It’s not the first Xiaomi phone to support American and Canadian LTE bands (that honour would, I think, go to the Mi 5S Plus) but the Mi Note 2 is Xiaomi’s first global phone to get an extensive review by the western tech press—XDA, to be exact. Unfortunately the phone is not officially sold here; the review unit was provided by GearBest, a grey market importer based in Hong Kong.
I’ll provide a few highlights here, but if you’re interested in this device or in Xiaomi products in general you should definitely check out the source.
5.7 inch FHD screen
Snapdragon 821 processor
6 GB of RAM / 128 GB of storage
22.56 MP rear camera / 8 MP selfie cam
4,070 mAh battery, Quick Charge 3.0
Dual nano SIM support
The Mi Note 2 runs MIUI 8, based on Android Marshmallow. This will likely be the most polarizing feature of the phone. Unfortunately Xiaomi doesn’t have the best track record at releasing kernel sources, so if you wanted a device for custom ROMs you’d be better of with the Mi 5S Plus—which at least is supported by Lineage OS.
Note that because this version of the phone originates from Hong Kong it will ship with both Google Play and Mi Services on board.
Why You Should Care
It’s inevitable that Xiaomi will one day sell unlocked phones in North America; there’s already a trickle of devices and accessories from third-party sellers on Amazon. The company’s growing portfolio of products will hopefully spur other smartphone OEMs to up their game. The North American market doesn’t need another $1,000 phone, but it could certainly use some competition at the $500 price point.