Xiaomi Mi3 quick read review: It no longer makes sense to buy anything more expensive

If you can afford a budget of around Rs 15,000 and are lucky enough, then forget the other options

Written by Mihir Patkar | Updated: August 4, 2014 11:34 am
The Xiaomi MI3 costs Rs 13,999 The Xiaomi MI3 costs Rs 13,999

The first phone by the Chinese manufacturer in India has created a buzz among tech aficionados, and understandably so. But are great specs enough to make a great phone?

Specs: 5-inch IPS FullHD touchscreen (1920×1080 pixels, 441ppi) with Gorilla Glass 3 | 2.3GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 | 2GB RAM | 16GB internal memory, no microSD card | 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, NFC, GPS | 13MP rear camera with dual LED flash, 2MP front camera, 1080p video recording | 3050mAh battery | Android 4.4 Kit Kat with MIUI v5

Price: Rs. 13,999

Xiaomi-Mi3-04

Design

The Xiaomi Mi3 looks like a premium device. It’s got a magnesium alloy frame that protects the insides, and a sleek black front with a small “Mi” logo at the top—much less in-your-face than most brands.

While Xiaomi wants to fool you into thinking the back is metal, you know it’s plastic; that said, it’s good quality plastic. The buttons have a resounding click, but we aren’t quite sure how long they will last; even in a week of use, we already felt their response had deteriorated. The speaker grill is located at the bottom, so you can keep your phone face or back down on the bed and still hear it ring clearly.

Screen

Packing a sharp 5-inch FullHD screen with vibrant colours, there are no complaints with the display. It’s as good as what you’ll get on any device.

Performance

With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, the Mi3 easily handles any task you ask it to do. The 2GB of RAM means that you can also safely multi-task. Everything is buttery smooth and you won’t feel a lack of power at any point. It should be noted that the Mi3 is the first Snapdragon 800 device I’ve used that doesn’t heat up easily.

Camera

Have you ever seen an LG and a Samsung TV next to each other in a showroom? Notice how colours on the LG looks duller but sharper, while the Samsung looks more vibrant but has noise around the edges. The Mi3’s 13MP camera is akin to the LG—your images won’t have vibrant, luscious colours and that can be a disappointment. But they’ll be sharp and capture detail exceptionally well.

With videos, the Mi3 has one issue: the microphone. It picks up too much ambient noise while shooting, so you often don’t get the audio you want.

Memory

The only major concern with this smartphone is storage. It comes with 16GB of built-in memory, of which 13GB is available to the user. If you take a lot of photos and videos, load up some music, and install some graphics-intensive games, you’ll quickly run out of space. You can rely on cloud services and make do though, which is not too bad a sacrifice.

The MIUI The MIUI

Interface

Xiaomi’s custom Android interface, called MIUI, is fantastic to use. It has already got Android 4.4 Kit Kat, but only improves upon it. There are small tweaks and additions, like lovely little transition effects which make your device feel smoother. Connect a set of earphones and Xiaomi will offer presets depending on the type of headphones you are using. It’s also quite customisable, letting you decide the layout of the notification shade, the notification LED lights, and more. Sure, it doesn’t seem like plain Android, but it’s a nice customisation that you’ll be happy to use instead.

Battery

The non-removable 3050mAh battery is a good counterfoil for the power-hungry Snapdragon 800 processor. For most people, the Mi3 will easily last a day, maybe even a little more. Power users can expect about 16 hours of battery life on a single charge. The Xiaomi Mi3 played 10 hours of video on continuous playback.

Special Mention

While the price is great, the Mi3’s box does not include headphones, a screen guard, or any different types of covers. You just get a phone, the USB cable and a plug. So you will have to spend extra for all those accessories you would typically want with a high-end device, and that can raise the price of the phone quickly.

Also, the phone is currently available only through Flipkart, and has a sort of lottery system. Xiaomi and Flipkart sell a short number of stock for a limited amount of time, and you have to be lucky to grab one when they do. The process also involves pre-registering for that sale, being online for a few hours before the sale starts, and a trip to a praying room to seek blessings that you will be among the few chosen ones to buy this phone.

ALSO READ: Five things you need to know before buying the Xiaomi Mi3

Verdict

It is clear that the Xiaomi Mi3 is a winner and worth far more than the Rs. 13,999 it asks for. It reminds me of that old Nirma ad: “Jab wohi safedi, wohi jhaag, kam daam mien miley, to koi yeh kyun le, woh na le?” That sums up the Xiaomi Mi3.

It is a steal at that price, and frankly, it no longer makes sense to buy anything more expensive. If you can afford a budget of around Rs. 15,000 or anything more, then buy the Xiaomi Mi3 and forget about other options. The question, though, is whether you are lucky enough to be able to buy it.

 

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  1. S
    Sakira Mathews
    Feb 16, 2016 at 9:34 am
    I am using Mi phones from the last 2 months and it is actually a superb product. This phone enables the individuals to surf faster on Wi-Fi networks with the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi Standard. For having more details about Mi phones, visit here -
    Reply
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      Murali
      Jan 29, 2015 at 6:27 am
      Per my view, every phone has certain % of defects. I am unsure how they come to market inspite of quality checks. Anyways, I am a happy owner of my MI3. I have been using it over 5 months now and I am happy with the phone for the price paid. At times, phone gets heated up, especially while using GPS or playing games. But, I am ok because a phone that costs 40k/50k also has the same problem. The recorded video has extra noise which is little irritating. However, the clarity of video and photo are amazing. Looks like proximity sensor also has a problem. Once it is turned off and screen goes blank while you are on phone, you cannot turn it on again. Only way is to disconnect the call. Solution is to disabled the proximity sensor itself.On the other hand, the speed is great. No lag atall. No comment on clarity of screen. It is great as well.Conclusion is: The phone is worth the money paid.
      Reply
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        Sakira Mathews
        Oct 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm
        Xiaomi has launched new phone namely Xiaomi Mi 3 in the market. This pone has been labeled as the most efficient phone from the house of Xiaomi till today's date. This smart phone being empowered by 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 8274AB processor provides an effective mulasking experience to the users. For having more information about this phone, visit here -
        Reply
        1. S
          Sakira Mathews
          Oct 3, 2015 at 3:32 pm
          Reply
          1. B
            Bharath Reddy
            Sep 10, 2014 at 6:44 am
            Ya its nice having a great performance and there is no app in play store that xiaomi mi3 can't run....
            Reply
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              Cancer
              Aug 21, 2014 at 3:26 am
              I am one of many who received defective piece. Ear phone does not work only speaker phone works.And the service of Flipkart in replacing the new sets is disgusting. You just need to be lucky to get a good piece.
              Reply
              1. R
                Rajesh Subramaniam
                Sep 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm
                I am finding it very difficult to get instant emails - it takes nearly 1 hour after the mails are sent to me. I have chosen sync every 5 minutes though..has anyone got similar experience...seems to be email non friendly phone...also my query to the Mi support has been futile - no response.
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                  sammy
                  Aug 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm
                  every smart phone heats, thinner the set warmer it gets, i am using it for last 10 days, awesome phone. heats up with heavey use, but with MI cover u will not feel heat
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Sunny
                    Sep 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm
                    Its worst phone I ever seen..I got problems with this phone within 10 days after Ipurchase .Camera is getting struc up. pohne is over heating if you operate for 5 mins continuously, n poor battery backup..I biggest problem is Touch pad not working..frustrated by using this phone.I would think I too got fault piece..but there r so many complaints reg this phone..so almost all the phone got into problems those released in India. Please stop releasing Mi phones..flipkart..
                    Reply
                    1. N
                      Nick
                      Oct 28, 2014 at 11:19 am
                      Dear friend, first of all get yourself checked, there is something seriously gone wrong with you, dear. I suggest to consult a good doc instead of blaming the phone which u have not purchased ( I 'm dam sure that u have not purchased the phone)
                      Reply
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                        Punyaslok Dash
                        Aug 16, 2014 at 1:11 pm
                        The phone heat up quickly but here you mentioned its 1st SD800 SoC device does not heat up. But we know that we paid less so have to sacrifice a lot. Overall its a best buy though some por apps like whats app crashes many times compare to other value for money device. There is lots of bugs need to fix in next update of Indian version of ROM. Best of luck Xiaomi Mi3.
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                          Pritam Vats
                          Sep 24, 2014 at 10:42 am
                          its an awesome phone many people want features in this like they are paying 35000 or 40000. shut your mouth those people you are paying only 14000 and want 40000 phone features i think under 25000 range its just awesome phone its better even than g 2
                          Reply
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                            Satish Dhiman
                            Oct 4, 2014 at 5:15 am
                            its screen gl is not so hard , very easily breakable.At service center all customer is coming only for replacement for the cracked screen.
                            Reply
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