Xiaomi Mi Note 2 Review – A Power-Packed Phablet that Performs

Finally, after witnessing the last presentation event held by Xiaomi related to its new product line, it’s time to get our hands on one of the most anticipated smartphones of 2016 – the Mi Note 2. While everyone is going crazy for the Mi Mix, another device was presented that day which should not be underestimated, the Xiaomi Mi Note 2.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 Unboxing

The box of the new Note follows the same pattern seen with Xiaomi Mi 5S. Below, we find a booklet of instructions (in Chinese) and a box containing wall charger, Type-C USB cable and a clip to insert the nano SIM cards.

Overall, the package in white color has no special details, with the frontal area that houses the Mi hollow logo on the surface and some specifications on the back.

Design and Ergonomics

The aesthetics of the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 give a feeling of a really premium device. The quality of the materials that make up the body appears first class, with the back and front side glass made of high quality aluminum edges, different from that used by the same company for mid-range devices.

The frontal area is a large 5.5-inch display with both curved edges. It is not enriched by new features, as is the case with Samsung devices, but is purely aesthetic and ergonomic. The upper part shows the usual proximity/brightness sensors, speaker for listening on the call and the notification RGB LED, while the bottom houses the 2 soft-touch backlit keys and the center key, both physical and soft -touch, which hides a sensor of fingerprints.

xiaomiminote2

Moving on to the edges, on the high side is the slot for the 3.5mm audio jack, the infrared sensor and the second microphone on the low side has the entry for the USB Type-C cable. The speaker for the reproduction of system sound and the main microphone is arranged in a symmetrical manner. Finally, the left edge houses the slot for the insertion of two nano SIM cards and on the right side we have the volume button, on/ off button and screen lock.

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 gives more feel to the touch and gives a great sense of elegance – ingredients of its solid style statement.

The downside is its insecure grip. Personally I kept the plastic cover on but considering how it is not really attractive, is really a shame to spoil the design of the device by applying it.

Hardware and Specs

As it happened with the first Note device presented by the company, Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is overwhelmingly a direct competitor to several top of the range devices by its rivals.

CPU : Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Quad-Core (2 × 2 × 2:35 GHz & 1.6 GHz Kryo)
GPU : Adreno 530
RAM : 4 GB
Storage : 64/128 GB non-expandable
Display : 5.5-inch AMOLED
Battery : 4070 mAh
NFC : Yes
Band 20 (800 mHz) : Yes

With these specifications, this device by the Chinese company boasts of top notch performance and extreme fluidity during use. In particular, for daily use it has surpassed my expectations. Under high load, the back area just below the camera tends to warm up slightly, but does not seem to get very hot.

xiaomi_note_2

Another feature of the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is the 5.5-inch AMOLED screen. After seeing it for the first time on Xiaomi Redmi Pro, the Chinese company follows the same line of thought for the new devices as well, which I personally have appreciated nicely.

In general usage I found the vivid colors well balanced. The curvature on the edges does not add additional functionality to the user experience, but it definitely looks pleasant.

I then enjoyed the presence of the central physical button of which I’m quite fond of and which can still be used as a soft-touch button. Furthermore, the button in question hides a lightning biometric sensor that recognizes the fingerprint precisely and swiftly. To be precise, I noticed that the recognition rate is slightly faster than that of Mi 5.

Software

The operating system that we find on the device is, of course, Android 6.0 Marshmallow with proprietary interface MIUI 8. Finding myself on a stable version of the system, I have not encountered any kind of bug and the battery drain with MIUI 8 seems to be a thing of the past.

xiaomimiui8

System applications, as usual, play an excellent job in providing additional features to Android.

Camera

The equipped sensor on our Xiaomi Mi Note 2 features a focal ratio of f/2.0 , which means brighter picture even in low light conditions. The resolution of 22:56 MP is also superior compared to the one seen on Mi 5 but, as already said in the process of review of the Mi 5S, the parameter that really matters and that actually makes the difference is just the focal ratio.

HDR mode is good. However, it will give the best shot only if you manage to have a steady hand, given the rather long shutter speed. As for video, the device is able to capture video at a maximum resolution of 4K at 30fps. The front camera, also ensures you take good selfies anytime.

Battery Life

As mentioned earlier, the battery drain issue in question now seems resolved. The 4070 mAh battery promises excellent results despite the demanding specifications and dimensions of the display. With average use, in fact, I used my Note 2 for about 5 hours of screen on without problems.

Value for Money

Given the quality offered by the device, in this case perhaps the price/quality ratio is a little less. Not because the device does not offer enough, mind you, but simply because Xiaomi has accustomed us to competitive prices as compared to direct rivals.

The Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is available for purchase at about $597.99. It is rather higher end device but the price will go down after some time.

Conclusion

So, this time Xiaomi surely does not disappoint, or at least not too much. The defects that we find on the Mi Note 2 are probably the same ones that we had on the previous model, a sign that the company does not intend to deviate that much from its line of thought.

Apart from that, however, the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 has nevertheless proved to be an excellent phablet that performs without any problem of heavy workload, captures good images in any situation, the entire assembly is so impeccable and the choice of materials is excellent.

Go for it!

8.5 Total Score

DESIGN AND ERGONOMICS
8.5
HARDWARE
9
SOFTWARE
8
CAMERA
7.5
BATTERY
8
VALUE FOR MONEY
9
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