Beautiful blue Xiaomi Mi Note 3 has an iPhone-challenging dual-lens camera

The Xiaomi Mi Note range has traditionally meant big-screen phablet style phones with flagship specifications. That has changed with the Xiaomi Mi Note 3, the latest device to wear the Mi Note name, which launched alongside the very high-end Mi Mix 2 on Monday. The Mi Note 3 hasn’t got the outright power of its predecessor, or of the Mi 6, a phone which it closely resembles visually.

Xiaomi has made the Mi Note 3 a midrange smartphone, shrinking down the screen size, and shunning Qualcomm’s top-spec processor. This makes the phone a lot cheaper, in an effort to take on a growing challenge from rival Oppo and other competing brands in China. It’s no bezel-less beauty like the Mi Mix 2 either, and has a fingerprint sensor under the 5.5-inch screen, and a regular bezel above it. Does this make the Mi Note 3 dull? No, it makes it a bargain.

The 5.5-inch screen has a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, set in an aluminum chassis with a glass body around it. This is suitably close to the deliciously styled Mi 6. The Mi Note 3 also takes the Mi 6’s best feature: A dual 12-megapixel rear camera with a 2x optical zoom, 4-axis optical image stabilization, and a portrait mode, which Xiaomi claims is one of the very best around at accurately blurring out the background, rather than parts of the subject. Around the front is a 16-megapixel camera with Xiaomi’s artificially intelligent beauty mode, ready for the best selfies.

It’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 with 6GB of RAM powering the Mi Note 3. It’s not quite up there with the Mi 6 or Mi Mix 2, but that’s still plenty of power for most people. It also has a sizable 3,500mAh battery, the aforementioned fingerprint sensor, NFC, stereo speakers, USB Type-C, and an IR blaster. Sadly, there’s no mention of the massive array of 4G LTE bands packed into the Mi Mix 2 inside the Mi Note 3.

We’ve fallen for the blue Mi Note 3 here, which looks great, and comes with 128GB of internal storage for the equivalent of around $450 in China. However, a 64GB model in black is $380, making it very good value if you don’t mind importing one. The Xiaomi Mi Note 3 will go on sale in China and other Xiaomi markets in the near future.