Xiaomi, the name which probably most of the Indian smartphone users might have not heard of before, except if they are a geek or someone who spends most of the time exploring about smartphones. The Chinese smartphone manufacturer announced their entry into the Indian market, in no better way as the Xiaomi Mi3 was launched a price at which even the smartphones with mid-range specs from well known brands were hardly available. Moreover, the point here to note is that you aren’t getting a crappy low-spec device in the hands for that amount. It is a well powered smartphone with everything that a flagship device would have. Wait a minute. This is a flagship device from Xiaomi. The only point that is unbelievable for the Indian users is the pricing. In China, this pricing is now quite common and Xiaomi isn’t wrongly called “the Apple of China” without a reason – they set records for the sales they make there!
Talking about the device, it is made to look good in all the angles. The Mi3 doesn’t look like a cheap phone in any way, and the body is made by Magnesium alloy, which would tell you how Xiaomi has tried to keep up with the competition in providing a great hardware. For that large screen, the phone is quite light and the only issue on the front is the large bezel area wasted around the display. There is the simple Mi branding on the front top and back bottom. The physical buttons are all on the right side, while the bottom has the large center speaker grill along with the MicroUSB port.
Check: Xiaomi Mi3 India Details
The display is very good, have good viewing angles and is very bright. But, you will notice that it easily attracts dust, and ensures that the fingerprint mark is left on it easily.
On the top, you get to see the headset jack, pop-out slot for SIM card and a mic. There is a camera, earpiece and the sensors on the front top and the same area on the back houses a 13MP camera alongside Dual LED flash and a microphone. The phone does give a comfortable feel, but the smooth back and the curved sides make it quite slippery. Not that you would be easily seeing the phone slide down from your hand, but still there is nothing that would give some grip for the device to stay there when its not horizontally held.
While trying it even for the first time, I had my expectations low because it isn’t fair to have a lot of expectations from a smartphone which has a price at which you get average quality devices. Still, Xiaomi does impress with the UI and performance too. The MIUI is vibrant, colorful, snappy and the apps load pretty quickly (we although hold our thoughts because any high-end device initially performs well). The advantage with a custom ROM is always that you get to customize it as you wish.
Similar was the case with OnePlus One recently, where we loved the CyanogenMod 11S, and now the MIUI which gives you Android 4.4.2 KitKat in the Xiaomi Mi3. There are a lot of pre-installed apps, special features and functions. The absence of an app drawer does hurt a bit, just like is the case with Amigo UI in Gionee’s phones, but there, the MIUI allows you to customize the home screens and use widgets, thus it isn’t a big disappointment.
The camera on the rear side is a 13-megapixel one and we are actually already quite impressed with the clear captures, and the photos we took are in controlled light conditions just to check how good the quality is without any effects, modes or such. It is a 13MP shooter, with the maximum image size of 4208×3120 pixels, and the device can take 1080p Full HD videos at ease.
The absence of MicroSD card storage expansion could be an issue for some who expect to store a lot of media and files in the smartphone, but if you feel that the 14GB available is quite enough, then the Xiaomi Mi3 is going to be a pretty beautiful choice. And as has been a story of the best worth-the-money devices, the availability is very less and you can just try your luck to get a hand one as an early user. We will be doing a complete review in a couple of weeks after a regular usage and then we can comment on the battery, the complete UI experience and although we boldly say it already that the device is well worth the price, we will tell you the reasons why one must go with this as a choice and why they should not.