Xiaomi just dropped a bomb that changes the landscape of affordable phones, at least in China: the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 is official and it comes with a shockingly low price of just $125 (799 yuan), yet is equipped with the most powerful MediaTek chip, the Helio X10, that you find on devices that cost multiple times as much.
The 5.5-inch Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 features the signature Xiaomi design language with various color options and will be sold in a 16GB and 32GB versions (the 32 gig model is slightly more expensive, with an official MSRP of 999 yuan or $155, and will be clocked higher). Both version support expandable storage via microSD cards.
First, here is an impressive list of the official Redmi Note 2 specs:
MIUI 7 running on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop
5.5-inch 1080 x 1920-pixel (Full HD) display
Dimensions: 152mm x 76mm x 8.25mm, weight: 160g
Helio X10 octa-core (8x Cortex A53s) system chip clocked at up to 2GHz for 16GB/2.2GHz for 32GB model
2GB of RAM
13-megapixel main camera with phase detection AF, 5-megapixel selfie cam
This really is quite a breakthrough price and we're not exaggerating here: the Meizu MX5, another phone powered by the same top-end Helio X10 system chip, costs more than twice as much as the base Redmi Note 2 model. Xiaomi also points out that Huawei's P8 family with similar specs costs even more. The HTC One M9 Plus, a phone with the same Helio X10 SoC clocked at 2.2GHz, for instance, carriers a full-retail price of nearly $700.
The Redmi Note 2 also looks well designed: yes, it's plastic, but that's the one shortcut needed to arrive at that low price. Apart from that, the phone comes in a variety of vivid colors that we've come to expect from the Chinese giant Xiaomi. The Redmi Note 2 is 8.25mm thick, which is thinner than the earlier version (but not as razor-thin as some other phones), and it weighs 5.65oz (160 grams).
Phase detection pixels for one of the fastest focusing on any phone
We're looking forward to seeing the first camera samples and we'll bring them to you as soon as they are available. What's really impressive (and honestly, sounds too good to be true) is that the phone can lock focus in 0.1 seconds. Yes, that comes courtesy of phase detection auto-focus pixels on a Samsung sensor, and yes, if true, that would be faster than the current mainstream flagships that focus in 0.3 seconds.
The Redmi Note 2 will be available almost immediately: the first orders will be made available on August 16th in China. Unfortunately, the phone will officially be sold in China only (at least initially). Xiaomi has recently entered the big Indian market, where we also expect the phone to arrive. As to the North American and European shores, you should be able to import the phone for a slight premium via third-party resellers not too long after the official launch.