The Xiaomi Mi Note: Disrupting the Smartphone ‘Apple’ Cart Yet Again

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From being called out the ‘Apple of China’ to taking potshots at the Cupertino’s Iphone 6 and 6 Plus, Xiaomi stepped out onto the world’s stage in Beijing today and went premium with the Mi Note and the Mi Note Pro.

Beijing today saw the world’s most valuable start-up push away the budget tag as it went after the premium smartphone segment. Almost nonchalantly, Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun walked onto the stage and set about revealing his latest devices to great adulation from the loyal ‘Mi fens’ (a nickname for Xiaomi fans.)

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The devices that really set the cat among the the pigeons were the new Mi Note and the Mi Note Pro. The Mi note is a follow up to the Mi 4 launched last year and features the same specs in a larger frame. The screen size has increased from 5 to 5.7 inches and the camera is a newer 13MP sensor that of course sits flush within the 3D curved Gorilla Glass 3 back (unlike the protruding iPhone 6 Plus camera).

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The usual suspects, like a Snapdragon 801 Processor and 3GB of RAM, dual 4G sims and 16 and 64GB storage variants were also present. A combination that should satisfy the needs of any smartphone user.

Up front, under the 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3, sits a 5.5 inch Sharp/JDI LCD display that Xiaomi claims has a contrast ratio of 14ooo:1. Above that display sits a 4MP camera with extra large pixels (HTC One M8 Ultrapixel camera anyone?)

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The Mi Note supports hi-fi  audio thanks to the Sabre ES9018K2M high-end DAC which is supported byAnalog Devices’ ADA4896 and TI’s OPA1612 amplifiers. With such good audio support around, Lei Jun popped out the new Mi headphones. The headphones (an obvious dig at Apple’s newly acquired asset Beats Audio and their flagship the Beats Studio)  at CNY 499 (roughly Rs. 5,000) are an absolute steal when compared to other headsets sporting the same sort of specs.

And just when you thought they were done with all the puns and suprises, ‘Mi fens’ were greeted by yet another device, the Mi Note Pro. Sporting a Snapdragon 810 Processor, 4GB of RAM and a Quad HD display, the Note Pro sets it sight on another Note device, Samsung’s highly praised Galaxy Note 4. And given the horsepower under the hood, it sure looks like it’ll give the better known Samsung a real run for its money.

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The Mi Note goes on sale in China immediately with the 16GB version going for CNY 2,299 (roughly Rs. 23,000) and the 64GB variant priced at CNY 2,799 (roughly Rs. 27,900). The Mi Note Pro goes on sale at the end of March for CNY 3299 (approximately Rs. 32,900). All three devices run MIUI over Android 4.4.4 Kitkat.

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