Xiaomi Hongmi Note

Last week I got a new cell phone made by the Chinese company “Xiaomi”.
My expectations,  weren’t high, as i was already familiar with some previous Chinese knock-off phones. Boy, I was wrong !.
after a week of use, I can surely tell, this is an exceptional value for money phone, which makes you wonder on anyone who is paying 450-650 USD for a branded cellular phone.
I payed 200$ (incl. shipping) from aliexpress (Seller named Desoon), and it quickly arrived – around 2 weeks.

xXiaomi Hongmi Note

The Hongmi Note is equipped with an octa core mtk6592 cpu, 2gb of internal ram, 8gb of rom and 2G/3G support. Full specifications can be found in GSM arena.
The phone has an amazing 5.5″ display, capable of 720p resolution, making it a big competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, leading the Phablet sector.

The Hongmi Note is a larger brother of the hongmi/redmi 1s which has a smaller screen size, for those who prefer more “ordinary” size phones. I chose the Note because I use the web browser, and google docs a lot, so I wanted something larger than my current LG Nexus 4. I can tell that this is an ideal size, it cant be handled completely in one hand, but if you move the most relevant icons closer, you can do much of the trivial functions single handed.

The phone is equipped with a 3200mah battery, which is quite big. With normal usage, the phone was capable of 1.5 days of work. This includes answering calls, bluetooth usage, wifi (disabled when screen is off) and surfing (no gaming).

The phone has MIUI installed, V5. MIUI is xiaomi’s GUI for android, which suppose to make it more intuitive. After using the NEXUS devices, using plain vanilla Android, I can tell that it’s very surprising. The isntalled version was not official, but having full hebrew menus. I chosed to overwrite it with an official MIUI ROM, after installing:

  1. TWRP recovery – use this link and download twrp 2.7.0.0 for wcdma version.
  2. MIUI ROM from – use MIUI offical site link to download JHDMIBF29.0 (global) version.

MIUI screenshot

All can be found (and much more) in the official MIUI Hongmi Note forum.
This version does not have translated gui to hebrew, but do support hebrew for reading and writing (after downloading an hebrew keyboard).
An additional change I made was related to the speaker volume. I noticed it’s not load enough. After downloading MobileUncle for MTK devices, I managed to increase the audio volume, by increasing the maximum from 128 to 160 (the exact howto can be found in the Hongmi Note forum). This had a great impact, and now the phone sounds much louder.
Last thing I did, was to set the camera default saving location to the external SD card. I followed This patch and it worked well.

To wrap things up:

Cons:

  • Heavy (200 grams)
  • Does not have LTE

Pros:

  • Great build materials
  • Exceptional Value for money
  • Decent battery performance
  • Good screen

Here is a good video review, compared to other phablets:

And ofcourse, you can find much more detailed reviews, and more comparisons over the web.

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