In-depth Xiaomi Mi Note 3 Review, Xiaomi’s Best Camera Phone

I. Preface – The Larger version of Xiaomi Mi 6 and its available on open sale as well.

Xiaomi’s flagship earlier this year, Xiaomi Mi 6 has received excellent reviews for its appearance and features, especially photography. According to a survey, six photos taken from various mobile phones, Huawei, iPhone, Xiaomi Mi 6 and others, were shown to users to choose the best. 63% of the users chose the photo taken from Xiaomi Mi 6. Although the performance of Xiaomi Mi 6 was good, including its superb camera features, but it has its own drawbacks, such 5.15 inch screen and weighing 168g for metallic version and 182g for ceramic version, so small screen and big weight didn’t go well with Xiaomi admirers. In September 2017, Xiaomi released a much-awaited Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, Xiaomi Mi Note 3, and Xiaomi Notebook Pro. Xiaomi Note3 is called “large version of the Millet 6”, priced at 2499 yuan. Get it the cheapest here

The appearance of Xiaomi Mi Note 3 and Xiaomi Mi 6 are basically the same, the configuration is almost the same, including the rear camera. However, there are few differences, Xiaomi Mi Note 3 has 16 MP front camera, whereas Mi 6 has only an 8 MP front camera. Xiaomi Mi Note 3 uses Snapdragon 660 processor, and Mi 6 uses Snapdragon 835 processor. In addition, Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is currently the best mid-range mobile from Xiaomi, and for the first time in Xiaomi’s history, the phone is available on open sale, a purchase without reserve in advance.

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 vs Xiaomi Mi 6 Comparison
Xiaomi Mi Note 3 Xiaomi Mi 6
Screen 5.5 inches  (1080 x 1920 pixels) 5.15 inches (1080 x 1920 pixels)
CPU Snapdragon 660 Snapdragon 835
Storage 64GB/128GB 64GB/128GB
Rear Camera 12 MP 12 MP
Front Camera 16 MP 8 MP
USB Connection Type-C Connector Type-C Connector
Battery / Charge 3500mAh / 18W 3350mAh / 18W
OS / UI Android v7.1 (Nougat)MIUI 9 Android v7.1 (Nougat)MIUI 9
Dimension 152.6 x 73.6 x 7.6 mm 145.1 x 70.4 x 7.6 mm
Weight 163 g 168 g / 182 g (ceramic)
Colors Black, Gold, Silver Black, Blue, White
Price 2499 Yuan (64GB) 2899 Yuan (128 GB) 2499 Yuan (64 GB) 2899 Yuan (128 GB) 2999 Yuan (12GB /Ceramic)

Comparison between Xiaomi Mi Note 3 and Xiaomi Mi 6

II. ppearance: With 7 series aluminum metal frame, it is bigger and lighter

Black textured package, a classic design of Xiaomi box.

Contents of the box: The phone, charger, data cable and instructions booklet.

Front view, 2.6mm narrow edges with 5.5 inch screen 1080 HD display.


The front top is still the classic layout with front camera, sensor and earpiece

For the first time on Xiaomi phones, Mi Note 3 has face recognition unlock feature. This is not done using a special hardware, but uses the front camera for face recognition and does a software unlock. You need to be in well-lit place to identify. Out test shows that it does not unlock with pictures or in dark / minimal light.

Capacitive non porous fingerprint identification like Xiaomi Mi 6

All glass back body with symmetric 4 curve edges

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 with flat cameras, whereas high end phones still have convex cameras

Xiaomi Mi Logo at the back with model details

Four curved edges in light color, feel like moist jade

Top designed for noise reduction, with opening only for earpiece and infrared transmitter

3.5 mm headset slot removed. The phone comes with Type-C USB to 3.5 mm convertor, so you can still use your old headset.

Ultra slim body design and side buttons

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 uses the 7 series aluminum frame which is same as iPhone7 Plus. Compared to Xiaomi Mi 6 stainless steel frame, this one is lighter weight and harder.

Left side slot for Nano-SIM cards.

Dual Nano-SIM card slot.

With the mobile phone cover


Qualcomm QC 3 standard fast charge, 5V/3A charging head

Although Xiaomi Mi 6 has similar appearance and the design is basically the same, but the size of Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is larger than Xiaomi Mi 6, but weighs lighter, because Xiaomi mi Note 3 uses the 7 series aluminum metal frame, an ultralight and hard alloy. This is the first time this aluminum alloy is used in Xiaomi phones.

IV Performance: Power of Snapdragon 660

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, which is the latest of Snapdragon 6 series processor, known as the flagship image processor. For the first time, independent Kryo architecture chip is used in Snapdragon 6 series processor. Previously this technology was only used in Snapdragon 8 series. Also, Snapdragon 660 is first in Snapdragon 6 series processor, to use Spectra ISP image processor chip. Earlier, this technology was only used in Snapdragon 8 series.

Comparison between Snapdragon 660, Snapdragon 653 and Snapdragon 625
Snapdragon 660 Snapdragon 653 Snapdragon 625
CPU Quad 2.2GHz Kryo 260 Quad 1.8GHz Kryo 260 (120% better than Snapdragon 653) 4x ARM Cortex A72 @1.95 GHz 4x ARM Cortex A53 @1.44 GHz 8x ARM Cortex A53 @2 GHz
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 512 (130% better than Snapdragon 653) Qualcomm Adreno 510 Qualcomm Adreno 506
Cell Mods Integrated X12 LTE Cat 12/13 speeds of up to 600 Mbps down/150 Mbps Integrated X9 LTE LTE Cat 13 (uplink)LTE Cat 7 (downlink) Integrated X9 LTE LTE Cat 13 (uplink)LTE Cat 7 (downlink)
ISP Qualcomm Spectra 160 Dual ISP Dual ISP
Technology 14nm FinFET process 28nm LP process 14nm FinFET process

  We tested the performance of Snapdragon 660 powered Xiaomi Mi Note 3 against benchmarks such as AnTuTu, GeekBench, GFXBench, PCMark, and Androbench, using MOBA mobile games “King of Glory”.

AnTuTu Test

AnTuTu is the one of world’s best mobile phone/tablet Hardware performance evaluation tool, can be integrated research including user experience in all aspects of the equipment performance, and visualization ranking. It supports a number of mainstream platforms, running points can be cross-platform comparison. AnTuTu provides a total score, a number derived from lots of tests, the sub-projects of tests are described below:

  1. Total score reflects the performance of the equipment.
  2. 3-D performance, represents GPU graphics performance and game performance.
  3. UX performance, represents the user experience, that is, the performance of daily use.
  4. CPU performance, represents CPU computing power and multi-core type.
  5. Ram performance, represents system memory size and system optimization.

Xiaomi Mi Note 3’s AnTuTu score is 113934, a rarity to see 110 thousand plus score on Snapdragon 6 series processors.

The performance of Snapdragon 660 is much better than Snapdragon 653 and Snapdragon 625 processors

2, Geekbench test

Geekbench is a cross-platform CPU performance testing tools that can accurately reflect the CPU single core performance or multiple core performance. Test Load simulation Real-life application design, the result is more meaningful, also can measure GPU graphics card computing performance. Single core performance can reflect the design of the CPU architecture, the operating frequency of the high-low. Multi-core performance can reflect the efficiency of multiple CPU cores at the same time at work.

Geekbench score for Xiaomi Mi Note 3

Snapdragon 660’s multi-core score is in the leading position, and single core score is also taken some huge leap.

3, Gfxbench test

Gfxbench offers, Cross-platform, Cross API 3D benchmark test software that can accurately reflect the graphics performance of the device GPU. Multiple test scenarios can fully investigate the OpenGL ES graphics performance of the equipment, and can carry out battery endurance test. Gfxbench provides two test-contrast methods for the screen (onscreen) and off-screen (offscreen). When the screen is the original resolution of the device to run the test, the screen is unified to 1080p resolution, easy to cross device comparison. There are four main test projects: Tyrannosaurus Rex (Rex), Manhattan 3.0 (Manhattan), Manhattan 3.1 (Manhattan), Racing (car Chase), corresponding to OpenGL ES 2.0/3.0/3.1/3.1 performance, the test pressure is getting higher, and the results are measured in average frame rate (FPS).

Gfxbench test for Xiaomi Mi Note 3

Qualcomm announced that compared to Snapdragon 653 GPU performance, the performance of Snapdragon 660 is increased by 30%. It looks this chart asserts that number.

4, PCMark test PCMark is tool to test mobile performance, and it reflects accurate numbers as it takes into consideration of all aspects of daily use of mobile phone such as web browsing, video editing, document writing, picture editing and so on. This providing plurality of daily testing scenarios along with battery test. It’s important to note that PCMark points are based on energy consumption as well, hence both power and performance needs to be balanced to achieve a high score.

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 PCMark points were similar to Huawei V9, Huawei P10

5 Androbench test

Androbench is a benchmark application that can measure the 4K storage and storage performance of Android devices, including internal or external storage.

Impressive sequential reading speed of about 270MB/s

6, The game test 

We tested Xiaomi Mi Note 3 with the popular game “King of Glory”, in high frame rate mode.

High level of special effects, Opens in 60 fps mode, no slowdown, and regularly keep higher than 50 fps.

Xiaomi Mi Note 3’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor performance is good enough for daily use, however not suitable for users with very high requirements. In addition, Xiaomi Mi Note 3 also supports NFC, so you can use mobile payment, swipe virtual card, city transit services in 60 cities, and almost all domestic banks and can be used in over 10 countries.

IV Camera: AI powered selfie, Xiaomi’s strongest camera mobile phone

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 has dual cameras in rear, which is the same as Xiaomi Mi 6, using 12 MP cameras. One camera has equivalent focal length of 27mm and wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture and another camera has equivalent focal length 52mm telephoto lens and wide angle lens with f/2.6 aperture.

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 camera parameters

1.     Daylight photos

Sculpture at the park

Sculpture at the park

Green trees

The distant tower. The 12 MP zoom camera allows you capture distant objects with lower pixel loss and still retain more details.

Macro mode

Photos with post production effects

Double Zoom shot, Front of a building

High rises at the distance with camera zoom

Before zoom, a door is unable to differentiated from the background

After zoom, you can clearly see the “Penglai Pavilion” three words distinctively

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 daytime’s pictures capture color true, the display is also very full, in the background did not appear under exposed. Dual camera with zoom, of with a telephoto camera is a blessing. Now, even distant objects can be clearly visible. Macro mode also captures the subject in the details, but from the character point of view, smear is quite obvious.  

2.     Night and Low light phots

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 camera has night scene enhancement mode. Switch to this mode to take nightscape photos.

Restaurant on the street

Restaurant on the street. Little glary, with lights coming through the lines.

Restaurant on the street

Bar entrance captured with Night enhanced mode. The neon text are relatively clear and are not covered by glare.

Building at night

The night time photos, from the building next to the light shows a higher tolerance. Overall, the brightness of the picture is very high. So, the photos is unable to capture the specialty of the place. But with single light source, Xiaomi Mi Note 3 images are more ideal, not overexposed, and the noise is relatively less.

3, self-proof proofs

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 front camera is equipped with 16 MP camera. Officially they claim that it can have thousands of effects with Face recognition AI, comparable to the effect of makeup.

A Selfie portrait

We can see the 16 MP camera produces a very clear photos. You can clearly see strands of hair, but does not feature smear, and photo looks clear and natural.

Selfie photos

In the step mode, the picture details are not affected, the effect is very good. Xiaomi Mi Note 3 has over thousands of enhancements done by face recognition by AI. This allows fusion of dark pixels and let four pixels into 2μm synthesis of large pixels, to enhance the dark resolution, thus making the selfie to look natural.

Selfie Portrait

From selfies, AI Intelligent Beauty of Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is very effective, produces natural looking bright white, which cannot be achieved by ordinary camera. AI Intelligent Beauty can intelligently analyze the skin color to enhance the skin color of each person, and at the same time to retain the details of the face and does a 6 step processes to beautify the selfie. The AI will distinguish between men and women, retains male obvious features, such as beard and other details. V charging life: 14nm chip to bring the surprise 12 hours of talk time Xiaomi Mi Note 3 equipped with 3500mAh battery, compared to Xiaomi Mi 6’s 3350mAh. The batter is increased by mere 4%. We used PC Mark tool to check the strength of battery on the mobile phone while playing videos and games.

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 PC Mark endurance results

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 PC Mark test results for battery life is 12 hours and 3 minute, when compared 11 hours and 1 minutes of Xiaomi Note 4. Xiaomi Note 4 has a 4100mAh large battery, which about 600mAh more than Xiaomi Mi Note 3’s battery, however Xiaomi Mi Note 3 battery serves one hour better than Xiaomi Note 4. Xiaomi Mi Note 3’s long life due to the 14nm advanced process of Qualcomm snapdragon 660. Remember AnTuTu test gave about 110,000 points and this phone still has a good battery life, it the point to appreciate.

2, Video test

Tested online video over Wi-Fi, with no SIM cards in the phone.

Start playing video when battery is 95%

Remaining capacity was 85% after 1 hour of online video

So, 1 hour of online video consumed about 10% of battery, thus makes about 10 hours of playback of video for a fully charged battery.

3, Game test

Tested online game of “King of Glory” over Wi-Fi, with no SIM cards inserted in the phone.

Started with 82% of battery charge

After half-hour of play, the battery capacity was at 74%

So, half-hour of play consumed about 8% of battery, hence a full charged battery can support up to 6 hours of play time. So, with up to 12 hours of talk time usage, 10 hours of video playback, or 6 hours of high-end online game, Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is a good phone in terms of performance and battery life for moderate users and heavy users. 4, charging test Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is equipped with Fast Charge 3 double parallel fast charging technology. Hence, it take about 95 minutes to fully charge the phone from 1% to 95%.

Charge time with Wi-Fi on, but with no SIM cards.

So, the Xiaomi’s assertion of half-hour for 50% charge is close enough.

VI, Summary: Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is worthy to carry

Appearance: Xiaomi Mi Note 3 continues its path of Xiaomi Mi 6 with four curved glass edges, full glass ultra-thin design, though Xiaomi Mi Note 3’s screen frame is narrower and screen size of 5.5 inches is higher when compared to Xiaomi Mi 6. The 7 series aluminum alloy body frame is smooth and delicate compared to Xiaomi Mi 6, and weigh much lighter. Performance: The 14nm technology process of Qualcomm snapdragon 660 helps Xiaomi Mi Note 3 to run close to 120 thousand points on the AnTuTu benchmark. No other mobile phone can emulate such a performance with Snapdragon 6 series CPU. Cameras: Wide and long focus lenses with dual cameras, that also allow to take steady shots at close range, and 16 MP front camera with AI Intelligent Beauty is perfect for selfies. The details of protection, improvement, adjustment and algorithm optimization, after half a year of Xiaomi Mi 6 is a big elevation. Endurance: With Snapdragon 660 CPU’s 14nm process technology, you get added advantage of performance enhancement as well as energy saving, thus giving about 12 hours of talk time, enough to meet the user’s daily use. In general, Xiaomi Mi Note 3, whether in camera, battery life, picture quality, open sale or for any of other features, is worthy of Xiaomi’s strongest.

In addition, from the Xiaomi Mi Note 3’s configuration point of view, such as the camera, battery life, are under the line of users need, you can clearly see Xiaomi Mi Note 3 positioning is not online, but the sword under the line.

Sales data of 221 mobile phone entities in 25 provinces / municipalities directly under the central government / autonomous region.

In July 2017, China’s mobile phone market saw sales of 34 million 510 thousand units, with an increase of 19.2% compared with the same period last year. Therefore, the current trend in online sales, according to GfK China statistics, the domestic Smartphone online sales in 2014 the overall market accounted for up to 19%, and in 2015 and in 2016, it slipped to 18%, and has been hovering. GfK predicts that the share of smartphone online sales may decline in 2017. The reason for this phenomenon is the current domestic smartphone are developing, Xiaomi’s product line have also increased, and hence the online market will go slowly. Moreover, brand loyalty is gradually decreasing, and the users are paying attention to product experience.

So Xiaomi has begun to make a series of changes with this Note series, with open sale of this phone, you can be seen Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is a mobile phone for the offline market. In addition, Xiaomi is likely to make Mi series as cost-effective, focused online, and Note series with the main line in the market. Here is the best deal you can find online   

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