Xiaomi Mi3 quick review: Performance test, camera quality and design

By Prasid Banerjee | Published on Jul 18 2014
Xiaomi Mi3 quick review: Performance test, camera quality and design
HIGHLIGHTS

We put the Xiaomi Mi3 to our first round of tests and benchmarks, giving you our first report on its performance, camera quality and the overall first impressions of the Mi3

After a short wait, the Xiaomi Mi3 is finally in our hands and we wasted no time in putting it through some tests. Today we’ll talk about the camera and performance of the flagship phone from the so-called flagship killer. So let’s get right down to it.

Performance: How snappy is the Snapdragon 800 running Mi3

On the performance front, the Mi3 performed at par with its hardware specifications. But, we would reserve our final judgements on real-world performance till we spend a little more time more time with the phone. In the short time that we spent on the phone, there weren’t any lags in the UI or in playing games.

One thing that we did notice though is that the phone tends to heat up quite easily. The device was already warm after watching a 1080p video for about five minutes and it got much warmer when we put it through about 15 minutes of gaming. Not exactly that close to ideal we would think. On the benchmarks though the Mi3, excelled as the company itself has always boasted. 

Antutu X: 33,476

Quadrant Standard: 19,319

Smartbench 2012 Productivity: 8,184

Smartbench 2012 Gaming: 4,477

3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited: 16,499 (3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme and Ice Storm were maxed out)

Build and Design

The Xiaomi Mi3 has a plastic body, but the company has used high-quality plastic along with a magnesium alloy chassis. There is a metallic finish to the device, but it is still inescapably plastic. But then again, so are other phones in this segment. While we’re on that, the metallic finish makes this very slippery and prone to being dropped by mistake. Click here for a detailed review of the Xiaomi Mi3 design and build quality

Overall, the Xiaomi phone is a good looking device, which brings a premium look. The company has laser etched a speaker grill on the bottom and holes for noise cancellation on the top and back. The power on/off buttons and volume rocker are on the right, while the 3.5-mm jack and USB charging port are on the top and bottom respectively.

Camera

The Xiaomi Mi3 has a 13 MP rear camera along with a 2 MP front shooter. The front camera has a nifty ‘face recognition’ feature, which recognises faces and puts the gender and age next to it. While it is mostly accurate about the gender, it is quite inaccurate about the age. It could easily make you feel bad about yourself, if you know what we mean.

 

Snaps (click to enlarge) from the Samsung Galaxy S4 (Left) and Xiaomi Mi3 (right)

Nevertheless, the rear camera is what we were really after and we put it through some of our standard tests, while also pitting it against the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is known for its picture quality. For the most part, the Mi3 held its own against the S4. The fact that the phone is priced at Rs 13,999, while the S4 still totters around the Rs 30,000 mark. Still, the S4 was the better of the two 13 MP cameras.

 

Samsung Galaxy S4 (left) and Xiaomi Mi3 (right)

That said, the Mi3 is no small fry either. The device performed well under low light, giving sharp pictures with good colour reproduction and white balance. The noise levels were higher when we took a low-light image though, but the white balance and colour reproduction were still quite respectable. Also, using the flash under low light made the image quite good, reducing the noise somewhat. Moreover, the flash coverage is good, making sure that images are not washed out and colours are not distorted.

 

 

 

Xiaomi Mi3 low light shot (left) and low light, with flash (right).

But wait!

And here’s why you need to wait for the full review. We’ll take the weekend to use this phone as our primary and churn out whatever glitches and problems we can find with it, if any. The full review shall carry our final verdict of the phone and what you find above is more like a first impression, but with more tests and time. Also, we're yet to tell you about the much talked about MIUI in depth. So, give us a little time and wait for it!

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Prasid Banerjee

Trying to explain technology to my parents. Failing miserably.

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