Xiaomi has been making some interesting news lately, first with the abrupt transition of Hugo Barra from Google to Xiaomi, now with the announcement of their latest high end smartphone, the MI3, at their New Product Convention 2013 event. What was interesting about the MI2 announcement last year was that it was one of the first to include Qualcomm's quad core APQ8064 SoC inside, and Xiaomi has included Qualcomm SoCs since the MI1 (MSM8660). I still remember my first experiences with the Xiaomi MI1 and the value prospect that the device made me realize existed with the right set of conditions, and how impressed I was with that hardware. With the MI3 Xiaomi goes to variants based on both Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974AB) and NVIDIA's Tegra 4 platform. 

The WCDMA (China Unicom) and CDMA2000 (China Telecom) variants of the MI3 come based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 MSM8974AB platform, while the TD-SCDMA (China Mobile) variant is based on NVIDIA's Tegra 4 platform.

Xiaomi makes the first (to my knowledge) public disclosure of MSM8974AB, which is analogous to the changes we saw between APQ8064 and APQ8064AB. From 8974 to 8974AB, Adreno 330 GPU clocks climb from 450 MHz to 550 MHz, LPDDR3 memory interface maximum data rates go from 800 MHz to 933 MHz, and the ISP clock domain (I think Xiaomi might mean the Hexagon DSP here) goes from 320 MHz to 465 MHz. 8974 comes in both a bin with the 4 Krait 400 CPUs clocked at 2.2 GHz (really 2.15 GHz) and 2.3 GHz (2.26 GHz) with slightly different pricing, while 8974AB comes with a Krait 400 clock available only at 2.3 GHz. Process is still TSMC 28nm HPM, but I suspect that the AB variant might have the high k dielectric and/or transistor mix tuned slightly differently based on a few rumblings I've heard recently. 

It's safe to say that Tegra 4 hasn't been the overwhelming success that NVIDIA had hoped for, nor able to continue the momentum that Tegra 3 built, so winning a slot with Xiaomi MI3 is a relatively big deal, even if Xiaomi's slice of the Chinese market isn't very large yet. The TD-SCDMA variant includes Tegra 4's 1.8 GHz ARM Cortex A15 4+1 architecture with 72 core GeForce GPU built on TSMC 28nm HPL. We've written a lot about Tegra 4, and got a chance to look at performance in the NVIDIA Shield review and came away impressed with performance in that platform. Of course the real interesting question is how Tegra 4 will perform in platform with smaller TDP and available platform power. Xiaomi claims relatively similar performance between Tegra 4 and 8974AB variants in a few system benchmarks as well. If we get the chance the MI3 might make for an interesting vehicle to compare the two SoCs in almost the same platform.

I'm not sure whether the MI3 uses the discrete Icera i500 modem for TD-SCDMA. i500 is fully TD-SCDMA enabled, so there's no reason that NVIDIA couldn't have won the entire platform slot, but I haven't confirmed it yet. Update: We've confirmed that the MI3 isn't using the i500 modem.

Either way Xiaomi is an increasingly interesting player in the Chinese market and always seems to make SoC choices that interest us. 

Source: Xiaomi

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  • bandora - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    This phone is almost an exact replica of the Nokia N9.. Wow..
  • Person.Boi - Friday, September 6, 2013 - link

    What's funny, is guess which came first, MIUI v5 or iOS 6?
    Looks like Apple copied MIUI with this one.

    Also, which one is more open to customisation and has weekly updates BASED ENTIRELY ON USER FEEDBACK?

    Wait sorry, customisation and listening to customers is foreign language in iOS-land.
  • z950127 - Monday, September 30, 2013 - link

    just for the record... MIUI V5 was released way earlier than iOS 7... please Do some research before you comment....
  • kwrzesien - Thursday, September 5, 2013 - link

    I'm liking the choice of memory: 16GB or 64GB for <$100 markup.
  • cubanresourceful - Friday, September 6, 2013 - link

    @Brian or Anand: I was wondering, in these new Snapdragon SoC, does Android take advantage (or even know) that the Snapdragon MSM8974 chips have Qualcomm's Voice Activation Feature (similar to the "NLP Core" in the Moto X)?

    Does this mean that a separate "low energy" chip is no longer required (seeing how Motorola went with an older Qualcomm chip that did not have this feature, I assume is why they had to stick in a separate chip in).
  • TheJian - Sunday, September 8, 2013 - link

    "It's safe to say that Tegra 4 hasn't been the overwhelming success that NVIDIA had hoped for, nor able to continue the momentum that Tegra 3 built"

    You guys act like this is the first tegra4 device...LOL. NV haters at anandtech these days, including YOU Anand. HP and Toshiba both are shipping devices, but you guys can't get something to benchmark? How long are you guys planning on pretending T4 is only in shield?...LOL. I don't see this phone being beat by any S4's in the link below and the benchmarks have been out since early July. It's 20%~ faster than everything else in the list in gpu here, and we already know the CPU rocks antutu in a tablet vs. S800 (36000+ if memory serves). Clearly T4i won't have a phone problem and I expect tegra sales to ramp with it. That's TWO tegra 4 phones now with ZTE's U988S. Once the list below is all shipping I suspect we'll see some decent T4 numbers in the Q report.

    A paste of a comment I made elsewhere:
    T4 just started shipping end of July (basically only just over a month). Not sure how you can call it a failure yet:
    2 toshibas with T4 (and a 3rd with a T3)
    Vizio has a T4 (and T3) coming also that they showed at CES
    Also the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity,
    HP SlateBook x2 & an AIO device (20in?) both T4, not to mention
    Mad Catz MOJO (they are SEEKING deal T4 they said).
    BungBungame's Kalos tablet uses T4 also
    Xiaomi Mi3 handset
    Looks like T4 owns the top of the list right? Xiaomi phone is impressive.
    Acer with TA2 coming with T4
    Of course shield, and now maybe a tegra tab7 Q1?
    Surface RT rev2 coming shortly (I think RT kills anything, but it's another device)
    Couple those with Ouya, gamepop, wikipad etc and I think tegra has a pretty good year lined up even before the T4i. Hp, Toshiba, Microsoft, Asus, Acer all showing tegra 4 support.
    ZTE also has U988S phone coming. I'm sure I'm missing a few devices but these are already coming.

    Really not quite sure if all these devices will fail, but they're coming. Your statement is fantasy at best. Can you name that many S800 devices yet? T4 doesn't even have a modem, so imagine the use of T4i when it finally gets certification shortly and is aimed at $100-200 china market etc (expect Q1 devices and announcements by xmas or so probably for those products). These are devices that are going to sell in some quantity whether you like it or not. I expect Google's console to come with T4 also as they'll want to take advantage of the only company pushing mobile games (TEGRAZONE) right now: Nvidia. I'll be surprised if they don't use NV T4 or T5, depends on launch date, NV may have pushed up T5 to Q1 just for google, who knows.
  • maomaomall - Thursday, January 2, 2014 - link

    Xiaomi is one of the best Chinese Android phone in 2013,but it is not easy to buy from their official site,not people can get the Xiaomi Mi3 on maomaomall.com on $345 by DHL freeshipping!
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  • maomaomall - Thursday, January 2, 2014 - link

    www.maomaomall.com have the Xiaomi Mi3 on $345 by DHL freeshipping for the 16GB version,they accept payment by paypal,go hurry now!

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