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Xiaomi Mi3 Buying Experience, Unboxing & Hands On

I was pretty excited when Xiaomi came to Malaysia officially and I had written on why this company deserves our attention. When they officially started the sales, the stock finished in minutes and I am lucky enough to get both the Mi 3 phone and the Mi Power Bank. I shall do a small review on the power bank after I have enough tries on it as we know that trying on battery performances took time. Now let’s come back to Mi3! Mi3 is priced at RM889 and the specifications are great that it almost can rival the other flagship phones with less than half of their prices. So this is why people are setting their eyes on it. This is just the unboxing and hands on. Full review coming soon is here now!

xiaomi-mi3

Buying Experience

If you have bought things from Xiaomi before, you can skip this part actually. Officially Xiaomi only sells their product through their own websites and they do not have any retail stores at all. So if you are buying from the other sources, the chance is that you might have problem regarding warranty and you have to pay more for it so I would advise you to buy everything from www.mi.com/my only.

However, the problem here is that Xiaomi will release their product batches by batches so you have to be fast. Based on my experience, getting the phone is much easier than getting the power bank a lot. Except the fact that the stock is very limited, the whole process is hassle-free. Select the product and add it to the cart, choose the number of the product and checkout. Then you will have to fill in your particulars to confirm your order and proceed with payment.

After your order is confirmed, you will have to make the payment within 24 hours. This means that after you finished checking out you don’t have to pay immediately to confirm your order. The payment need to be done through credit card or Paypal. Some debit card can be accepted too but its the best if you link it to Paypal and pay via Paypal. If you failed, don’t be too disappointed and try again the following week. I found this actually quite fun when I was trying to make purchase along with my group of friends. Quite a special experience for me as you have to put in effort to spend your money. After you succeeded in getting the items from Xiaomi, all you have to do is wait for it to reach your doorsteps. When it really reached my place, I really felt happy to receive it, as if it is a trophy won through a fight. You won’t get this experience if you are buying from other brands and this is one of the special part about Xiaomi.

Unboxing

The shipping box is covered by the shipping labels so there’s nothing special about it. Opening it up will reveal the things you bought. For my case, I have the phone, screen protector and power bank. All of the boxes have the same simple brown card box with the dark brown logo printed nicely on it. The fact that Xiaomi does not sell its product in brick & mortar store means that they can save cost on the packaging and there is no need to make it very eye catching. However, I like the simplicity of the design.

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The adapter has a separated box and I guess it is because different places have different standards so it would be easier for them to separate it out. The adapter is a 1A charger, which is quite disappointing. As Mi3 has a big battery, the charging might took a long time. A micro sim card tray is given too along with the normal size sim card tray inside the phone. This is very thoughtful from Xiaomi and this means that there’s a big chance that you don’t have to worry about your sim card size. (Sorry nano sim card user, your size is not supported.)

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Opening up the box for the phone will reveal our main character here, the Mi3 smartphone. There’s a matte screen protector with printing that shows the button position and for me to peel it off. (My favourite!) The screen is quite glossy here and we will see if that will affect the viewing experience or not. Under the phone is the folded envelop housing the sim card tray ejecting pin and some paperwork.

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Pulling the smaller box out will reveal 2 openings at each end, except that only one of them is containing the micro USB cable, which is quite long, and the other one is empty. And by now you should have noticed that no headphones are given along with the phone, which is quite surprising. I thought having headphones with phones is a standard right now? Probably this is where the cost being cut so that we can have such great specifications with such a low price. So these are what we have in the box!

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The Phone

Let’s find out more with the phone itself. The one I get is Metallic Gray 16GB GSM/WCDMA version, which is the only option available in Malaysia. The front of the phone is clean. Only a silver Mi logo is on the top left corner and the rest is in black while the screen is off. We have a speaker at the top. On the left of the speaker is the ambient and proximity sensors which can’t be seen clearly in the picture below and on the right is the front 2MP camera and the notification light.. At the bottom there’s 3 backlit capacitive keys which are invisible when it’s not turned on. I like the clean look here but I don’t really like the placement of the logo at the left. I am a fan of symmetry and I would like it in the middle rather than the side.

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The front is covered by Gorilla Glass 3 and under the glass is the 5″ IPS Full HD 1080p display. We will come back to the screen later after the phone is being fired up. Let’s have a look at the body of the phone. The phone has a dimension of 144×73.6×8.1mm and it weights 145g only. The phone is quite thin but quite long. The body is made up of anodized aluminium magnesium alloy frame covered by graphite film and I love the feel of the material. The cold touch and texture give a very premium feeling. However, the phone is bigger than I like. Holding it feels great and substantial. The side of the phone is curved but the corners and the back are not, making the experience of holding it much less pleasant that what we have in phones like HTC One M8. Time will tell if the corners will hurt my hand or not.

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Flipping to the back will show the nice silver back. There is a label on the back of the phone showing your IMEI and serial number. You should keep this properly in case you want to send your phone to repair.

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As you can see the back of the phone has a very clean look too and it somehow reminds me of iPhone. The 13MP camera and the flash is on the top left corner. On the bottom is the shiny, reflective logo and also some labels below it. Very similar to iPhone isn’t it? Again, I like the simple back but dislike the position of the camera due to its asymmetric. In addition, camera at the corner will make taking photo feels unhandy as there is a large chance of my hand covering up the camera, like what I did with iPhone and iPad all the time. I tried a few shots with the phone and the pictures are quite promising. We shall see how it performs in several condition in the full review.

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The side of the phone is a nice curve to improve the feel in hand. The left hand side is empty and the right hand side has the volume rockers and the power button, which are in the right place for my thumb to press them easily. The top of the phone has the 3.5mm audio jack, a microphone and the sim tray. The bottom houses the speaker and the USB port. The holes of the speaker are nicely grilled. The top and bottom of the phone are flat so it feels a bit unwieldy in hand due to the lack of curve at the bottom.

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Let’s turn on the phone now! A white logo is shown in the center of the screen and it turns orange later as shown above. Then a set up tour is prompted and finishing it will bring us into the homescreen. The display is gorgeous. Colors are vivid and not overly saturated. The 441 pixel per inch screen is a very crisp and sharp. I can’t differentiate individual pixels even I look at a very near position and nearly pop my eyes out. The viewing angles are great too. I have no complain to the screen at all currently.

The phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad Core 2.3GHz processor with Adreno 330. There is 2GB of RAM too. The battery has a huge 3050mAh  capacity but not removable. I expect very long battery life from this phone and I hope it will not disappoint me. You can find almost everything here like NFC, GPS and Bluetooth 4.0 but there are a few compromises too. No 4G LTE is available and no expandable storage is available too. Given that the internal storage is only 16GB and the 64GB model is not here yet, memory shortage might be an issue for a lot of people.

MIUI V5 is loaded in the phone above Android 4.4  4.3. The UI is colourful and smooth. No lag can be detected at all in my short playing period. MIUI is one of the hottest ROM used by Android phone users and I shall see if the UI works fine for me or not as I am fan of simple and practical UI rather than featured-packed yet sluggish UI. For the time being I feel that there is no ‘WOW’ factor in the software unlike the surprise I had in the hands on of Huawei Honor 3C which packs in the Face Unlock features.

Screen Protector

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I also bought a screen protector and it cost RM10. There is matte and clear type for you to choose. In the package there are 2 real screen protector, 1 practice film, 1 cleaning cloth and 1 static film to clean the screen and 2 stickers for you to apply the screen protector. Its very sweet for Xiaomi to include a practice film which will be very useful for people who don’t have experience using it. However, the instructions are printed in Mandarin and given that there are so many people who do not know Mandarin in Malaysia, this is quite a let-down here. This shows that Xiaomi still have some work to do if they really want to step out of China.

Verdict

In my short trying time I feel that the phone is quite promising and given that price, there should not be any big complaints too. I will give it a good try and share more of my thoughts in the full review. Now my biggest question will be whether I should compare it to the other flagships or compare it to the other phone with the same price. What do you think?

4 Comments

  1. What’s up, after reading this amazing post
    i am as well glad to share my experience here with friends.

  2. lucasakakarl

    1 July 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Why don’t make a video on the unboxing?

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