When the Redmi 2 was announced in August of this year, I declared that Xiaomi’s habit of aggressive pricing had finally ‘gone a step too far’. I was right. The device, which cost a mere £80 had a good screen, great processor and a big battery, revealing itself to be a vastly superior phone to the £160 Moto G.

Now, just three months later, Xiaomi are back with another revision, keeping the good stuff and piling on some extra treats for those who neglected to upgrade to the Note 2. Is it worthy of being called the Note 3, or is it more of a Note 2.5? Let’s find out.

redmi note 3 back

The first thing you’d notice about the Redmi Note 3, over is predecessor is that that glossy plastics have been cast out in favour of aluminium. That makes the phone feel better in the hand, and further drives the phone away from the rest of the ‘budget’ smartphone pack, and echoes the change made to the Mi Pad for the just announced sequel.

Another new feature – plainly visible in the picture above – is the inclusion of a fingerprint reader, located in the style of the latest Nexus phones. Xiaomi are saying the reader gets you to your home screen in just 0.3 seconds, and we’ve got reason to believe them. Also on the changelist is a much larger battery, which is now at 4,000mAh – almost a quarter larger than the Note 2. Despite all this, the Note 3 is just 3g heavier than the 2 and 0.35mm thicker at 8.65mm

Elsewhere, things are very much like the Note 2. That means a powerful Helio X10 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 13MP camera with phase detection autofocus, a 5.5″ 1080p screen and dual 4G SIM card slots. The device will also run MIUI 7, the latest version of Xiaomi’s Android build.

Alternatively, you can pick up a version with 64GB of storage and 3GB of RAM.

redmi note 3 front

As for the price that went too far? Well, it’s going up a little bit. This new Redmi Note will cost £95, which remains excellent value, given the improved build and battery, not to mention that fingerprint reader. If you’re after the 64GB/3GB configuration, you’ll be set back around £115. Both will launch later this month, and will be available through the usual sources.

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Ten fingers, five senses, one man, loads of Chinese smartphones.

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