Xiaomi goes after Samsung Galaxy S6 buyers with new Mi Note Pro

The top smartphone seller in China has done it again, creating a very high-end handset that costs far less than competing models. That's bad news for Samsung.

Take a look at the design and internal components of Xiaomi's Mi Note Pro and you might think you're seeing a Samsung Galaxy S6. Xiaomi's newest high-end phone shares many similarities with Samsung's flagship such as support for high-resolution audio playback, a quick charge battery and fast LTE speeds.

One thing it doesn't share is the price: The Mi Note Pro will cost RMB2999, or roughly $483 US, when it goes on sale in China next week.

In contrast, Samsung's Galaxy S6 can cost nearly twice as much, depending on the regional market. Somehow, Xiaomi managed to create a phone with current top-of-the-line specifications for what some might pay for a solid mid-range handset.

mi-note-pro-1.jpg

Here's a run-down of the new Mi Note Pro internals and features:

  • 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
  • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 64GB eMMC 5.0 flash storage
  • 5.7" 2K (2560 x 1440) display measuring 515 PPI
  • Sunlight Display technology for unparalleled outdoor visibility
  • 13MP camera with optical image stabilization (OIS)
  • An LTE CAT 9 radio for up to 450Mbps download speeds
  • Hardware-optimized Hi-Fi audio for incredible sound quality
  • High-capacity 3090mAh battery, supports Quick Charge 2.0 (charges up to 70% in 1 hour)

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If you had provided me this list of specifications and then asked about the price, I would have estimated a minimum cost of $600. I suspect Xiaomi's profit margins on the Android device are slim; a planned strategy to boost market share.

Still, depending on demand for a large-screened device such as this in China -- and if iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales are any indication, the demand is there -- Xiaomi will likely bolster its number one sale ranking in its home country on the back of the Mi Note Pro.

That's bad news for Samsung, who was overtaken as the top smartphone seller in China last year by Xiaomi. Samsung's market share declined in China by 22.4 percent in 2014 while Xiaomi's grew by 186.5 percent.

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