After taking the budget smartphone segment by storm, Xiaomi is gearing up to launch its premium handset Mi 4 in India. The Chinese manufacturer is known for offering powerful hardware at a relatively low-cost, and the Mi 4 is no exception. At an expected price of Rs 24,000, the phone offers the latest quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip and 3 GB RAM. Before the Mi 4 hits the Indian markets, we have managed to get our hands-on it.
Construction The Xiaomi Mi 4 package contains the phone, wall charger, and USB cable. Surprisingly, it does not come with earphones. Compared to other Chinese phones, the Mi 4 is quite good looking. It features a metallic frame that provides it an up-market feel.
From sides, it looks like an iPhone 5s. However, it's shares more similarities with the recently reviewed Lumia 830. For instance, the back is slightly curved. The back-panel is removable. Well, sort of. You cannot remove it without using special tools. So as opposed to what most reviews suggest, the battery is user removable if you manage to get past the rear-plate. The back is made of glossy plastic, which somewhat cancels the metallic charm of this handset. Using matte plastic would have made the Mi 4 look sophisticated.
Display The Mi 4 sports a 5" Full HD IPS screen. On paper, there's no difference between the Mi 4 and Mi 3's screens. However, in reality, the colours look much better on the Mi 4. Similar to the Lumia handsets, you can alter the phone's colours and Saturation settings. Moreover, the scren on the Mi 4 is brighter than its budget sibling. With pixel density of 440 ppi, the screen is impressively sharp. To put things in perspective, the iPhone 6 Plus has the pixel density of 400. What's disappointing here is the lack of scratch-resistant screen.
Specifications As mentioned earlier, the Mi 4 is backed by the Snapdragon 801 chipset ticking at 2.5 GHz. There's Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB RAM to handle gaming and other intensive tasks. In the cameras department you get a 13 megapixel camera with dual LED flash. It supports 4K capture. It can also record HD videos at 120 fps. Cashing-in on the latest trend, Xiaomi has thrown in an 8 megapixel front-facing camera. Other features include 16 GB internal storage, Wi-Fi, Blueooth 4.0, and 3,080 mAh battery. What's missing here is the microSD card slot.
Software And Benchmarks The Mi 4 runs Android 4.4.4 Kitkat. However, it looks nothing like how Google wanted it to be. Xiaomi's customisation MIUI v6 is a shameless imitation of iOS 8. For starters, unlike Android phones, the Mi 4 lacks app menu. You have to arrange all the app icons on the iOS-esque homescreens. The App Folder feature too looks and works exactly how it does on the iPhone.
Interestingly, the lockscreen is inspired by Microsoft's mobile platform. Although it loses out on originality, I must admit that Xiaomi has done a good job with Menu animations and transition effects.
The phone's UI very smooth. It's almost as quick as the recently reviewed Moto G. Most demanding games we have loaded so far are running fine on this handset. However, the unit we have received has a stability issue. The phone has rebooted seven times during my four hours of usage. Those who believe in numbers, here are Mi 4's synthetic benchmark scores.