User Review Xiaomi Mi3: A well rounded Smartphone at non flag ship price

I love this phone so much hence i have decided to review it, a little bit of boredom also helped. So here goes nothing. In this review I’m Going to cover the following aspects of the Mi3 phone.
  1. Look and feel of the physical device and the MIUI OS
  2. Display
  3. Battery
  4. General Performance (Covers network (2g, 3g and Wi-Fi), Gaming, Apps)
  5. Storage
  6. Audio (Speaker and headphones)
  7. Camera
  8. Conclusion.
UPDATE 1:
I created a post about poor audio quality in Miui forums and one of the super mods replied to the thread, here is what he/she said.
Disable MiSound and Equaliser, if your headphones are good enuff you don't need ANY stuff to get a good output.
BTW, Only Mi3 TD have Cirrus Logic codec, mi3 WCDMA version uses WCD9320 qualcomm codec.

UPDATE 2:
As
it Turns out the DAC used in the Mi3 is same as the ones used in Not3,Nexus 5 and many other flagship devices. with that bieng said, i turned off the equalizer and other sound enhancing features and as the mod said the sound quality is actually good. there is no distortion during the highs in songs. also the music quality largely depends on the bit rate of music files. the bass seem punchier and the treble is just ok if not more pronounced. I still have an issue with the audio, unlike Moto e or g the audio output power is quite low, its like a notch lower and i think it is due to the software rather than the hardware. how i figured it out is, the audio quality when playing games like Most wanted or real racing is just outstanding. I bough this phone thinking that i will get iphone level audio quality since it has cirrus DAC and that caused me to feel disappointed when i learned that the phone does not use it. The mod also suggested using a low impendence IEM, can anyone suggest one?


Look and feel of the physical device and the MIUI OS:
I’ve only heard a bit about Xiaomi before buying mi3, what made me really go for it is the spec, I don’t need to tell you this but currently, No other manufacture gives such a well speced phone for throw away price. If you want to know about mi3 spec please head over here http://www.gsmarena.com/xiaomi_mi_3-5678.php.

Out of the box, the device is very sleek and slim, the back cover doesn’t feel cheap at all in spite of being made from plastic(looking at you Samsung). The bezel is a bit big but that’s fine. The phone as shiny mi logo on top and the only bad part of the design is the speakers are located at the bottom. Why is this bad? Well when playing games or watching videos in landscape most of the time I found myself covering the speakers, if the speakers were in the front ala htc it would have been great. Despite being a 5inch mobile the phone is Slim and is very light weight. I mean coming from moto e the difference is night and day. The volume and power buttons as usual are on the side, but the placement felt a bit weird for me since I was accustomed to moto e . The volume buttons are a bit loose but that’s just a nit pick. Over all the device is really an eye catcher, colleagues at my office were all over the device, even in the places I go, people ask me what phone iam using, mi3 is quite the eye catcher. Out of the box all you get is a charger and a plug point, the unit does not ship with an headphone.

Now let’s talk about the MIUI, I have never used MIUI before iam more used to the pure android experience, for 1 hour I struggled a bit but after that I have come to like MIUI more than the stock android. One Major difference is MIUI does not have an APP drawer. You have access to all your apps from the home screen. You can create as many home screens you require in order to place, widgets and Apps, since there is no app drawer you don’t need to go to an extra window everything is on the home screen for you to access. Another aspect that really wowed me is the customizability of the UI. To Highlight a few, you can have download speed, battery percentage show on the notification bar. Also there are wide variety of user created themes to choose from. You can also customize individual components of the UI like the clock widget, Screen Transition options, notification toggle, the list is endless. And I believe this review alone will not be enough to explain the various feature MIUI provides. To sum it up, the UI is quite user friendly, it looks fresh. I have never used MIUI before but I got used to it within a matter of hours. The learning curve is practically nonexistent. The only thing I don’t like about the UI is the OS buttons UGH I hate them, even Google themselves have done away with the buttons. I really don’t know why Xiaomi decided to stick with it.

The Display:
Display on the MI3 is bloody gorgeous, before mi3 I got a taste of my first FHD display experience by looking at LG G2 in a show room, boy was my mind blown. And iam so happy that I was able to experience that again with Mi3 just an year after. I sometimes switch the phone on just to admire the display. At 441PPI it is just 4 pixels short of nexus 5. The pixels are not visible to the naked eye like iPhone retina display, the brightness, the contrast all are very perfect. The viewing angles are just amazing. The phone looks bright enough on automatic brightness setting. Bottom line is, For the money, you can just close your eyes and buy the phone for the display alone. The phone comes with gorilla glass 3 which was confirmed on Facebook by mii team

A feature which I did not expect from this phone but was very happy to see was the customizable notification lights. I have never seen this feature implemented in a mid range phone. They are excellent and you can customize them however your want. The touch sensitivity on this phone is far better than other android phones I have ever used. You can even use the touch screen when your hand is wet or when you are wearing gloves. Trust me I have tried this and it works just fine

Battery:
The battery is rated at 3050 mAH and it is Excellent, , I have nothing more to say, Inspite of having a beast of a processor and a FHD screen I never expected the battery to last for more that 6 hours but Mi3 lasted more than a day on a full recharge, with some gaming(Nfs Hot pursuit),3G, browsing, listening to music and phone calls. The battery stand by is just amazing. Oh by the way there is a option in mi3 where you can change the phones performance from balanced, conserve, to performance. My phone lasted more than a day on the performance setting. It takes around 2 hours to charge the mobile from 10% to 100% so the charging speed is pretty decent.

General performance:
Packing “a Qualcomm MSM8274AB Snapdragon 800” processor and 2Gb of RAM, My Mi3 scored 34484 on antutu making it the 4th fastest smart phone on the planet. The UI is buttery smooth and multi-tasking is a breeze with all the heavy duty apps opened. I tested this by having lots of app like google play music,quickoffice, Auto desk sketch pad , nfs most wanted, rayman open at the same time. i did face some random app crashes but other than that the performance is as smooth as it can get. Even though the phone has 2GB of ram, only 600 mb is free at a given point of time even when no apps are running. I have used the phone on wifi,2G and3G networks(I use Voda fone ) and also as a hotspot , and it works fine without any issues, I particularly like the option where you can see the download speed on the notification bar. During my 3 days of usage my signal never dropped not even once and call quality is also great.operating the phone on 3g or using it as a hostpost did not heat up the phone much.

edit: I was not aware that normal sim that we use is mini sim, thank you @ hotshot05

I played nfs hot pursuit, Rayman jungle run and monument valley. They all ran fine without any issues, but the phone did get a little hotter when playing video games. Monument valley looks so beautiful on this phone.Overall the performance is very satisfactory in all the aspects.

Storage:
The only disappointing aspect of the Mi3. The phone sports 16GB storage memory of which 13Gb is available for use. This is one of the main drawbacks of the mi3. This can be over come to a certain extent thanks to native OTG option . I have tested it with my sansa sandisk OTG 32GB drive and it works flawlessly. It would have been far better if expandable memory option was provided.

Audio:
The sound through speakers seem passable but what I’m really disappointed is with the sound through headphones. despite having Cirrus CS42L73 DAC, output of the audio through my Brainwavz beta IEM is just pathetic. Even though it is loud it just feels dull compared to my Moto e. Mi3 has some options to optimize audio quality. For example, You can select headphone type from the “head phone type setting”, even with the correct headphone type selected the sound still feels very disappointing. I was expecting some iphone level audio quality since that phone also uses the same chip. This flipkart review seem to sum up my thought about the audio nicely.

“The audio quality is decent at best and not what i thought it would be. This was one of the primary reasons i ditched the gionee as that had very bad audio quality. I was lead to believe that this phone uses a cirrus logic DAC the same as on the iPhones and expected the sound with earphones to be audiophile quality. But its just decent at best. Maybe a software can fix it i dont know for sure. I currently use the sony MDR XBA90 which i think are above average earphones. I used poweramp and managed to tweak it to suit my taste but the sound stage is very narrow and sometimes the bass eats into the mids. But overall tolerable audio quality if you are not an audiophille. Certainly not as bad as the gionee s5.5.”

Camera:
This is the most “Meh” aspect of the phone. The 13Mp camera is good with proper lighting but indoor images always turn out a little bit grainy. In a dark room the dual flash performance is also not what you’d expect, its ok at best. So under the proper light conditions, the mi3 can churn out some of the best pictures but under poor lighting conditions it is average at best. The front 2mp camera is also ok, it has a nifty facial recognition features like gender and age detection. My colleagues had some good fun with it. Its a bit gimmicky though .


Note: I have taken a lot of out door pictures prior to this review but i forgot to back them up before i reset the phone. i had to reset the phone because after the update it seem to behave very weird but after the factory reset everything is fine.

Conclusion
BUY THE PHONE!!, its great, it performs well, it has all the necessary features except for two which is expandable memory and dual sim capability. the display is great and the performance is just amazing.
Considering the price tag for which mi3 is being sold for, Mi3 is as good as any other well rounded flagship phone . Currently mi3 has established itself as a king of mid range mobiles so Sony,Samsung,HTC,LG. its your move now. In hind sight iam so GLAD that i returned my moto g to flipkart because I would be kicking myself now if I hadn’t.

Price: 13999rs exclusive from flipkart

Th Awesome:
  • Price!!!
  • Display
  • Battery backup
  • Processing power
  • Rear Camera takes good photos in good light condition
  • look and feel
  • Customizable notification led lights
  • MIUI
  • NFC this is the only Mid range device which has a nfc chip so that's definitely a added bonus.
  • You can root the phone without voiding the warranty

The meh's:

  • Rear camera indoors or in poor lighting conditions
  • Audio quality
  • Dual flash
  • Front camera

The Bad

  • Lack of dual slim and expandable memory
  • 16Gb is just not enough
  • The screen is a finger print magnet
  • The phone is so sleek when running i was afraid that it may fly out of my had, slippery as hell.
  • No CUSTOM ROMS, yes xiaomi has not released any kernel sources for the devices. i dont know how long it will take xiaomi to implement android L features on the mi devices
Edit: I came across few more negatives , so i'm adding them here

PICS!!

http://imgur.com/a/kHJi3

Edit:
1. I removed the garishly huge images and i have put them in a neat little album @ imgur
2. It seems i'm not able to embed imgur album here so please use the above link to access the gallery



Sorry for the potato quality pics. taken by my moto e
 
Last edited:

justmat

Member
Disciple
As it Turns out the DAC used in the Mi3 is same as the ones used in Not3,Nexus 5 and many other flagship devices. with that bieng said, i turned off the equalizer and other sound enhancing features and as the mod said the sound quality is actually good. there is no distortion during the highs in songs. also the music quality largely depends on the bit rate of music files. the bass seem punchier and the treble is just ok if not more pronounced. I still have an issue with the audio, unlike Moto e or g the audio output power is quite low, its like a notch lower and i think it is due to the software rather than the hardware. how i figured it out is, the audio quality when playing games like Most wanted or real racing is just outstanding.
If it's just something related with the software, I'm pretty positive someone will come up with a workaround.. once the device establishes itself in the market,that is. The same thing had happened with the original Samsung Galaxy S.
 

Audiophi1le

Live eviL
Skilled
there seems to be some heating issues with mi3 ....... can anyone confirm this pls ???

yes it warms up when running complete nut jobs....not unbearable. z2 warms up more than mi3 if that helps.
FIrst day though it heated like a iron, not faced that issue again. Played extensively for 6hrs till battery went down to zero-10%. Definitely warms up...my immediate issue is sweaty palms and slippery phone.

Waiting for few days before I can conclude and do a write up.
PS: camera is disappointing in low light
 

habunath

Member
Disciple
yes it warms up when running complete nut jobs....not unbearable. z2 warms up more than mi3 if that helps.
FIrst day though it heated like a iron, not faced that issue again. Played extensively for 6hrs till battery went down to zero-10%. Definitely warms up...my immediate issue is sweaty palms and slippery phone.
PS: camera is disappointing in low light

My experience is exactly the same minus the heating like iron part.
 

ubergeek

Well-Known Member
Skilled
yes it warms up when running complete nut jobs....not unbearable. z2 warms up more than mi3 if that helps.
FIrst day though it heated like a iron, not faced that issue again. Played extensively for 6hrs till battery went down to zero-10%. Definitely warms up...my immediate issue is sweaty palms and slippery phone.

Waiting for few days before I can conclude and do a write up.
PS: camera is disappointing in low light
Yup! it does heat up but not that much, but for me it never heated like a iron. even when running nfs MW[DOUBLEPOST=1407262137][/DOUBLEPOST]
If it's just something related with the software, I'm pretty positive someone will come up with a workaround.. once the device establishes itself in the market,that is. The same thing had happened with the original Samsung Galaxy S.
Hopefully! maybe i should raise it as an issue in the miui site
 

ubergeek

Well-Known Member
Skilled
In an absolutely unbiased opinion, how plastic-y is the back panel? Some people tell me that it's extremely plastic-y, which is also fine, as long as it doesn't feel cheap. I am really considering this phone, given the price point and the fact that it shares the same specs with all flagships!
Dude it does not feel plasticy AT ALL!!!!. trust i have used the grand duos 2 quite extensively and this phone does not feel anything like that. but it does not feel very metallic either. it is slippery it is not cheap[DOUBLEPOST=1407315325][/DOUBLEPOST]Guys i just noticed a scratch about an length of an hair on my mi3. the scratch is located at the bottom of the device. this phone supposed to have scratch resistant croning glass 3 :( i have requested flipkart for an replacement. my moto e survived for a whole week without any scratches :(
 
Last edited:

aka007

Active Member
Disciple
The worst( or good in winters :p) part about the Mi3 is that it heats up in the ear piece area or front camera area so, when you are playing games and then you pick up calls ur face does feel warm.
 

blackperl

Well-Known Member
Disciple
well i got mine yesterday and its nice looking device ,all things are working fine,no heating issue but i think battery is draining little fast .i used it for 2 hours checking setting n other thing etc and its drop to 90%
 

dafreaking

Well-Known Member
Skilled
well i got mine yesterday and its nice looking device ,all things are working fine,no heating issue but i think battery is draining little fast .i used it for 2 hours checking setting n other thing etc and its drop to 90%

How much time was the screen on for in those 2 hours?
 

aka007

Active Member
Disciple
Guys, tell your feedback about the battery. Mine ran for 11H yesterday from morning to night with 6h 32min of screen on time which includes 5h of gaming, video calling, viber, whatsapp, line , antutu, quadrant, hike. Then 30mins of calling, few snaps and full time WiFi, little bit of browsing. Basically heavy usuage. Today I didn't play much games but still above average usage and still have 50%.
 

Shubham1401

Well-Known Member
Adept
I got my Mi 3 today :D
Are you guys using any case with this? If yes, where can i get a cheap case in delhi?
I don't like the flip covers please don't suggest those.. :)
 

Audiophi1le

Live eviL
Skilled
Guys, tell your feedback about the battery. Mine ran for 11H yesterday from morning to night with 6h 32min of screen on time which includes 5h of gaming, video calling, viber, whatsapp, line , antutu, quadrant, hike. Then 30mins of calling, few snaps and full time WiFi, little bit of browsing. Basically heavy usuage. Today I didn't play much games but still above average usage and still have 50%.
Quite normal, gaming takes pretty big toll on battery. 1 day with mundane tasks
 

hareshr29

Active Member
Adept
well buddy for normal use it give you like of 24 hours .for heavy used like wifi n internet ,it gives life of 10-12 hours
Past few days using WiFi / 3g on with battery saving mode, once it ran out to 20℅ only after 1 day 6 hours with screen time of about 3 hours
 

dafreaking

Well-Known Member
Skilled
well buddy for normal use it give you like of 24 hours .for heavy used like wifi n internet ,it gives life of 10-12 hours

You have to be more specific with the terms you use like normal use and heavy use. I can easily run moy phone for 2 days with over 6 hrs of screen time, WFI or 3g always on. This is on the regular mode.

Past few days using WiFi / 3g on with battery saving mode, once it ran out to 20℅ only after 1 day 6 hours with screen time of about 3 hours

Very possible you have some kind of wakelock. Happened with me once because of Gmail and Once the screen just didn't turn off though the night.
 

blackperl

Well-Known Member
Disciple
if u keep your brightness ultra low dim,then ya u can get the good battery life as full hd scren sucks so much juice and also run battery into "battery saving" mode
 
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