Xiaomi Mi 4 Smartphone Review

Xiaomi entered Indian market in mid 2014 with their then flagship smartphone, Mi3, which became quite popular in India with the first flash sale ending in 39 minutes of going live on eCommerce store Flipkart. The next flash sale ended in less than 5 seconds and it is believed that the batch contained over 10,000 units, this continued till October 2014 when Xiaomi India announced one last sale and discontinued Mi3. The Xiaomi Mi4 is the successor of the popular Mi3, which came to India in February 2015 and proved to be one of the fastest selling phone. I did get a chance to test this beast for a month and now I'm ready to share my experience with you guys, so today I'm going to review Xiaomi Mi4 in depth with all the necessary details which I personally came across while using the device. So here we go.

Unboxing

Xiaomi Mi4 comes in similar packing as the Mi3 and other Xiaomi phones like Redmi 1S etc. The box is simply plain with no design (except for Mi logo) and is made of recycled paper. On the backside there is a sticker containing product information etc. On opening the box you'll find the Mi4 itself resting in a cutout area, under it contains other accessories which come with the device. Inside the box you'll find a Charger plug and a USB cable with some booklets and a SIM ejector tool bundled with the instruction manual, that's pretty much it of the Unboxing, Xiaomi does not provide earphones with the device, you'll have to purchase them separately for 500 bucks off Flipkart.

Also Read: Xiaomi Mi Piston v2 Earphones Review

Built Quality & Looks

Mi4 scores perfect points in this area, on holding the device for the first time, you'll just fall in love with the design and looks, though the design is very similar to Apple and Samsung but Mi4 still seems to pull it off. The phone has a plastic back panel which has a textured design which makes it look premium, the sides of the phone are stainless steel which looks good and makes the device easy to hold, the steel rim design is what made Mi4 look like the iPhone in the first place. The front has a 5 Inch Display which takes up almost the entire front side, the top of the display contains Mi logo, earpiece, front camera and sensors, the bottom contains three Touch sensitive buttons with a notification light, the bezels are very thin and overall the phone is smaller than its predecessor in height, even though both the phones has 5 Inch displays.

mi4

The top section of the Mi4 consists of a 3.5mm jack and an Infra-Red blaster , the bottom part has the speaker grill and microUSB slot. On the right side you'll find the power button and volume rockers, the left side has microSIM slot which comes out when you insert the tool inside the small hole and push it. The back side has the Camera sensor and LED flash with additional microphone. Overall the phone is 8.9mm thick and weighs 149 grams.

Display

As you may know, Xiaomi Mi4 packs a 5 Inch IPS LCD Full-HD Display with resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (~441 ppi) and 16 million colors support. According to Xiaomi, the Mi4 uses displays made by Sharp & JDI and uses Corning Concore glass for protection. The Display of Mi4 is one of the best displays ever found on a phone in this price range, though the display specifications are similar to Mi3, but still the display on Mi4 seems much better than the display on Mi3. The Sunlight legibility of Mi4 display is amazing, you'll be able to see your screen bright and clear even under the afternoon sun, the Mi3 had great sunlight legibility but the Mi4 surpasses the standards set by Mi3. Overall the Mi4 display will surely impress you.

xiaomi-mi4

Hardware & Performance

Xiaomi is known for high-end smartphones with affordable price tag, this time again they successfully stuffed flagship standard hardware inside Mi4 but still kept the price incredibly low. Xiaomi Mi4 packs Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip with a Quad-Core Krait 400 processor which is clocked at 2.5GHz. Along with it you get 3 GB RAM onboard and Adreno 330 GPU. The Mi4 is available in two variants which are 16GB and 64GB internal storage, there is no microSD card slot so you cannot expand the storage, what you get onboard is what you get. Performance wise the Mi4 is buttery smooth and runs all the high-end games available at Play store. During my tests with the Mi4, I noticed that the heating issues which was present by the time the device was launched in India, vanished with the new software update. Now the phone do heats up slightly when I'm playing games on high settings for about 25 minutes continuously or more but the heating has reduced drastically, earlier you could have boiled water on your phone by placing the utensil on it but now things are pretty good. On the device you get a Performance mode and Balanced mode which you can switch according to your need.

Software

Xiaomi Mi4 runs Android OS v4.4.4 out of the box - topped with MIUI 6, which is a custom user interface by Xiaomi. The MIUI 6 is pretty sleek and premium, the animations are smooth and the overall UI looks amazing on the HD display. The MIUI does not have an app drawer, all the apps appear on the home screen itself (like iPhone), you can add widgets to your home screen and even organize your apps in folders. The lockscreen is pretty basic, you need to swipe up to unlock the device, whereas you can easily access the camera from your lockscreen by swiping left. By default you get the option to change the font style and size on the device, you can also change themes by going to themes app and download the one you want to keep, you can change the color of LED light for different notifications etc. The MIUI also comes with a built-in remote app which controls the IR blaster on the device and you can use it for controlling your TV, Air conditioner etc. You also get custom keyboards like SwiftKey and Flesky pre-installed. Overall MIUI 6 is pretty good and performs well without any glitches and lags.

Camera

Xiaomi smartphones are know for good camera performance, thanks to their high-end camera sensors, the Mi4 packs a 13 Megapixel camera with Sony Exmor IMX 214 sensor, 6 element lens, f/1.8 aperture and LED flash which Xiaomi calls 'chroma flash' - The camera is capable of shooting 4K videos (UHD or 2160p @ 30fps); other video resolutions include 1080p @30fps and 720p @120fps, you also get HDR option in video recording. The front camera on Mi4 is an 8 Megapixel Monster (BSI sensor) which can also shoot Full HD 1080p videos. The camera interface is pretty much basic but has some cool features, like the focus point can also be used for quickly setting exposure etc. Other camera features include HDR, Panorama, Touch Focus, Face Detection, Smile Detection, High Dynamic Flash or Chroma flash etc. You also get 12 filters which can be accessed with a swipe. 

The best thing about Mi4 camera is that it is very high-speed. According to Xiaomi, the camera on Mi4 has capability to focus on the object in just 0.3 seconds. The shutter speed is just amazing with no shutter lag. Photography in daylight conditions was simply great the photos came with brighter colors which were reproduced accurately and the noise level was low. The low-light photography on Mi4 is just average, the photos do come out to be a bit noisy and the colors also look dull. When used flash in low light situations, the photos came out with yellowish tint. Macro photography on Mi4 in daylight conditions is superb, I really liked the Re-Focus option using which you can change the focus after clicking the photo. Video shot from Mi4 in daylight were pretty decent but the game changes when we shot the videos in low light. Front camera is pretty good, thanks to the 8 megapixel sensor, your selfies will always be the talk of the town. Overall the camera on Mi4 is pretty decent but it disappoints in low light photography.

Connectivity & Battery

You get a lot of connectivity options on Xiaomi Mi4, it 2G & 3G networks in India. The 4G variant of Mi4 is available in China but the model available in India supports 2G & 3G only. The Mi4 supports single MicroSIM card and other connectivity options available onboard are Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS with A-GPS support & GLONASS, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Hotspot, MicroUSB v2.0, USB Host, FTP, Infrared, FM Radio etc. It has inbuilt FTP server app which can be used for transferring files from phone to computer without USB. The microUSB slot on Mi4 support OTG connection.

The battery on Mi4 is a 3080 mAH battery which has a standby time of 280 hours on 3G. The battery lasts approximately 10 hours on Video-Loop test, which is a quite great figure for a 5 Inch device. The overall battery performance of Mi4 is very good, I was easily able to pull off a day and half with moderate usage.

Benchmarks

During the test period, we ran a couple of benchmarks on Xiaomi Mi4 to test the hardware and capability of the device. Below are the results we got on AnTuTu benchmark. The 43k score seems pretty impressive.

xiaomi-mi4-benchmark

We also ran Geenbench 3 and Quadrant benchmarks on the Mi4 and the results were; Quadrant: 23,392 and Geekbench 3: 2975 (Multi-core)

Verdict

Xiaomi Mi4 is definitely not the best phone ever came in the market nor the worst, It does have a lot of high-points and a few low points. It stands up high with it's high-end hardware and built quality but lack of some small things like NFC, Corning Gorilla Glass, MicroSD card slot, poor low light photography etc do pinch a little. I agree the above mentioned things aren't something which we cannot survive without but presence of those would've not hurt, I request Xiaomi to work more of those things in future. Currently the Xiaomi Mi4 is available in two different variants in India, the 16GB variant is Priced at Rs.19,999 and the 64GB variant is priced at Rs.23,999 - you can buy them off Flipkart, SnapDeal and Amazon.

Xiaomi Mi4 passed all our tests with flying colors (It did fail in a few points but I think that's manageable) and I think its perfectly a steal deal in this price range. Although the alternatives to Xiaomi Mi4 according to me are OnePlus One, Asus Zenfone 2, Samsung Galaxy S4 etc. these too come in similar price range and offer similar features. The OnePlus One is bigger in size, so if you prefer bigger phones then you can simply go for OnePlus One but if you want a smaller phone which fits in your hands and can be used for one hand operation and you are ok with limited storage and no NFC, then you can go for Xiaomi Mi4, trust me it won't disappoint you. So I will definitely recommend Xiaomi Mi4 to my readers. 

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About Jimmie Luthra

Jim Luthra is a Third Officer in Merchant Navy and Chief Editor of The-Area51.com, He is a Blogger, Guitarist, Painter, Book Lover, Tech Geek, Basket Ball Lover, Traveller and Fitness Freak. He loves Traveling and Adeventure Sports.
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