Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s co-founder and CEO, describes their goal as “creating products that make users scream”. At a super affordable price point of S$169 for the Singapore Launch, I am not surprised. This would help bring good competition to local phone retailers.
“Red” means passion and “Mi”, their core brand, stands for mobile Internet. Redmi is a line of high-performance products which are also extremely affordable and allow you to expect more and achieve more. It is not the super high end tier, which is reserved for their Mi3 high spec model. In comparison, the Hongmi is retailing at 799RMB, which is equivalent to the local S$169 – partly due to the rising RMB.
Specifications of Hongmi
MediaTek Quad-core 1.5GHz processor
Imagination Technologies’ SGX544 PowerVR Series GPU
1280 x 720 display with 312 ppi
In-plane switching (IPS) & Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Dual SIM flexibility.
Hot-swap data connection between SIM cards (WCDMA 3G on slot #1, GSM 2G on slot #2)
Enjoy HSPA+ 3G transfer speeds of up to 42 Mbps
Quad-core? Check. A HD screen? Yep. An 8MP camera? Indeed. With the Hongmi, you won’t lose too many bragging contests about smartphone specs. It even runs Android 4.2.1, which is just one tiny revision behind Google’s newest Moto X. But hey, that’s some of the sacrifices for the low price point.
The processor is from Mediatek, not the Snapdragon or Tegra 4 that Xiaomi uses in its three other models. Plus that plastic back is wafer-thin, and the metallic-looking side buttons are very basic plastic too. But there’s no flex, rattle, or squeak from the hardware itself. Note that the three Android buttons are not back-lit, which is hard to get used to; oh, and you’ll need a micro SD card. But you get extras, like dual SIM support (one for TD-SCDMA 3G, one for GSM).
There are limitations also, to the support for the Mediatek chips, which means you are on two generation behind on Android 4.2.1 while the rest of the world is looking at Android 4.4. There are other similar China phone models out there; but Xiaomi is the first with a strong local presence. It also has a fairly good ecosystem – cloud back-ups, a decent app store, mobile payments for themes – to keep people hooked. Plus, MIUI looks better and one of the better user interfaces.
Another concern on China made phones are the reliability but Xiaomi is quick to address that as per its Singapore homepage, it indicates the stringent reliability testing it has carried out on the phones.
Availability of Hongmi
We have heard that M1 would be selling the Hongmi, with S$169 as the RRP, this would likely be a S$0 phone with contract. Stay tuned for more news on the availability of the phone from other retailers. Like us on Facebook for the latest updates.
Latest: Internet reservation starting from 21 Feb. Expected to sell out fast, so get your keyboard and fingers ready.