We tend to think that knowing when a new flagship device is coming is preferable to the alternative, but in the case of Xiaomi, which bombarded us with various teasers this last week or so, it certainly wasn't easy. Well, the wait is now officially over, for the Chinese superstar smartphone maker just announced its Mi Note flagship.
The 5.7-inch phablet sports a 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution 2.5D display, good for 387 ppi, and a body design that is quite similar to the existing Xiaomi Mi 4 (which is to be expected). Unlike the relatively thick Mi 4, however, the Mi Note's metal frame measures in at 0.27 inches (or 6.95 mm), and Xiaomi made it perfectly clear that it's thinner than Apple's iPhone 6 Plus phablet (0.28 in / 7.1 mm), and also shorter and narrower in body. The Mi Note's extremely-slender, side bezels, which measure just 0.008 in (0.2 mm), are another advantage over Cupertino's big phone that the Chinese maker was sure to showcase. The Mi Note is also relatively light, at 5.68 oz (161 g) and its sides clock in at 6.1 x 3.06 in (155.1 x 77.6 mm).
As for what's inside, don't hold your breath – this is the lower-end flagship of the two (Mi Note Pro being the other). Still, with its quad-core, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with Adreno 330 GPU and support for dual 4G SIM cards, along with 3GB of RAM, the Mi Note is definitely no slouch. Add to the mix a rear 13-megapixel Sony camera with f/2.0 lens (likely the IMX214) with optical stabilization and a dual tone LED flash by Philips, along with the HTC One M8's 4MP UltraPixel camera with big, 2µm pixels at the front, and you've got yourself one rounded package.
That's not the end of the Xiaomi Mi Note's specs list, however. For that, you'll have to add in a 3,000 mAh lithium-ion juicer (which should suffice for a 1080p display) with QuickCharge 2.0, and Hi-Fi audio. Yep, that's right – the Mi Note will offer 24-bit/192 KHz lossless playback thanks to the built-in ESS ES9018K2M DAC and two OPA1612 amp chips from Texas Instruments.
On the software side, while we don't yet have confirmation of this, we expect the Mi Note to ship with the latest version of Xiaomi's proprietary MIUI skin – version 6 – with Android 5.0 Lollipop underneath. The company also demo'd a special one-handed mode for the Mi Note – a new feature to MIUI – but it is unclear if it'll trickle down to its older, 5-inch flagships. As you can see from the last slide below, Xiaomi has also added a dedicated reader mode, during which the screen's short wavelength blue light is reduced (alike to the f.lux app for Windows)
Finally, pricing. The 16GB model of the Mi Note will go for ¥2299 (~$371), while the 64GB version will command ¥2799 (~$451) in China. Those put the Mi Note in a new, separate price class from what Xiaomi currently has on offer (along with the even more expensive Mi Note Pro) indicating that the company's confidence is at an all-time high. It remains to be seen if consumers will pony up the cash needed for the Mi Note as readily as they did they for previous Xiaomi models.