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Xiaomi Mi Note Pro Review: Bang for the Buck Flagship?

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We review Xiaomi’s top of the line Mi Note Pro!

By: Richmond Li Tan

Announced late January 2015, the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro is the higher end version of the company’s Mi Note. Equipped with the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor, the Mi Note Pro is on track to be one of the most powerful flagships to date. It’s also on track to be the most affordable flagships in recent memory, retailing lower than the offerings of tech juggernauts Apple or Samsung.

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro Specs

  • Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 (Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57)
  • Adreno 430 GPU
  • 4GB of Ram
  • 5.7-inch QHD display, Gorilla Glass 3, 1440 x 2560 resolution
  • 64GB of storage (non-expandable)
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, optical image stabilization, autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
  • 4-megapixel front camera, 2µm pixel size
  • Dual SIM, Dual LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB OTG
  • 3090mAh battery
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop, MIUI 6

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A more powerful Mi Note

The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro feels exactly the same as the Mi Note simply because the phone has the same design. The curved back decked out with Gorilla Glass 3 makes the Mi Note Pro comfortable to hold in the hands, and overall the phone looks simple and elegant to the eye. Our Mi Note Pro is the gold plated brushed aluminum variant, which makes it look like the gold version of iPhone. Overall ergonomics is good, with the buttons easily reachable despite the size of the phone. One thing to remember is that the curved glass back housing makes the phone prone to slippage, especially when it’s lying on a slanted surface. We suggest you get the phone a flip case to protect it from dents and bumps.

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Going over the physical layout of the phone, you’ll see the 3.5mm audio jack on top of the unit with the power button and the volume rocker on the right side. The dual SIM card slots are located at the left side of the unit and use a mix of both micro and nano SIMs. The USB port (which supports OTG) is located at the bottom of the phone, which is placed alongside the speaker.

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The front panel sports the MI logo on the upper left corner, while the a sensor is located on top of the earpiece, notification lights on left, and the 4-megapixel ultrapixel selfie camera located on the right side. The Mi Note Pro uses capacitive Android navigations keys that are illuminated instead of the usual on-screen keys that Android 5.0 Lollipop phones favor. The side edges of the front glass are curved, a result of the 2.5D glass tech.

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Turing the phone over, you’ll see that it sports Corning Gorilla 3 glass protection, giving it extra strength against scratches while in your pocket or when the phone is placed on any rough surface. The 13-megapixel camera is located at the upper left while the dual flash rests on its right side.

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A sharp, vibrant QHD display

The Xiaomi Mi Note Pro features a 5.7-inch QHD IPS display, 515ppi (pixels per inch) sandwiched underneath Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. We mentioned that the Mi Note has a worse display compared to the iPhone 6, the same isn’t true with its bigger and badder brother, the Mi Note Pro. The QHD display is bright, crisp and vivid, has excellent color reproduction and has an overall sharper image compared to the lower-end model.

MIUI finally on Lollipop

The Mi Note Pro is one of the first phones from Xiaomi to run Google’s latest OS, Android 5.0. Just like its other siblings, the Mi Note Pro runs MIUI on top of Android – MIUI 6 in this case. MIUI V6 is pretty stable and easy to use especially if you just made the jump from IOS.

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A fast processor that’s worthy of other flagships, but heat issues is a concern

The Mi Note Pro is one of the few phones out in the market today with Qualcomm’s controversial Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor. Initially set to debut earlier this year, the phone was delayed because of production issues with the said SoC. It’s also one of the first phones in the market with the said processor with 4GB of RAM. As a result, the phone is completely capable of running all the tasks and apps you can think of (and then some) without any issues.

As for its benchmarks, it’s safe to say that the Mi Note Pro absolutely demolished any other phone in its price range. You’d be hard pressed to find any phone that has a score of 58999 that’s as affordable as the Mi Note Pro.

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Most of us utilize mobile data on the go which is the primary source of heating in smartphones. Add to the controversies surrounding the overheating problems of the Snapdragon 810 processor then you can understand why we needed to see just how hot the Mi Note Pro gets with normal use. Using a laser thermometer, the phone reads 35 Celsius when in standby mode, hotter than the Mi Note at 33 Celsius, 39 Celsius when normal browsing mode (Facebook, Viber and Google Chrome), and a whopping 45 Celsius ((compared to 41 Celsius for the full throttled Mi Note).

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Outdoor shot
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Shot indoors with artificial lighting
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Indoor shot
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Shot indoors with natural lighting
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Also shot indoors with natural lighting
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Notice the vibrant color of the car

Excellent camera, and the selfies it takes are pretty nice too

The Mi Note Pro is equipped with a 13-megapixel Sony sensor with dual-tone LED flash. Together with an f2.0 aperture and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), the camera can produce really good images. The camera’s hardware infused with the advanced camera features found in MIUI V6 and which enhances the capabilities of the camera’s snapper.

The 4-megapixel camera uses UltraPixel tech for better low-light performance which results in better selfies, even in low light.

Decent battery life, but could be better

Xiaomi has equipped a 3,090mAh battery inside the Mi Note Pro which is pretty decent for a 5.7-inch phablet. I ran the battery test and observed its behavior with 2 Sims active. The unit scored roughly 40 hours 2 Sims active with some incoming calls, surfing, VOIP calls and music. Antutu Battery Test gave it a score of 5839. Given that it sports a QHD Display, the battery performance has dropped a lot compared to its sibling the Mi Note.

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Verdict: strong flagship of the year contender, if it’s ever offered here

Just like Xiaomi’s other offerings, the Mi Note Pro gives excellent bang for your buck. Priced at roughly half the price of its competitors, the Mi Note Pro is one of those phones that can make a significant impact once it’s offered here in the Philippines.

That’s the problem though. The Mi Note Pro is not yet available in the country as of yet, and as of press time only the Mi Note has been confirmed by Xiaomi to be offered in the Philippines at an unknown date.

The Mi Note Pro retails in China for around RMB 2999 or Php 21.K. If you’re a Xiaomi fan and want the best that the company offers, the Mi Note Pro is just the ticket.

By: Richmond Li Tan

A licensed mechanical engineer, a masters of business administration graduate, a businessman at day, and a tech enthusiast at night. Loves to explore new gadgets available in the market, always strives to be the first to land something new in the Philippines.

Richmond Tan

A licensed mechanical engineer, a masters of business administration graduate, a businessman at day, and a tech enthusiast at night. Loves to explore new gadgets available in the market, always strives to be the first to land something new in the Philippines.

15 Comments

  1. Could someone verify if the 2nd Sim card slot is swappable with a memory card?
    According to en.MIUI, it’s possible
    Thanks

  2. Before you start getting excited, this is kind of a controversial phone.

    1. The Snapdragon 810 already have heat issues. No wonder Samsung switch to Snapdragon 808 and overclock it.

    2. It’s a qHD phone which means more battery drain

    3. Lollipop 5.0 has main issue of memory leak and massive battery drain. Would be nice if they upgrade it to 5.1 in the future.

    4. 3090 maH. Not good enough since this phone consist of Snapdragon 810, a qHD screen and a buggy 5.0 lollipop. Expect this phone to last up to 3 to 4 hours and 50% battery drain for phone idle.

        1. The reason why exynos 7420 is far better than SD 810 is 7420 is built in 14nm while SD 810 is built on 20nm, meaning because 810 is built on that size hence the heating problems

  3. Well for one: The SD810 running on the Mi Note Pro is not exactly the same as the SD810 running on the LG GFlex 2. you can read it up here: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Revised-Snapdragon-810-boasts-performance-and-thermal-improvements-in-Xiaomi-Mi-Note-Pro-benchmarks_id69011

    two: Yes its qHD and that’s because of the market’s (and consumer’s) demand for 2K or higher devices. (an un-necessary display resolution for phones but we are to blame for it)

    three: Yet another one of those “too fast, to soon” OS upgrades. We consumers always demand for the latest and greatest, even if it means buggy as hell. Well knowing MIUI, I think they’d provide a Kitkat version ROM on MIUI forums for this, (as far as i know, the Mi Note Pro shown last January was still running on MIUI 6 KK) and since this launched with Lollipop out-of-the-box, this will be readily updated to the next lollipop version when available. (like Mi3’s 4.4.2 to 4.4.4)

    four: 3090mah is by no means small in today’s standard. To list a few qHD phones: Oppo Find7 / 3000mah, LG G3 / 3000mah, Galaxy S5 LTE-A / 2800mah. (Well the Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro has a 4000mah battery, but look at the size of that thing)

    Speaking of size, do consider that the Mi Note Pro has a display of 5.7″ with a body almost the same size as that of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 (which has a 5.1″ display) but still stuffed with a 3090mah. Xiaomi actually did good there. (the S6 has a 2550mah battery BTW)

    1. Never would have thought that they improve their chipset in Mi Note Pro, that is good news. Also, you’re right, qHD really is unnecessary unless of course you’re going to brag every pixel on it. Makes me wonder that human eye need an upgrade first to appreciate qHD phone.

      I’d say wait for for 5.1 and price down.

  4. sana maging available ‘to dito saten. or kahit kay kimstore man lang. Pede na din sana sa alibaba.com pro mahirap pg lemon ang nakuha mo.

  5. hi.. talaga bang umi-init sya to the point na d na siya comfortable gamitin? also, if mag warm na xa.. nababawasan ang kanyang performance?

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