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Xiaomi Mi3: The best budget smartphone

July 28, 2014 14:14 IST

Xiaomi Mi3: The best budget smartphone

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Vipul Vivek

Flipkart crashing when sale of Xiaomi's Mi3 opened proves the phone has generated much interest.

Take a look: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 8274AB 2.3GHz processor, Adreno 330 450MHz GPU, 2GB LPDDR3 RAM, 441 ppi, eMMC 4.5 flash memory, 34,000-plus on the AnTuTu benchmark.

Does this blizzard of jargon really sends customers into an orgasmic tizzy?

Why then did the Flipkart website crash in the little over half an hour that it took to sell Xiaomi's first budget smartphone Mi3 in India? 

Could it be the "Apple of China" branding that made people pay attention to Xiaomi, catapulting the Mi3 into the headlines?

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Image: Xiaomi Mi3
Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said earlier this year Xiaomi was "good enough to crack the American market". But we Indians are suckers for brands - unless the price seems perfect. 

With the maker of the Snapdragon processor, Qualcomm, investing in the company, Xiaomi perhaps gets a head start over rivals.

The top-end four-core (one core handles one operation at a time) 800 series processor in the Mi3 comes at a fraction of the price its rivals are charging for that speed.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi

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Xiaomi Mi3: The best budget smartphone

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Forget lags, feel free to blow a raspberry at all those Apple-, HTC- and Samsung-toting people. Playing graphic-intensive games couldn't get easier on budget phones.

However, the official community of the MIUI, the operating system built over Google's Android by Xiaomi for its phones, has reported that in China, it had shortchanged customers by providing a lower version of the processor. 

Unlike Windows Phone, there is hardly anything unsettling about the MIUI operating system.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi

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Xiaomi Mi3: The best budget smartphone

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To begin with, all your apps are on the home screen - there's no menu. Once you've logged into your Xiaomi account, you can download a wide range of themes and use one for each part of the interface.

Long press the settings key at the left bottom corner and apart from the usual running-apps tray, you get a memory cleaner, information on how much memory is in use and whether you are on a 2G or a 3G network.

Double click the lock image to switch between the music player and the lockscreen.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi
Tags: Xiaomi

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Long press the back key on the bottom right corner to go to the camera from the lockscreen. 

Long press the home key at the bottom between the other two keys to switch on the flashlight from the lockscreen.

You can pin the more important SMSes as you would bookmark pages in a novel. When sending a text to more than one person, you can choose different subject titles for recipients.

You can also adjust the settings to tell you the speed of the network in the notification bar.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi
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There are so many little things like these that will take you over. Even the aluminum-magnesium body itself has a design minimalistic enough to fake class. 

It is sleek, not heavy and protected with the sturdy Corning Gorilla Glass.

It's a bit slippery though. The full high-definition display is sharp and crisp and the colours are vivid and well balanced, not saturated. The touchscreen responds quickly.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi

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The Mi3 supports mini-SIM cards but there's an adapter provided so you don't have to chop to fit your SIM.

At the bottom is the speaker grille, a little odd; on the top right, the power button and the volume keys; and at the top, the 3.5mm headphone jack and the SIM-card slot.

The notification LED is beside the front camera above the screen. The phone boasts of a 13MP back camera but the output leaves much to be desired. The images are good but they don't have amazing detailing.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi
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The camera performs well in low light, and the dual LED flash is a great addition. The phone can be adjusted according to the type of headphone.

With my cheap Philips ones, I was disappointed. Even without them, the Mi3's sound is just passable. 

The battery is a powerhouse and charges quickly. A day of heavy use does not give troubles.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi
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A problem though is the charging adapter, with only two pins. It's USB-chargeable, however. Another issue is the internal memory is not expandable through a microSD card. 

But since the Mi3 takes USB OTG and OTG pen drives, that's not a deal breaker. 

So what are you waiting for? The sale starts Tuesday. It's only Rs 13,999. Hurry! 

Xiaomi Mi3

Price: Rs 13,999

Display: 5-inch full HD

Processor: Snapdragon 800 Quad-core 2.3GHz

RAM: 2GB RAM

Camera: 3MP Flash, dual-LED/2MP

Battery: 3,050mAh Li-ion (unremovable)

Internal memory: 16GB about 13GB for use

OS: Android 4.4.2 with MIUI version 5

 


Photographs: Courtesy, Xiaomi

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