It took half a year for the Mi Note to arrive in Malaysia. In the time it took for Xiaomi’s flagship-level smartphone to appear here, many other companies have released their own flagship smartphones in Malaysia, each of them with components that are slightly more up to date than what the Mi Note is offering. Old though it may be, you shouldn’t write off the Mi Note just yet, as it can still perform well.
Confession time: I’m actually quite smitten by the full white unibody of the Mi Note. It gives the smartphone a touch of class when compared to the other phones that Xiaomi has released over the years. The entire body of the phone, front and back, is encased in a layer of Gorilla Glass, giving the phone a smooth feel that I am comfortable with. Does the glass on the Mi Note make it a fingerprint magnet? Most likely, but thanks to the white shell of the phone, I can barely even see it. The same cannot be said of the black coloured version of the phone however. An aluminium band runs through the top to bottom of the phone, giving it that premium look everyone is looking for.
A Step Behind
Hardware is where the Mi Note feels a step behind because, again, we here in Malaysia only just received the Mi Note. This doesn’t mean that the Mi Note is obsolete, however, as the internals of the phone is still respectable. Boasting a Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM, the Mi Note still packs some decent power. One part that falls short on the Mi Note is the lack of support for microSD cards, meaning the phone will only ever have a maximum of either 32GB or 64GB of storage space.
User interface is also a part where the Mi Note falls behind as the phone runs Android KitKat with the MiUI 6 skin. That’s not to say that an old UI is a dealbreaker as MiUI 6 is still a decent skin for Android. That said, seeing as MiUI 7 is about to be released to the public (or has already been released by the time you read this), there may be hope that the phone would get an update to its user interface.
Old UI aside, the Mi Note does sport a few new tricks up its sleeve. One new feature that should be familiar to those who have used phablets before is the “One-hand Mode”. This mode shrinks down the windows of open apps from the standard 5.7” to 3”, 4” or 4.5”, allowing you to control it with a single hand. The other feature that I liked? Read mode, which basically reduces blue light to make the phone be easier on your eyes.
“This allows pictures taken on the phone to be clear and crisp, even in lowlight conditions”
Audio Visual Ready
During the reveal of the Mi Note, the one part that Xiaomi boasted about is the camera. The phone comes with a 13MP rear camera using a Sony CMOS sensor and optical image stabilization. This allows pictures taken on the phone to be clear and crisp, even in lowlight conditions. The part Xiaomi was boasting about? The rear camera does not jut out like it does on the iPhone 6, making the back of the phone almost perfectly smooth. Another pleasant surprise on the Mi Note is the presence of an audio chip that gives the phone its own digital-to-analog converter. This gives the Mi Note a bit of an edge in the audio department when compared to other phones out in the market.
What do all flagship phones have in common? Why, heat issues of course. The Mi Note, like any other flagship phone, has a tendency to get hot really fast. If you toggle the Mi Note to performance mode, you can actually feel the temperature of the phone slowly rising. If you, like me, use the Mi Note as a GPS as well, be prepared to have your phone restart occasionally as the heat generated can be quite severe at times.
Late though it may be to arrive in Malaysia, the Mi Note is still a great phone to own if you’re not after the most cutting edge in mobile technology. Of course, there is no denying that the Mi Note is an old model, and one with a steep price tag. If you don’t mind the age and the asking price of the Mi Note though, it would make a great phone. For everyone else, you should probably look around and consider other options before setting your sights on it.
Byline : by Sia Zhen Ning