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Xiaomi Mi 4i 16 GB Review: A High-end Flagship Smartphone Without microSD Support
Chinese manufacturer - Xiaomi, which has been progressively heading towards becoming the best-selling smartphone brand in India, has recently added yet another player - the Mi 4i in the Indian market recently. The device is quite impressive in a lot of ways. Moreover, the company has been impressing with the entire range of Mi devices so far and with the addition of this one, the brand, headed by Hugo Barra is consistently making its mark felt in India, which is one of the largest Android markets in the world.
With its aggressive pricing legacy, the company has adamantly mesmerized the larger part of the Indian Android fans, if not the whole. The new Mi 4i is not differently priced either. Quite affordable at Rs. 12,999, the Xiaomi Mi 4i is close to the company's blockbuster device the Mi3.
- Value for money
- 4G LTE
- Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0
- 3120 mAh battery
- MIUI Lags
- Lacks MicroSD card slot
- Low maximum brightness level
Anyway, let's find out how the device is, as we have thoroughly used it for more than a week.
Build and Design
Xiaomi has bestowed the Mi 4i with a non-removable polycarbonate rear panel which is not much of a new thing but it does make a device look quite premium, at least in terms of design. Moreover, the back panel wraps the device from the back and encloses the side edges too, offering a rounded edges and corners to the phone. It comes with a mild matte finish with a non-grease coating. Although, the company has not offered metal frames or body to the device, it does give a sturdy steel volume rocker and the power/standby button on the right hand side of the phone. On the left side of the phone, the dual SIM card slots are located, while the 3.5mm audio jack seats at the top of the phone and at the bottom, you will see the micro USB charging and data transfer port.
Xiaomi Mi 4i is not the thinnest phone that we have seen so far, but 7.8mm thickness has quite suited the phone. Moreover, the weight of the phone is something that will not fail to impress you. It's 130gms light. Talking about the appearance, the thin bezel on the top and bottom of the display makes the Mi 4i quite likable. Perhaps, one would also notice the employment of the One Glass Solution that gives the device another perspective in terms of appearance, if not functionality.
On rotating the device, the rear part of the Mi 4i bears a 13MP camera module. Precisely speaking, the snapper is located at the top left hand corner and just beside it lays a dual LED flash. There is no any sort of dimple created on the rear panel by the camera as it is leveled to the rear panel. The Mi brand logo is dabbed at the lower half of the rear panel, just above the speakers. There is also a slight bump near the speakers which lifts the phone even when it is kept back-face down to maintain the audio quality. Although the one which we received was white, Xiaomi does offer multi-coloured back covers which you can attach on the rear side.
Xiaomi has retained the popular 5-inch display size in Mi 4i. It utilizes full HD resolution that translates to 441ppi pixel density. Therefore, it offers vibrant picture quality and the IPS technology gives it a perfect viewing angles. However, this isn't scratch-resistant screen.
If you are expecting a Gorilla Glass protection in this device, I'm afraid you would be saddened. However, what you will get is a One Glass Solution technology, so you might want to get an extra screen protector for sure. The display is quite admirable also because it is resistant to smudges and you can consistently see the clean black screen every time you lock the phone. The contrast is pretty deeply projected on the display. However, it doesn't meet the standards of AMOLED panels.
A new addition to the hardware of the device is the ‘Sunlight Display' technology, which helps to auto-adjusts the contrast of pixels in real time taking the hint from the light condition outside. Intense right! Obviously, this will help those selfie lovers to take pictures even in the sizzling sunlight condition.
Another amazing aspect of the device is the option that lets you tweak color temperature and saturation of the display to your convenience. Moreover, the maker of the Redmi smartphones have also employed a new display technology that boosts the brightness of darker areas of your screen to make them more visible when there's bright light source present.
If you are expecting a quick judgment on the display department, everything is perfectly ok except the brightness level, which is comparatively lesser if matched with the company's other devices like Mi 3. However, the sunlight readability has relatively improved even with the low maximum brightness level.
Power and Processor
One of the most popular chipset maker Qualcomm has taken the job to supply the CPU to the Mi 4i. Precisely speaking, it's the second generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC that powers the handset. It consists of a total of eight Cortex A53 cores, four clocked at 1.7 GHz and the other four at 1.1 GHz. Obviously, the GPU that comes along with the processor is Adreno 405. Finally, you will not be surprised to see the 2GB of RAM doing the back end work for the smartphone.
Basically, the smartphone is pretty much capable of running graphic-intense games smoothly. Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dead Trigger 2 ran pretty much without any lag.
As far as the benchmark is concerned, the device scored 34584 in AnTuTu tool. Despite, its impressive performance, Xiaomi Mi 4i, due to its specs and configuration is still not much of a monster device. Needless to say, it still falls under the average performer's category, if looked in a wholesome manner.
Obviously, the Xiaomi Mi 4i is blessed with all the goodness of Android 5.0.2. But what makes it different is its custom UI - the MIUI v6, which is slapped on top f the Lollipop version of Android.
However, there is a problem with the company's native UI. This is not just with this particular phone but almost all the other phones that the company has released so far. Since the UI is quite heavy, it consumes quite a lot of RAM. Therefore, the device tends to hang because of it. Although, it is good that this time around the Chinese smartphone manufacturer has included 2GB of RAM for better speed and more room for the apps to play in.
Talking a about the UI, many animations involved are not quite pleasing as the animations sometimes do lag.
The Mi 4i uses a same 13MP rear camera that we have seen in its predecessor. The company says that the camera is equipped with 5-element lens configuration with an f/2.0 aperture. On the front-face it has the 5MP camera. So far, Xiaomi smartphones have pleased quite a lot of people with its imaging capabilities. This one is no exception either. It shoots really good pictures.
The user interface of the camera also hasn't changed and is quite easy to use. Talking about the picture quality, the broad daylight images are insanely impressive, but as far as the low-light imaging is concerned, the camera is average. However, it is not poor either. It is also capable of shooting decent quality full HD and HD video. You will also get the regular HDR modes.
Storage and Connectivity
Xiaomi Mi 4i is fully loaded with ample connectivity options. These include support for 6 LTE bands. You can tap to an LTE network on either SIM, but the other SIM with by default turned to a GSM band. The Mi 4i also offers quad-band GSM connectivity and tri-band 3G connectivity with HSPA support. Other options include dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac support and Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS and GLONASS, microUSB 2.0 (OTG) and FM radio. Moreover, wireless screen mirroring is also available via the Miracast.
Talking about the storage, the Xiaomi Mi 4i comes with a 16GB built in storage, out of which only 12.9GB is user accessible. Even more saddening fact is that it doesn't come with a microSD card slot. Therefore, you will have to manage with whatever space you have on the phone.
The battery that fuels the Mi 4i is quite impressive. Precisely, the 3120mAh cell apparently looks more than enough for this 5-inch device. However, it is a non-removable one but comes with a fast charging ability.
The battery will offer the phone not less than 13 hours of life with a moderate usage. With games and videos involved, the device managed to run about 9 hours but it is not an intense usage.
Frankly, priced at just Rs 12,999, Xiaomi Mi 4i is quite a winning deal. The smartphone offers pretty good specs, if not premium and manages to deliver lag free performance. Although, the device does heat up after a long usage.
What makes the phone a great buy is not just the price but also the quality display, good camera, and a build quality that one can live with.
Sadly, the device fails to offer a microSD card slot which is pretty annoying. In fact, this might only be the phone launched this year without a micoSD card slot.
As far as the competition is concerned, the Mi 4i will be throwing punches at Moto G (2nd gen) the most.