With the Mi4i, Xiaomi is out to make a splash within the Indian handset market. But this phone from the Chinese tech giant has a lot more going for it other than the hype.
Its 5-inch Full HD display is one of the sharpest and most capable onto the market today. Plus, the device has the best 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, this one also comes with a decent 5-megapixel front-facing shooter. The non-removable 3,120mAh battery was good for 15 hours of continuous talk time.
The Xiaomi Mi4i offers everything you'd want from a high-end smartphone: big 5-inch 1080p display, fast processor, and, of course, excellent battery life.
For half the price of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Mi4i delivers a polished experience. We carried around the Xiaomi Mi4i for a few weeks when the company first released the device in India. Read the full review.
Xiaomi Mi4i Smartphone Review: Form Factor, Design, Display and Operating System
The Xiaomi Mi4i is distinctive in many ways. Rather than glass or metal clad back cover, Xiaomi simply wrapped it in a plastic body. The material is fine - and the handset feel more durable. What's more, the handset's plastic-made body is less prone to smudges and fingerprints.
Design-wise, the phone measures 7.8mm thick compared to the Huawei Honor 4X (8.65mm). That makes the Mi4i a bit slimmer when being compared to its nearest competitor in the same price bracket.
Controls for the device are located on the right hand side, and consist of the volume rocker and dedicated power button. The buttons feel premium. Stereo speakers hide beneath Mi logo on the rear back side. The SIM card slot is located on the left hand side. the Micro USB charging port is on the bottom.
To be frank, the Mi4i has as some definite similarities to the company's previous phones, but that doesn't mean Xiaomi has forgotten to introduce a new design language.
The new design language is a welcome change in the mid-end segment, and the Mi4i is Xiaomi's best looking handset to date. Unfortunately, the Mi4i doesn't come without any sacrifices. There is no micro SD card slot, meaning you're stuck with a 16GB of internal storage. Also missing is the dedicated camera key, which we think should be included in the next version.
The Xiaomi Mi4i has a 5.0-inch Full HD screen, supplied by Sharp or JDI, which is slightly large compared to the iPhone 6 (4.7-inch). At 1,920 x 1,080, the Mi4i's screen seems better than any other handset in its class. In fact, it does match the quality seen on the recently released flagship devices.
Videos look great on the screen and colours were true-to-life. We also really like the size of the display which needless to say is so perfect to catch a full movie while travelling.
Xiaomi has also used Corning's Concore One Glass Solution to make sure the screen is protected scratches. We found the screen is not prone to scratches, at least, in our daily usage.
Moreover, Xiaomi also incorporated a new technology called ‘Sunlight Display', which dynamically adjusts the contrast of pixels so as to show a crisp display even in harsh sunlight. The biggest USP of this technology is that you get a same level of sharpness and detail in bright sunlight.
The newly launched handset run Google's Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system instead of tried and tested Android 4.4 KitKat. Xiaomi's MIUI 6 works really well in comparison to Samsung's TouchWiz UI. That seemed to be a good thing.
Interestingly, the company has made no big changes to the MIUI 6. Plus, the system apps doesn't feature Material design.
Xiaomi adds just a few apps to its own version, which comes as a big relief to many. The clean interface will surely excite things up.
What's more, Xiaomi has now added support for 6 Indian languages and Visual IVR for India in beta. At the time of writing the review, Visual VR feature wasn't made available on the device.
Xiaomi Mi4i Smartphone Review: Performance, Audio and Connectivity
The Mi4i comes with the second-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chip. This is the first handset to feature the updated chipset. To be honest, the Snapdragon 615 (2nd Gen) is a capable processor, but do not expect fire crackling performance.
This means it has a 64-bit 1.7GHz octa-core processor and Adreno 405 GPU. The CPU is complemented by 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of non-expandable memory.
In our long usage, we haven't experienced any delays while launching apps, loading websites, or playing games. However, we'd like to mention that the phone did get hot after a heavy duty gaming session, though, this is a common problem even with a high-end monster device. So nothing abnormal here.
In benchmark tests, the Xiaomi Mi4i nailed it completely. On AnTuTu benchmarks, the Mi4i scored notching a score of 38,632, better than the Google Nexus 5 and LG G3, but behind the Samsung Galaxy S5 ( 45,000). The handset scored a cool 22,061 in Quadrant.
The Xiaomi Mi4i's single speaker sits on the lower bottom edge (back side) of the phone . This means the speakers can become obstructed when holding the phone in landscape mode to watch a movie. Otherwise, the sound quality isn't bad at all.
Connectivity options on the device include Dual SIM, USB 2.0, 4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi, among others. We experienced decent 3G speeds when testing the Xiaomi Mi4i in both Connaught Place area and in Select City Walk mall, Delhi.
Call quality will suffer if your network connectivity drops off, particularly, in areas like Rajiv Chowk (a known Delhi Metro Station) where the Mi4i barely had connectivity.
Xiaomi Mi4i Smartphone Review: Cameras
Xiaomi's Mi range have always had exceptional cameras and the Mi4i is no exception. It has a 13-megapixel Sony-made CMOS rear camera (with 5-element lens, f/2.0 aperture) camera along with a dual tone flash. Also, add a 5MP front-facing shooter upfront.
The camera takes great photos in day light conditions, though we found shots captured indoors through this phone were a bit grainy. Overall, the Mi4i took gorgeous shots with rich colours and sharp details. We found the back camera to be extremely powerful, especially, in low-light settings.
In addition to that, in the HDR photo, exposure is good, capturing a lot of detail. Selfies using the 5-MP front cam delivered decent detail, and the beauty mode is a stellar way to capture self-portraits.
The rear-facing camera can also shoot Full HD, 720p and 480p videos with options for fast and slow recording. Our 1080p videos of Barakhamba road looked sharp and crisp.
Xiaomi Mi4i Smartphone Review: Battery and Final Verdict
With its 3,120 mAh battery, the Xiaomi mi4i lasted 14 hours and 52 minutes on our battery test (continuous 3G/WiFi browsing), which seemed to be great.
We seriously liked the Xiaomi Mi4i for being so perfect. We liked the one-hand-friendly design, as well as its rear-back camera, and overall performance.
The Xiaomi Mi4i is a perfect phone for geeks and non-geeks. If you're a Xiaomi fan and you want a Mi4i, this is a fantastic choice at a price of Rs. 12,999. The Mi4i is yet another stellar device from the Chinese handset manufacturer Xiaomi.