China’s Xiaomi launches two new large screen handsets

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 9:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 10:34pm

Chinese smartphone market Xiaomi on Tuesday launched two large screen handsets which are seen as fresh options for consumers looking for a replacement for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 after a production halt over safety concerns.

As Xiaomi’s first smartphone using a dual curved display, the new phone, Mi Note 2, is priced from 2,799 yuan (HK$3,205) for the 4GB RAM version with 64GB of storage, the company’s founder and chief executive Lei Jun announced on Tuesday.

With a 5.7-inch display, Mi Note 2 looks similar to Samsung’s freshly recalled model Galaxy Note 7 which also features a full glass body with a curved glass sheet at the back.

And Mi Note 2 is powered by a high-end Snapdragon processor which is faster than the chip used by Galaxy Note 7.

Lei said the production cost of dual curved displays, based on the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, is six times higher than LCD screens, sothe company will consider mass productionto bring down costs.

Sales will start next month on Xiaomi’s official e-commerce site.

In addition to the much-anticipated Mi Note 2, Xiaomi also surprised the market with the launch of a new concept phone which it calls Mi MIX.

With a 6.4-inch screen, an almost borderless display is the major feature of the so-called concept phone.

As a mid-range smartphone, Mi Note 2’s target consumers are different from Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 which was priced much higher
Zhu Dalin, Analysys International

The actual size of Mi MIX is similar to Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, but the display is bigger as it covers 91.3 per cent of the front, compared with 7 Plus’ 67.7 per cent, Lei said.

The 4GB RAM version with 128GB of storage is priced at 3,499 yuan, and sales will start November 4.

Zhu Dalin, an analyst with Beijing-based consulting firm Analysys International, said Mi Note 2 may not be able to attract Samsung’s Chinese users, but Mi MIX will likely draw some attention from them.

“As a mid-range smartphone, Mi Note 2’s target consumers are different from Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 which was priced much higher,” he said.

Samsung is advanced in screen technology compared with other Chinese smartphone markets, so Mi MIX’s borderless display will attract Samsung users, Zhu said.

Instead of Xiaomi’s new handsets, Huawei’s Mate 9 is more anticipated by the market as a replacement for the Galaxy Note 7, he added.

Samsung halted production and recalled its Galaxy Note 7 amid increased concerns over the device catching fire.