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Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Review: Full Metal Jacket

by on15 December 2015


Conclusion (Redmi Note 3 vs Redmi Note 2)

Xiaomi’s all-metal design experiment was a success. The Redmi Note 3 delivers great all-round performance and best-in-class battery life. It’s not much better than the inexpensive Redmi Note 2, but then again, it’s not much more expensive, either.

When all is said and done, the Redmi Note 3 and Note 2 are very similar devices, but there are a number of differences, some big, some small. So, which one should you get? If you are only concerned about sheer performance and bang for buck, the Note 2 is the obvious choice. However, we think the Redmi Note 3 is a better choice for most users and here is why: The premium is worth it. It doesn’t cost much more than the Note 2, but it looks more serious and feels more compact. Better yet, it has a much bigger battery, and many users will love it just for the extra battery life.

However, there are a few shortcomings. You don’t get a microSD slot, which is usually present in Redmi-series devices. This means you have just two options: 16GB storage and 2GB of RAM for $179, or 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $209. The lack of microSD support renders the first option a lot less attractive than a plain Redmi Note 2, with 16GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for expansion. So, enthusiasts will have to opt for the pricier model, no question about that.


The good news is that the 32GB model is competitively priced. It’s about $50 cheaper than the Meizu Metal, which has a nearly identical spec, but only 2GB of RAM and a 3140mAh battery. The same is true of other brands: you’d be hard pressed to find a big-brand phone with similar specs and build quality at nearly the same price. Another potential competitor is the Cyanogen-based Lenovo ZUK Z1. It also has a 4000mAh battery, on top of a more powerful processor and 64GB of storage. However, the ZUK Z1 costs ~$100 more than the Redmi Note 3, so they’re really not in the same league.

Bottom line: Xiaomi’s latest Redmi phablet is a killer device, but the marketing department's decision to ditch the microSD slot won't be welcomed by a lot of potential customers. It offers great performance and specs at competitive pricing, and the big battery is just icing on the cake. Can we recommend it? Yep, and we won’t lose any sleep over it.


Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pros and Cons


  • Superb build quality and finish give off a premium vibe
  • 4000mAh battery
  • Good price/performance ratio
  • Reliable fingerprint scanner
  • Relatively compact considering the spec


  • No expandable storage
  • 13-megapixel camera delivers average results
  • Unoriginal design

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Last modified on 16 December 2015
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