Xiaomi announced yesterday its third iteration to the price friendly Redmi Note series of phablets, the Redmi Note 3, just three months after the Redmi Note 2.
Many argue that it’s not quite the new flagship phone that they expected. Still, with a full metal body and a fingerprint sensor, the Redmi Note 3 is set to dazzle.
Here’s an interesting fact; initially, the phone was supposed to be named Redmi Not 2 Pro, but the company changed their minds the last minute, as they thought that it would be too confusing for consumers.
Priced at 899 yuan – which converts to approximately $140 – this handset costs only a fraction of the price of competitors in its class. And speaking of its class, we’re talking about tough competition, as Xiaomi is taking on some top performers, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Apple’s iPhone 6S.
Especially for the Galaxy S6, it’s worth seeing how Xiaomi and Samsung will do in the ring of comparisons, so, without any further ado, let’s take a closer look.
Xiaomi took the leap with the Redmi Note 3, which sports a metallic unibody construction, though the top and bottom caps are plastic, to allow for antenna reception.
Xiaomi CEO, Lei Jun, said that the metal case was indeed a design priority, aimed to add a smooth and premium touch. The device weighs 164 grams and is 8.65mm at its thickest point. Apparently not the lightest phone in the market, but given its size and the new larger battery, we should be thankful that’s not heavier than that.
The Galaxy line, on the other hand, has been overdue for a design refresh, and the S6 brings with it a bevy of aesthetic changes.
It has glass on its main body with aluminium accents. Metal-trimmed home buttons with integrated, omnidirectional fingerprint scanners and the identical placements of headphones jacks and speaker grilles on the bottom, are just a couple of new design traits that the company added to make the S6 stand out from its predecessors.
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 is a phablet, so it couldn’t feature anything less than its 5.5-inch display with a 1080p resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels), resulting to a pixel density of 401 ppi; good but not great.
It also boasts a light sensor and a proximity sensor which is just about the basics.
As for the S6, its Super AMOLED 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 display might be smaller than the new Redmi Note 3, but it definitely packs a more advanced technology, not to mention the Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which is the best protection for your display, after Motorola’s brand new ShatterShield.
Even though the exterior design went through an extreme makeover, the specs found under the hood of the Redmi Note 3 are quite similar to those of the former generation.
The main exception is the fingerprint sensor on the back, which, by the way, Xiaomi claims is able to unlock the phone in 0.3 seconds.
So, inside the Note 3, you’ll find a MediaTek Helio X10 MT6795 Octa-core, 2000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53, 64-bit processor, a PowerVR G6200 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of on board storage. There is also a variant that comes with a 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal capacity, which will be priced at CNY 1,099 ($170).
Then there is the Galaxy S6, which is more than just a top of the class player. It sports two side by side processors with four cores each (1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57), essentially serving as an octa-core with the Exynos 7420 chipset on.
When it undertook a series of benchmark tests, it scored higher than every other smartphone. Geekbench, Quadrant, AnTuTu, Vellamo, 3D Mark, Basemark; every synthetic test was aced. And of course that couldn’t be without the 3GB RAM and the 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of internal space.
The Dual LED 13MP camera found on the back of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is good, but not anywhere near the S6’s 16MP rear shooter, which features the 1.12 μm pixel size technology, along with Optical image stabilization, Manual focus, Face detection, Smile detection, Digital zoom and Voice activation
Same goes for the front side, where both devices sport a 5MP camera. They might have the same megapixels, but we doubt that Xiaomi at its budget could stand to get around the S6 when it comes to camera technologies.
Trying to improve the battery life, Xiaomi has put a 4000mAh battery inside the Redmi Note 3, which is significantly larger than the Redmi Note 2.
However, no official tests or benchmarks have run on the device to give us an accurate idea of what that means. Can the handset survive through a busy day with a single charge? Or does the bundle need to include a power bank as well?
The Galaxy S6 hides a non-user-replaceable 2550mAh battery that allows the user to operate the phone for 17 hours of average use – depends on the intensity of use by each user individually. But, in addition to that, the S6 also embodies a wireless charging feature which obviously adds to the overall value.
Pricing and availability
As mentioned above, the Redmi Note 3 costs $140 for the 2GB RAM/16GB on board storage version while the 3GB RAM / 32GB on board storage should cost you a slightly higher $170.
The device has been announced for release in China in two days, November 27, though no remarks have been made regarding circulation dates for the rest of the world.
The S6 has been around for a bit longer and currently costs approximately $680, but can also be found at $580 – which is a full retail price – on T-Mobile.
The design is, for the most part, subjective, so it’s up to you. When it comes to the hardware, the Galaxy S6 is obviously classified in a higher tier than the Redmi Note 3. Still, it’s not a key factor to choose your smartphone.
The Redmi Note 3 may be a lower end device but it’s still surprisingly powerful for a flagship phablet that costs less than $200 and also less than half the price of the S6. So the value for money skyrockets through the ceiling in comparison to the S6.
Nowadays, technology moves at irrational paces and the average user buys a new smartphone every two years- give or take a few months. So you can do the math.
To sum it up, if you just want a powerful smartphone that won’t cost you more than the PS4 Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection, then don’t think about it, go for Xiaomi’s phablet.
If, on the other hand, you want to walk in a room and hold one of the best smartphones currently available on the markets despite the price, then the S6 is probably what you’re looking for.