Mi3 comes with 3 things that makes it awesome – the hardware, build quality and the price. For Rs. 13,999 you get the same stuffs that you would usually find on a premium handset for almost double the price tag. The Xiaomi Mi3 clearly beats all handsets in this price rage.

Box pack
The moment you look at the box and hold it in your hand, you get the sense of satisfaction and the unboxing excitement doubles up. The box itself is of a premium quality, it is simple and really tough. Inside the box you will find the Mi3, travel charger, data cable, SIM tray ejector pin (that is very cleverly packed), user guide and warranty statement. Earphone is not included.

Design, Display and OS
The Mi3 is impressive, build quality is just too good – it’s of the kind that you would get on a premium handset. The handset is light weight at 144 grams and dimensions are 73.95 x 144.29 x 7.96mm. The SAR Value are mentioned on the back it is 1.1W/Kg Max well within the 1.6W/kg limit.

The back is with metallic finish, it’s shiny silver colour and is a little slippery, so be extra careful with that. The back panel completely covers up the handset (non-removable), it is made of plastic, but don’t feel like one. The front, back, top and bottom are flat. The left and the right sides are curved. There are no sharp edges.

Xiaomi Mi3 box pack

Volume rockers / power button are on the right. Micro USB and speaker vent are placed at the bottom. 3.5mm audio jack and SIM tray are on the top. You will need to use the ejector pin to eject the tray, it is a bit hard, and you will need to apply some extra force.

There are dual Mic for noise suppression and I believe there are 3 microphones. One is placed within the speaker vent, another near the SIM tray (the 4 tiny holes) and another one dedicated for the rear camera.

Xiaomi Mi3 review and unboxing

The capacitive touch screen is 5 inches IPS Retina display with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution. Viewing angles, touch response is just great. Make sure you remove the protective film (it is mentioned on the film – some users were actually using it with the film). The screen is visible under direct sunlight. At certain angles you will see some dotted matrix on the screen – it is normal, it is easily visible when you are viewing the screen under direct sunlight.

There is LED notification and you can also select the colours – check video review.

Xiaomi Mi3 review

Does Xiaomi Mi3 comes with Corning Gorilla Glass protection?
Well it is not mentioned on the box, but I did a scratch test and yes it does have some kind of scratch protection to certain extent.

There are a lot of sensors – accelerometer, magnetic, gyro, light, barometer, temperature and proximity.

The Xiaomi Mi3 sails on MiUi Version 5 based on Android 4.4.2. The handset was launched a few days back and there is already and upgraded MiUi 5 version – make sure you update to the latest version.

Xiaomi Mi3 SIM tray

Memory and Storage
The Mi3 comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. Of the 16GB storage you get about 11 GB free and of the 2GB RAM you get around 1GB free. There is no external card slot, so you are left with just 11 GB of space. The good thing is that OTG works and you can connect an external pen drive using the OTG cable.

Xiaomi Mi3 Mic (4 dots), SIM tray and 3.5mm audio jack

The box pack clearly says it is 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad core 8274AB processor; however some of the apps might report it as Snapdragon 801 which is incorrect. Actually Snapdragon had launched 8274AB, 8674AB, 8974AB – 8x74AB series and some benchmark apps will report it as any of these. Antutu Benchmark however shows the correct chipset MSM8274AB with Adreno 330 GPU.

The performance is buttery smooth and the MiUi is another highlight. It is new interface and will take some time getting used to, but it completely changes the user android experience. The hardware is powerful and can easily play many high end games.

By default the battery is set to balance power setting, if you change it to high performance the benchmark scores improve a little bit.

Benchmark scores

App Result
Quadrant 17049
Antutu 27835 (with high performance mode   = 30609) with high performance mode and reboot = 34507.
Vellamo Browser (1807) Metal (1208) Multicore (1485)
Nenamark 2 60fps
Multi Touch 10 point

Gaming – Asphalt 8 on Mi3
I installed the Asphalt 8 and could play this game easily in the highest visual mode. Game play is very smooth. When playing this game make sure not to completely cover up the speaker that is on the bottom, or the sound volume will suddenly drop.

I have added this section especially for the Mi3, because there is a lot to talk about. The earphone is not included in the box, however you can use other earphones or headsets. I tried my Samsung earphone and surprisingly the volume buttons on the earphone worked.

In fact there are options to enable dirac sound that gives awesome audio quality – it works with earphones/headphones only. The in-call sound with dual mic suppression switched on is just unbelievably. I have never experienced such great in-call sound quality during a call even in noisy environment (can other users confirm this?).

The speaker sound is loud and clear.

Camera and Entertainment
There is 13MP rear camera and 2MP front camera. Both cameras are with BSI sensors and can shoot 1080p videos. The dual LED flash doesn’t really help. The camera quality is very good, though at times it is not able to focus close objects.

I am not particularity happy with the HDR mode, but overall the camera is really good. 1080p videos are also very good. I shot these images / videos on a cloudy day, probably under direct sunlight the output will be even better. The front camera can detect face, age, gender and can enhance skin tones.

The handset can play full HD videos with ease using MX player. I even tried a 4K video and it worked in both H/W and S/W mode, probably because of EMMC 16GB storage that is very fast. If you are copying data from PC to the Mi3 it will copy much faster. You can also play 4K video via the pen drive connected with an OTG cable.

Xiaomi Mi3 13MP rear AF camera with dual LED flash

This handset comes with a single SIM slot, you need a normal SIM. 3G (H+), Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC (Android Beam) and Bluetooth worked well. GPS is with A-GPS and GLONASS – got the lock instantly (It did not work indoors on my Mi3 handset.)

MiUi is cool and it comes with lot themes that you can download. The themes are awesome and some completely changes the looks and the way it works.

Another interesting thing is in the data usage option, you can enable / disable data usage using 3G or Wi-Fi or both. For example you can enable data usage using 3G / Wi-Fi for WhatsApp and disable both for MX Player. So next time you are watching movies on MX player (with 3G / Wi-Fi switched on) there will be no ads.

This option will help save bandwidth on unwanted data usage a common issue faced by many users.

There is built-in battery of 3050 mAh capacity. The handset did get heated up but that is within the normal limits. The max temperature I encountered was 42 degrees. Heat up is not a big issue make sure you keep the battery power setting to balanced.

Task Time Battery drop (%) (max temp)
Running Benchmark apps 23 minutes 8% (37)
1080p video with Wi-Fi on + full brightness 27 minutes 8% (36)
Asphalt 8 11 minutes 4% (38)

Looking at the above stats you can easily expect a usage time of up to 5 hours or more from a single charger. When the battery was at 4% I put it on charging (wall charger), it got charged to 42% in 1 hour 4 minutes and at 97% in about 2 hours 2 minutes. 97% to 100% took about 20 to 30 minutes. The handset can be fully charged via wall charger in less than 3 hours.

Xiaomi Mi3 hands on

Without any doubt, Mi3 with Snapdragon 800 quad core chipset @ 2.3GHz clearly is a winner in this price tag. The product quality and finishing is just too good. Mi3 beats the Motorola Moto G and is near about the same as compared with the Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+. Though I think the Idol X+ camera is a little better but look wise the Mi3 clearly wins. Plus there are many other things that go in favour of Mi3.

Getting your Mi3 may not be that easy, but you will get multiple chances, for now try booking via FlipKart on 29th July 2PM.

Xiaomi Mi3 rating – 4.5 out of 5 (Decimal not allowed in the rating box below).

Update: Those facing network issues try this go to settings – mobile network – preferred network type – and either choose 2G network only or 3G network Only. Restart the phone and it should work.

Mi3 Handset Gallery

Camera Sample – shot using the Mi3 handset

Front Camera Sample

Xiaomi Mi3 full Review

1080p video shot using the Mi3 handset

Xiaomi Mi3 can play 4K video from internal and from a pendrive (OTG)

By Rajeev Rana

Founder and Chief Editor - gogi.in