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Hands-on review: Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Fri, 9th Sep 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As a user of some Chinese ‘smartphones', I've found that they've often been anything but. With dodgy software, and designs created by 3 year olds (including their construction), Chinese Smartphones have consistently been cheap toys. Xiaomi are changing that.

Xiaomi have consistently tried to do better, and with the Note 3, they've managed to achieve some amazing feats for virtually no money. Think all metal body, 32GB storage, 3 GB RAM, 5.5” 1080p screen, fingerprint lock, dual sim, 16MP camera and Micro SD expandability for NZ$250?

Yes it's this price and Xiaomi even have their own interface on top of Android called MIUI that is proving extremely popular for Android users. Its recently released version MIUI 8 gives users a Marshmallow based ROM that is great for customisation and retains a very iPhone-esque appearance.

The rise of Xiaomi has led to the other Chinese manufacturers looking up to Xiaomi, with them definitely competing with the Samsung J series of phones. After Huawei, Xiaomi can consider themselves the number two manufacturer in China.

Yet their growth in New Zealand has been slow. However, in other parts of the Asia Pacific region, Xiaomi are growing faster then other manufacturers. When people are getting near flagship levels of performance for a quarter of the price of a Samsung, Huawei or Apple flagship phone, there's no wonder why their growth in countries such as India and Nepal has been meteoric.

The Redmi Note 3 won't challenge the flagships, but it's not designed to. It offers a great package wrapped up in a beautiful brushed metal body, and the ability to support your travels with 4G LTE covering the 1800 / 2100 - 2600MHz bands. This covers all of New Zealand's mobile providers.

Me for one, I'm looking forward to seeing the new releases from Xiaomi, including their new Mi Band 2 smartwatch that's just $50..