Going the budget route has been the key to success for China's well-known Xiaomi brand, and it has continued on the same track with the Redmi Note, the company's debut entry into the phablet market.
Like its earlier Redmi and Redmi 1S smartphones, the Redmi Note shares the same plastic frame, overall design and ability to use dual SIM cards.
Its key selling point, though, is the extremely low price point for a 5.5-inch Android device.
For $199, you get a 13-megapixel rear camera and 720-pixel screen, as well as a 3,100mAh battery and 8GB of internal memory, which is expandable up to 32GB using a microSD card.
Where it lacks originality is in the name, as the Note is the same one established by Samsung for its flagship Galaxy Note phablet device. Xiaomi is clearly looking to steal some of Samsung's thunder.
Though the Redmi Note is 9.45mm thick, a shade skinnier than the 9.9mm of the Redmi 1S, its overall heft makes for a bulky design.
It lacks the elegance of similarly sized devices, such as the LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2, though Xiaomi managed to fit in a rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera.
Surprisingly, the photos taken are slightly overexposed and lack a certain level of detail when you try to zoom in on an object.
But where it matters is in the brains of the device and this is where the Redmi Note shines. Xiaomi's user interface has proven fairly intuitive and its phablet continues this trend.
Even without an app drawer that shows all the apps installed in the device, a user should have little to no problem navigating the device.
Some features, such as the hidden SMS messaging feature which lets you send messages within a private messaging window, require a little bit more know-how, but the rest, such as managing files and clearing the device of older files, are easily within reach and fairly intuitive to use.
While the phablet's eight-core processor is a relatively unfamiliar one, its performance is not too shabby. The Antutu Benchmark rating of 27,708 is comparable with the performance of quad-core processors running at a faster speed.
Still, one of the problems with the Xiaomi Redmi was with sluggish performance after prolonged use, so it remains to be seen if the Redmi Note will suffer the same fate.
Good value for money, though its size makes it bulky.
Processor: 1.7GHz 8-Core MTK 6592
Display: 5.5-inch, 720 x 1,280 pixels, (267 pixel density) IPS
Operating system: Android 4.2.2
Value for money 5
Battery life 3
This article was first published on August 13, 2014.
Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.