Up until 2013, Xiaomi was a brand not well known outside of its home territory China. But only until when they started operations in another Asian countries. While the company is not sure when it will be going to enter into markets other than Asia, but they surely have made quite an impact in America about their devices. And there isn’t just one reason for that, as Xiaomi kills it with the pricing, sales strategy, and finally getting into the other markets, especially India.
To cut short, Mi 4 is the fifth device to launch in India, after its entry into the country with Mi 3 launch last year. Since, our review unit is 16GB storage and 64GB is yet to be released on 24th February. For this reason, our opinions would be restricted to the 16GB variant. Now let’s take a detailed look at the Mi 4.
For a 5-inch display size, the phone doesn’t feel light at all, but the build quality is pretty solid, though. It is clearly visible that company drew inspiration from Apple as the device features chamfered frame, which is a likable design. You can find a speaker grill and MicroUSB port at the bottom while two white bands can be seen on top as well as at the bottom. The SIM tray is placed on the left while you can find other insertions like headset jack, IR Blaster on the metallic frame.
The back cover is problematic, in a way, you cannot easily pull it out, although it is still possible to remove it if you have a suction plug. But it is better to stay out of it, as you will be welcomed by a message saying “Disassembling the battery can cause fire or explosion.”
At the back, you would find the camera, LED flash and the Mi branding with metallic shine. By keeping the notification buttons not a part of the display, company managed to keep it compact. You can find a little LED notification light, which is placed just below the touch-sensitive home button.
Talking about the display on Mi 4, it has a 5-inch full HD display with 441 PPI. No doubt that it is sharp and has good contrast ratios, but it struggles to provide good viewing when it vent under sunlight. Though, reflectiveness of the screen, when compared to Mi 3 is less reflective, thus resulting in a better experience.
The viewing angles on device are good, and display is better than what we saw on some flagships like Sony Xperia Z3 and Apple iPhone 6. The color settings on Mi 4 has three options, which includes Warm, Standard, and Cool. Where warm option is ideal if, you want to please the eyes.
Hardware & Performance
Coming down to the hardware and & performance, the device packs some heavy duty processor and has supporting specs to prove that it stands out from the crowd of flagships. The combination of Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 GPU, and 3GB RAM is powerful. When we did the benchmarks, there were no surprises as the device did get decent scores on AnTuTu, Quadrant Standard, and Vellamo.
But when it comes to gaming on Mi4, the Snapdragon 801 with Adreno 330 combination don’t let you down. It is just great to see that there are no frame drops at all. Even the heavy graphic games loaded pretty well. The GPU also handled the 1080p playback without any issue. Talking about the speakers output, which isn’t up to the mark when we talk of decibel levels, even though the speaker is placed at the bottom edge.
The 3080 mAh battery of Mi 4 would easily take you through the day without needing to charge twice. We used the device for about a week, and our activities sum up to more than three hours screen in time, and about an hour of calling, as well as some data usage on the cellular network. While the Wi-Fi was turned ON all over the day. There are two power modes available on the device that includes Performance and Balanced modes. It is clear-cut that the battery is saved in Balanced mode, but the performance mode doesn’t eat up a lot of batteries. And as we mentioned before in the video, the battery isn’t removable.
The Mi 4 supports standard connectivity options, as well as the USB OTG functionality that can support up to 64GB, but we tested only on 32GB, which kind of ease the pain of no microSD support.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 comes with MIUI 6 on top of latest Android Kitkat. It would be the first device in India with the latest MIUI version. The interface has similarities with the iOS, as it mimics the appearance of it.
The MIUI features a good animation effect though it might make you feel that you aren’t using the best interface, as improvements can be done at lot of stages. The UI also mimics the iOS layout, as it doesn’t have separate app drawer. So you would have to make the adjustment to the app icons on the home screens. Also to note that there is a delay while opening the apps and system settings, which can be seen everywhere.
Coming to the camera on Mi 4. It packs an impressive combination of 13-megapixel rear and an 8-megapixel front-facing cameras. They both are Sony camera module and offers very quick auto-focus, which shares credit with the MIUI camera app. It has a clean interface that is very responsive, quick and filled with lots of handy options.
The cameras present on Mi 4 performs much better when compared to the predecessor, the Mi 3. In spite of the good photo results, it can’t be said that the rear camera is the best among the flagship phones, as without OIS (optical image stabilization) the 13MP sensor won’t be that good.
While its competitors like OnePlus One offers a better 64GB storage, the Mi 4 stops at 16GB that too without no microSD card support. On top of all, it doesn’t come with 4G LTE support. And as we mentioned in the software section that MIUI is a little laggy and may lead to a bad experience if you are a fan of stock Android interface.
If you go by the spec sheet, Mi 4 falls under the list of reasonably priced devices. Moreover, the phone is also designed well and feels perfect to hold considering the 5-inch display factor. Although, you might have to compromise on the lack of storage space, 4G LTE support, and some lags in MIUI.
This is an amazing phone if we judge a device by its display, camera and battery factors only. The worthiness of this device jumps up if you are a true believer of IR blaster applications. With Mi 4, Xiaomi has a produced a device that has the power to disrupt the entire smartphone range that falls under INR 20K category. Well, except for OnePlus One, which gives tough competition to the Mi 4. As well as other handsets like Lenovo Vibe X2 and HTC Desire 820 also fights good.