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Xiaomi Mi Note 3 Review – Premium Midrange Flagship!

by Linus 20

The Mi Note 3, the latest offering by Xiaomi that has made a lot of phones this year. Same as last years model, this device is beautiful and well made but it has midrange level specs along with its compelling dual camera setup. We have spent quite a bit of time with the device and here is our full Xiaomi Mi Note 3 review.

Buy Xiaomi Mi Note 3



Just before we start, the phone costs about $450 but I I will leave a generous discount code in the video description down below.


If you are familiar with Xiaomi’s phones, you will probably see that the Mi Note 3 looks almost identical to the Mi 6. In fact, it is really hard to tell the difference except for the fact that the Mi Note 3 is a bit larger and it now uses a matt metal frame instead of the glossy one found in the Mi 6.

The device just looks beautiful and the build quality is nothing short of a true flagship. However, I found the Mi Note 3 to be very slippery and I’m not going to talk about those fingerprints as they are very easy to clean, right?

The 5.5” display is now covered with the Gorilla Glass 4 for scratch resistance and I found it to be very sharp and vibrant both indoors and outdoors.

Same as the Mi 6, this phone has a dual camera setup that consists of one 12MP shooter with a wide-angle lens and another 12MP sensor with the telephoto lens that gives 2x optical zoom and the ability to take beautiful portrait photos with that bokeh effect.

On the front, there is a beefy 16MP selfie camera.

Now a few features in a nutshell: the fingerprint is super fast and accurate, there is no headset jack but you can use a supplied adapter to connect your favorite headphones and the sound quality is great. There is also stereo speakers setup that produces rich and balanced sound.

A few extra features include nicely backlit capacitive keys, a notification LED light, the IR blaster and a face recognition feature that works quite well but I always prefer using a fingerprint scanner. It’s just a faster way to unlock the phone.


When it comes to hardware, the Mi Note 3 is not the most powerful phone out there but it still has great specs.

The phone ships with the Snapdragon 660 chipset, 6GB of RAM and either 64 or 128GB of storage, which is, however, not expandable. The gaming performance is excellent. No stutter, no skipped frames on the highest graphics in the 3D games I played and the phone does not overheat.



Speaking of that software, the MIUI 8.5 is built on top of Android 7.1 and the Mi Note 3 is one of the fastest Xiaomi phones. I have a Chinese model, meaning that there are no Google Services pre-installed but it takes just a minute to do that.

The device just flies despite all the apps I installed and extra features that all Xiaomi phones have. You can customize the phone by changing themes, wallpapers, reassigning buttons or using other little tweaks and change a lot of different settings.


We have a familiar Xiaomi camera app that allows you to take pictures very fast. You can also play with some basic shooting modes and settings. E.g. you can adjust some image properties using the manual mode or shoot slow-motion videos at 720p.

There is also 2x lossless zoom mode that allows you to utilize that secondary camera sensor and this feature comes really handy. The results are pretty good, definitely a lot better than using digital zoom.

The portrait mode takes good-looking pictures with bokeh effect but sometimes you may get a picture with a bit unnatural looking blurred background.

When it comes to the image quality using auto-mode, the Mi Note 3 can take great pictures in good lighting. There is plenty of detail, the colors look nice and noise reduction is pretty good. However, I found that the dynamic range adjustment is not always accurate. The indoor and macro shots are great too. Again, there is lots of detail and you get that nice bokeh effect thanks to the bright lens.

The low-light camera performance is decent but I would still love to see more detail and less noise as I’m always picky when it comes to camera performance.

The 4k video quality is great. The footage is detailed and the continuous auto-focus feature works well. The colors look nice too but they seem to be slightly oversaturated. Also, there are some video artifacts going but in general, the video looks great.

The 1080p video looks good too. Obviously, there is less detail but the OIS seems to do a better job than in 4k video mode.

The selfies look great as there is a lot of detail and the colors are accurate. However, the quality decreases quite dramatically in lower-lit situations.

The 1080p selfie video looks quite good and the sound recording quality is decent yet not the best I’ve heard.


When it comes to connectivity, the Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is flawless. The call quality and signal reception have been excellent, the Wifi range and speed are good, the Bluetooth works fine and finally, the GPS is very accurate, thanks to a reliable Snapdragon processor.

The phone has NFC and a lot of sensors including a gyroscope, so you are all set in this department.


The Xiaomi Mi Note 3 ships with a 3500 mAh battery that performs great. I used my phone very intensively for taking a lot of pictures and shooting 4k videos, running benchmarks, installing a lot of apps and so on and I still managed to get over 8 hours of screen-on time.

If you use the device just for the basic stuff, you should be able to get 9 or even 10 hours of SOT. Keep in mind, that SOT is always very subjective.

Finally, the Mi Note 3 ships with the fast charger. It takes about 1:30 h to fully charge the phone, thanks to the Quick Charge 3.0.


The Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is a solid phone overall. Yes, it does not ship with the most powerful chip out there but I found it to be very fast and powerful enough to even handle 3D games. Also, the phone simply looks beautiful, the display is sharp, the cameras are pretty good and the battery life is great.

Even though there is plenty of storage space, some users will be disappointed by the lack of the microSD card slot. Also, there is no headset jack and the phone is very slippery, so you may want to keep it in the case.

If you can live with these shortcomings, the Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is a solid phone that offers a lot of flagship qualities for a lower price.

Gizmochina readers get a special discount with the COUPON CODEnote364gb that let you buy the phone for just $389.99 ($60 off the retail price)

Buy Xiaomi Mi Note 3


Xiaomi Mi Note 3 is a solid phone that offers a lot of flagship qualities for a lower price, despite a few shortcomings.

Design and Build
User Interface
Battery Life
Overall Performance
Value for Money
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  • Lucien

    Thank you Linus for this amazing review!!! I am deeply interested to get that phone but there are others phones in my wishlist. I am hesitating between the Mi Note 3, Mi6, Meizu M6 Note.

    • I recommend Mi6, still top level specs. 🙂

      • Lucien

        Thank you for your advice. MI6 is tempting me a lot but I prefer slightly bigger screen. I want the Mi Note 3 but I think the phone is a bit overpriced. I mean that around 295€ people won’t hesitate to buy it instantly. Maybe after a few weeks the price will decline.

        • Ionut Johnny

          Also had facial recognition and stereo speakers. It seems slightly better cameras than Mi6 and the cpu can run everything with no problems and it translates to improved battery life when it comes to 835 vs 660.

          • Lucien

            Hi, thanks for your reply. I am really motivated to get the Mi Note 3 but only if I see it around 300€. Currently it is sold around 350€ on resellers websites which is too close to the current MI6’s price. Both phones shares the same back camera sensors so in the end pictures or videos should be similar.

            Moreover, the price of LG G6’s price is droping and is sold around 385€. Maybe in coming weeks it will be around 350€ so why should I get the Mi Note 3 when the LG G6 has all the 4G LTE frequencies and one of the best camera in the market.

  • LifelessNewt

    From the Mi Note 2 I think it is a huge downgrade. Except for the camera setup of course.

    • balcobomber25

      It’s not really designed to be a Mi Note 2 successor. Only thing they share in common is the “Note” name. This is designed to be a competitor to the premium midrange segment which Oppo pretty much created with the R9 and now the R11.

      • Flipp0

        True that. The camera on Mi Note 3 is much better compared to Mi Note 2, while most people will not notice any difference in performance or battery life (SD660 more efficient compared to SD821). The screen is also propably better on Mi Note 3 since Mi Note 2 have a relativly poor quality AMOLED screen.

    • Flipp0

      Only a downgrade on paper.

    • Vítor Machado

      SD runs better than sd821 for apps, except for gaming.

      Better battery, better camera, better built quality.

      Dunno where you saw a huge downgrade, maybe you dont know bout the sd processors and are simply reading a number without using the brain

    • Filipe Abrão

      why you think this way? speed tests confirm mi note 3 is more faster than note 2, in every app… and the multi-core benchmarks is more faster in note 3…

  • BSJD

    I still prefer Mi Note 2 because of global LTE supports

  • NextHype

    colors seem faded and whites are burnt on outdoor pics

  • Victor Ksl

    Thank Linus !

  • tommyboy7

    Great review.
    From the perfoemance angle, the 660 is a cpu that would satisfy 99% of users, so no issue there. What bothers me is the pricing. Even though it’s bigger then mi6, i see no way for someone paying the same amount for this as for mi6. I mean i wouldn’t.
    For under 250€ you have the 5x or a1 which is a much better deal. Not as premium as Note 3, but you save a lot of money.
    If it drops closer to 300€ or even under 300 (which eventually it will) then it’s worth considering. Also, the blue version is pretty hard to get which is a bummer.

    • Lucien

      I agree with everything you shared in your comment. 300€ and I buy the Note 3 instantly.

  • Charlles Costa

    Nice review Linus. I have bought this phone and it’s a great phone. It will be even better when the global Rom is available. The Mi6 but be better but I think a 5.15 display is too small. I can get the Mi6 in Finland 🇫🇮 for 499.

  • Locodoco

    My Honor 9 is still better, only thing superior on this phone is the 4G capability.

  • Meongssss

    Excuse me… is there double tap to wake screen feature in mi note 3? Thank you