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Phones

Xiaomi's Mi Note 2 looks just like a Samsung Note 7 (hands-on)

Those looking to replace the exploding Galaxy Note 7 will love Xiaomi's new 5.7-inch phone -- the curved glass on both the front and back looks really classy.

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Xiaomi has a new phone for those who are looking for a replacement for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Sporting a design that, like the Note 7, is curved on both front and back, the new 5.7-inch Mi Note 2 also offers a 23-megapixel camera, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Xiaomi has been pushing its Mi Pay mobile payment system lately, so the Mi Note 2 will come with NFC.

It's set to launch on November 1 China for 3,299 yuan (approximately $485, £400 or AU$640). A cheaper model, with 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage, will retail for 2,799 yuan (roughly $410, £340 or AU$540). There's also a special model with support for 37 different 4G LTE bands -- so it'll work in pretty much any country -- that goes for 3,499 yuan ($515, £420 or AU$675).

The phablet is similar to the Mi 5S Plus, which launched last month. Both phones have a 5.7-inch full-HD display and are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, though the Mi Note 2's display uses OLED technology to curve the screen on the front. It has the curved back of the first Mi Note too.

Powered by Android, the Mi Note 2 runs Xiaomi's custom MIUI 8 skin. Like most skins out of China, it lacks an app drawer, but has some nifty features. You can turn on the flash light by holding the home button without unlocking the phone, for instance, and you can use a second finger to swipe through home screens while holding down on an app to move it.

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The silver model simply stands out with its brilliant color.

Aloysius Low/CNET

I'm pretty impressed with just how light the phone feels. The Galaxy Note 7 seemed a little heftier, which made for a better grip one-handed, but the lightness of the Note 2 somehow feels just right. Be warned though, the curved glass back is a fingerprint magnet. I had to wipe down the phone a few times while taking pictures.

Key specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, 2.35GHz
  • 6GB RAM, 128GB onboard storage
  • 4,070 mAh battery with Quick Charge
  • 23-megapixel rear camera
  • Comes in black and silver

The fingerprint smudges aren't as bad on the silver version, which is definitely the better looking sibling. And while Apple has chosen to do away with the headphone jack, the Mi Note 2 still has one, as well as an infrared sensor -- great if you like to use your phone as a remote control for your TV or aircon.

While there's a version of the Mi Note 2 that will have LTE support for the US and lots of other countries, the bad news is that the phone will be China-only, and Xiaomi has no plans to sell this elsewhere, even in places like Singapore or Hong Kong. It's a surprising move, but perhaps Xiaomi is looking inwards to its homeground as it aims to regain market share, having slipped to fourth position as rivals Oppo and Vivo have surged ahead.

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The Mi Note 2 has familar looking curves.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Where to Buy

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 (black)

Visit manufacturer site for details.

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