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The Most Affordable Smartphone - Xiaomi Mi Play

The Most Affordable Smartphone - Xiaomi Mi Play

A few days ago, my phone accidentally fell into the water when I went to lake fishing. I made a purchase of Xiaomi Play as a backup device on the Gearbest website for the transition period. 

As always, Gearbest won my words of praise for its consistently fast delivery speed and fantastic shopping experience.

Xiaomi Play is the most affordable one among all Xiaomi mobile phones. 

At the very first beginning, I chose it for just in case of an emergency, and I didn't expect much from it. Having used it for nearly three months, honestly, I think that this device is much better than what I expected.

Packaging and Appearance

This phone has no gorgeous packaging, but the colored logo, PLAY, is very eye-catching and seems dynamic.

Seen from the front, it looks like iPhone XR a little bit, right? The back cover, however, is plastic. Though ordinary its package seems, the advantage is that the Xiaomi PLAY is light, with a weight of about 150 grams. 

After comparing it with my old iPhone 8, I feel amazed. Although I might somewhat exaggerate, it is evident that Xiaomi PLAY is much lighter. However, the cover is made of plastic. I was disappointed with its less wear-resistant performance.  me with.

The fingerprint sensor on its back is very accurate. However, we're not going to discuss whether the position of the fingerprint sensor convenient or not.

On the top, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microphone. The Xiaomi PLAY has retained the headphone jack, but it comes without a wired headset. You may consider this approach as an economical solution.

Let's come to its full screen, which the first teardrop notch screen of Xiaomi. With a ratio of 19:9, and a diagonal length of 5.84 inches, Xiaomi PLAY boasts a display of 2280 x 1080 resolution and 432PPI, which is higher than that of iPhone 8, whereas, I don't notice any difference, maybe such difference can't be observed by human eyes.

Hands-On Experience

I use Xiaomi PLAY as a backup mobile phone for GPS navigation, to look for information on Twitter and read the news. 

So far, it is not practical instead of stunning, but the phone becomes a bit hot after being used for about 30 minutes. It seems acceptable because the screen is on all the time.

Screen and size

As a full-screen mobile phone, Xiaomi PLAY has a teardrop notch screen. 

Compared with the straight notch, the thing on the top of the screen is a little wider than that of Xiaomi Mi 8 which I have seen on Xiaomi official website. 

Additionally, Xiaomi PLAY has only one front camera, which means nothing special.

Putting it in my hand, I feel it is in the right size and even quite light, which is more convenient for holding

 I don't understand why some people are fond of teardrop notch screen until I hold Xiaomi PLAY in my hand. Indeed, with the distinctive notch, the screen is nicer-looking.


Xiaomi PLAY uses a 12-megapixel AI dual camera, paired with the IMX486 image sensor. 

The dual camera is different from the wide-angle portrait cameras that I have known before. Only the primary camera is used for imaging, while the other as a depth sensor. 

Xiaomi PLAY's dual camera only provides the portrait mode that can calculate the depth of field; however, as the phone is at such a low price, what else could we expect? 

I've taken a few shots, and they look good. 

Then, I transferred them to the computer and magnified them several times. I found that the details were still sharp and clear. Of course, considering its price range, you shouldn't compare it with the other cameras.

Other Aspects


Xiaomi PLAY has a built-in 3000mAh high-capacity lithium-ion battery, which is relatively long-lasting.

I observe that when I sleep, the power consumption of standby for one night is about 5%. 

When I leave home in the morning, I may use it to navigate for about 20 minutes, then listen to the music via Bluetooth headset for three or four hours, and then navigate my way home. Afterward, I basically will not use it. 

After such a routine, there remains still 51% of electricity.

As for light users, the electricity of the phone can last less than two days. However, for most users, charging once a day is a must.

MIUI system

Although I haven't known much about the MIUI system, I think it is as easy to operate as the iOS. 

Let's leave alone the software ecosystems. The difference between these two systems lies only in some details. 

MIUI system, paired with the Xiaomi PLAY's hardware, proves to provide a perfect performance without any lagging. 

Of course, you shouldn't take it for granted that there won't be any stuck after a long period of use. 

Summing up

Here I'd like to make a summary of the pros and cons of Xiaomi PLAY.


1. Full screen, the pioneer of Xiaomi's products to adopt teardrop notch design; with a resolution ratio up to 432PPI, providing comfortable viewing experience; 

2. Great value for money, high quality, the dip-dyed back cover; the sleek body make for the excellent tactile experience;

3. 1.25-micron pixel sensor, 12-megapixel primary camera for high-resolution photos;

4. Specially designed MIUI system offers smooth operation.


1. The durability of the plastic back cover is doubtful;

2. The CPU efficiency is rather weak, and the game performance is limited; however, I don’t play games.

At last, I think that Xiaomi PLAY is not as bad as the most affordable Xiaomi smartphone for it meets not only the basic needs for smartphones but also has a stylish appearance and teardrop notch screen.

Xiaomi Mi Play 4G Phablet Global Version



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