“The Mi Note 3 may just be a bigger Mi 6, but is a compelling option nonetheless” 

While the sexy Mi Mix 2 may have hogged the headlines, the new Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is a pretty loaded smartphone as well. The two were launched on the same stage in Beijing just a few hours ago, and while we’re still going ooh and aah over the bezel-less Mi Mix 2 (first impressions), it’s time to take a closer look at the Mi Note 3 and see what it brings to the table.

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Put simply, the Mi Note 3 is a bigger Mi 6 (first impressions). It’s a larger phone though and rocks a 5.7-inch FHD display, but thanks to the curvy edges, doesn’t feel too unwieldy. The glass sandwich design makes it look quite stylish and premium too.

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At the rear, you’ll find the same dual camera setup as on the Mi 6. The pair of 12MP sensors on the back of the device include a telephoto and a wide-angle lens, and give you up to 2x optical zoom. Optical image stabilisation is present and correct. A portrait mode that blurs the background is also available. Selfie duties are handled by a 16MP front shooter. 

At the fascia, you’ll see the usual array that includes the earpiece, front camera and sensors above the display, and an oval-shaped home key below. A fingerprint scanner is integrated into the home button, which is flanked by two capacitive navigation keys.

The port placement is standard, and you get a SIM tray on the left, plus a volume rocker and power key on the right. Up top, there’s an infrared blaster, while the bottom has the USB Type-C port and the speaker. Just like the Mi Mix 2, there’s no 3.5mm audio socket on the Mi Note 3, but as of now, we aren’t sure if an adapter is included in the package or not.

Under the hood, a Snapdragon 660 chip (the Mi 6 is powered by SD835 in comparison) mated to 6GB of RAM drives the performance. There’s 64GB / 128GB of storage (depending upon the variant), but you’d be hard pressed to find a microSD card slot… it isn’t there. A 3,500mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support provides the juice. On the software side of things, there’s MIUI with Android Nougat as base. The MIUI camera app is basically the same as the one we’ve seen on Xiaomi Mi 6 and the new Mi A1 (review), offering a 1X / 2X zoom toggle, plus a portrait mode included in the shooting modes.

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Based on our brief time with the Mi Note 3, we can say that the smartphone certainly promises good things as far as camera quality and performance are concerned. However, we can’t say how it’d fare as a daily driver till the time we get a chance to review it properly.

There’s no doubt that considering its starting price of around Rs 25,000 (in China), the Mi Note 3 is a compelling smartphone. However, there’s no indication when Xiaomi plans to launch it in India, if at all. The company has answered our prayers by confirming that the Mi Mix 2 will be coming to our shores soon, so it seems that the new bezel-less smartphone will act as the torchbearer for the brand in the country. Despite that, there might still be a void which a device like the Mi Note 3 can fill… all we can do is hope.

Disclosure: this writer was in China on Xiaomi India’s invitation

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