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Xiaomi's low-cost Redmi Note smartphone to launch in Asia

The 5.5-inch low-cost Android phone can be purchased online from Xiaomi and will retail for less than $160.

Xiaomi Redmi Note Xiaomi

The 5.5-inch Xiaomi Redmi Note , powered by an octa-core processor, will roll out over the next month in Hong Kong, Malasyia, and Singapore.

Redmi Note is a larger version of the Redmi , but with slightly better specs in the form of more RAM (2GB) and onboard storage (8GB) -- both double of what is offered in the Redmi.

Clad in glossy-white plastic, the phone will be available in the Xiaomi web store. It will cost HKD$1,239 ($159) in Hong Kong and will be available on June 27. In Malaysia, the phone will retail for RM509 ($157) on July 22. In Singapore, the Note will retail earlier on July 8 for S$199 ($154).

Like the Redmi, the Note comes with dual-SIM capabilities, making it a practical phone for travelers who want to stay connected with their own SIM cards as well as using a local SIM for data connectivity or cheaper calls.

Other specs include a rear 13-megapixel camera and a front-facing 5-megapixel shooter. The 5.5-inch IPS display has a 1,280x720-pixel resolution. The phone is powered by Android 4.2.2, but with Xiaomi's own MIUI skin on top. It runs on MediaTek's octa-core MT6592 1.7GHz processor.

Xiaomi will also launch the sequel of the Redmi, the Redmi 1S, on July 8 for RM409 ($126) in Malaysia. The phone has similar specs to the Redmi, including a 4.7-inch display with a 1,280x720-pixel resolution, but runs off a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and has 8GB of onboard storage.

We've reviewed the Redmi as well as the company's flagship Mi 3 phones and found them to be excellent, affordable devices.

While it's unlikely these phones will make their way to the US anytime soon, Xiaomi does have plans to make global devices in the next two years. It will be interesting to see how the Chinese smartphone maker will fare in western markets, if and when it gets there.