It has been a while since we last heard from Xiaomi, the Chinese company who has made some impressive smartphones in the past. While the devices usually don’t venture beyond the Chinese border, it is always interesting to see what the company has come up with in terms of both hardware and software. In fact, their hardware is often quite impressive for the price, and the MIUI software used on their devices has spawned a custom ROM community dedicated to porting the UI to other devices.
The latest high end Android device from Xiaomi is the Mi2 smartphone, announced just today. In their keynote, Xiaomi made a point of comparing the device to the Galaxy S III, especially when it came to benchmarks that show the Mi2 coming out ahead of Samsung’s flagship. With the 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon, Adreno 320 GPU, and 2GB of RAM in the Mi2, I wouldn’t be surprised. In addition to these impressive specs, the Mi2 includes a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 display, 2,000mAh battery, 8MP rear and 2MP front camera, and HSPA+ connectivity. WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth, and HDIM out via the USB port also come standard.
On the software side, the Mi2 will actually ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, albeit with the MIUI v4 skin. While everyone may not like the custom UI (despite it being good enough to be ported to other devices), it is certainly impressive that Xiaomi is shipping the latest version of Android on this device.
Despite the spec sheet, possibly the most impressive thing about the Mi2 is the price: 1,999 RMB, which converts to about $314 USD. While the USD price is a conversion and as such not exact, it does give us an idea of how the device is priced. Even if the smartphone costed the same $350 as the Galaxy Nexus, if it were here in the US I would probably purchase it right now. Of course, it probably isn’t worth importing, but who knows – if we get lucky, perhaps Xiaomi will eventually bring some of their impressive and cheap smartphone hardware to the US.