Xiaomi’s curvy Note 2 flagship fills the hole left behind by the Samsung Note7

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Xiaomi may not like being called a copycat, but it’s hard not to make the association when its latest flagship, Mi Note 2, looks a whole lot like a Samsung Note7 wrapped in the iPhone 7’s signature polished black finish.

But this update to last year’s lauded Mi Note is interesting because it brings, in Xiaomi’s typical fashion, better specs than the competition, and at a lower price.

Unveiling the phone on stage in Beijing on Tuesday, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun showed the curved 5.7″ screen wrapping around both left and right edges of the screen, similar to the now extinct Samsung Note7.

The screen is also pressure sensitive, which Xiaomi calls 3D Touch, and will open the door to developers catering to new gestures, like the iPhone’s Force Touch screen.

The Mi Note 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 821 chip, running at a slightly faster 2.35 Ghz to the Note7’s Snapdragon 820 at 2.15 Ghz. Taking things up a notch, the Mi Note 2 comes with a 128GB storage variant running on 6GB of RAM — similar to a souped up Note7 that was rumoured, but never came to fruition before Samsung declared it dead.

The series 7 aluminium frame Mi Note 2 also comes with a large 4,070 mAh battery (the Note7’s is 3,500 mAh) and quick charging 3.0 technology, which is touted to juice up a phone four times faster than regular chargings speeds.

And in a big leap forward from its previous devices megapixel-wise at least, the Note 2 bumps up the camera to 22.56 megapixels — but it axed optical image stabilisation (OIS) for electronic image stabilisation (EIS).

 

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Xiaomi has also solved one issue that stood out in last year’s Mi Note — where Note users wererestricted to 3G speeds overseas when roaming, the Mi 2 now comes in a version that supports global 4G bands.

The Note 2 will continue to come with NFC support for contactless credit card payment, as well as public transport payment in China.

And just a few months after the iPhone 7 debuted in the sold-out jet black colourway, Xiaomi’s Note 2 will also come in a similar polished black finish it calls “piano black”. You can get the Note 2 in a mirror-like “glacier silver”, too.

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The phone’s basic version, with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage, retails for ¥2,799 ($415). The higher end version, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage will cost ¥3,299 ($485), and it goes up to ¥3,499 ($515) if you add global 4G band support.

 

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