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Xiaomi Mi3, A Real User Review!

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Xiaomi (pronounced Sha-O-mi ) also known as Apple of China, released its third-generation Android smartphone MI3 In India on 22nd July 14. The Phone which is exclusively available on Flipkart was much hyped in the geek community.

More than 1 lakh individuals pre-registered for the July 22nd Sale, which started at 12PM. Flipkart was clearly not ready for the rush their website witnessed and their servers crashed again and again. Despite all this the phones were sold-out in about 39 mins. And I happened to be one of the lucky guys to latch on it. The Delivery was quick next day affair.

Xiaomi Mi 3

Now its been 4 days of full-day usage, a good enough time to understand the capabilities and shortcomings of the phone. I don’t always believe that next day reviews do justice to the phone and real feedback can only be given after a few days of usage and handling.

Prima-facie, given the specs of Mi 3, it could very well give competitors including Samsung, HTC and Motorola and homegrown brands like Micromax and Xolo etc, a major cause for concern.
The main reason, of course is its price.. Mi 3 is unbelievably priced at just 13999/- and if you have not been able to get your hands on it in the first go, the second batch of sale starts today (29th July) at 2PM. [You can buy it from Flipkart today]

Now lets look at the phone more closely.

Design and Display

The Phone is extremely Light, just 145g, and quite slim, if not slimmest at 8.1mm.

Mi3’s slim and curved edges give the phone it’s outstanding looks. It comes with a Gorilla Glass 3 which is not mentioned on their website, which I feel was an after thought as the glass is not fully flushed to the body but feels slightly raised.

IMG_20140723_141845

As for the screen itself, its got a Brilliant 1080p IPS Retina display giving you a 441ppi pixel density (though the benchmarks that we did showed it has 480ppi density which is really odd why the company chose to give 441ppi claim on the website).

The Colours are brilliant and consistent from almost any angles. On top of that the touch is amongst the best and even better than many high-end phones. The screen is also pressure sensitive and can be used with gloves on.

xiaomi-mi3

The Mi-3 runs on Android 4.4.2  optimized with the latest version of MIUI interface which runs on top of Kitkat making it look completely different. The MIUI is highly customizable and lot of themes are provided some of which are Chinese, but few of them are specially made for Indians too.

A new Android user will definitely enjoy working with MIUI, but for someone like me who has been using Android for long, I preferred to install one of the third party launchers available in Google play store. One of the better features available is the security app, which not only is an antivirus but also a ‘cleaner’ which is quite useful.

Performance

A Quad core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor is extremely fast coupled with 2GB of DDR3 Ram. Please keep in mind that default MIUI eats up almost 1GB of your memory.

According to the AnTuTu benchmark, the Mi 3 is ranked number four in terms of speed currently, outperforming key competing handsets including the likes of Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. Some users have got the scores of more than 30,000 on Mi 3, however, I myself never got the score beyond 29250.

Please note that the moment you change the default launcher, your score tends to go further down. Every Different launcher I tried, gave me different Antutu Benchmarks, with as low as 25800.

One Thing to be noted though is that there is absolutely no lagging while playing graphic intensive games at their highest quality settings.

Battery

Xiaomi has claimed there’s a 3050mAh battery, which is a definite plus with this phone. On the first day it lasted for just a day which was obvious because I played with this phone through the whole day, but on moderate to high usage, it last atleast for 1.5 days if not more.

Camera

A 13MP snapper with dual Philips LED flash, is one of the best when it comes to daylight pictures but was a bit of a disappointment when it came to low light imaging. The daylight photography is as if its taken using a good highend point and shoot camera. Brilliant colors, sharp and crisp images and good focusing. The super-large Exmor sensor and an ƒ/2.2 aperture really helps its cause.

Photos taken under cloudy conditions

IMG_20140723_151030_1406572534892IMG_20140728_103858_1406572697580

Photo taken under low-light

IMG_20140728_103727_1406572696095

Photo taken in pitch dark with flash on

IMG_20140728_235942_1406572604015

Unfortunately this phone disappointed me when it came to indoor low light pictures. The colors are pretty washed out which can be a little let down but then in absolute dark (with flash on) the pictures were surprisingly ok. The Front 2MP camera is a good snapper too, though a wider lens would have been better something that Gionee 5.5 has.

Build and Features

The Phone is extremely well built with a aluminum back and Gorilla Glass on top. Even the USB port is metal re-enforced one. Despite being light at 145 grams, it is sturdy as it houses an aluminum-magnesium alloy frame, coated with 3 layers of thermal graphite.

Like the website suggests, it really is made with laser precision. Its speaker grill proves its finesse.

Sensors

When it comes to features it is one of the most complete phone feature wise. Its got all Sensors including barometer, Gyroscope, Proximity etc and also has NFC and 5Ghz Wi-Fi. This phone will not only show you north, but will also show you the altitude and pressure. So in terms of sensors, it is one of the complete phones one can get. Only let down for some people is that it is single sim phone and not a dual sim (especially in India, where many people use 2 sim cards)

Bottom-line

This phrase describes the phone best – Best Midrange Phone with High-end Capabilities.

For Indians it is a phone from a little known Chinese company, but this company is not any other cheap phone manufacturer, it is known for its quality phones in China hence its called Apple of China there. It also commands a number 3 position in China based on market share.

They have about 35 service stations in major cities of India. So my suggestion would be grab one for yourself before they vanish from the next lot as well. Indians might complain with 16GB only option but then you can use all of it to install apps or data, not like many other phones who give 16 or 32 GB but only 1 or 1.5 GB is available for apps.

And at a price of 13999/- it’s surely a No-brainer! [You can buy it from Flipkart today]

P.S For all those who were not able to open the Sim slot, READ the Manual and use the Pin provided to open the slot.

[Note: post contain aff links]

  1. Shashikumar Reddy says

    But you didn’t mention anything about wifi, bluetooth usage and you didn’t even reply to a comment who asked for heating issues !! So is that mean we should assume there is heating issues !

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Yes, some of them did say about the heating, but it is not a widespread issue. I think it happens only for first few days and then subsides. All connectivity options like Bluetooth, Wifi work well..

  2. Dev says

    Is there any heating issue, like when we use wi-fi or Bluetooth for a long time??

  3. bhanu says

    What are gadgets we get with mobile
    Like charger, etc

  4. bhanu says

    What are inside with the mobile box

  5. Aniruddha says

    Thanks for your hands on review.

    Can we connect USB devices to this phone, USB devices like Keyboard, Pen drive… ?

  6. Jayesh Mehta says

    Flip kart and Xiaomi making fool to Indian Public they just sell to their own people and sell on quikr and Olx to earn premium on the phone sold around 20000 bugs olx , quikr

  7. […] Xiaomi Mi3, A Real User Review! […]

  8. Rahul says

    What about the display quality. How would rate it comparison to Apple or LG.

    1. Amit Bhide says

      full hd 1080p display with 480ppi (441ppi company claim) and brilliant colours enough said..
      one of the iPhone 4s user who checked out my handset felt that the screen as well as touch was better than his handset.. iPhone 4S has a resolution of 640×960 with 330ppi while 5s has a 640x 1136pixels screen with 326ppi so you decide.

  9. Shubh says

    Enough potential to change the mobile market :)

    1. Amit Bhide says

      Only if they can provide enough handsets to go with the current craze..
      Selling handsets in small no like 5k 10k or 20k will not dent the biggies even a little

      1. Shubh says

        Yes, i think. They are doing cheap publicity. Sold mobile in 5 sec lol. Xiaomi should have to take Indian market seriously :(

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