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Now, I’ve had the opportunity to use the Mi 8 for about 18 days, and I have some thoughts on the design and software that make up the soul of this device.

Xiaomi Mi 8 review notes: I’ve been using the Xiaomi Mi 8 on Project Fi’s network in Germany, Denmark, Japan, and the U.S. for 18 days. Our Xiaomi Mi 8 is running Android 8.1 Oreo and MIUI Global version 9.6.7.0 MIUI Global 10.0.2.0 (As of 9/19/2024) on the August 1, 2023 security patch. We’ll refrain from adding review scores until we can put the device through our full suite of tests.

I’ve been using the Xiaomi Mi 8 on Project Fi’s network in Germany, Denmark, Japan, and the U.S. for 18 days. Our Xiaomi Mi 8 is running Android 8.1 Oreo andMIUI Global 10.0.2.0 (As of 9/19/2024) on the August 1, 2023 security patch. We’ll refrain from adding review scores until we can put the device through our full suite of tests.

The Xiaomi Mi 8 looks like an iPhone X, there’s no way around it. From the positioning of the dual cameras to the size of the notch and even the speaker grills, it’s hard to tell the two apart side by side. Multiple phones have been accused of copying Apple over the years, but the Mi 8 is probably the closest resemblance we’ve seen so far. Even the software looks similar, though that’s par for the course on Chinese Android skins.

The body of the Mi 8 is made of Gorilla Glass 5, which is shatter-resistant but doesn’t handle scratches very well. I like to review phones without a case to see how they hold up on their own, and the Mi 8 received a number of small hairline scratches and one fairly deep scar on the back during my time with it.

The screen is fairly large at 6.21-inches, and sports a resolution of 1080 x 2248 with a 402ppi. It’s nothing really special. It seems Xiaomi made clever use of the HDR display to get around highly lit areas. Instead of bumping up the screen brightness, the phone simply enables the HDR mode to brighten dark areas on the screen. Xiaomi calls this the “Sunlight Display,” and it is supposed to keep the colors more accurate in sunlight and save battery life. If what you’re doing doesn’t require punchy colors, this is a nice way to keep your phone running a bit longer.

As you would expect from a phone with flagship hardware, the Xiaomi Mi 8 performed admirably throughout my testing. I never saw any major lockups, and as someone who has a problem with tab management, the device handled my 100+ Chrome tabs just fine.

It’s a bit hard to talk about performance when most high-end phones perform virtually the same. That’s why benchmarks are still fairly useful metrics for comparing devices.

We ran the Mi through Geekbench 4, AnTuTu, and 3DMark to see how it compares to the competition. You can see the results below.

Geekbench 4 gave the Xiaomi Mi 8 a single-core score of 2,403. In comparison, the OnePlus 6 scored 2,454, while the Galaxy S9 scored 2,144. The Mi 8 achieved a multi-core score of 8,545, while the OnePlus 6 scored 8,967, and the Galaxy S9 scored 8,116.

AnTuTu gave the Mi 8 a score of 264,255, compared to the OnePlus 6’s 262,614 and the S9’s 266,559.

It seems nearly every phone in 2023 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, and the Mi 8 is no exception. Coupled with 6 or 8GB of RAM this phone keeps up with the latest on the market, with a storage capacity up to 256GB to boot.

The Mi 8’s battery is definitively average. In my testing, I got some pretty mixed results, between four hours and six hours of screen-on time depending on the particular day, and generally getting better as my testing went on. I took eight samples over my review period with the device and landed at an average screen on time of 5 hours and 35 minutes with five percent left in each sample. This leaves the Mi 8 with about the same battery life as the OnePlus 6, which has a slightly smaller 3,300mAh battery. While it can’t compete with devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and its 4,000mAh battery, it lasts you a day just fine.

To my surprise, the camera on this device is very good. It’s not punchy and super saturated like cameras from Samsung and a few others, but I was pleased with the Mi 8’s sharpness and dynamic range. I took an enormous variety of photos over the 18 days using the device, and it performed well in nearly every situation. The portrait mode using the back cameras still leaves a lot to be desired, but the front-facing portrait mode added in MIUI 10.0 actually performs fairly well.

There is also a front-facing IR blaster inside the notch that allows for infrared face-unlocking, but sadly this is omitted from the global version. We’ve only really seen this in the iPhone X and OPPO Find X so far, so this is a nice addition to the device.

The Mi 8 produces excellent sharpness and dynamic range in nearly every situation

I’ve selected a few photos from my time with the device to display here at a compressed resolution to help increase this page’s load time. I have over 50 photos in full resolution here.

As you can see in the examples above, sharpness and dynamic range are excellent. The camera reminds me a lot of the shooter on the iPhone X, which doesn’t have an extreme amount of contrast, but instead focuses on tonality.

The camera does tend to overexpose images just a bit, but I solved this by dropping the exposure manually. If you spray and pray your photos may be a tad too bright, but if you can take a second to adjust it the results are great.

Software

Xiaomi is a company founded on software. MIUI was originally a ROM of Android made to compete with the wildly popular CyanogenMod back in the day. Even now, Xiaomi updates its software weekly for those in the beta channel, and every two weeks for regular users. It adds new features based almost directly on what the community wants, and Xiaomi employees are required to spend a portion of their week reading and responding to forum posts and requests.

MIUI 10 features: 7 improvements you should know about

News

This take on software is completely different to almost any company — the closest example I can find is Essential’s monthly Reddit AMAs. It’s clear Xiaomi is very serious about improving MIUI, and I give it a lot of credit for listening so closely to its community.

MIUI overall feels very simple — so simple, there isn’t even an app drawer. I’m personally not a fan of this decision, but Xiaomi is most popular in its home country of China, where most phones lack the app drawer in an attempt to copy the iPhone.

You may have noticed that this review seemed a bit dry, and I would agree with you.

In my eyes, the Xiaomi Mi 8 is a platform to highlight its software. The company has been trying to best Apple in price and performance for years now, and it’s clear this design is its best attempt yet at producing the “every man’s iPhone.” Heck, the word Xiaomi literally means “Millet,” one of the most commonly consumed grains in the world. Xiaomi is clearly trying to hit a wide audience by producing quality hardware at about half the price of its competitors, and this plan seems to be working.

Specs

The Xiaomi Mi 8 is not an interesting phone, but it is a good phone. It is every bit as fast as other flagships, and only seems to add features users actually want. Now we face something I like the call the “POCO problem.”

Recently, Xiaomi unveiled a new sub-brand called POCOphone, and its first device, the Pocophone F1, shook up the industry by offering effectively the same specs as the Mi 8 at just $300. It even offers features the Mi 8 doesn’t have, like a headphone jack and an optional Kevlar shell in the special “Armored Edition.”

This offering seems fantastic, but Xiaomi could cannibalize its own device with a new, cheaper phone many would consider the better device. I wanted to know what Xiaomi thought of this, so I talked to Xiaomi product PR manager John Chan to get his thoughts.

That’s it for our Xiaomi Mi 8 review. Thoughts? Are you buying this phone or would you rather save some cash and go for the POCOphone F1?

Next: Xiaomi Mi Band 3 review: The best cheap fitness tracker?

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Review Del Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

Pros

Impresionantemente fino y ligero

Múltiples herramientas

Buen precio

Nuestro veredicto

Una pantalla prometedora y un diseño asombrosamente fino apuntalan un todoterreno capaz, solo superado por teléfonos menos elegantes con un mayor énfasis en el valor y el rendimiento, frente al valor y la estética.

Xiaomi presentó originalmente el primero de los smartphones de la serie Mi 11 a finales de 2023, llevando el teléfono a nuevos mercados a principios de año.

Pero, ahí no acabó todo, en marzo de 2023 aparecieron aproximadamente seis miembros adicionales de la familia, el más modesto (barato) de los cuales es el Mi 11 Lite.

No hay que confundirlo con el Mi 11 Lite 5G -que comparte parte (pero no todo) de su hardware clave-, el Mi 11 Lite estándar es una oferta esbelta solo para 4G que lidera con su diseño y que incluye una gran cantidad de características extra, todo ello apuntalado por el sentido de calidad-precio tan característico de Xiaomi.

Diseño y construcción

El Lite se centra en ofrecer una experiencia de pantalla grande en un dispositivo impresionantemente delgado; algo que logra al presumir de una “cintura” de solo 6,81 mm; eso es más fino que prácticamente cualquier otro teléfono inteligente actualmente en el mercado (a excepción de los recientes plegables, cuando se despliegan), junto con un peso pluma, de 157 gramos.

Al igual que la mayoría de los teléfonos del mercado, el módulo de la triple cámara trasera añade un poco de grosor adicional en la esquina superior izquierda, pero incluso el diseño de dos niveles -que se inspira directamente en el Mi 11 original, con sus detalles cromados- apenas se nota.

A pesar de su amplio frontal y parte trasera de cristal plano, el sutil redondeo de los bordes y el marco metálico curvado hacen que sea cómodo de sostener, sin embargo, el acabado de espejo de la cubierta trasera es tal que a veces el agarre puede parecer escaso y las huellas dactilares aparecen con demasiada facilidad, especialmente en la versión Boba Black analizada aquí.

Afortunadamente, Xiaomi incluye una funda flexible transparente en la caja, por lo que puedes seguir beneficiándote de las proporciones más complementarias del teléfono -además de poder disfrutar del acabado elegido- con un poco más de tranquilidad.

Hablando de acabados, el Mi 11 Lite está disponible en tres combinaciones de colores: Negro Boba (en la imagen), Azul Chicle y Rosa Melocotón. A diferencia del pulido de espejo del modelo negro, las versiones azul y rosa cuentan con un tratamiento de superficie difusa que da a las fuentes de luz reflejadas en la parte trasera del teléfono un hermoso brillo e iridiscencia, así como una resistencia notablemente superior a las manchas y los borrones.

Ese marco metálico, por su parte, parece ser demasiado delgado para una toma de auriculares estándar (aunque un adaptador viene en la caja), sin embargo, Xiaomi encontró espacio suficiente para un puerto USB-C, la rejilla del altavoz, el control de volumen, la tecla de encendido y lo más sorprendente de todo – una característica poco vista pero apreciada – un blaster IR; que se vincula a la aplicación de control remoto universal Mi Remote.

La tecla de encendido también hace las veces de sensor de huellas dactilares, que resulta estar cómodamente colocado, responder y ser fiable. El desbloqueo facial también es una opción, utilizando la cámara frontal RGB básica del teléfono (es decir, no hay mapeo de contornos IR al estilo de Face ID de Apple en el Lite).

Aunque su diseño es relativamente inflexible, no debería sorprender que un teléfono tan fino y ligero como el Mi 11 Lite carezca de carga inalámbrica, mientras que su posición más asequible significa que también renuncia a la certificación IP contra el polvo y la resistencia al agua.

Pantalla y audio

La parte frontal del Mi 11 Lite presenta una agradable simetría que lo distingue de otros teléfonos más asequibles que intentan reducir sus biseles; el grosor de estos parece casi igual en todo su perímetro (los teléfonos más baratos suelen tener una “barbilla” más gruesa en la parte inferior).

La respetable relación entre la pantalla y el cuerpo del Mi 11 Lite ayuda a crear una experiencia de visualización expansiva, con el panel AMOLED de 6,55 pulgadas, compatible con HDR10 y de 10 bits de color, que ofrece un gran brillo, ángulos de visión, contraste y colores.

MIUI -la experiencia de usuario de Android de Xiaomi- también añade una montaña de control sobre los efectos visuales del teléfono, permitiéndote establecer o programar el modo oscuro (que oscurece o hace negros los elementos brillantes de la interfaz de usuario -ideal para un dispositivo con una pantalla OLED de bajo consumo como esta-), cambiar la gama de colores y la temperatura con precisión, y cambiar la frecuencia de actualización.

El teléfono viene por defecto con una frecuencia convencional de 60 Hz, pero si entras en los ajustes encontrarás la opción de cambiar a 90 Hz. MIUI no dice explícitamente si esta implementación de alta tasa de refresco es dinámica o fija (la primera se refiere a la optimización de la tasa de refresco en función de la aplicación o la acción), pero debes saber que obtendrás una experiencia de usuario mucho más fluida, a expensas de un poco de duración de la batería.

El modo de uso con una sola mano también forma parte de la ecuación, que resulta esencial en la amplia pantalla del Lite, ya que reduce la interfaz de usuario para que todo esté al alcance del pulgar con un simple deslizamiento por las teclas de navegación de la parte inferior.

En el punto en el que el bisel se une al marco, Xiaomi ha conseguido cortar una hendidura casi imperceptible para el auricular que emite el sonido con una claridad impresionante. Además, la configuración estéreo del teléfono ofrece un sonido mucho más claro y fuerte de lo que cabría esperar de un dispositivo tan delgado.

Software y características

Si los ajustes de la pantalla eran una indicación, MIUI 12 de Xiaomi -como aparece en el Mi 11 Lite- es una experiencia llena de características. Sin embargo, se trata de un arma de doble filo, ya que otorga a los usuarios un asombroso nivel de personalización y adaptación, pero al mismo tiempo presenta una cacofonía de opciones y funciones que desconcertará incluso a los usuarios de Android de toda la vida; al menos al principio.

La mayoría de los fabricantes de teléfonos chinos han atenuado (en el caso de Huawei y Oppo) sus skins de Android o han vuelto casi a la versión original (Vivo) al llevar sus teléfonos al público internacional. Si bien esto es en parte cierto en el caso de Xiaomi, la versión global de MIUI 12 sigue siendo especialmente compleja y un poco abrumadora.

El Mi 11 Lite también viene precargado con un porcentaje relativamente alto de bloatware para un smartphone moderno; con entradas de terceros como eBay y PUBG Mobile presentes fuera de la caja, así como un montón de aplicaciones propias de Xiaomi que, o bien duplican las ofertas de Google (como el Mi [web] Browser) o sirven para lo que la mayoría consideraría propósitos de nicho, como la aplicación de escáner (de código de barras), la aplicación de grabador de pantalla independiente, las aplicaciones separadas de Seguridad y Limpiador, y así sucesivamente.

Incluso hay casos de anuncios que aparecen dentro de algunas de estas aplicaciones de origen, lo que abarata un poco la experiencia general.

Sin embargo, una vez que te acostumbras a los entresijos de MIUI, hay elementos que sin duda son atractivos. La cantidad de control de grano fino sobre el aspecto y el comportamiento de todo es increíblemente rica; desde decisiones fundamentales, como “cajón de aplicaciones o no cajón de aplicaciones”, hasta si la barra de estado muestra o no la velocidad de conexión del teléfono.

También hay un montón de elementos y animaciones de la interfaz de usuario que dan a todo un nivel adicional de pulido que no se encuentra en otras experiencias de usuario; la sección “Acerca del teléfono” tiene un gran ejemplo de esto, donde la representación visual del almacenamiento utilizado se agita como un líquido, utilizando el acelerómetro del teléfono y la física programada para responder a la orientación y el movimiento del teléfono.

Rendimiento

Los conjuntos de chips de la serie Snapdragon 700 de Qualcomm de gama media suelen ser muy respetados, y el Snapdragon 765G del año pasado demostró ser lo suficientemente capaz como para encontrar su camino en numerosos buques insignia; como el Google Pixel 5 y el LG Velvet, así como algunos de nuestros teléfonos de gama media favoritos del año, como el OnePlus Nord original.

El Snapdragon 732G que impulsa el Mi 11 Lite (que debutó en el Poco X3 NFC de Xiaomi el año pasado) está en el extremo inferior de la línea 700, pero sigue siendo una opción sólida.

El teléfono se siente completamente cómodo realizando tareas cotidianas como la mensajería, la navegación y el streaming de vídeo, con el único signo real de que el Lite no está impulsado por un SoC de clase insignia presentándose más fácilmente por los tiempos de carga de aplicaciones más largos de lo esperado.

Más allá de eso, el Lite se siente totalmente capaz como un teléfono de juegos, por defecto a los gráficos “alta” en Call of Duty: Mobile – con sombras en tiempo real activado (pero los efectos como la profundidad de campo, ragdolls y anti-aliasing desactivado).

Hasta 8 GB de RAM LPDDR4X y 128 GB de almacenamiento UFS 2.2 (según las pruebas realizadas) deberían ser suficientes para las necesidades de la mayoría de los usuarios y, en conjunto, ser capaces de ofrecer de dos a tres años de uso competente (si el soporte de actualizaciones de software de Xiaomi lo permite).

Batería

Para un dispositivo tan delgado, Xiaomi se las ha arreglado para introducir una batería sorprendentemente capaz de 4250mAh (que es más grande que la de un iPhone 12 Pro Max).

En cuanto a los teléfonos Android, no es la más grande de las celdas, pero debería permitirte pasar un día de uso cómodamente, con carga de sobra.

El menú de energía del teléfono es un poco confuso de interpretar, pero te proporciona estadísticas útiles como el uso restante estimado y no uno, sino dos niveles de ahorro de batería; el primero de ellos restringe la actividad de las aplicaciones en segundo plano, limpia la caché del teléfono cada vez que se bloquea y deshabilita las funciones de calidad de vida como el levantamiento al despertar, mientras que la variante “ultra” restringe adicionalmente el rendimiento y la funcionalidad para aumentar la longevidad.

MIUI también destaca cuando las aplicaciones que agotan la batería están en funcionamiento y sugiere otros cambios que se pueden hacer para mejorar la longevidad; como cambiar la tasa de refresco de la pantalla a 60Hz (todos los benchmarks de Mi 11 Lite en este análisis se realizaron con la pantalla configurada a 90Hz), desactivar los servicios de localización, la retroalimentación háptica y más.

Xiaomi también incluye un cargador rápido de 33W en la caja, que recarga el Mi 11 Lite hasta el 43 % en sólo 30 minutos, el 97 % en una hora y una carga completa en una hora y diez minutos.

Cámara

El módulo de la cámara en la parte trasera del teléfono tiene un diseño similar al del Mi 11 estándar, pero el Mi 11 Lite cuenta con un conjunto de sensores totalmente diferente; con una cámara principal de 64 MP, una ultrafina de 8MP, un pargo “telemacro” de 5 MP y una frontal de 16 MP.

Un teléfono delgado con un módulo de cámara delgado también significa una falta total de OIS, sin embargo, EIS (estabilización electrónica de la imagen) demuestra una agradable confianza cuando se graba vídeo – que alcanza un máximo de resolución 4K/30fps.

Aunque, en general, las fotografías de todas las cámaras del Mi 11 Lite parecen competentes y agradables a la vista, hay algunos rasgos recurrentes que no gustarán a todo el mundo.

Aunque la opción de mejora de la imagen por IA está a un toque de distancia, la ciencia del color por defecto (cuando está desactivada) parece demasiado desaturada, mientras que los detalles finos se procesan hasta el punto de ser demasiado nítidos.

El rango dinámico de los sensores secundarios es la mayor discrepancia entre las cámaras del teléfono, mientras que la Lite a veces tiene problemas para encontrar el enfoque, sobre todo en las tomas macro.

Por defecto, la cámara principal capta instantáneas de 16 MP con pixeles, mientras que la “telemacro” puede configurarse para hacer fotos con zoom 2x o -mediante un interruptor- fotos macro.

El software de la cámara de Xiaomi está, ya lo has adivinado, repleto de funciones; con un montón de modos, incluyendo opciones creativas únicas como Clon, Vlog y Vídeo Dual, así como una serie de iconos con los que tendrás que familiarizarte experimentando para aprender lo que hacen todos ellos.

Precio y disponibilidad

El Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite ya está disponible en la propia Mi Store de la compañía, en numerosos mercados europeos, incluyendo Francia y España. Su precio comienza en 299,90 euros para la variante de 6 GB de RAM / 64 GB de almacenamiento.

Esto también lo sitúa en el mismo rango que el nuevo OnePlus Nord CE 5G y el propio Redmi Note 10 Pro de la compañía, que rebaja al Lite en muchos aspectos, salvo quizás en su diseño.

Veredicto

En la primera impresión, a pesar de ser el miembro más bajo de la familia Mi 11, el Mi 11 Lite “sorprende” con su forma tan delgada. Si profundizamos un poco más, nos damos cuenta de que también está impregnado de una pantalla impresionante, un sistema interno capaz y una experiencia de usuario repleta de funciones.

Si el diseño no está en lo más alto de tu lista de prioridades en un nuevo teléfono, es probable que tu dinero vaya a parar a otra parte (aunque es probable que sigas encontrando algo adecuado dentro del catálogo de Xiaomi), sin embargo, el Mi 11 Lite ofrece una experiencia agradablemente redonda por su precio, completada con algunos toques únicos.

Especificaciones

Pantalla AMOLED Full HD+ 20:9 de 6,55 pulgadas y 90 Hz

Color de 10 bits

Compatible con HDR10

Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G

6 GB o 8 GB (LPDDR4X) de RAM

64 GB o 128 GB de almacenamiento UFS 2.2

Cámara principal de 64 MP

Cámara ultra ancha de 8 MP

Cámara ‘telemacro’ de 5 MP

Cámara frontal de 16 MP (perforación)

Altavoces duales

Android 11 con MIUI 12

Sensor de huellas dactilares/tecla de encendido

Desbloqueo facial

NFC

Bluetooth 5.1

Batería de 4250mAh

Carga rápida de 33W

160,53mm x 75,73mm x 6,81mm

157 gramos

Colores: Rosa Melocotón, Azul Chicle, Negro Boba

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro Hands

On March 27, Xiaomi officially announced the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro for global markets. The devices represent a huge jump in pricing for the company, with the standard Mi 10 starting at €799 and the Mi 10 Pro starting at €999. Considering last year’s Mi 9 started at €499, the new phones will have to bring a huge amount of prowess to draw prospective customers.

So what is Xiaomi offering for your money?

Classic Xiaomi form

The design of the Mi 10 Pro feels authentically Xiaomi. It doesn’t try to be flashy with colorful gradients or prints. The Mi 10 Pro simply comes in blue, green, and pink with soft-touch glass on the back. This feels similar to the finish OnePlus puts on its devices, but it’s not quite as nice. While I’d have loved for Xiaomi to put a little more thought into the color and texture, it’s not totally necessary — just personal preference.

The specs are stacked

From a raw power perspective, the Mi 10 Pro brings a lot to the table. It’s running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and X55 modem to support sub-6GHz 5G networks, 8 or 12GB of RAM, and 256 or 512GB of storage. That’s about as flagship as you’d expect to get in early 2023, which should make Mi fans happy.

The Mi 10 Pro is also running a 4,500mAh battery. While that’s not quite as big as the 5,000mAh cell on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or LG V60, it has something those devices don’t: ludicrously fast charging.

The Mi 10 Pro supports 50W charging with the included 65W brick, which should amp the phone up in no time. Ever since reviewing the OPPO Find X2 Pro with 65W charging, I’ve been a huge fan of the charging some devices can tout. And if you’d rather go wireless, the device supports 30-watt wireless charging. If you’d need to juice up another device, the Mi 10 Pro also supports reverse wireless charging at 10W.

Cameras for days

The Mi 10 Pro sports a 108MP sensor similar to what we saw on the Xiaomi Mi Note 10, a 20MP ultra-wide sensor, and two telephoto sensors. The first telephoto sensor is primarily made for portraits, sporting an equivalent 50mm focal length and shooting at 12MP. The longer telephoto sensor uses a 94mm-equivalent focal length and shoots at 8MP. The phone can zoom up to 50x in a crop mode.

From initial images, the photos out of this phone look decent. White balance and color seem very balanced, and dynamic range is particularly good. We’ll be testing this device more in-depth once we finish our full review, so stay tuned for that.

As far as video is concerned, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 allows the Mi 10 Pro to shoot 8K video for up to six minutes. This is likely to keep the phone from overheating. We’ll be testing video capabilities more in our full review as well.

Software with lots of Google

The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro is running MIUI 11 based on Android 10, which is nice to see, considering the Mi Note 10 is still running Android 9.

One thing that stood out to me when booting up the device is how much Xiaomi is leaning on Google for its stock apps. The Mi 10 Pro uses Android Messages for its stock texting app, Google Phone as its main phone app, and there is a huge folder full of Google apps on the home screen. While we’re used to seeing apps like Gmail pre-installed on devices, the Mi 10 has apps like Google Podcasts, Google News, and even Google One built-in.

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro Review: Checking The Right Boxes

Design

The Mi Note Pro can be considered the bigger brother of its namesake, but that is true mostly in terms of the specifications, with things remaining largely identical when it comes to the physical appearance and build quality. The Mi Note Pro features the same metal and glass construction, with a 2.5D glass up front and its gentle curves along the edges, as well as the 3D glass on the back, that brings with it a more pronounced curve along the left and right sides. All of this is held together by a metal frame with chamfered edges. The most noticeable difference in terms of design has to do with the metal frame, which has been treated with a gold finish, compared to the silver finish of the Mi Note. The ring around the camera and the Mi logo are also coming with the matching gold color. The design isn’t overly flashy, and overall, the Mi Note Pro is a beautiful, elegant looking device, that also feels great in the hand.

That said, like most phones with a glass panel on the back, the device does tend to feel slippery, and is very prone to smudges. The chamfered edges along the metal frame do help with grip though. One handed usability is also surprisingly good, despite what the display size of 5.7-inches might suggest. Of course, there’s no denying that this is a large smartphone by any standard, and some hand gymnastics will be required to reach every corner of the display, but the thin bezels along the sides of the display and the thin profile of the device allow for a better handling experience than you may think.

Taking a look around the device, the power button and volume rocker are located on the right side within easy reach. The buttons are also made of metal, and are easy to press with a good tactile feedback, adding to the high-end nature of the device. The headphone jack is up top, the microUSB port and single speaker unit is placed at the bottom, and the SIM card slot is found on the left side. Up front are the capacitive keys below the display, with a multi-colored LED notification light next to the front-facing camera, earpiece, and other typical sensors, at the top.

Display

As mentioned, the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro comes with a 5.7-inch display, which is a good size for media-consumption and playing games. The resolution has been bumped to Quad HD as well, with a pixel density of 515 ppi, making for a screen that is extremely sharp. The display also offers rich and vibrant colors, high contrast, and some very deep blacks beyond what you’d generally expect from an IPS LCD display, along with really good viewing angles. While the default, out of the box settings are already good, Xiaomi has included some color calibration settings to tweak the display more to your liking, but in all likelihood, you won’t find the need to make many changes.

There is a reading mode available that helps reduce the strain on your eyes if you are planning to look at the screen for long periods of time. The screen also does a great job at reducing glare, making the display very easy to see in broad daylight. This can be attributed to what Xiaomi calls a “Sunlight Display,” which actually makes adjustments at the hardware level to each individual pixel, for better real time contrast and outdoor visibility, as opposed to the otherwise standard practice of just ramping up the brightness of the display.

Performance and hardware

Under the hood, the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro is packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, clocked at 2 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 430 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. The Snapdragon 810 has received a bit of flak since its launch when it comes to overheating, but regardless, is still one of the most powerful chipsets currently available. The Mi Note Pro is also one of a handful of devices to boast 4 GB of RAM, which is of the LPDDR4 variety, said to be almost twice as fast and more power efficient when compared to the older DDR3.

High-end flagships are getting so fast nowadays that it is really hard to notice much of a difference from one to another in terms of performance,  and the Mi Note Pro can also more than hold its own against the best of the competition. In day to day usage, the device was extremely fluid and responsive, despite this particular review unit still running software in its beta iteration. Everything from navigating around the various elements of the UI, opening, closing, and switching between applications, and playing games is a pleasant experience. Of course, multi-tasking is an absolute breeze as well, as you would expect with the 4 GB DDR4 RAM that the device is packing.

It has to be mentioned though that when playing games, or while watching a lot of videos, the Mi Note Pro did start to get a little warm, and you can definitely feel the heat dissipating through the metal frame. It doesn’t get to the point where the device becomes uncomfortable to hold or downright unusable, and is not necessarily a huge concern, but rather something to be aware of.

The Mi Note Pro comes with 64 GB of on-board storage, which is the only configuration available, and should be more than enough for most users. That said, expandable storage via microSD card is not an option, if you were hoping for it to be available. The device also comes with a standard suite of connectivity options, including 4G LTE support, but is unfortunately not compatible with the LTE networks in the US. While internet access was restricted to HSPA+ on the T-Mobile network, that still proved to be fast enough.

Speaker quality from the bottom mounted speaker is also quite good, as it gets plenty loud for a single driver without sounding distorted. As with any other bottom firing speaker though, it can be very easy to muffle when holding the device in landscape orientation, and the sideways firing audio does create a lopsided listening experience.

Another aspect that stays identical between this device and the Mi Note is the capacity of the battery, with both devices coming with 3,000 mAh units. The bump in screen resolution from 1080p to Quad HD, as well as the general bump in specifications, without an increase in the battery capacity to compensate means that the battery life of the Mi Note Pro leaves a lot to be desired. A full day of use is possible with light to moderate use, which includes staying away from activities like gaming or watching a lot of videos, but for the most part, you may find yourself reaching for the charger around halfway through your day. On the bright side, the Mi Note Pro does comes with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support, which promises a charge up to 70% in just an hour.

Camera

The Mi Note Pro also comes with the same 13 MP rear camera with OIS as the standard Mi Note, and Xiaomi is quite proud of the fact they were able to keep the camera unit flush with the body, despite the phone being just 7 mm thick.

The camera application is quite simplistic, with a simple swipe down or to the left revealing a slew of filters that you can play around with. A swipe in the opposite direction is where you’ll find the list of standard shooting modes, that include a manual mode and panorama, along with a few others like Beautify and Refocus, that lets you refocus your shot after the fact. You can tap on the viewfinder to change the point of focus, just like with any other smartphone, but being able to adjust the exposure at the same time through the on-screen exposure dial is definitely one of the most intuitive aspects of Xiaomi’s camera UI. The camera software also allows you to make adjustments to the exposure settings, contrast, saturation, and sharpness, for more granular control over the image quality.

Speaking of image quality, it’s just as good as it was on the Mi Note, which isn’t really surprising, given that it is the same sensor and camera software. The shutter speed is nice and quick, allowing you to easily take a shot, and the images in general are vibrant, rich in color, with a good amount of contrast and dynamic range in both indoor and outdoor situations. The camera is also capable of taking some rather impressive macro shots, with a very clear subject of focus in the foreground, and a nice and clean bokeh effect in the background. Auto HDR is also available on this camera to help take out the guess work on when to use HDR, and the HDR processing itself does a great job of bringing out some extra details in the shadows, while adding a nice boost in saturation, without appearing unnatural.

Where this camera struggles the most is in low light and night time photography. The increase in digital noise is to be expected, but there’s just a lot of noise reduction going on in the post processing, that results in softer details, and highlights that tend to get blown out. The camera also tends to hunt for focus more often than I’d like, and many of the images will have some noticeable artifacting. Overall though, this is really not a bad camera to have in your pocket. 4K video recording is also possible with the Mi Note Pro, and the OIS does the great job of keeping the footage stable when you’re walking or moving around. The continuous autofocus is very quick when moving between close and far away subjects, and manual control over focusing is also available by just tapping on the viewfinder.

With the front camera Xiaomi chose to not go with a higher megapixel count, and instead took HTC’s approach by going with a lower resolution 4 megapixel sensor with a larger pixel size of 2 microns. This allows for more light to enter the camera and better quality images, so if selfies are your thing, than the front camera is not going to disappoint.

Software

On the software front, the Mi Note Pro runs the MIUI OS based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any material design elements in this user interface. The UI is actually quite similar to what you’d see from most Chinese OEMs, with colorful square icons, and the noticeable lack of an app drawer, which can take some getting used to and leaves users dependent on folders to stay organized.

There is actually not much in the way of pre-installed bloatware though, and while MIUI is a distinct departure from Google’s vision of Android, it does add more to the experience than it takes away. It will understandably be a very different experience for first time users, but Xiaomi’s take on Android isn’t overbearing in any way. More than that, the UI brings with it a handful of useful features, such as HiFi audio, that allows for better quality audio when listening via headphones, and a one-handed mode that lets you shrink the screen from anywhere between 3.5-inches to 4.5-inches, just by swiping outwards on the home button in either direction.

MIUI also offers one of the most robust theme engines available on any Android skin. There are hundreds of different themes to choose from, so you’re bound to find at least a few that suit your tastes. These themes alter pretty much every part of the OS, from the System UI, lockscreen, icons, wallpapers, and even the default applications like the Dialer and the messaging app.

Specifications

The Best Xiaomi Mi A1 Cases

AMZER Slim Handcrafted Designer Printed Hard Shell Case

If you’d like to inject a little bit of style into your phone case, look no further than AMZER. AMZER has a line of designer-printed cases that will punch up your phone and make it stand out. They have a ton of different prints available including a subtle pinstripe case, holiday-themed cases, and even some motivational phrases, you go-getter, you.

The Slim case lives up to its name – it is extremely thin. Despite that thinness, the case is shockproof and will protect your phone from falls and scratches on the body. You’ll barely notice any added bulk to the phone, but it will help your phone stand up to everyday wear and tear, keeping your phone fresh, and in style.

DAYJOY Hybrid TPU+ PC Silicone Shockproof Dustproof Bumper Case

Another favorite type of case is the dual-layered protection offered by the DAYJOY Bumper case. This is a two-piece cover that gives you the shock absorption of silicone, but the impact resistance of hard composite. With this case, a soft bumper goes on first, followed by a hard plastic shell that latches onto the phone and doesn’t let go. It’s a great option, especially if you’re looking for a different look, or more impact resistance.

The hard plastic portion of the case also comes with a built in kickstand for media consumption. The hard plastic also adds nice accents to the case, making it stylish as well as functional. That’s a combination we can get behind! If you are looking for tons of value, you’ll find this is one of the best Xiaomi Mi A1 cases you can get.

Ranyi Luxury Lightweight & Slim 360 Protective Leather Texture Case

If you want something a little more robust and textures, Ranyi has a nice case, available in four different colors, that can serve such a purpose. This is a one-piece case that has a leather texture to the bottom that makes it very grippy and comfortable to hold. Stitching down the middle gives it a nice accent look.

The case covers the back and all sides of the phone, protecting it from drops and scratches. The precision cutouts allow access to all buttons and ports including the IR blaster on top. The fingerprint sensor is a snap to locate on the back.

KWmobile Elegant synthetic leather case

Finally, if you want all around protection, you can’t go wrong with a flip open wallet case. KWmobile has a solution for you. It’s available in a variety of styles including fashion designs and classy looking two-tone styles. The flap holds credit cards, so it can eliminate your wallet. One less thing to carry around.

The case itself also serves as a stand for mobile media consumption. It’s a great all-around solution for protecting your smartphone, eliminating bulk in your pockets, and adding a bit of style to your electronics. Sure this one is a bit different from the other Xiaomi Mi A1 cases on the list, but it’s still a wonderful pick for those looking for a wallet case solution. 

Anccer Colorful Series Case

What’s life without a little fun? That’s what the Anccer Colorful Series is all about. They offer a variety of cases with different hues and accents, including the glittery marvel you see above. It also won’t add much bulk with its super thin 0.8 mm-thick design. 

It’s simple, yet flashy. It is also not badly priced at $9.99. 

Kwmobile Crystal Case

Some would consider smartphones works of art. After all, each manufacturer has its design elements and specific aesthetics. Xiaomi’s Mi A1 is all about simplicity. Those who want to keep the natural essence of the device’s design will want a case that is thin and transparent. We like the Kwmobile Crystal Case. 

The case is only 1.1 mm thick. And since it’s also “crystal clear”, it should be nearly unnoticeable. 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Review

Our Verdict

A big screen and a low price are paired with decent battery life, usable performance and an enhanced dual-camera in the Redmi Note 5. There are some drawbacks, such as the old Micro-USB port, lack of Quick Charge support and partly plastic build, but in other respects budget phones don’t come much better than this.

If you’re looking for a sub-£200 Android phone with a decent-size screen, good battery life and usable all-round performance and features, this could be it. Very similar to the Mi Max 3, but with a smaller 5.99in display, the Redmi Note 5 is a worthy upgrade over the Note 4 with improved performance, photography and design.

Since we originally wrote this review Xiaomi has entered the UK smartphone market, making it much easier to obtain its smartphones here. The Redmi Note 5 is now available from the likes of Amazon for £229.

A  special Cyber Monday deal knocks a further £69 off the price, with the Redmi Note 5 available for just £159.99. ( See more Cyber Monday deals.)

Previously we’ve had to import review samples from China, and this Redmi Note 5 was supplied by GearBest, where current pricing is £182.39. When there’s no Cyber Monday sale on at Amazon this makes it the cheaper deal, but know that when importing from China to the UK you are liable for import duty, charged at 20 percent of the value printed on the shipping paperwork.

This is the Global version of the Redmi Note 5, which comes with all Google services preinstalled along with MIUI 9. It supports all 4G LTE bands used in the UK, too, which can be a problem with some Chinese handsets.

Also see: Best Xiaomi Deals

Also see: Best budget phones and Best budget Chinese phones

When is a Redmi Note 5 not a Redmi Note 5?

Xiaomi’s phone naming scheme can be incredibly confusing if you’re not familiar with it, but we think more so with the Redmi Note 5 than any other. That’s because the Redmi Note 5 that launched in China and is sold globally is not the same phone as the Redmi Note 5 that launched in India.

The Redmi Note 5 available in India has a single-lens camera at the rear and some lower-spec hardware, including the Snapdragon 625 processor. It has the new 18:9 5.99in display, but in other respects is not a huge departure from the Redmi Note 4. And that explains why some reviews of the Redmi Note 5 are less complimentary than others.

Also available in India is the Redmi Note 5 Pro, and that’s (almost) the phone you see here rebranded as the Redmi Note 5. It has a dual-lens camera at the rear and runs the Snapdragon 636. 

But in India the Pro also has a 20Mp selfie camera and up to 6GB of RAM, while this Global version’s front camera is rated at 13Mp and has either 3- or 4GB of memory.

If you’re worried about purchasing the wrong version of the phone then fear not – we couldn’t even find the Indian models for sale in the UK. But we’d recommend double-checking the spec before you buy. Better yet,

What’s new in Redmi Note 5?

There are some key design changes in the Redmi Note 5 over its predecessor, but also a return to the Redmi Note 3’s part plastic build – the antenna lines at the rear of the Note 4 have been replaced with plastic end caps – and 4000mAh battery, which is still pretty generous, but 100mAh down on Redmi Note 4.

More impressive is the new 5.99in Full-HD+ IPS display, not only larger than the 5.5in previous example but also taller, adopting the 18:9 aspect ratio that has become fashionable in today’s market. It helps the phone look more on-trend, and also allows for a larger screen without infringing on usability – the Note 5 is only 7mm taller than its predecessor, and fractionally narrower and slimmer.

The phone’s chin has also been reduced, with navigational buttons now appearing onscreen. And an update to MIUI 10 is available, which gives you the option to use swipe gestures to go home or back, removing these buttons from the display.

Also see: Best Xiaomi phones

There are some tweaks found along the edges, too. While the Redmi Note 5 still features a mono speaker, it no longer attempts to hide this fact with a set of drilled holes lying either side of its Micro-USB port. Instead you’ll find just one, and on the other side the headphone jack has moved down from its previous position at the top of the device.

The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor has not moved, but where the single-lens camera previously sat above it Xiaomi has now added a second lens and moved this to a new position at top-left. It did lie flush; now it juts out a tad.

And naturally there have been hardware changes, which result in a boost to performance. Gone is the deca-core Helio X20 chip with Mali T880 graphics, and in comes the Snapdragon 636 with Adreno 509. There’s a new 4GB RAM, 64GB storage model, too (that’s what we’re reviewing here).

Redmi Note 5 Design & Build

Despite the aforementioned sprinkling of plastic parts, Redmi Note 5 is a very good-looking phone at this price. Moreover, it feels sturdy, and very well-made.

It’s an IPS panel, which bodes well for quality, with realistic colours and good viewing angles. We can’t find any official reference to the Note 5 using Gorilla Glass protection, but thanks to a metal rear it is only the one side of this smartphone you need to keep safe. You’ll also find a silicone case in the box, which is handy.

We measured the maximum screen brightness at 427cd/m2, which is very good for a sub-£200 phone. Being able to ramp up the brightness so high also makes the screen easier to see outdoors.

The display has a full-HD+ resolution of 2160×1080, which results in a pixel density of 403ppi. It’s sufficiently clear, and also no higher in resolution than even Xiaomi’s flagship phones.

We’re disappointed to see an old Micro-USB port at the bottom, especially given that it won’t charge any faster than at 10W. There is a charger supplied in the box, but it has a two-pin EU plug, so if you’re purchasing this phone in the UK you’ll need to supply your own adaptor.

Naturally at this price there’s no support for wireless charging, which has so far been seen only on the Mi Mix 2S.

On the up side, Xiaomi has retained the IR blaster on the Note 5’s top edge. It’s incredibly rare to find such a feature in phones these days. 

There’s also the fingerprint scanner at the rear, which works well – but if you’re interested in mobile payments be aware there’s no support for NFC.

Connectivity is otherwise pretty good, with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS and GLONASS, and a hybrid SIM slot that can either accept a single SIM and a microSD card for storage expansion or two SIMs that work in dual-standby mode.

Redmi Note 5 Hardware & Performance

Powering the show here is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chip clocked at 1.8GHz, with integrated Adreno 509 graphics. It’s paired with 4GB of memory.

That’s the same setup as in the Mi Max 3, and as you’ll see in our chart below performance is on par. 

As we said for that phone, the Redmi Note 5 is not a speed demon. However, it offers usable performance for most users for daily tasks, and we didn’t spot any sign of lag when navigating the interface and launching apps.

You can play casual games and watch movies, provided you don’t throw anything too intensive at it.

Battery life is very good, and you’ll easily get at least a full day’s life from the 4000mAh cell – maybe more, depending on your usage.

In Geekbench 4’s battery test it scored 5390 points, and kept churning through its task list for 8 hours 59 minutes.

Redmi Note 5 Cameras & Photography

It might sound like a similar setup as found on the Mi Max 3, but the Redmi Note 5’s camera is inferior with no AI mode. It also maxes out at 1080p video recording.

Still, it’s an improvement on the Redmi Note 4’s 13Mp rear camera and 5Mp selfie camera. This new model has a 12Mp + 5Mp dual-lens camera at the rear, with dual phase-detection dual-focus and 1.4um pixels. At the front is a 13Mp selfie camera.

Aside from the missing AI button at the top, the camera app looks the same as on any other Xiaomi phone, with options to turn on/off/auto the flash and HDR mode, and to select real-time filters. At the bottom you swipe between video (and short video), photo, portrait, square, panorama and manual shooting modes.

Portrait mode is what’s used to create those funky blurred background shots that help your subject to stand out, aided by the second camera lens.

Overall we were very impressed with the quality of our test shots (below in Auto and HDR modes). Those pictured below appear a little dark, though it was an overcast day when they were shot. They show plenty of detail but are perhaps a little over-sharpened.

In low-light the Redmi Note 5 did a fantastic job. There is some noise but overall blacks are well rendered, text is largely fuzz-free, and the scene is adequately lit without requiring aid from the flash. 

Redmi Note 5 Software

The Redmi Note 5 runs MIUI 9 out of the box but an upgrade is available to MIUI 10. This is still based on Android Oreo rather than the more recent Android Pie (which will be coming in time), but includes some nice new features such as full-display gesture support, a redesigned quick access panel and volume controls, plus the addition of Picture in Picture and Autofill.

It won’t be immediately recognisable as Android if you’ve not picked up a Xiaomi phone before, and the lack of an app tray means the shortcuts all spill out over the home screens (but can be tidied into folders). The Settings menu also looks completely different, and there are some Xiaomi-specific apps here too.

Because this is the Global ROM version of the Redmi Note 5 it is preinstalled with Google services; were you to buy the Chinese ROM version you would need to install these yourself from the Mi App Store. That’s because Google services are not used in China.

Other things we like about MIUI include the aforementioned One-handed mode, plus Second Space and Dual Apps. 

Redmi Note 5 Verdict

It’s not infallible, but the Redmi Note 5 is a great all-rounder and will be hard to beat under £200. It benefits from a very good and well-sized screen, and has a decent camera and usable performance. 

Specs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Specs

5.99in Full-HD+ (2160×1080) 18:9 display

MIUI 9 (Android Oreo)

1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 octa-core procesor

3GB/4GB RAM

64GB storage

4G LTE (all UK bands)

dual-SIM dual-standby (hybrid SIM slot accepts second SIM or microSD up to 128GB)

dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 5.0

GPS, AGPS, GLONASS

rear fingerprint scanner

3.5mm headphone jack

12Mp + 5Mp dual-lens camera, 1.4um pixels, dual phase-detection dual-focus, 1080p video

13Mp selfie camera

Micro-USB

4000mAh battery

158.6×75.4×8.1mm

181g

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