Xiaomi's signature, more affordable offerings make their brand units high in demand. Add the sophisticated designs, which are comparable to Samsung's and Apple's, Xiaomi Mi 4 came at the perfect time to bring power smartphones to the next level, and to a broader audience bracket, price-wise.
Look, Design, Feel (/10)
Coming in close with Xiaomi Mi 3, the new flagship comes with a glossy cover, with the exciting option to change back cover designs. The designs pay homage to China's oriental roots, with the selection ranging from, mostly eco-themed, bamboo, wooden slats, and other wooden/fabric finishes. Similar to construction tiles or wallpaper décor, this unique feature, although not new as local phone shops can produce any cover design available, is a nod to users' creativity.
There's no Gorilla glass, but the thin and clean approach still sells. With its 5" HD display, Mi 4's 13MP main camera and the much sought-after 4K video capture add allure to the over-all package, while the 8MP front camera is an essential upgrade in this selfie-necessity era.
Initially released to China, Mi 4 comes with Xiaomi's MIUI v5, and runs on Android 4.4.3 Kitkat. Everything Google is replaced with Mi Market apps. You can install Google to have access to Play Store to download your preferred apps.
Internal RAM of 3GB is provided, with a choice of 16GB (base price) or 64GB internal memory.
A 5GB complimentary storage at Mi Cloud can hold photos, contacts, notes, logs, recordings, and an online messaging system sans the SMS bill. A Siri-sort of Voice Assistant will chat with you in Chinese. This may be updated soon with application of English language, as well as having pre-installed Google apps.
Customisable features add ease to Xiaomi Mi 4's usage. This includes options for Music Player, Gallery, FM Radio, and Video Player.
The LED Flash equipped 13MP camera delivers good quality snaps. The panoramic shots get stitched seamlessly. While front cameras are accepted to be of lesser quality, Mi 4's 8MP facecam provides superior results with its good imaging colour rendition. Built-in apps include the usual round-up of calendar, flashlight, clock, calculator, and weather.
Mi 4 is packed with multiple connectivity options including WiFi, Bluetooth, GLONASS, Quad-band GSM and 3G with HSPA. The Snapdragon 801 chipset in the LTE-enabled Mi 4 sufficiently supports the unit. To complete the list, the microSD 2.0 port can be used for file transfers as well as charging.
A solid battery fits this solid unit. Before the juice drains out, you can accomplish 18-hours talk time, 7-hours video playback, and 9-hours web surfing.
Xiaomi's current flagship also fared well with benchmark tests. Expect slight lagging during heated period, as it gets warm over time. Still, there seems to be no visible hiccup while gaming, and the quick, responsive UI makes for enjoyable usage.
Value for Money (/10)
As always, Xiaomi considers pricing as part of their all-in model packages. Xiaomi Mi 4 gives more bang for your buck, and it's ever pleasing to feel that you've gotten what you've paid for and more. With very minimal issues, Mi 4 could be that one phone you get to keep for years.
- Reasonably priced
- Fast, responsive performance
- Solid body
- Multiple back cover design choices
- 4K video, 13MP main camera, 8MP front camera
- Heats up over time
- No Gorilla Glass
- No Google Apps / Play Store