Just as you thought Xiaomi couldn’t do any better than the Mi 5s and 5s Plus, the Chinese manufacturer decided to outdo itself and launch its Mi Note 2 flagship phablet before the holidays. We may have our Galaxy Note 7 replacement.
We can’t call the Mi Note 2 a perfect clone of Sammy’s discontinued engineering marvel, but it comes close in several ways. The most obvious similarity is the 5.7-inch dual-curved OLED display; it’s so comparable to the Note 7’s, we wonder if Samsung provided the panel itself.
The downside is the limited Full HD 1080p resolution, lower than the Quad HD 1440p normally found on handsets sized 5.5 inches and up. While it isn’t something you’d normally fuss over, the lack of pixels is noticeable if you’re thinking of hooking it up to a virtual reality headset.
Contrary to the leaks we witnessed last week, the Mi Note 2 does not have a dual-camera setup. It’s a surprising omission, considering this being Xiaomi’s supposed best, but the unique imaging capabilities are probably best left on the recently launched Mi 5s to keep it relevant.
Instead, there’s a single 22.5-megapixel camera at the back with a basic set of autofocusing and LED flash features, and no optical image stabilization. The front-facing shooter isn’t anything exciting either, only having an 8-megapixel sensor and autofocusing to its credit.
Aside from the sexy display, nothing really shouts “buy me” when looking at the Mi Note 2. You do get a collection of the finest chipset specifications, although they aren’t anything we haven’t seen before.
For one, there’s Qualcomm’s top-performing Snapdragon 821 processor, along with a choice of either 4GB of memory and 64GB of internal storage, or 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage. Picking the latter configuration nets you a future-proofed smartphone for at least the next six months… hopefully.
Go a little bit deeper, and you’ll a find high-quality audio chip capable of 24-bit/192kHz music playback, as well as a satisfactory 4070mAh battery with the ability to charge at a rapid pace thanks to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology.
To be honest, we were expecting a lot more from the Mi Note 2. Yes, the hardware is all there, yet we can’t help but feel underwhelmed after all we’ve seen from recent competitors and the leaks themselves. Call us spoiled, or hungry for some innovation — or just wanting the simultaneously unveiled Mi Mix more.
Spending CNY 3,299 ($487) rewards you with the top variant in Xiaomi’s home country, while CNY 3,499 ($517) is needed if you purchase one outside of China. Make sure to get the latter, global model for the additional 4G LTE frequency bands and English settings out of the box. You also have the option of going for the cheaper CNY 2,799 ($412) version that has 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage.
The only colors available are piano black and glacier silver, and shipping of units will begin in early November.