Xiaomi Mi 3: The Best Budget Smartphone

Pareesh Bhatia By Pareesh Bhatia, 29th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Technology>Mobile Phones

This is a full user review of the smash hit mobile phone Xiaomi Mi3 which is making headlines all over the world.

Unheard Legacy

Xiaomi,a company,whose name many of us haven't heard before is a Chinese Smartphone manufacturer which is making waves for its low cost high performing devices.

The phone Xiaomi Mi 3 offers specifications that match those of competitors' products which cost twice as much.

The Mi 3 looks great on paper, and if Xiaomi can pull off what it's promising then the effect could be far more significant than that of the Motorola relaunch in India, which has redefined our expectations and kicked competition into high gear this year. At the end of it, consumers gain the most, with improved choices and lower prices.

Amazing Looks

The Xiaomi Mi 3 comes in a beautifully minimalist recycled cardboard box with nothing but a small MI logo in one corner. The phone itself is encased in a small cavity in the middle. It looks fantastic, but unfortunately the label on the rear and the text on the protective plastic are in Chinese.

There's nothing in the box other than the phone, a charger head, USB cable, and usage guide and no headset.

The phone itself looks good at first and feels premium to hold.The material quality is on par with that of similarly priced devices from Indian brands, so we have to remind ourselves not to expect too much.

The Mi 3 has a unique design, with the black front panel set into a unibody plastic shell. Its sides are rounded but the top and bottom are flat, resulting in corners that dug into my palm when I held the phone. The screen is large enough that one finger won't reach all corners, but shifting it around in one hand is also difficult. The front face is protected by reinforced Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Top-End Features and specifications

Now comes the most interesting part. Somehow, Xiaomi has managed to cram all the components of a 2013 flagship into a 2014 budget phone.

The spec list starts with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC with four Krait 400 CPU cores running at 2.3GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU.

The screen is a 5-inch full-HD (1080x1920-pixel) IPS panel and the camera is a 13-megapixel Exmor unit with a dual-LED flash.

There's also 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage space, a 3050mAh battery, NFC, Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS with GLONASS.

There's only one shortcoming, but it's a really big one. For some strange reason, the Xiaomi Mi 3 lacks a microSD card slot.


The Mi 3 runs Android 4.4.2, but for better or worse, it's nearly invisible under Xiaomi's custom MIUI skin. Right from the lock screen, you know it's unique. You have to swipe downwards to unlock the phone, which takes some getting used to. You can also swipe in other directions to jump straight to the camera, phone or messaging apps. MIUI lets you define custom text that shows up on the lock screen, which could include your contact details so that people can return the phone to you if you lose it.

The custom MIUI allows you to place custom icons in the app grid which are either shortcuts to a specific Settings page or independent toggles for functions such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Superb Camera

The 13 megapixel camera and flash are in the top right corner of the rear, and the rest of it is blank apart from another MI logo towards the bottom, right above a few regulatory logos and more text in Chinese. Overall, the Mi 3 is distinct, and we'd go so far as to call it handsome, but there's no confusing it for a top-end Sony or HTC smartphone.

Like the rest of its software, the Mi 3 has a custom camera interface. It's set to Simple Mode by default, but there's also an Advanced Mode that increases the number of controls available. There are easily accessible toggles the flash, HDR mode, panorama, filters and skin tone enhancement. Dig a little deeper and you'll find settings for picture quality, sounds, watermarking, exposure settings, face recognition, saturation, sharpness and more.

Blazing Performance

There's no doubt about it - the Xiaomi Mi 3 is outrageously powerful. It runs rings around anything in its price class and nearly doubles the scores we recorded with the Moto G, which was until now our gold standard for value and performance at this price point. The Mi 3 scored 26,308 in AnTuTu and 15,395 in Quadrant overall, whereas the Moto G scored 11,874 and 8,569 respectively. The Mi 3 maxed out 3DMark's Ice Storm test and managed 28fps in GFXbench, while the Moto G managed 5,629 points and 11fps. The numbers really do paint a startling picture.

Click here to make your smartphone faster.


The Xiaomi Mi 3 is a sensational product. Competitors, especially Indian companies, should be very afraid. If Xiaomi keeps going the way it has begun, it could easily take over the entire Indian market.

This phone might not have it all, but at Rs.14000 it's got more than enough to tempt buyers who would have otherwise gone for the Moto G.

The Mi 3 is a triumph, not just for Xiaomi but for all Indian smartphone buyers.


Android Apps, Android Mobile, Android Os, Android Phone, Android Phones, Chinese, Mi3, Mobile, Mobile Phone, Mobile Phones, Processor, Smart Phone, Smart Phones, Smartphone, Smartphones, Technology, Xiaomi

Meet the author

author avatar Pareesh Bhatia
I'm a mechanical engineer who is observant,curious and a tech enthusiast.Apart from health related articles I work on constantly improvising my writing.

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author avatar Kevin1877uk
29th Aug 2014 (#)

Sounds like a great smart phone, I wonder what the cost of it would be in the UK

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author avatar WOGIAM
29th Aug 2014 (#)

There are so many versions of smart phones but this appears to have value as well priced.

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author avatar Pareesh Bhatia
29th Aug 2014 (#)

I agree @wogiam
And Kevin its around 130 euro

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