Xiaomi has taken the wraps off a new variant of its flagship phablet, the Redmi Note 3. This new model is equipped with Qualcomm’s hexa-core Snapdragon 650 processor and is priced just a little higher than the MediaTek-powered models…

Like the models announced a couple of months ago, this phone is equipped with a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a huge 4,000mAh battery and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor which can unlock the metal-bodied phone within half a second.

While it shares the design and some of the features of its Helio X10 equipped sibling, the Snapdragon variant does have a handful of improvements.

The Snapdragon 650 is clocked at 1.8GHz and features 2x ARM Cortex A72 cores and 4x ARM Cortex A53 cores, and supports the 4G+ networks in China, enabling much faster download speeds. It also enables the Sunlight Display feature which adjusts contrast for each pixel, depending on ambient lighting, making it easier to read in daylight.

As a bonus, the Snapdragon 650 processor’s ISP enables much better image and video capture, which is why the SD Redmi Note 3 has a 16MP camera with 0.1s Phase Detection Auto Focus. Gaming and video are improved too, thanks to the Adreno 510 GPU.

In short, the new version is faster, more powerful and takes better pictures than the MediaTek Helio version, and it doesn’t cost that much more.

Xiaomi will sell the 2GB RAM/16GB storage version of the new Redmi Note 3 for 999 Yuan (roughly $151 USD), which is just under $10 USD more than the 16GB MediaTek model. Pricing for the 3GB/32GB model hasn’t been announced yet, but if it sticks to the same pricing system, I’d expect it to cost 1199 Yuan ($182 USD).

The phone will launch in China, but Xiaomi is also launching an initiative in India to offer 100 consumers the chance to be a Redmi Note 3 explorer. Those who are chosen will be given tasks to complete on their phone, and will be ranked based on how many of the missions they complete. Xiaomi says there are other prizes up for grabs, but doesn’t say what those are.

We’re unsure what plans Xiaomi has to make it more widely available internationally. We’ve read a number of times over the past couple of years that the Chinese manufacturer is seeking to launch in the US, but nothing has materialized as of yet.

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