable than the sd card?

          everybody wants to have the best SoC, more ram, but when it’s up to storage they don’t want to spend a penny.

          that’s the opinion i made reading all those comments.

          that said, it’s clear that 16GB on a flagship phone is getting old, sd cards will disappear soon too.
          32GB is a good start, until a new technology will show up and then we’ll start talking of TB.

          • balcobomber25
            July 20, 2015

            I agree completely it seems like everything has increased over the years on phones but once we got from 4GB to 8GB to 16GB ROM it stopped and we have been stuck on 16 for ages. Given how much prices for storage have gone down relative to what they used to cost 32 should be the minimum offered.

            • MaxPower
              July 20, 2015

              yeah but let’s not simplify that all storage technologies cost the same.

              I’m sure that companies make more revenue selling the 64GB version but I’ve heard here comments like : “those extra 48GB cost 5$ and they sell it for 50$”

              a class 10 micro SD card might cost 10$, different story is for the storage inbuilt into the SoC.

              it’s totally a different technology and it’s pricey but faster and more reliable and this is another reason why manufacturers are abandoning sd cards (and of course it’s a marketing choice as well)

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              Oh I realize they all cost differently and without knowing the exact components used any guesses at prices are futile.

            • MaxPower
              July 20, 2015

              i didn’t mean it was you saying that.
              you hear so many people here saying that SoC costs 50$, extra GB of Ram 15$, gorilla glass 8 bucks…

              they make it sound like you are at the flea market

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              Haha I know right. It’s like my old CFO always used to say to us “everyone is an expert when it comes to spending money that doesn’t belong to them”. I think a lot of people see the prices for parts listed on reseller sites such as Ali and take them as gospel.

    • Cpaun
      July 22, 2015

      Buy the 64Gb version 🙂 And / or use Usb OTG.

  11. RRRobert
    July 18, 2015

    To big, no sd-card, no dual sim and no support for FDD-LTE band B20 (800 MHz). I can only hope that the 2nd gen. Mi4i (Xiaomi Libre? Mi4S?) will correct that, or maybe even the Mi5 will do such…

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      You probably won’t see band 20 until companies have an official presence in Europe. Most brands don’t support it. And SD cards are disappearing throughout the industry, even Samsung’s newest phone the S6 didn’t have one. I don’t know why that is but it’s becoming an industry trend, and when a trend hits it makes waves throughout the industry.

      Interestingly enough I read the official reason of why One Plus One didn’t include band 20 and they claim the speed of band 20 isn’t true LTE and in many cases it is no faster than 3G+ and that is the reason they didn’t include it.

    • Michael Ogbonnaya
      July 19, 2015

      SD cards AREN’T disappearing “THROUGHOUT” the industry.

      Stop misleading people.

      There are still a number of companies that offer SD cards with their smart phones. The fact that Samsung just excluded that in the GS6 does not exactly mean they might not add it in their next phone or that none of their phones are ever going to have that feature again.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      More and more phones that are being released today don’t include an SD card, I would call that disappearing you apparently call it misleading people.

    • Michael Ogbonnaya
      July 19, 2015

      IMO, more phones are actually being released with SD card support. If just one or two companies stop supporting it, it does not mean that the numerous other ones that are supporting has suddenly gone into oblivion.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      You must not read the comments on here very often then, that is the number on complaint on almost every story.

    • Michael Ogbonnaya
      July 19, 2015

      Of course I do read the comments here and I do see the complaints, but still it doesnt necessarily mean that more and more companies are stopping the use of SD card slots in their smartphones.

      You and I know that a lot more are still offering this very feature in their devices.

      You are making it sound like there is hardly any company still offering SD cards.

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      You and I both know more and more phones being announced aren’t offering it otherwise there wouldn’t be so many complaints. You are making it sound like every phone still has it. If it did we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      I rest my case.

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      And no one said they have gone into oblivion. Once again you go to extremes that aren’t necessary and are kinda silly. If those two companies are two of the largest companies in the world producing cell phones that is a problem. But it’s not just limited to those two companies there are others as well that have released phones without it in the past year:

      Meizu, One Plus, Samsung, Xiaomi, Le TV, Ulefone, Zoppo, ZTE and Elephone and more. Either one of us can’t count or that is more than one or two companies. If it was just one or two problems it wouldn’t be an issue and we wouldn’t spend this much time debating it. But it’s not just those companies. It’s like dual sim, a few years ago just about every Chinese phone offered dual sim, now not so much. Before you have a hissy fit yes some still do offer dual sim.

  12. Agung
    July 19, 2015

    Sorry Andi, it might be Out of Topic…
    I feel It’s not a problem If I missed any news of Xiaomi phone.
    I’m not going to disturb other Mi Fans, but in reality, I feel that Xiaomi is more dependent on their fan’s hardwork, for eg. in updating newest ROM for older model (forgive me if I were wrong). As an example, Redmi 1S user have to wait for Kitkat when others jump into Lollipop.

    If Xiaomi do what it promises right, I will probably back to Xiaomi again.

    And for the top model, I really miss expandable storage. How can we survive to record 720p when it’s only 16GB or 32 GB…? using wireless storage? It’s really not worth it
    using cloud storage?….come on, in my country, mobile internet is getting more expensive because telecom providers can no longer depend on voice or sms but on data traffics.
    Anyway, someone will shut at me and saying “you will get as much as what you have paid”…
    (but again, It’s not what Xiaomi founder wants in a first place, right?)

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Xiaomi updated the 1s to MIUI 6 (with 4.4). But sometimes with older hardware such as the Redmi 1s, sometimes its better not to have the latest version of an OS, but instead have a stable working version. Xiaomi is one of the few companies that does care about its fans and won’t update a device to the latest version just for the sake of doing it. They wait until they have a stable working version of it that won’t cause problems for their fans. Most companies update to 5.0 for marketing and then abandon it completely leaving the community to fix issues, if a community for that device exists.

      As for lack of SD its very easy to get around as just about every Xiaomi phone supports OTG and gives you free cloud storage (which comes in handy when you have a free wifi connection). It takes all of a minute to connect the 1s to a USB drive using OTG. And in my country USB drives are cheaper than SD cards.

      • AbdulB1
        July 19, 2015

        but u cant always put mp3 or pdf in otg to open later.OTG are good for transfer but not good to carry around everywhere with the phone.

        • balcobomber25
          July 19, 2015

          I have zero issues using either file format with OTG, you just need a file manager of which there are hundreds on the play store.

          • AbdulB1
            July 19, 2015

            can a usb drive placed inside a phone? no it can’t be.

            • balcobomber25
              July 19, 2015

              Nope but it can be placed inside a pocket, very easily.

            • July 19, 2015

              Yep it can be placed inside the wallet and you risk loosing it too when you are struggling to use it in a busy area.

            • balcobomber25
              July 19, 2015

              Just like you risk losing an SD card if you ever need to swap one out. There is more of a risk there given how small they are.

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              It’s more of a risk losing a tiny SD card if you ever need to take it out. I have never even come close to losing my thumb drive, but that’s just me.

      • July 19, 2015

        @balcobomber25:disqus, you are always in support of USB OTG and Cloud storages as if they are the best thing that ever happened. Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that they might not actually be ideal for a lot of people out there?

        For instance, when you are living in a country where your only hope of internet connection is 3G provided by money hungry ISPs, you pay for every single KB you utilize plus not one single hope of having a “FREE WI-FI”. How are you going to manage and keep uploading all those GBs of data you are accumulating on your smartphone to cloud storage when you are being billed at the rate of $30/6GB (for instance)? How much are you making per month to handle all that traffic charges when you are recording lots of video?

        USB OTG, yes can help but not very convenient. Personally, I don’t like to carry any extra storage devices wrt my smartphone. What you are suggesting in this case is akin to a laptop and an external HDD. You don’t expect the phone user to always keep running back to the OTG pen drive just for a little backup all the time considering that they are using a meager 16GB “XIAOMI” device without an SD card expansion slot. Or you are recording an important event in 720p/1080p or even 2160p and suddenly, your phones complains of low memory, are you gonna pause your recording to plug in the OTG pen drive while the event is not waiting for you?

        Tell me, if you are in that situation, will you still praise USB OTG and Cloud storage like you are doing right now?

        For me, NO SD CARD simply means NO GO.

        BTW, I’d like you to answer me those questions I asked.

        • balcobomber25
          July 19, 2015

          I never said cloud was ideal for everyone. I said it was an option for some. I live in a county where LTE service is non existent, but in my country (Thailand) and most countries I visit (throughout Asia) free wifi signals are readily available even in some of the most remote regions. Just about every country nowadays has both McDonalds and Starbucks which offer free or cheap wifi.

          SD card is more conveinant than OTG isn’t as bad as you make it out to be. An OTG cable and thumb drive can fit in many peoples wallets not even close to the size of an external hard drive that is just a foolish comparison to make. I have never and probably will never find myself in that situation you described. Let’s say your recording video in 2160p and suddenly you get a message which says your SD card is out of storage space. What would be easier in this situation? Having to pop the back cover off of your phone, pop in a new SD Card (hope your phone supports hot swapping), find a case to hold your SD card and keep shooting your video? Or is it easier to simply plug in a thumb drive small enough to fit in your pick or even on your keychain? See I can come up with crazy hypothetical too.

          We all use our phones for different things, I am no telling you how to use yours, an SD card is obviously very important to you. I am simply pointing out to people that there are other options out there.

          • July 19, 2015

            Anyone who shoots videos will definitely have large sized SD cards (64GB min) which are relatively cheap compared to the price increase from 16GB to 64GB smartphones. BTW, a 64GB SD card can hold your 2160p video comfortably.

            Can you shoot and upload a video to the cloud simultaneously? You need to have a crazily fast internet to deal with that assuming you are shooting 1080p or 2160p videos. And basically everyone I know that shoots videos always empty the SD card first before going for the recording.

            I really dont see a situation where OTG is more convenient than an SD card slot.

            • balcobomber25
              July 19, 2015

              My 128GB Thumb Drive can hold all my videos and pictures comfortably. And compared to the prices of an SD card it can be cheaper too. Looking on Amazon I see 128gb Thumb Drives for as low as $20 from reputable brands, the cheapest I see the same size SD cards is around $70.

              You can save a video to an OTG simultaneously. And then later when you have a stable wifi connection upload your video to the cloud, or use a service like Google Drive which waits till you have a good connection and uploads it automatically.

              I don’t see anywhere that I said it is more convenient than an SD card slot. But whether you want to admit it or not, it is an option for those who dont have the option of an SD card slot. I would love an SD card slot but most phones these days are shipping without them leaving consumers to find other options. But there actually can be one advantage to OTG and that depends on the phone/software: system limits. Some phones will only detect a certain size SD card (some top out at 32 or 64 gb). Those same phones will detect larger OTG USB drives.

            • July 19, 2015

              Its pointless to continue arguing with someone who just dont have the perception to understand you.

              I rest my case.

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              It’s pointless because you know your wrong? Or it’s pointless because you dont want to admit that I have a point?

          • MaxPower
            July 19, 2015

            there’s something that people should know.

            SD cards wont last much longer.
            they are not reliable due to limited read-write cycles and the filesystem gets corrupted very easily. the bigger the SD card is and the most files can get lost forever.

            only few people might need a removable device, for the others (the majority) who need an extra cheap storage space there are cloud or OTG like you suggested.

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              Don’t say that around here, those are the words of the devil! People get really upset when they think you are attacking their beloved SD cards.

            • pa5t1s
              July 20, 2015

              +1 for the SD life: I’ve lost too many SD contents using “poor” SD cards; if I need one, I always buy Samsung or SanDisk Class 10…
              Then, I agree with Balco about USB/OTG: I find it very convenient and somehow “easier” to use than SD Cards. And a USB memory stick is far more reliable than any SD.

  13. Guest
    July 19, 2015

    Ciao I phone with only 16GB storage? What’s the use of a good camera when you don’t have enough space for your high quality pics? Maybe it works in China as Xiaomi wants you to use Mi Cloud. No SD card slot. Not for me.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Or you could use OTG with a USB Thumb Drive.

    • MaxPower
      July 19, 2015

      i agree that in 2015 a minimum storage should be at least 32GB but going for the 16GB version means that you are trying to save some money and you can simply:

      get 10Gb of free space from MI cloud regardless of you live in China or not.

      you can use a third party cloud services like the one provided by Google for free

      or, they provide the 64GB version of any phone they make.

      this seems to be the rule within Chinese manufacturers: the brands that provide SD card are really few

    • Fly agaric
      July 19, 2015

      You’re right, but it remains a bit annoying, that Xiaomi’s manner of offering their phones with either 16Gb, or 64GB, with nothing between (as 32GB option seeems natural here), huge price difference and no SD slot.
      It seems their marketing strategy, but is it really the right one?

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      It seems to be the strategy most companies are going to, 16 or 64 with no SD card. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but using OTG/Cloud has been easy enough for me.

    • MaxPower
      July 19, 2015

      so far only Meizu and maybe somebody else make the 32GB version.

      i think that everybody should start at least from 32GB for a flagship phone ( they can keep the 16GB for low end devices).

      this issue is common among most of the Chinese brands and i would say also the Taiwanese and Apple.
      So, even if i don’t like it, i would not give the whole blame to Xiaomi.

      it is a marketing strategy indeed (i can’t figure out any technical issue). Is it the right one?
      well, it seems it works for them, people keep buying from those brands and “always settle” (I’m mocking a famous marketing campaign here).
      we can all start buying from Meizu only (or other brands that provide that feature) but they might still lack of a feature that is a deal breaker for someone else….

      still waiting for a super phone that makes everybody happy!

    • Fly agaric
      July 19, 2015

      I couldn’t agree more.

    • Fly agaric
      July 19, 2015

      Unlike you, I like to keep everything on my phone, even though I keep backing up my media files. Thumb stick is no solution to me – It’s big (even the small ones), that’s exactly why people come up with micro SD cards.
      At the moment I use a phone with 32GB and no SD slot and it’s fine. I would however replace it with something more impessive if only there was one like that.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      A thumb drive is big lol? Mine is less than an inch long. I realize an SD card is simpler but the industry is moving away from them.

    • Fly agaric
      July 19, 2015

      Less than an inch? Now compare the size to microSD card. One more thing – SD can be placed in a phone (if it’s the right one), pendrive has to be carried separately. Not much of a lol to me …

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      I am not saying an SD card isnt more convenient. It has it’s advantages over OTG but OTG has some advantages of its own:

      1. It is cheaper, a 128 GB USB can be found for as little as $20 (even less if you don’t care about brand names). The same size SD card will cost you at least $50.

      2. Hot swapping. Some phones don’t feature hot swapping, meaning if you want to switch SD cards you need to shut the phone down completely for it to recognize the new card.

      3. Size limits. Some phones have a max size of how much they can read for an SD card, some are small as 32GB. Those same phones will read just about any thumb drive without issue.

      4. SD cards are more prone to failure.

      Both offer advantages and disadvantages.

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      Not just Mi Cloud but the following services all offer free cloud storage regardless of which country you are in:

      Adrive – 50GB
      Amazon – 5GB, unlimited storage of photos for Prime members
      Copy – 15GB
      Mega – 50GB
      One Drive – 15GB

      I know certain people will attack this post and accuse me of being ignorant to data prices. I use the cloud for all my pictures, I live in a country where LTE data is very expensive and often limited in your monthly plan. I have yet to visit a country though were you can’t find free wifi signals. I even found one in a remote region of Mynamar. I wait till I have a wifi signal and upload all my photos to the cloud. Takes maybe 15 minutes to upload a days worth of photos on an average public wifi connection.

    • MaxPower
      July 20, 2015

      why everybody wants sd cards?
      because they are cheap.
      the 64GB version of the phone costs at least 50$ more than the 16Gb one.

      what they can’t see is that the trend shows that more brands are abandoning this technology.

      if they can’t find an alternative then they will be stuck with one or two choices when it’s up to get a new phone until even those ones won’t provide them anymore.

      if someone use to shot 4k video then why not just go with the 64GB version of the phone which is more reliable than the sd card?

      everybody wants to have the best SoC, more ram, but when it’s up to storage they don’t want to spend a penny.

      that’s the opinion i made reading all those comments.

      that said, it’s clear that 16GB on a flagship phone is getting old, sd cards will disappear soon too.
      32GB is a good start, until a new technology will show up and then we’ll start talking of TB.

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      I agree completely it seems like everything has increased over the years on phones but once we got from 4GB to 8GB to 16GB ROM it stopped and we have been stuck on 16 for ages. Given how much prices for storage have gone down relative to what they used to cost 32 should be the minimum offered.

    • MaxPower
      July 20, 2015

      yeah but let’s not simplify that all storage technologies cost the same.

      I’m sure that companies make more revenue selling the 64GB version but I’ve heard here comments like : “those extra 48GB cost 5$ and they sell it for 50$”

      a class 10 micro SD card might cost 10$, different story is for the storage inbuilt into the SoC.

      it’s totally a different technology and it’s pricey but faster and more reliable and this is another reason why manufacturers are abandoning sd cards (and of course it’s a marketing choice as well)

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      Oh I realize they all cost differently and without knowing the exact components used any guesses at prices are futile.

    • MaxPower
      July 20, 2015

      i didn’t mean it was you saying that.
      you hear so many people here saying that SoC costs 50$, extra GB of Ram 15$, gorilla glass 8 bucks…

      they make it sound like you are at the flea market

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      Haha I know right. It’s like my old CFO always used to say to us “everyone is an expert when it comes to spending money that doesn’t belong to them”. I think a lot of people see the prices for parts listed on reseller sites such as Ali and take them as gospel.

    • Cpaun
      July 22, 2015

      Buy the 64Gb version 🙂 And / or use Usb OTG.

  14. Agung
    July 19, 2015

    Sorry Andi, it might be Out of Topic…
    I feel It’s not a problem If I missed any news of Xiaomi phone.
    I’m not going to disturb other Mi Fans, but in reality, I feel that Xiaomi is more dependent on their fan’s hardwork, for eg. in updating newest ROM for older model (forgive me if I were wrong). As an example, Redmi 1S user have to wait for Kitkat when others jump into Lollipop.

    If Xiaomi do what it promises right, I will probably back to Xiaomi again.

    And for the top model, I really miss expandable storage. How can we survive to record 720p when it’s only 16GB or 32 GB…? using wireless storage? It’s really not worth it
    using cloud storage?….come on, in my country, mobile internet is getting more expensive because telecom providers can no longer depend on voice or sms but on data traffics.
    Anyway, someone will shut at me and saying “you will get as much as what you have paid”…
    (but again, It’s not what Xiaomi founder wants in a first place, right?)

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Xiaomi updated the 1s to MIUI 6 (with 4.4). But sometimes with older hardware such as the Redmi 1s, sometimes its better not to have the latest version of an OS, but instead have a stable working version. Xiaomi is one of the few companies that does care about its fans and won’t update a device to the latest version just for the sake of doing it. They wait until they have a stable working version of it that won’t cause problems for their fans. Most companies update to 5.0 for marketing and then abandon it completely leaving the community to fix issues, if a community for that device exists.

      As for lack of SD its very easy to get around as just about every Xiaomi phone supports OTG and gives you free cloud storage (which comes in handy when you have a free wifi connection). It takes all of a minute to connect the 1s to a USB drive using OTG. And in my country USB drives are cheaper than SD cards.

    • AbdulB1
      July 19, 2015

      but u cant always put mp3 or pdf in otg to open later.OTG are good for transfer but not good to carry around everywhere with the phone.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      I have zero issues using either file format with OTG, you just need a file manager of which there are hundreds on the play store.

    • AbdulB1
      July 19, 2015

      can a usb drive placed inside a phone? no it can’t be.

    • Michael Ogbonnaya
      July 19, 2015

      @balcobomber25:disqus, you are always in support of USB OTG and Cloud storages as if they are the best thing that ever happened. Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that they might not actually be ideal for a lot of people out there?

      For instance, when you are living in a country where your only hope of internet connection is 3G provided by money hungry ISPs, you pay for every single KB you utilize plus not one single hope of having a “FREE WI-FI”. How are you going to manage and keep uploading all those GBs of data you are accumulating on your smartphone to cloud storage when you are being billed at the rate of $30/6GB (for instance)? How much are you making per month to handle all that traffic charges when you are recording lots of video?

      USB OTG, yes can help but not very convenient. Personally, I don’t like to carry any extra storage devices wrt my smartphone. What you are suggesting in this case is akin to a laptop and an external HDD. You don’t expect the phone user to always keep running back to the OTG pen drive just for a little backup all the time considering that they are using a meager 16GB “XIAOMI” device without an SD card expansion slot. Or you are recording an important event in 720p/1080p or even 2160p and suddenly, your phones complains of low memory, are you gonna pause your recording to plug in the OTG pen drive while the event is not waiting for you?

      Tell me, if you are in that situation, will you still praise USB OTG and Cloud storage like you are doing right now?

      For me, NO SD CARD simply means NO GO.

      BTW, I’d like you to answer me those questions I asked.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      I never said cloud was ideal for everyone. I said it was an option for some. I live in a county where LTE service is non existent, but in my country (Thailand) and most countries I visit (throughout Asia) free wifi signals are readily available even in some of the most remote regions. Just about every country nowadays has both McDonalds and Starbucks which offer free or cheap wifi.

      SD card is more conveinant than OTG isn’t as bad as you make it out to be. An OTG cable and thumb drive can fit in many peoples wallets not even close to the size of an external hard drive that is just a foolish comparison to make. I have never and probably will never find myself in that situation you described. Let’s say your recording video in 2160p and suddenly you get a message which says your SD card is out of storage space. What would be easier in this situation? Having to pop the back cover off of your phone, pop in a new SD Card (hope your phone supports hot swapping), find a case to hold your SD card and keep shooting your video? Or is it easier to simply plug in a thumb drive small enough to fit in your pick or even on your keychain? See I can come up with crazy hypothetical too.

      We all use our phones for different things, I am no telling you how to use yours, an SD card is obviously very important to you. I am simply pointing out to people that there are other options out there.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Nope but it can be placed inside a pocket, very easily.

    • Michael Ogbonnaya
      July 19, 2015

      Anyone who shoots videos will definitely have large sized SD cards (64GB min) which are relatively cheap compared to the price increase from 16GB to 64GB smartphones. BTW, a 64GB SD card can hold your 2160p video comfortably.

      Can you shoot and upload a video to the cloud simultaneously? You need to have a crazily fast internet to deal with that assuming you are shooting 1080p or 2160p videos. And basically everyone I know that shoots videos always empty the SD card first before going for the recording.

      I really dont see a situation where OTG is more convenient than an SD card slot.

    • Michael Ogbonnaya
      July 19, 2015

      Yep it can be placed inside the wallet and you risk loosing it too when you are struggling to use it in a busy area.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Just like you risk losing an SD card if you ever need to swap one out. There is more of a risk there given how small they are.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      My 128GB Thumb Drive can hold all my videos and pictures comfortably. And compared to the prices of an SD card it can be cheaper too. Looking on Amazon I see 128gb Thumb Drives for as low as $20 from reputable brands, the cheapest I see the same size SD cards is around $70.

      You can save a video to an OTG simultaneously. And then later when you have a stable wifi connection upload your video to the cloud, or use a service like Google Drive which waits till you have a good connection and uploads it automatically.

      I don’t see anywhere that I said it is more convenient than an SD card slot. But whether you want to admit it or not, it is an option for those who dont have the option of an SD card slot. I would love an SD card slot but most phones these days are shipping without them leaving consumers to find other options. But there actually can be one advantage to OTG and that depends on the phone/software: system limits. Some phones will only detect a certain size SD card (some top out at 32 or 64 gb). Those same phones will detect larger OTG USB drives.

    • MaxPower
      July 19, 2015

      there’s something that people should know.

      SD cards wont last much longer.
      they are not reliable due to limited read-write cycles and the filesystem gets corrupted very easily. the bigger the SD card is and the most files can get lost forever.

      only few people might need a removable device, for the others (the majority) who need an extra cheap storage space there are cloud or OTG like you suggested.

    • Michael Ogbonnaya
      July 20, 2015

      Its pointless to continue arguing with someone who just dont have the perception to understand you.

      I rest my case.

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      It’s pointless because you know your wrong? Or it’s pointless because you dont want to admit that I have a point?

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      Don’t say that around here, those are the words of the devil! People get really upset when they think you are attacking their beloved SD cards.

    • pa5t1s
      July 20, 2015

      +1 for the SD life: I’ve lost too many SD contents using “poor” SD cards; if I need one, I always buy Samsung or SanDisk Class 10…
      Then, I agree with Balco about USB/OTG: I find it very convenient and somehow “easier” to use than SD Cards. And a USB memory stick is far more reliable than any SD.

  15. Yaniv Tzadka
    July 19, 2015

    I think that you should make a real life comparison between the Mi Note and the Pro version.
    I tried the Pro version and was amazed by its performance even after a long time of game-play, I didn’t encounter frame drops and the screen of it is amazing.
    I’m not sure that the Pro doesn’t worth the addidtional cost…

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      I played about 15 minutes of Asphalt and Dead Trigger on a Pro and it got so hot I couldn’t physically hold it anymore.

  16. Filipp
    July 19, 2015

    Omg standard mi note is THE SAME Xiaomi ami4 nd It has only drawbacks like inconvneient size and glass back.
    And while mi4 costs 220 dollars this phone with outdated snapdragon801 costs more than 300!!

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      It uses a lot of the same components but it is not the same phone. The Mi Note is a lot bigger than the regular Mi 4 and has a thinner body and glass on the front and back with a newer front camera as well. A bigger phone uses more materials to make it, and this one uses more premium materials. You cant just look at the SoC and say it’s the same phone, in fact holding both of them in your hand they feel and look completely different. The 801 may be old but it is in no way outdated, it is still one of the best SoC
      s available today.

  17. Gilles
    July 19, 2015

    Thank you for this excellent review.
    The Mi Note seems to be the best deal at this moment. For me, the only question is : 16 or 64 gb? Big price difference ! 32 gb would be perfect
    Andi, please, To go farther, could you tell us what you think about the cameras of
    – Xiaomi Mi Note
    – LeTV L1
    – Lenovo Vibe Shot.
    Make comparaisons and a classification with your comments for everyone.

    Thanks

    • Fly agaric
      July 19, 2015

      I don’t think they had their hands on Vibe Shot production model, yet. There would’ve been a ‘hands on’ article available already, if that happened. Regarding Note Vs Le1 camera comparison – he placed it clearly in the review, read again.

  18. Tapian
    July 19, 2015

    hello Andi
    Mi note 64 g 410 euros
    Mi note pro 472 euros
    Mi Note pro Full 3g !!!!!! so en france best choice for me

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      What do you mean by full 3g?

      • pa5t1s
        July 20, 2015

        Probably the 3 required 3G-bands available in France (for 4 carriers) 900/2100/1900 MHz
        Whereas 4G-bands are 800/1800/2600 MHz

        • balcobomber25
          July 20, 2015

          I know what the bands are what I was confused by the way he said it because last I checked both the Note and Note Pro have the same exact 3G bands supported: 850, 1900 and 2100.

  19. Fly agaric
    July 19, 2015

    LeTV Le1 is a great phone, but has some flaws. If the producer manages to fix reception drops Andy mentioned in the review, then it’s a fair competition. For now Mi Note will be an option for persons who might be afraid that LeTV will not be that quick to fix the issue in their soft (if it really is soft based).
    The quality of pictures surprised me. Xiaomi should now have something in more compact size (5in) offering a camera of this quality, as even though the Mi3 camera is a performer it doesn’t seem to be same good as in Note. Maybe a new version of Mi3 then? 🙂

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      The Mi4 and Mi4i both use the same sensor (Sony IMX 214) and both have very good cameras.

      • Fly agaric
        July 19, 2015

        But I said ‘Mi3’. Mi4 is ok too, but Mi3 suits my needs better. It has good cam too, but I’m looking for something outstanding amongst the smartphones in this matter.
        Plenty other phones use this sensor too. It doesn’t automatically mean they have good cameras. Even between various Xiaomi models using same sensor there are big differences in camera quality.

        • balcobomber25
          July 19, 2015

          You said Xiaomi should offer something with this quality in a more compact size (5in). Both the Mi4 and Mi4i are 5 inch phones with the quality of the Mi Note.

          • Fly agaric
            July 19, 2015

            Aaah, so you offered it as a replacement to my Mi3 idea – sorry didn’t get it.
            Anyway, it’s completely not my cup of tea – Mi4 seems ok, but is still too expensive with 64GB. Cam in it is good (as is in Mi3), but it isn’t as good as in Note. Mi4i is completely out of range of my interest. Snap 615 is just a failure – my opinion, but matters to me 🙂

            • balcobomber25
              July 19, 2015

              Having owned both the Mi3 and Mi4, I think the Mi4 is a much better all around phone. It is too expensive with 64gb I will agree with you there. If you don’t play a lot of games Mi4i is good, but if you do play games the 615 is terrible.

        • Gary
          July 19, 2015

          You’re right about MI3 and don’t forget that you can shoot RAW (MI2RAW) with the MI3. The pictures are amazing.

  20. Bailey
    July 19, 2015

    Everybody keeps taking a pop at the Mi 4i but i have been using it for 3 weeks and i dont have a problem. Could someone tell me am i missing something? I really wanted the mi note when it was coming out but i have changed my mind i think i will wait for the mi5

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      The Mi4i is a good phone and for most people it is more than capable. The problem is for people who try to play demanding games, the phone suffers from horrible throttling and heating issues.

      • Bailey
        July 20, 2015

        It get no warmer than my S6 edge and that got a bit toasty when you played high end games but not enough for me to label the phone as a diaster and declare that Xiaomi has failed and ask the question what went wrong like the lame ass article that i had to read on the site today

        • balcobomber25
          July 20, 2015

          No one is labeling Xiaomi a disaster, in fact I am one of Xiaomi’s biggest fans. I have owned a Mi3, Mi4, Redmi 1s and Redmi Note but even I can admit they messed up by using the 615. It’s not a horrible SoC but it does heat up a lot more than it should. If they went with an 6752 that phone would have sold double or triple what it did.

  21. Yaniv Tzadka
    July 19, 2015

    I think that you should make a real life comparison between the Mi Note and the Pro version.
    I tried the Pro version and was amazed by its performance even after a long time of game-play, I didn’t encounter frame drops and the screen of it is amazing.
    I’m not sure that the Pro doesn’t worth the addidtional cost…

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      I played about 15 minutes of Asphalt and Dead Trigger on a Pro and it got so hot I couldn’t physically hold it anymore.

  22. Filipp
    July 19, 2015

    Omg standard mi note is THE SAME Xiaomi ami4 nd It has only drawbacks like inconvneient size and glass back.
    And while mi4 costs 220 dollars this phone with outdated snapdragon801 costs more than 300!!

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      It uses a lot of the same components but it is not the same phone. The Mi Note is a lot bigger than the regular Mi 4 and has a thinner body and glass on the front and back with a newer front camera as well. A bigger phone uses more materials to make it, and this one uses more premium materials. You cant just look at the SoC and say it’s the same phone, in fact holding both of them in your hand they feel and look completely different. The 801 may be old but it is in no way outdated, it is still one of the best SoC
      s available today.

  23. Guest
    July 19, 2015

    Thank you for this excellent review.
    The Mi Note seems to be the best deal at this moment. For me, the only question is : 16 or 64 gb? Big price difference ! 32 gb would be perfect
    Andi, please, To go farther, could you tell us what you think about the cameras of
    – Xiaomi Mi Note
    – LeTV L1
    – Lenovo Vibe Shot.
    Make comparaisons and a classification with your comments for everyone.

    Thanks

    • Fly agaric
      July 19, 2015

      I don’t think they had their hands on Vibe Shot production model, yet. There would’ve been a ‘hands on’ article available already, if that happened. Regarding Note Vs Le1 camera comparison – he placed it clearly in the review, read again.

  24. Tapian
    July 19, 2015

    hello Andi
    Mi note 64 g 410 euros
    Mi note pro 472 euros
    Mi Note pro Full 3g !!!!!! so en france best choice for me

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      What do you mean by full 3g?

    • pa5t1s
      July 20, 2015

      Probably the 3 required 3G-bands available in France (for 4 carriers) 900/2100/1900 MHz
      Whereas 4G-bands are 800/1800/2600 MHz

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      I know what the bands are what I was confused by the way he said it because last I checked both the Note and Note Pro have the same exact 3G bands supported: 850, 1900 and 2100.

    • Tapian
      July 21, 2015

      3g Mi note pro : 850 900 1900 2100
      3g Mi note : 850 1900 2100

    • Tapian
      July 21, 2015
  25. highwind
    July 19, 2015

    Best overpriced 32bit hipster wannabe phone ever!

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      A 32bit SoC that performs better than many 64 bit SoC’s….

  26. Fly agaric
    July 19, 2015

    LeTV Le1 is a great phone, but has some flaws. If the producer manages to fix reception drops Andy mentioned in the review, then it’s a fair competition. For now Mi Note will be an option for persons who might be afraid that LeTV will not be that quick to fix the issue in their soft (if it really is soft based).
    The quality of pictures surprised me. Xiaomi should now have something in more compact size (5in) offering a camera of this quality, as even though the Mi3 camera is a performer it doesn’t seem to be same good as in Note. Maybe a new version of Mi3 then? 🙂

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      The Mi4 and Mi4i both use the same sensor (Sony IMX 214) and both have very good cameras.

    • Fly agaric
      July 19, 2015

      But I said ‘Mi3’. Mi4 is ok too, but Mi3 suits my needs better. It has good cam too, but I’m looking for something outstanding amongst the smartphones in this matter.
      Plenty other phones use this sensor too. It doesn’t automatically mean they have good cameras. Even between various Xiaomi models using same sensor there are big differences in camera quality.

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      You said Xiaomi should offer something with this quality in a more compact size (5in). Both the Mi4 and Mi4i are 5 inch phones with the quality of the Mi Note.

    • Fly agaric
      July 19, 2015

      Aaah, so you offered it as a replacement to my Mi3 idea – sorry didn’t get it.
      Anyway, it’s completely not my cup of tea – Mi4 seems ok, but is still too expensive with 64GB. Cam in it is good (as is in Mi3), but it isn’t as good as in Note. Mi4i is completely out of range of my interest. Snap 615 is just a failure – my opinion, but matters to me 🙂

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      Having owned both the Mi3 and Mi4, I think the Mi4 is a much better all around phone. It is too expensive with 64gb I will agree with you there. If you don’t play a lot of games Mi4i is good, but if you do play games the 615 is terrible.

    • Guest
      July 20, 2015

      You’re right about MI3 and don’t forget that you can shoot RAW (MI2RAW) with the MI3. The pictures are amazing.

  27. Bailey
    July 19, 2015

    Everybody keeps taking a pop at the Mi 4i but i have been using it for 3 weeks and i dont have a problem. Could someone tell me am i missing something? I really wanted the mi note when it was coming out but i have changed my mind i think i will wait for the mi5

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      The Mi4i is a good phone and for most people it is more than capable. The problem is for people who try to play demanding games, the phone suffers from horrible throttling and heating issues.

    • Bailey
      July 20, 2015

      It get no warmer than my S6 edge and that got a bit toasty when you played high end games but not enough for me to label the phone as a diaster and declare that Xiaomi has failed and ask the question what went wrong like the lame ass article that i had to read on the site today

    • balcobomber25
      July 21, 2015

      No one is labeling Xiaomi a disaster, in fact I am one of Xiaomi’s biggest fans. I have owned a Mi3, Mi4, Redmi 1s and Redmi Note but even I can admit they messed up by using the 615. It’s not a horrible SoC but it does heat up a lot more than it should. If they went with an 6752 that phone would have sold double or triple what it did.

  28. provokanter Tabellenführer
    July 19, 2015

    Best overpriced 32bit hipster wannabe phone ever!

    • balcobomber25
      July 19, 2015

      A 32bit SoC that performs better than many 64 bit SoC’s….

  29. Cpaun
    July 20, 2015

    Hi Andi,
    I also have a Mi Note, and overall I’m very impressed. By far the best phone I ever had. I love the design and the Hi-Fi sound quality, especially in headsets. The weakest point I have to say it’s the photo quality though. The shots have great colors, dynamic range, edge-to-edge sharpness, etc, but I have to say the noise reduction is waaay to aggressive. I even suggested on Miui forums a solution for this. For instance: the photo of your (red) car in the garage: compared with let’s say Honor 6 plus. The Mi Note softens too much, loosing all the fine details. Btw, you were awfully close to that Seat, hope you didn’t bump it :))))

  30. The Special Juan
    July 20, 2015

    The thought of spending out for a flagship which has no fingerprint sensor, an older processor and an out of date Kitkat concerns me.

    I am using an Elephone p7000, but the white spots on the screen are driving me mad now.

    If the Mi Note had a fingerprint sensor and a newer android then I would snap one up.. Anybody have any other suggestions?

    • MaxPower
      July 20, 2015

      there’s nothing wrong with KitKat, especially while Lollipop if still not reliable.

      Same about the SoC, it can satisfy anybody needs without dropping a sweat. is it not 64 bit? it’s still an early technology.

      there are few flagship with a fingerprint scanner out there already.
      Meizu MX5, Honor 7, Nubia Z9, the coming soon OnePlus 2…

      • The Special Juan
        July 20, 2015

        I know you are fully justified and correct in what you say… It just feels.. Well.. Odd, not right, to buy a flagship without the latest bells and whistles. Looking more and more likely to get my first meizu

        • MaxPower
          July 20, 2015

          that was simply my opinion. I’m not claiming to be any guru whatsoever. 🙂

          speaking of software in general
          I’m not amazed by any Chinese manufacturer.

          General rule is that they come with great hardware but poor software. it’s like my mother in law driving a Ferrari.

          of course, there are few exceptions, companies that invest into software development and that’s where the new battle will be hosted since the price war reached the bottom limit ( always in my opinion)

          • balcobomber25
            July 20, 2015

            It;s not just limited to Chinese manufacturers several mainstream brands have terrible software too.

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      I would prefer phones to still have Kit Kat. I have yet to find a stable version of Lollipop yet including on Google’s own Nexus line. Every release has been one problem fixed, twelve more found. And then everyday I hear of a different app that just doesn’t work right with Lollipop. I don’t use it but FB has been of the biggest headaches from what I have read, on some systems it brings Lollipop to a crashing halt.

      Newest android + fingerprint sensor your best bet is either MX5 or Honor 7.

      • The Special Juan
        July 20, 2015

        Yes. I think the mx5 will be the one to replace the p7000 conundrum (which goes from one headache to another) . Only the 16gb is on pre sale at the moment, so I will wait for the 32 or 64gb. Any idea when they will be sold (or if they will go onto the giz China store which I would like to try!)

        • balcobomber25
          July 20, 2015

          If they follow the usual trends you won’t see the 64GB version till around September. I recieved my MX5 from the Giz China Store today, service was excellent and shipping with DHL was very quick and efficient, no taxes either. From the time it left China to the time it arrived at my door was 4 days (Friday to Monday). On non weekends it might be even quicker. The shop emailed me every step of the way and answered every question I had. Can’t recommend them enough and not just saying that to help out Andi, it really was a great experience.

          • The Special Juan
            July 20, 2015

            Thanks for the heads up, sounds like giz shop will be taking my future business with service like that. I would love to give my support and business now…Unfortunately the 16gb is just not enough storage(will be used for storing music). Disappointed!

            • balcobomber25
              July 20, 2015

              Meizu’s official shop (meizumart) doesn’t even have the 16GB model listed for purchase yet, so it could be a few months until the 32GB model is released. It’s one of things that annoys me with several of these brands, just release all models together and let people choose which they want.

          • The Special Juan
            July 21, 2015

            Btw – How are you getting on with the MX5? Do you reccomend it? Any chance of letting me know how many of the 16GBs are availible for use – I assume 12 ish?

            • balcobomber25
              July 21, 2015

              I have no clue. The phone is at my parents house in Boston. I live with my wife in Thailand and am currently traveling for work. I won’t be getting my hands on it for another week or so.

            • The Special Juan
              July 21, 2015

              I see Pandawill have listed the 32GB MX5 and they seem to have confirmed it is available for immediate dispatch. I have asked them a question on their product page to confirm either way…if they confirm the 32gb is available now then i will take the plunge. I have also emailed the giz china shop, as i would prefer to give them my business, in the off chance that they are able to supply. Keeping my fingers crossed…Hope you like yours btw! thanks for all your advice over the last couple of days.!

            • balcobomber25
              July 22, 2015

              I would be very wary of that, even Meizu isn’t officially selling the 32GB version yet outside of China. It sounds like the usual reseller trick of “yes we have it” and then you pay the money and find out its a presale.

            • The Special Juan
              July 22, 2015

              Ok. cheers for that. I think my itchy finger is going to get the better of me and will probably go for the 16GB, eveing knowing that it probably isnt sufficient! haha…too impatient for my own good!
              Do you know if the MX5 supports Wireless QI charging?

            • balcobomber25
              July 22, 2015

              I am not sure but it does have fast charge (they call it mCharge). The times are different depending on the source but I have seen some initial reviews that say around 40 minutes you can go from 0-80% charged.

  31. Cpaun
    July 20, 2015

    Hi Andi,
    I also have a Mi Note, and overall I’m very impressed. By far the best phone I ever had. I love the design and the Hi-Fi sound quality, especially in headsets. The weakest point I have to say it’s the photo quality though. The shots have great colors, dynamic range, edge-to-edge sharpness, etc, but I have to say the noise reduction is waaay to aggressive. I even suggested on Miui forums a solution for this. For instance: the photo of your (red) car in the garage: compared with let’s say Honor 6 plus. The Mi Note softens too much, loosing all the fine details. Btw, you were awfully close to that Seat, hope you didn’t bump it :))))

  32. The Special Juan
    July 20, 2015

    The thought of spending out for a flagship which has no fingerprint sensor, an older processor and an out of date Kitkat concerns me.

    I am using an Elephone p7000, but the white spots on the screen are driving me mad now.

    If the Mi Note had a fingerprint sensor and a newer android then I would snap one up.. Anybody have any other suggestions?

    • MaxPower
      July 20, 2015

      there’s nothing wrong with KitKat, especially while Lollipop if still not reliable.

      Same about the SoC, it can satisfy anybody needs without dropping a sweat. is it not 64 bit? it’s still an early technology.

      there are few flagship with a fingerprint scanner out there already.
      Meizu MX5, Honor 7, Nubia Z9, the coming soon OnePlus 2…

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      I would prefer phones to still have Kit Kat. I have yet to find a stable version of Lollipop yet including on Google’s own Nexus line. Every release has been one problem fixed, twelve more found. And then everyday I hear of a different app that just doesn’t work right with Lollipop. I don’t use it but FB has been of the biggest headaches from what I have read, on some systems it brings Lollipop to a crashing halt.

      Newest android + fingerprint sensor your best bet is either MX5 or Honor 7.

    • The Special Juan
      July 20, 2015

      Yes. I think the mx5 will be the one to replace the p7000 conundrum (which goes from one headache to another) . Only the 16gb is on pre sale at the moment, so I will wait for the 32 or 64gb. Any idea when they will be sold (or if they will go onto the giz China store which I would like to try!)

    • The Special Juan
      July 20, 2015

      I know you are fully justified and correct in what you say… It just feels.. Well.. Odd, not right, to buy a flagship without the latest bells and whistles. Looking more and more likely to get my first meizu

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      If they follow the usual trends you won’t see the 64GB version till around September. I recieved my MX5 from the Giz China Store today, service was excellent and shipping with DHL was very quick and efficient, no taxes either. From the time it left China to the time it arrived at my door was 4 days (Friday to Monday). On non weekends it might be even quicker. The shop emailed me every step of the way and answered every question I had. Can’t recommend them enough and not just saying that to help out Andi, it really was a great experience.

    • The Special Juan
      July 20, 2015

      Thanks for the heads up, sounds like giz shop will be taking my future business with service like that. I would love to give my support and business now…Unfortunately the 16gb is just not enough storage(will be used for storing music). Disappointed!

    • MaxPower
      July 20, 2015

      that was simply my opinion. I’m not claiming to be any guru whatsoever. 🙂

      speaking of software in general
      I’m not amazed by any Chinese manufacturer.

      General rule is that they come with great hardware but poor software. it’s like my mother in law driving a Ferrari.

      of course, there are few exceptions, companies that invest into software development and that’s where the new battle will be hosted since the price war reached the bottom limit ( always in my opinion)

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      Meizu’s official shop (meizumart) doesn’t even have the 16GB model listed for purchase yet, so it could be a few months until the 32GB model is released. It’s one of things that annoys me with several of these brands, just release all models together and let people choose which they want.

    • balcobomber25
      July 20, 2015

      It;s not just limited to Chinese manufacturers several mainstream brands have terrible software too.

    • The Special Juan
      July 21, 2015

      Btw – How are you getting on with the MX5? Do you reccomend it? Any chance of letting me know how many of the 16GBs are availible for use – I assume 12 ish?

    • balcobomber25
      July 21, 2015

      I have no clue. The phone is at my parents house in Boston. I live with my wife in Thailand and am currently traveling for work. I won’t be getting my hands on it for another week or so.

    • The Special Juan
      July 21, 2015

      I see Pandawill have listed the 32GB MX5 and they seem to have confirmed it is available for immediate dispatch. I have asked them a question on their product page to confirm either way…if they confirm the 32gb is available now then i will take the plunge. I have also emailed the giz china shop, as i would prefer to give them my business, in the off chance that they are able to supply. Keeping my fingers crossed…Hope you like yours btw! thanks for all your advice over the last couple of days.!

    • balcobomber25
      July 22, 2015

      I would be very wary of that, even Meizu isn’t officially selling the 32GB version yet outside of China. It sounds like the usual reseller trick of “yes we have it” and then you pay the money and find out its a presale.

    • The Special Juan
      July 22, 2015

      Ok. cheers for that. I think my itchy finger is going to get the better of me and will probably go for the 16GB, eveing knowing that it probably isnt sufficient! haha…too impatient for my own good!
      Do you know if the MX5 supports Wireless QI charging?

    • balcobomber25
      July 22, 2015

      I am not sure but it does have fast charge (they call it mCharge). The times are different depending on the source but I have seen some initial reviews that say around 40 minutes you can go from 0-80% charged.

  33. August 22, 2015

    Why Mi Note cost only 25% from Iphone 6 Plus price, if in comparative tests Xiaomi wins? Find the answer on new amazing article
    http://artofhi.blogspot.com/2015/08/why-mi-note-cost-only-25-from-iphone-6.html

  34. Ed
    August 22, 2015

    Why Mi Note cost only 25% from Iphone 6 Plus price, if in comparative tests Xiaomi wins? Find the answer on new amazing article
    http://artofhi.blogspot.com/2015/08/why-mi-note-cost-only-25-from-iphone-6.html

  35. Zaki
    December 8, 2015

    Does the camera still hold up against those of the latest phones released?

  36. Zaki
    December 8, 2015

    Does the camera still hold up against those of the latest phones released?