Xiaomi MI3 Review: Fights with the best!

Here it goes, after a week with Xiaomi’s MI3 smartphone, I have tried to pen down what I feel about the device.

Xiaomi_MI3

On paper, here are the specs:

Processor Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 800 – Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
GPU – Adreno 330
Display 5” IPS LCD Capacity touch screen, with 1080 x 1920 pixels at ~441 ppi pixel density
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Memory 2 GB RAM, 16 GB Internal Memory, no micro SD extension slot
OS Android OS v4.4.2 KitKat.
Battery Non-Removable Li-Ion 3050 mAh
Size 144 x 73.6 x 8.1 mm
Weight 145 g
Camera Rear Facing : 13 MP autofocus (4128 x 3096 pixels) with dual-LED flash.
                       Video: [email protected]
Front Facing: 2 MP, [email protected]
Connectivity GSM     850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 2100
micro USBv2.0
USB On-the-go
NFC
Bluetooth v4.0 A2DP
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
GPS: A-GPS
Price 13999 INR (~ USD)
Color White, Gray, Black, Yellow, Pink, Blue, Gold, Green
Other sensors Light Sensor, Touch Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Gyroscope, eCompass, Barometer Sensor, Accelerometer
SAR At the Head – 1.18 W/Kg and At the Body – 1.154 W/Kg
Other Details FM Radio
Mini SIM, Single SIM

 

Lots of manufacturers from China have made it onto the Indian market and one of the latest being Xiaomi (pronounced as Shao-me). But until Motorola came up with Flipkart based Moto G sales in India, nobody seriously considered the price sensitivity in the Indian market during recent times.

What Xiaomi has done well is to get the pricing right here. The MI3 gets the hardware of a 25K INR device and is given at 13999 INR price. At 50% lesser price, it makes a great value for money in the Indian Market.

Does it really work well? Lets see.

Build Quality, Looks and Internals:

Best. We see good quality or better than good quality phones at this price range. MI3 ups the race with quality and it is the best out there. It comes with Solid brushed aluminum shell at the back and Gorilla Glass 3 in the front. The phone feels rigid and good to hold on with its rounder sides.

MI3_1MI3_3

 

 

 

 

MI3_5MI3_2

 

 

 

 

 

The front gets the MI logo on the top left corner. On the either side of the central ear piece, we have proximity and ambient light sensor on the left and front facing 2MP camera and notification light on the right side of the ear piece. The front side also hosts the 3 capacitive touch buttons.

Left of the device is plain and the right side hosts volume rocker, power/standby button. The top hosts 3.5mm audio jack, SIM tray, while the bottom hosts speaker grille and micro USB slot.

The rear hosts the 13MP Autofocus camera with dual LED flash. There is noise cancelling microphone at the back and the MI logo at the bottom center.

Moving onto the internals, we have Xiaomi MI3 carrying Snapdragon 800 Chipset Quad core processor clocked at 2.3GHz, Display is a 5” IPS LCD Full HD display at 1920 x 1080p resolution (~441 ppi). The display gives excellent viewing angles. The display is crisp too thanks to the Full HD display. It also provides good readability in the bright sunlight.

The device also supports Glove mode and also prevents accidental dialing.

MI3_Settings

It comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage. 3050 mAh Li-Ion non-removable battery is more than sufficient for the device. The device comes with other good-to-have features like NFV, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP and others.

MI3_Extra_Connectivity

The audio output is good enough. It could have been better. The microphone reception is good again and it tends to fall off when speakerphone is used or when used for voice calls. Need to fallback for earphones when using video calls.

Interface:

Indian variant MI3 comes preloaded with Android 4.4.2 out of the box and we are expecting Android L to make its way onto MI3.

MI3_About_Device

There is a skinned UI on top of the Android 4.4.2 on MI3 – MiUi. MiUi gives a very much iOS look and feel. The UI feels snappier and never felt lagging or slow at any time. Allows customization via themes which can be downloaded from the Mi Store. Google play store is also available on the device.

MI3_MIUIMI3_ThemesMI3_Google_Store

Quick settings and general settings: Quick settings allows quick access to most of the settings. There is also full set of settings available under General Settings.

MI3_QuickSettings

Best part of the Device is it allows a lots of customizations –

Button customization:

MI3_Button_Customization

Keyboard Customization:

MI3_Keyboards

Multi-tasking is handled well and handles switching across applications well too – thanks to Android underneath. The MiUi also provides a way to clean up the working memory and also allows users an option to retain apps without removing from the memory (slightly pull the app to the brush and it locks the app in the memory).

MI3_TaskManager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunch of good apps bundled under security in MI3. It includes Cache Cleaner, Data Usage monitor, Blocklist app to block SMS and calls, Power App which has different options for power saving, Virus Scanner etc.

MI3_SecurityApps

Profiling is also available in MI3.

MI3_Profiling

Performance:

You get the best in this price range and also it matches up to the phones in 20-30K INR range. Call quality and sound quality is strong on this device. Network signal reception is excellent too.

Here is a benchmark result which we ran in both Balanced power mode and full power mode.

MI3_AnTuTuMI3_AnTuTu_BalancedMI3_AnTuTu_Full

Most of the games we tried on our Mi3 were smooth.

In-short, it doesn’t allow users to be disappointed with the performance.

Camera:

Rear Camera again is the best in class with 13MP autofocus. Images are crisp with accurate color reproduction in the images. Day light and low light captures are good too. Video clarity is good too.

The front facing camera is a 2MP one which will help to grab lots of selfies.

The Camera UI has both Simple and advanced setting options which can be enabled by toggle switch.

Camera UI

MI3_Camera_UIMI3_Camera_Settings

Simple Mode UI

MI3_Camera_Simple

Advanced Mode UI

MI3_Camera_Advanced1MI3_Camera_Advanced2

Filters which can be applied from the camera UI itself.

MI3_Camera_Filters

 

Pictures captured from Xiaomi MI3

IMG_20140809_194320IMG_20140809_195402IMG_20140809_195845IMG_20140810_123340IMG_20140810_123404IMG_20140810_123814IMG_20140810_124801IMG_20140812_175303IMG_20140812_175334IMG_20140813_163301

PANO_20140810_123828

Battery:

Battery life is impressive on this device and was good throughout the duration we had this device with us. We were able to get at least 1 and half days of usage with a full charge. Our usual usage was like at least 4 hrs of screen-on time, 2-3 hrs of talk time and always on internet with at least.

MI3_Battery_UsageMI3_Battery_SOT

 

Pros:

  • Excellent Build quality
  • Premium looks
  • Latest Android and top quality hardware
  • Excellent Battery life

Cons:

  • No Brick and Mortar shop to go and have a feel before purchase.
  • Flipkart only – limited units every few days.
  • 4G is not available on the Indian Variant.
  • Microphone quality reduces when using video calls or speaker phone.

Conclusion:

Xiaomi has been able to keep up the popularity of MI3 till now since the launch in India. With the best in class and top of the line hardware with optimum pricing, the phone is the best bet as of now. Till the time there is a new entrant which gives MI3 a tough competition, there will be lots of buyers for this device.

We rate this device 8/10 overall. Good Buy and Good value for money.

 

Can be purchased from Flipkart here.

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