Since the announcement of the amazing Xiaomi MI3 at the Xiaomi New Product Convention in China which has already got heads turning and pre-orders going through the roof in preparation for its release in October (if all goes to plan) sadly not much attention has been given to the entry model, Xiaomi HongMi (Red Rice) which was only released a short time ago.
Looking at the title of this post you might be thinking “here we go, another smartphone review… again!”, lets admit it we all get fed up with review after review from time to time, but we at MIUIAndroid feel that this review is important After spending just over a month with the Xiaomi HongMi as a daily driver doing all the things we would expect to do with a smartphone and then to hear critics quickly give the Xiaomi HongMi the cold shoulder, we just had to have our say on this!
First of all we are going to kick this off with some key specifications, and no we’re not going to drill you with countless specs, jargon and all that crazy stuff, you have seen that stuff a million times already, probably to many times! We are just going to point out a few things that have not really been pushed out there for the masses.
- IPS Retina LCD Screen, 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.7 Inches (312 PPI), Protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2
- Quad-core 1.5GHz Mediatek MT6589
- 3G (GSM) / TD-SCDMA Dual Sim Smartphone
- 1GB of RAM
- 4GB Internal Storage / Supports 32 GB MicroSD Card
- 8 MP Primary Camera BSI Samsung Rear Camera with 1.4ųm Pixels for Improved Low-Light Performance and 28mm Wide Five-Element Lens, 3264 x 2448 Pixels, Autofocus, LED Flash
- 2000 mAh battery
There are more specs to the Xiaomi HongMi for those who are more interested in that area, but we are just keeping it straight to the point here with this one.
So, you’ve had a quick glance at the above specs on the Xiaomi Hongmi? some may say “wow, this is impressive” and some may say “omg! Mediatek, what the BEEP!”. First and foremost, let’s just start off by saying this is a budget/entry level device in the Xiaomi smartphone range which packs a lot of potential, and most importantly I don’t think anyone can argue at its asking price which is a cool $130 or £83 excluding shipping.
Let me repeat that again! The Xiaomi Hongmi is priced at $130 / £83 excluding shipping, now take a look at the above specs of the device, very respectable and reasonable if you ask me.
As this is a special review, the MIUI Android Team (those who are in possession of this device) will offer their own honest opinions on the Xiaomi Hongmi so that you as a user can get a varied view and angle on the Xiaomi Hongmi.
Mark “MarkHUK” (MIUIAndroid Founder)
For the price the Xiaomi Hongmi is value for money, at a price of £140 GBP roughly and coming kitted with Dual SIM support this is a nice feature for people who want overseas SIM cards and UK based for example.
To hold the device does not feel too big, nice bright screen much like the MI2, and in comparison is on par easily. The back of the case is removable and accessories should start to appear soon. The Hongmi is also a change in respects of the CPU, an interesting choice with Mediatek’s CPU makes the Hongmi affordable as an entry level Android device for anyone looking to try MIUI ROM for the first time.
Looking for a cheap phone for a friend of family for Christmas and dont want to break the bank on an iPhone 5s/c of whatever they call it these days, then check the Xiaomi Hongmi out.
Miroslav “ingbrzy” (MIUIAndroid Multi-Language ROM Leader & MIUI Czech/Slovak Founder)
“Xiaomi Hongmi is not for MIUI enthusiast who just love ‘Orange Friday’ because of weekly dev updates from MIUI. Xiaomi is releasing only stable versions once every month. We release only unofficial builds but with full multilang support for over 23 languages. The Xiaomi Hongmi comes with a cheap Mediatek CPU but with the quality of a mid-end phone. For the price it is a great choice!”
Connor “ibotpeaches” (MIUIAndroid Scripts & APKTool Developer)
“Lets be real. The Xiaomi Hongmi (red rice) is a budget MTK phone that is barely over $185. Don’t expect the same level performance that a Nexus device would provide. However, you do get regular MIUI updates and with the native source built MIUI product, you are left with a very stable MIUI product. This makes an amazing development device for translators/hackers because its acute ability to be bricked and un-bricked over and over.”
Bartek “Acid” (MIUIAndroid Scripts/Multi-Language & MIUI Polska Founder)
“I always wanted to have something bigger or thinner than my MI-2. With the Xiaomi Hogmi (red rice) I get both. Screen is bright, not much color washed, and large enough for Internet browsing or watching movies. Of course it’s not a MI-2 screen level but can’t complain much. The device is light and thin, and it better fits my jeans pockets than thicker MI-2. I also like Dual SIM feature because I’m using 2 SIM cards (1 personal and 1 company). With this device I can make daily calls at work with SIM 1 or using Internet data package on second SIM. I was surprised that MIUI can actually use dual sims pretty good presenting users a very comfortable UI (with divided dial or send sms buttons). Which I don’t like in Hongmi is the lack of true MIUI support for this device. That means no Mi Recovery. Also to flash MIUIAndroid or other translated custom roms you need to pass complicated rom flashing procedure (rooting, flashing recovery etc.).
Another con is the device “Chinese” nature. I mean it’s actually made for Chinese markets so 3G TD-SCDMA support for SIM Slot 1 is build in, with only GSM for second Slot. In practice European users can only use national 2G GSM bands without 3G network speeds (so no WCDMA support). This might change in future, with white Red Rice model, which isn’t on sale yet though.
Yet it’s still a great device for such a low price. Actually Xiaomi Hongmi is the best choice for international users, who want a cheap-dual-sim-mediatek device with multilingual support. Most chinese phone makers offer only english/chinese language for their products (ZTE, Lenovo, Huawei). With this device you already get the best Android experience with MIUI operating system and in over 20 languages, thanks to our translators and MA team.
Pele (MIUIAndroid Admin & Black Android Theme Developer)
“I have been a die-hard Nexus user from day one and refused to budge from that line up. Now i’ve been part of the team here at MIUI Android for three years now and i am always hearing how good the Xiaomi devices are and how beautiful they are in comparison to other so-called mainstream devices and with me being a Nexus fan its hard to believe. So to cut the long story short i have been using the Xiaomi HongMi as a daily driver alongside my trusty Galaxy Nexus, i know there is a age difference and what not, but on one hand i have a expensive highly raved and rated Galaxy Nexus and on the other hand i have a budget entry model Xiaomi HongMI smartphone. Now all im going to say is my next smartphone as a daily driver will not be a overpriced so-called mainstream device and nor will it be a Nexus no matter how fast updates are pushed.
For a budget phone the Xiaomi is a awesome device, it feels solidly built, the screen is crisp, it looks good, great battery life, has a ton of unique looking accessories and it look expensive too!
The main thing i like about using the Xiaomi HongMi is that in everyday real use I am blessed with around 540mb free ram and this is after installing all my apps and google apps (which are regarded as ram eaters) so all my apps are fluid as can be. Now compare this to my Galaxy Nexus i have around 200 mb free ram if i am lucky! So I have a entry Xiaomi device that looks and performs great and i can actually use it with no signs of sluggish response and the price is just a win in itself for a device of this type and then i have a galaxy nexus that is still current as its still on Google’s watch but just don’t cut it for all that its worth! And…whats the fuss of mediatek? in my opinion nothing, its just one of those things were the technical minded like to thrive on what does not really matter in real every day use to the average high street user. It works, its smooth and does everything a device should do, not forgetten it runs Xiaomi’s own OS – MIUI v5 in my eyes that’s a winner right there.
Also the fact that this device costs a fraction of a the price compared to other big smartphone manufactures has kind of made me realize why spend £400-£500 on a phone or even go into contract when i could actually purchase a Xiaomi smartphone which costs far less, does the same thing and more.”
Should you buy the Xiaomi Hongmi ?
- If your a huge fan of MIUI, and love the flexibity and features that MIUI has to offer
- You are looking for a device which does not leave you out of pocket, and also allows you to purchase accessories for your phone and still have plenty of change left over
- Want a taste of Xiaomi and MIUI but don’t want to opt and go all out for the higher end devices such as Xiaomi Mi2, MI2s and the soon to be released superphone Xiaomi MI3
- And here at MIUI Android we support the Xiaomi HongMi, and provide multi-language rom updates to cater for the wider MIUI community, so that is a added bonus
Then the Xiaomi Hongmi is the perfect phone for you, and trust us here at MIUIAndroid you won’t be disappointed, not one bit, in fact we believe once you have had a taste of the Xiaomi Hongmi you will be tempted to go for a high-end Xiaomi Smartphone as your next daily driver!
MIUIAndroid has officially partnered up with iBuyGou, so that users can purchase Xiaomi Smartphones and Accessories.
Feel free to ask any questions on the Xiaomi Hongmi or any other Xiaomi device in the Xiaomi Device Forum