Xiaomi steals Samsung’s big-screen thunder with 5.5-inch Redmi Note 2, which will cost about $125

Xiaomi has held a launch event in China, where it announced the Redmi Note 2 smartphone, and gave us a sneak peak to MIUI 7, the next version of its custom Android user interface. The Redmi Note 2 is a follow-up to its original Redmi Note, a big-screen smartphone with a strong spec, but a low price tag. It’s announcement comes on the same day the world’s expecting to meet the latest Samsung phablet, the Galaxy Note 5, which will also have a big screen and a strong spec, but not a low price tag.

The Redmi Note 2 has a 5.5-inch display, and Xiaomi has bumped the resolution up from 720p to 1080p. The processor is another MediaTek chip, but this time it’s the powerful 64-bit octa-core Helio X10, which is also found inside certain versions of the HTC One M9+, and the Meizu MX5. It’s joined by 2GB of RAM, and the phone comes with either 16GB or 32GB (called the Note 2 Prime) of internal storage space. There’s also a MicroSD card slot onboard, and the whole device weighs 160 grams.

A 13-megapixel camera is fitted to the Redmi Note 2 and has phase detection autofocus (PDAF), which apparently speeds up auto-focusing — down to just 0.1s according to Xiaomi — particularly in low light. It’s a feature previously seen on the Samsung Galaxy S5. The camera has a five-element lens and an f/2.2 aperture. Around the front is a 5-megapixel selfie cam with a refined beautify mode. Other phone specs include a 3060mA removable battery, 4G LTE, and a dual-SIM card tray.

Although Xiaomi isn’t fully revealing MIUI 7 until August 19, the new UI will be installed on the Redmi Note 2 when it goes on sale, so a few choice screenshots were shown off during the presentation. Xiaomi has a 750-person R&D team working on MIUI 7, and says it will have more than enough customization options onboard that no two phones will look alike. Another feature revealed is face recognition in the gallery app, ready to create groups based on individuals, rather than situations or places.

The release date for the Redmi Note 2 hasn’t been confirmed, but it’ll cost the local equivalent of around $125.

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