There's been a recent proliferation of mid-tier priced Android phones and phablets, which can be a little tough to keep up with. The most high-profile of these has been the long-awaited Singapore release of the Xiaomi Mi Note, China phonemaker Xiaomi's first "premium" smartphone.
We compared the 5.7-inch Mi Note with two other recent releases, the 5-inch Oppo R7 and 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy A8, to see which offers the best value.
The R7, which has 16GB of storage that can be expanded by 128GB with a micro SD card, goes for $569 without contract.
Samsung's Galaxy A8 is the most expensive at $698, with 32GB of storage that can be expanded by 128GB with a micro SD card.
The Mi Note costs $569 and has 64GB of storage.
If you are in the market for a true mid-tier smartphone, the R7 is quite the delight. It has sufficient processing power, a clear display with colours as vibrant as Samsung's (since it has an Amoled display too), with double 4G network capability at a reasonable price tag.
The Galaxy A8 does aim to be the "premium" choice with more storage topped off with a really delectable rear camera, but it is a little too high in terms of price, and it can feel slightly underwhelming if we treat it as a phablet, based on specifications alone.
All things considered, though, the Mi Note is the best buy with its significantly more powerful processor, decent storage space, Sony camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS), and cut-throat price tag.
But that's only for now. The upcoming OnePlus 2, which should arrive in Singapore in the fourth quarter of this year, looks like it will surpass all three. It offers even better specs, and at a lower price.
The 64GB version of the OnePlus 2 will go for $538. A 16GB version of the OnePlus 2 will be available here too, but its price will be revealed later.
A hitch is that the OnePlus 2 is being sold on an invite-only basis for now, and consumers have to track OnePlus' social media channels for invitations.
The official retailer for the OnePlus 2 here is online retailer Lazada. But OnePlus said it is in talks with local telcos for other retail options, such as a contract-based tie-up.
The OnePlus 2's processor is better than that of the R7, Galaxy A8 and Mi Note.
The OnePlus 2 has 4GB of RAM for the 64GB model, while the other three phones have between 2 and 3GB of RAM.
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