- Launches budget smartphone featuring high-end components in four Asian markets
- Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) enables camera to focus as fast as 0.1s
CHINESE smartphone and consumer electronics firm Xiaomi Corp is hoping to woo smartphone users with top-end specifications in a budget phablet.
At a global launch event in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 3, it announced the pricing and availability of the company’s latest large screen Android device, the Redmi Note 2, and said pre-orders will open in Malaysia on November 11 and ship within 14 days.
It will be priced at RM649, which global vice president Hugo Barra (pic above) described as “incredible” for a smartphone with what he deems as “flagship performance," or with premium-grade quality and components. [RM1 = US$0.23]
Barra noted that the current price of typical flagship smartphones from competitors ranged from RM1,599 to RM2,599. He added that besides Malaysia, the device will also be available in three other markets on the same day, namely Hong Kong (HK$1,099), Singapore (S$229) and Taiwan (NT$4999).
The company, which recently lost its number one position to Huawei Technologies in terms of smartphone sales in China, continues to be a top 5 smartphone vendor worldwide, as it seeks to widen its reach overseas and rely less on the domestic market, which has seen a slowdown this year.
Barra, the former Google executive who was hired to oversee Xiaomi’s international expansion, said, “I am thrilled to announce the powerful Redmi Note 2 for our international markets at a fantastic price. And I believe that Mi fans of these four markets will also love this device, which is packed with high-end specs that outperform all devices in this price segment.”
Redmi Note 2 is equipped with Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek’s top-end processor, the octa-core Helio X10 which is also found in Sony’s latest premium mid-range smartphone Xperia M5, as well as HTC’s One E9+, both of which are priced above RM1,800.
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But unlike those models which come with 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage, the Redmi Note only features 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. And unlike its recent mid-range Xiaomi Mi4i smartphone, the Redmi Note 2 continues to support microSD cards for expandable storage.
Compared to its predecessor the Redmi Note, the new model also weighs less at 160 grams with 8.25mm of thickness – 25g lighter and 13% thinner than the original. That’s despite the the relatively large 3060mAh battery, which will most likely power it through a full day of usage.
The 5.5-inch full HD display (1920 x 1080 resolution) comes with Xiaomi’s ‘night display technology’ which cleverly dims down the screen to as low as 1cd/m² to prevent eye strain. According to the company, that is five times lower than what regular smartphones which can do, at 5cd/m².
Aside from that, Barra talked up the ‘reading mode’ on the new Redmi Note, saying it helps to protect users’ eyes by adjusting the amount of blue light on the display, citing studies that said smartphones emit blue light which can cause eye discomfort.
“This creates a yellow hue, much like the colour of printed books,” he said. The reduction of blue light would then theoretically improve sleep, since blue light has been shown to suppress melatonin secretion and reportedly a cause for not getting a good night’s rest.
Xiaomi was also proud to introduce the cameras on the Redmi Note 2. The rear camera sports a 13 megapixel Samsung-made sensor with an aperture of f/2.2. The highlight is its Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) technology, which is typically found in DSLR cameras. Xiaomi said the PDAF feature enables its smartphone to focus in just 0.1 seconds.
Meanwhile, the 5 megapixel front camera has an f/2.0 aperture for low-light selfies, along with a ‘beautify’ mode, not unlike most of the other smartphones launched this year.
The full Redmi Note 2 specs can be found here.
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