“Curious about Xiaomi’s upcoming Redmi Note? Here’s what all you should know”
Love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. If there’s one smartphone company in India that has become a manifestation of this quote, then it’s Xiaomi. For every buyer of its debut offering, the Mi 3 (review | cheatsheet) or the budget-centric Redmi 1s (review | FAQs), there are thousands others who scorn at the brand’s weekly flash models and discard them as mere publicity stunts.
But one thing is sure that within just three months of its existence in India, the brand has shaken up the market. Competitors are trying to launch counterattacks, while consumers consider Xiaomi’s smartphones as a benchmark when considering a new smartphone.
The next device in line from Xiaomi’s release schedule is the Redmi Note. While we don’t have an exact timeline of its launch, Xiaomi’s previous devices made us curious enough to get one from China to bring you a review. But before that, here are answers to the commonly-asked questions on the phablet. Do keep in mind that the device we have here is the Chinese model and a few things might change when the phone comes to India officially (don’t worry, we will update our post accordingly).
Absolutely, just like its siblings, the Redmi Note is a loaded offering. Being a phablet, it sports a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels (~267ppi). Under the bonnet, the smartphone features an octa-core processor from MediaTek ticking at 1.7GHz mated with 2GB RAM. In the storage department, it gets 8GB of flash memory. For imaging, the device has a 13-megapixel rear shooter supported by an LED flash, along with a 5MP camera at the front.
The specs we have mentioned above are for the enhanced version of the Redmi Note, since that will be launched in India. The standard version also sports similar specs, but gets an underclocked octa-core CPU at 1.4GHz and a gigabyte of RAM for performance.
Just like Xiaomi’s previous offerings, the Redmi Note’s retail pack comes with bare essentials. These include the phablet itself, a wall charger and a charging cum data transfer micro-USB cable, along with a quick start guide.
Although we unboxed the Chinese box of the Redmi Note, we believe that things would be the same in the Indian version too.
While the sleek Mi 3 sported a premium metallic finish and the solidly-built Redmi 1s feels compact, the Redmi Note is quite big and feels chunky owing to its large size. However, there’s no doubt that it’s a solid device even though its constructed from plastic. What we didn’t like however, is its glossy rear cover which becomes slippery very easily and also attracts fingerprints, as we mentioned in our first impressions.
The Redmi Note is available in a dual-tone finish of black at the front and white at the back.
Sadly, the answer to that question would be a no and hence it’s advisable to apply a screen protector on the phablet’s display.
As highlighted time and again, Xiaomi’s business model relies heavily around its ecosystem of accessories and hence we are certain that it will be launching cases and back covers for the Redmi Note. The snap-on cases will be available in five colour options such as black, blue, and pink among others.
Yes, similar to the Redmi 1s, the Redmi Note accepts two SIMs. However, 3G is supported only in the primary SIM slot and the other slot only supports 2G networks.
The device has slots for regular-sized SIM (mini SIM) cards.
The Redmi Note doesn’t support Near Field Communication, but does include the usual connectivity features such as Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS.
Out of the 8GB flash storage, users will be able to access approximately 5.6GB for their personal content. It can also extended further up to 32GB, via a microSD card. There’s also support for USB OTG, allowing you to plug in your USB drives directly.
However, it must be noted that the available storage might change based on the preinstalled content on the Indian version of the Redmi Note.
Sadly, the Redmi Note runs the dated version of Android – 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. However, the Chinese upstart promise that it’ll be updated to the latest Android build soon.
Just like all Xiaomi’s offerings, the OS on the smartphone is customised with MIUI. Currently in version 5, it brings a number of changes to stock Android, both in terms of looks and features.
Lite Mode is a simple-yet-brilliant idea to provide a simplified version of the home screen with large icons and fonts, making the device easier to use for senior citizens. Unlike many other easy-mode UIs, Lite Mode doesn’t strips away any functionality, and gives the user ability to access all the installed apps.
The mode is also available on the Redmi Note and can be enabled by going in the settings menu.
As a phablet, there’s little doubt that the Redmi Note is an ideal multimedia consumption device on the go and hence it’s important for it to deliver good battery life. Xiaomi has supplied the Redmi Note with 3,100mAh removable battery, and claims that it will offer 14 hours of talk time on 3G.
While the Mi 3 is the Chinese brand’s previous flagship (succeeded by the Mi 4, which we have reviewed here) offering top-of-the-line specs, the Redmi 1s is a budget smartphone. The Redmi Note is positioned in the middle, considering its price point. It’s also aimed at those who want to get a performance-oriented device without pinching their pocket. It’s also the first phablet from Xiaomi’s stable, ideal for those who want to do more from their phones instead of lugging around different gadgets.
Well, that’s a difficult question since Xiaomi’s hasn’t given any indication on its launch timeframe. We believe that it should go on sale within a month, but keep a watch out on our blog to know when exactly it’ll be going on sale.
At Xiaomi’s debut launch event in New Delhi, the brand stated that the Redmi Note will be priced at Rs 9,999, making it a compelling buy considering the hardware specs on offer – the same observation that emerged with the company’s other offerings. Our review will help indicate whether the device is as good as it looks on paper, so stay tuned.
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