Xiaomi Mi Note Pro – review

image

Welcome to my review of the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro. This is Xiaomi’s flagship phone and first impressions from viewing and holding the hardware are positive. The hardware is gorgeous. Just look at the curved edges on the back. The photos don’t do it justice either. In real life this phone is such a stunner.

image

image

The Mi Note Pro is dual sim, one is a nano sim and the other fits a micro sim. I am using my EE nano sim. I have also used the phone with my 3 sim.

The headphone socket is on top.

image

The micro USB port is on bottom right, with the loudspeaker at the bottom. USB OTG is supported.

image

The key specifications are worth reading and they are –

– 4G Dual Sims Cat 9 Speed at 450bps
– 5.7 inch Sharp/JDI 2K QHD display 2560 x 1440 resolution at 515 PPI
– 1400:1 contrast ratio NEGA negative LCD technology
– 155.1 x 77.6 x 7 mm
– Sunlight Display in Mi Note uses hardware-level technology to adjust the contrast of each pixel in real time, so images are less affected by glare. 30% more power efficient than using brightness control
– Snapdragon 810, 20nm, 4gb LPDDR4 RAM, 64gb eMMC 5.0 Flash
– Adreno 430 CPU
– 3,000mAH battery
– 6.95mm thin
– Camera – 2nd gen 13MP Sony IMX214 CMOS sensor f/2,0 with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 6-element lens, f/2.0 aperture , Philips two-tone LED flash, 93 Color Rendering Index (CPI) max rating manual mode, 32-second exposure, Quick Exposure Adjustment, HDR, and more functions. 4MP front camera 1/3 inch with large 2-micron pixels with Beautify, which intelligently guesses age and gender in order to apply 36 smart filters, 4K video recording, front camera supports 1080p video recording
– Hi-Fi audio system 24-bit/192KHz lossless playback support (DSD/DXD/AIFF/FLAC/APE) , A two-stage amplifier (Texas Instruments OPA1612 and Custom ADI ADA4896) also lets you pair your music with high-impedance 600 ohm headphones, DAC ESS ES9018K2M,
– Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz
– Sensor Hub is a co-processor in Mi Note that tracks fitness levels without draining phone battery
– Sensors – barometer, compass, gravity, light, gyroscope, hall
– GPS, Glonass, BDS
– 18 hours audio playback, 10 hours HD video playback, 34 hours 3G talk time
– Quick Charge 2
– Network – GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2, 3G bands HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100, 4G bands LTE band 3(1800), 7(2600)

Phone Basics

Just take note of the phone specs. A really high quality piece of hardware and specifications. The phone has a stunning back with curved sides. The frame is metal and glass with a gold edge trim. If I had one observation, the rear back being glass is slightly slippery. The screen has excellent viewing angles and in sunlight uses hardware and not brightness to make it readable. Truly a cool piece of technology. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cell signal all worked well.

The phone comes with the official Chinese firmware from Xiaomi. Xiaomi offer 2 versions of their firmware. A weekly developer option and a stable firmware which on average receives an update every 3 to 4 weeks. So what about Google Play Services and Google apps? Well, phones sold and used in China are not allowed to have Google services installed. However, as soon as you boot up the phone from outside of China, you are presented with a splash screen asking if you have a Google account. I entered my Google account details, setup up a Mi account and then went in to the Google Play store and installed all my apps and games. That includes the full suite of Google apps and android wear. My LG Watch Urbane worked just fine with the Mi Note Pro.

After the first start up I got a over the air update to the newest firmware version and a few days ago it received a further update. The updates seem to fix a few bugs and add new features. The full changelog is available on the Mi forums. The skin Xiaomi use is MIUI. Android 5.0.2 is the base. See screen shots in gallery for all the system info. As mentioned above, I have installed all my apps and have not had any issues. As this in a Chinese based firmware and despite selecting English US as the language, occasionally you do get the odd Chinese piece of text.

The Mi Note Pro has 4gb ram and a snapdragon 810. The 810 at times does get warm but I’ve not experienced any shutdowns due to the heat. AnTuTu kicks in at 61,000.

Audio. One word. Awesome. The Mi Note Pro has a Hi-Fi audio system. This is 24-bit/192KHz with lossless playback support (DSD/DXD/AIFF/FLAC/APE). In addition it has a two-stage amplifier (Texas Instruments OPA1612 and Custom ADI ADA4896) that also lets you pair your music with high-impedance (600 ohm max) headphones. Even the Sabre DAC ESS ES9018K2M is impressive. Audio via Bluetooth, USB Audio, headphone jack and loudspeaker sound superb. The loudspeaker maxes out at 90db. This phone has the best audio I’ve ever heard in a phone.

Camera

The camera interface is a straight forward enough affair. The rear camera is a 2nd generation 13MP Sony IMX214 CMOS sensor f/2,0 with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), 6-element lens, f/2.0 aperture and a Philips two-tone LED flash.

Below are the options from the camera app.

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-27-25

Plenty of options in the camera mode with auto HDR as the standard shooting mode.

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-27-31

Xiaomi include many shooting modes in the camera from panorama, refocus and manual.

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-27-41

The Mi Note Pro produces good shots in decent light.

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-27-55

Macro shots are equally impressive.

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-28-07

Manual mode has plenty of control with a 32 second shutter exposure. Panoramic shots were disappointingly only 2mp in file size. Third party camera apps produced much bigger pano shots.

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-28-16

In low light the Mi Note Pro shows its only weakness. This weakness is in relation to all the phone’s hardware and software. The low light shots introduce noise and blur with moving targets. The answer is to use the front camera as it has huge pixels. 2 micron pixels with a 1/3 inch. The front camera is can identify if you are male or female and provide your age. A fun feature. It also has a range of 36 filters after identifying your sex and age to apply and make you look fabulous !! The front camera shots are good.

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-28-38

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-28-51

Screenshot_2015-07-05-12-28-58

Camera Samples

Below are a few camera shots. If you wish to see more head over to my Flickr album – https://flic.kr/s/aHskbKoXBB

Various shots taken with the #Xiaomi #MiNotePro smartphone

Various shots taken with the #Xiaomi #MiNotePro smartphone

Happy cows and ponies on Dartmoor #Xiaomi #MiNotePro

National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown #Xiaomi #MiNotePro

MIUI Interface

Below is a gallery of all the screen shots from the Mi Note Pro. Plenty of extra features included here so have a good look at the screen shots. Just click on a photo to open the gallery viewer. Features include dual 4g sim management, toggle notifications, show notifications icons in status bar, led light choice, audio hifi settings, privacy, reading screen mode, display adjustments, one handed mode which is the easiest I’ve seen to use and activate,

MIUI is a joy to use and comes with an extensive theme catalogue. I changed the Mi Note Pro to an iOS 9 replica. The theming is system deep too.

Xiaomi operates a pro active forum which active fans too. Here you can find a whole host of new features and options and I am still reading the threads and posts. Plenty to learn and explore.

Conclusion

The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro is an excellent piece of premium hardware and software. This premium build comes at a price of around £410. At that cost the phone represents good value for money.

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Xiaomi Mi Note Pro – review

  1. Great review, it’s an interesting device, Gav.
    Couple of things I can’t see mentioned in your review: what is the actual screen size? I can see in the specs list the Sharp screen technology, resolution and PPI but no screen size. Also, what are the device’s dimensions?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.