The Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is equipped with a dual-curved 5.7-inch OLED display of FullHD resolution. That should amount to a 386ppi pixel density, but with the Pentile arrangement (or rather Diamond Pixel) that number isn't quite indicative of the screen sharpness.
The Mi Note 2 uses an OLED panel made by LG. It's slightly different than Samsung AMOLED panels which have twice as many green pixels as there are blue and red ones. Here, there are twice as many blue subpixels than there are green and red ones.
The subpixel arrangement is in fact the same type - Diamond Pentile - in both cases. Again, in both cases the concept of a single pixel consisting of RGB subpixels is replaced with subpixel rendering, where neighboring colored dots could be used depending on the content that needs to be output.
While the issue of sharpness is typically negated by throwing more pixels at it (read, QHD resolution) Xiaomi went with FullHD. We had to dig out a Galaxy Note 3 (itself 5.7" FullHD) for comparison and predictably the two displays have the same level of sharpness when rendering tiny texts for example, i.e. not the best. The thing is, the Galaxy Note 3 is a three-plus-year-old model, and the Mi Note 2 just came out.
We gathered around the Mi Note 2 to share thoughts on the display and the general consensus was that you could see the fine weave of the diamond subpixel arrangement. When shot on camera the display exhibits some odd patterns too, but our resident DSLR with the right lens has way more resolving power than your human eye, so don't worry about seeing those in actual use.
In terms of brightness, the Mi Note 2 isn't great either. With a maximum value of 341nits the Mi Note 2 is some 100nits behind the OnePlus 3T, which is recently reviewed. The Galaxy S7 edge screen is brighter than the Mi Note 2 in manual mode already, but can also boost brightness much further in Auto - a feature the Xiaomi phablet lacks.
As for contrast, the Mi Note 2's display is OLED - the contrast ratio is for purposes practical that means infinite contrast. Now, our testing equipment detected minor illumination of the blacks, but that's mostly irrelevant.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
Color reproduction is very accurate in Standard mode with an average DeltaE of 2.7, only this mode isn't the default one out of the box. The other two modes are less accurate but offer more punch - so pick the one you prefer.
The other major issue with the display is that at any angle other than head-on, it has a strong bluish tint, which the testing rig can't catch because it examines it head-on.
Sunlight contrast ratio is actually pretty low for an OLED panel, too. In a time when good LCDs approach a value of 4 in our test, and the best OLEDs are in the ballpark of 4.5, the Mi Note 2's 3.228 is nothing special.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 2 supports no less than 22 LTE bands, quad-band GSM and penta-band 3G connectivity. Adding the CDMA bands, the number of supported bands hits 37 across all technologies and frequencies. That's for the global version though, the Chinese-only version supports just 19 bands total.
It's a dual SIM device too and one card gets to connect to a 4G network while the other is limited to 3G or 2G. Alternatively, you can have both cards registered on 3G networks.
The rest of the connectivity features include dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac support and Wi-Fi Direct. There is also support for Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS with GLONASS and Beidou.
In typical flagship fashion there is no FM radio support. On the other hand, there is an IR blaster - a notable omission on the Mi Mix.
Xiaomi Mi Note 2 comes with a USB Type-C port. Media transfer mode is supported for accessing the phone's built-in memory over a USB connection. The port also supports USB On-the-go for connecting USB peripherals such as pen drives, keyboards or USB hard drives, but you'll need to buy a proper adapter for that, or make the switch to USB-C accessories.
Wireless screen mirroring is available via the Miracast protocol.
The Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is powered by a 4,070mAh battery - we'd say that's pretty generous. The Galaxy S7 edge's battery has about 10% smaller capacity, while Xiaomi's Mi Mix packs some more juice - 4,400mAh.
The test results came out very good, with web browsing casting the only shadow. It's not bad, strictly speaking, but with that beefy battery we expected more than those 9:21 hours. As usual with OLEDs, the video playback longevity is much better - it took 15 and a half hours before it called it quits. On a 3G voice call the Mi Note 2 lasted us close to 28 hours, which is pretty great as well.
Combining these three numbers and the standby battery draw (which we measure but don't feature in the scorecard) leads to a 92h endurance rating. That's 5 hours less than the Mi Mix, and 6 less than the Galaxy S7 edge, but as always actual battery life will inevitably vary with usage patterns.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.