FirstLooks

Not a standout, but Xiaomi's Mi Note 2 is still noteworthy

The first thing that users will notice about the Note 2 is how much it looks like another Note - not its predecessor, but Samsung's beleaguered Galaxy Note7.
The first thing that users will notice about the Note 2 is how much it looks like another Note - not its predecessor, but Samsung's beleaguered Galaxy Note7.PHOTO: XIAOMI

This year has so far been one of recycled phone designs and incremental improvements. Unfortunately, the Xiaomi Mi Note 2 does not buck that trend.

This is not to say that the Mi Note 2 is a bad phone - it isn't. It carries top-of-the-line specs, and manages to cram it all under the low price tag of 2,799 yuan (S$575).

But it is a phone that does not stand out from the crowd and, at the launch event last week, it was overshadowed by the much more headline-worthy Mi Mix (see more).

The first thing that users will notice about the Mi Note 2 is how much it looks like another Note - not its predecessor, but Samsung's beleaguered Galaxy Note7.

Like the Note7, the Mi Note 2 has a curved screen, tapered sides and an oblong home button/fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the screen. In the hand, both phones feel similar too, as they both sport a glass back.

While the design of the phone may seem uninspired, the spec sheet begs to differ.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: From 2,799 yuan (S$575)

    PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (up to 2.36GHz)

    DISPLAY: 5.7-inch full HD Oled display

    CAMERA: 22.56-megapixel rear camera with 4K video recording and electronic image stabilisation; 8-megapixel front camera

    OPERATING SYSTEM: MIUI 8.0 (based on Android 6.0)

    MEMORY: Up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage

    BATTERY: 4,070 mAh non-removable

Both the Note 2 and the Mix are using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, the highest-end mobile processor on the market now. The Note 2 also has up to 6GB RAM, and 128GB of internal storage.

Its rear shooter is a 22.56-megapixel camera with 4K video recording and electronic image stabilisation. A couple of test shots with the camera turned out pretty clear, even those taken when I jiggled the phone around.

Where the Note 2 lags behind its flagship competitors is in its lack of water and dust resistance - drop it into the sink and you can wave your phone goodbye - and in its screen, which is full HD as compared with Note7's quad HD. Still, for the price, the Xiaomi Note 2 is definitely the better bargain.

While the phone will not be officially sold in Singapore, it may be available here via third-party retailers, as previous Xiaomi phones have been.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'Not a standout, but Xiaomi's Mi Note 2 is still noteworthy'. Print Edition | Subscribe