Xiaomi created a storm in India when they launched their Mi3 flagship last year. Riding the same storm with other budget offerings, Xiaomi announced their new flagship device, predictably named Mi4. Unlike the earlier device, Mi4 looks like an enlarged iPhone 5S. It hosts similar metal edges with an almost similar speaker grill and rectangular looks. Smartly though, it does feel a premium device as inspired. Xiaomi is known to offer a lot of value for the price. This time though, they are not alone. Will the Mi4 be able to retain the demand which the Mi3 commanded?
Design & Build:
Mi4 may look like an iPhone 5S on steroids, but it’s just the inspiration. A single metal strip holds the volume and power keys on the right, with the micro-sim tray on its left, an IR blaster on the top alongside a 3.5mm jack and precisely cut speaker grill with micro USB port at the bottom. The front elegantly sports a Full HD 5″ JDI Sharp display with minimal bezels, 8MP camera, neatly designed backlit capacitive buttons and a notification LED. The rear hosts a center mounted 13 MP Camera and MI logo on a beautifully slippery back that can be customized. The battery is non removable though and lack of micro-SD card slot is disappointing. Overall it’s great to hold with the curved back and premium metal sides. Do mind the slippery back though!
The Snapdragon 801 beats under the Mi4’s skin alongside 3GB RAM. The specs are comparable to most of the flagships of today and can smoothly handle anything thrown at it. It runs MIUI 6 built on Android Kitkat and though being resource heavy, the UI is smooth and for most of the part, very stable. We tried heavy gaming on it and the Mi4 handled them like a pro. Be warned though, within minutes of gaming, the phone heated like hell. The heat dissipates to the metal sides and after a while, it’s enough to act as a small iron for your cloth creases. The display is great to look at and very vibrant in sunlight with good black levels, but somehow its unnatural and the color tones are way off anything real. The battery life too is a hit or miss and gave us mixed results averaging at 4 – 4.5 hours of screen-on time with easily over 20 hours of daily usage.
Both the 8MP front and 13MP rear camera on the Mi4 are f1.8 and can produce great images unless you turn on flash. Flash it and everything in the image will seem jaundice infected. That’s very poor for a flagship device. The Mi3 had the issue of flash turning images a bit cooler but the Mi4 warms it to extremes. 4K videos are good but lack the details as compared to other manufacturers and also are limited with the onboard storage. There are several shooting modes, but the post processing needs an update as images are noisier even in decent lighting conditions. Bright outdoor images and videos are what satisfy our minds, though be ready to see everything unrealistically vibrant on the phone’s display.
Mi4 sports the specifications of a last year flagship device but compensates it with the affordable prices. It faces heavy competition from the One Plus One and when compared head on, fails to deliver similar value. Buy the Mi4 for MIUI 6, its superb customizations and the over saturated display. Do note, Mi4 needs some software updates to rectify its flaws. If looking at an overall package, rather buy the One plus One, it’s much better value than the Mi4 64GB Variant.
5 JDI Sharp 1080p display
2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 Quad-core chipset
Android OS v4.4.4 with MIUI 6
16GB / 64GB internal storage, 3GB RAM
13MP rear cam with LED, 4K video
8MP front cam, 1080p video
Exhibit Rating: 3/5
Price: Rs. 19,999 – 16GB / Rs. 23,999 – 64GB