Xiaomi is undeniably the best when it comes to the budget smartphone segment in the country. It was a touch of a stone to convert it into gold every time the company launched a new phone in the budget range under the Redmi series, and that is right from the Redmi 1s, three years back. While that has been bugging every other brand in the market, each of the device from Xiaomi has raised the bar for the company itself because of the expectations that are raised. The Redmi 3s was a super good phone with a battery capacity similar to the Redmi phablets and great performance.
Now, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 is officially launched and it carries the same price tag of the Redmi 3s. Subtle changes in the specifications, noticeable ones with the design, and never did we have seen a Redmi series phone with a price over Rs. 10000, but here we have it with a super combination of 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage. It isn’t a budget smartphone anywhere, not with the price and not with what you get.
Most importantly, there is enough to keep the phone ahead of the competition in this price segment. There, I said it. But then, when have we called any smartphone a perfect one? Let’s find out how good the Redmi 4 is, in every aspect that matters.
Note: I have used the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Matte Black variant, 3GB + 32GB one priced at Rs. 8999. The other two variants are 2GB + 16GB one at Rs. 6999, and 4GB + 64GB one at Rs. 10999.
Xiaomi Redmi 4 Specifications
- Display – 5-inch, 1280 x 720 pixels, IPS panel
- Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, octa-core CPU
- RAM – 2/3/4 GB variants
- Storage – 16/32/64GB variants
- Rear camera – 13-megapixel, LED flash, 1080p video
- Front camera – 5-megapixel
- OS – Android 6.0 Marshmallow, MIUI 8
- Battery – 4100 mAh, quick charge support
- Connectivity – 4G LTE, VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, IR
Before you start reading the review, note that if you are confused between this phone and the Redmi 4A that is priced at Rs. 5999, you should seriously consider the Redmi 4, even the most basic one that is available for Rs. 6999, because there are quite a lot of differences that makes this newly launched handset a worthy choice.
Design and Display
I’ve used, liked, and called the Redmi Note 4 as a strong, well-built smartphone for every reason it had. With terms of the design, the Redmi 4 simply looks like a shrunken version of the Redmi Note 4. The black one that I’m using easily seems like a far more premium device than what it is priced at, with the design and build quality that it has. An aluminum frame on the back and that is flat until it reaches the sides where the convergence happens to give the phone a curvy and smooth finish on all the sides.
The Redmi 4 seems more polished, smoother, and better than the Redmi 3s and considering the fact that it offers an even better aesthetic appeal, there is no reason not to like it. Perfectly comfortable to hold, the phone has the weight well distributed for you to feel that weight of 150 grams is not too heavy, and you are getting none less than a 4100 mAh battery packed in it.
The edges with this shape ensure a solid grip and there is also a 2.5D glass curve on the sides. As for the ports, the bottom has a symmetrical arrangement of grills on the either side of MicroUSB port, the top has a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as the IR blaster, which is a common inclusion now from Xiaomi in its phones, and the buttons are well arranged and have a great tactile response.
For a device with a 5-inch display, having the fingerprint sensor a bit higher than what it was on the Redmi 3s, makes sense as it is perfectly sitting where your finger would usually stay when holding the device. A trade-off for being a budget device, the Redmi 4 doesn’t have backlit navigation buttons on the front.
The 5-inch display comes with the IPS panel and a 720p resolution keeps it sharp enough and the color output is great as well, or at least, so much better than the competition in the same price range. Great viewing angles and the sunlight legibility is appreciable as well, which again is a good thing considering the fact that you are looking at a budget smartphone priced under Rs. 10000.
Software and Performance
The Xiaomi Redmi 4 runs MIUI 8.2 based on Android Marshmallow but the company is sending out a build with Android Nougat to developers and that indicates we will see an update anytime soon on the device. The interface might be likable to some and others might not, but then if you are ready to get adjusted to it, you will actually find a lot of useful features than the stock Android isn’t able to provide.
One of the advantages of this UI is that there is a lot of customization possible with the available settings. To take advantage of what is available, you can check out our section of Redmi 4 tips and tricks and you’ll be able to see how much is possible with the Redmi 4’s interface.
For budget smartphone users, it has always been a compromise with the performance except for a countable number of devices that offer a smooth experience. You can have the Xiaomi phones in this exception as the company has always maintained the effort of including a chipset that doesn’t hamper the experience, and after using the phone for a couple of weeks, one thing was for sure – the Xiaomi Redmi 4 is a super performer with the Snapdragon 435 under the hood. Not just with the gaming, but with even the multitasking, camera, and everything that asks for a decent chip.
As mentioned above, I’ve used the 3GB RAM variant, which does an excellent job and while the two other variants have different RAM capacities and internal storage, the octa-core chipset remains the same. All the basic chores, switching between the apps, quickly launching the camera and taking a pic or anything that usually would ask for some time to load, is flawlessly done here.
I expected the phone to show some hiccups while running intensive games like the Modern Combat 5 and Dead Trigger 2 but it was all good with smooth gaming performance, but of course, we saw the device touching about 42-degree, which should be forgiven with the conditions around (read summers in India).
Xiaomi has upped the game a bit, but note – just a bit, with the cameras. While the 13-megapixel rear camera of the Redmi 4 does capture great photos, it falters in low-light conditions and that is evident with the focusing issues and the noise in the captured photos.
The camera app has several modes including Beautify, Tilt-shift, Timer, Straighten, Scenes, Panorama, HHT, and the Manual mode where you can choose only the White balance and ISO manually. The camera also supports burst shooting where pressing and holding the shutter button does the job. When you know the MIUI interface itself offers the users with tons of things, the camera app naturally will have quite a lot of settings to choose from. The scene mode has Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night, Night Portrait, Beach, Snow, Sunset, Fireworks, Backlight, and Flowers.
These are scaled-down samples to show you the colors. You can check the link above for the full-size images.
Talk about the capture quality, the bright light captures have a good color accuracy, and while the HDR mode does well in making it better, a minor shake makes the photo blurry as it takes more than a second or two to record the information for an HDR capture. Also, for some pictures, not a case always, the corners show some stretch and that is only when using HDR mode. Otherwise, the standard captures have a decent detail and a good color reproduction.
The noise is evident in the captures taken at night with both the cameras of the Xiaomi Redmi 4. There’s not much you can do with it because you might want to use the flash to make the object look better but will have to compromise with the contrast and colors with the amber-like light turned on. Still, as an overall unit, the camera is good and better when compared to some of the smartphones in its price range.
The little device among the giants these days should have had been an average affair when it comes to the battery life, but the Xiaomi Redmi 4 is a tough performer with the 4100 mAh battery, which keeps me worry-free for more than a day on regular usage. I have used this phone as a secondary device but thanks to the nature of use, I would have the screen active for hours, and the Redmi 4 easily gets about 5 hours of screen-on time with occasional data usage, active most of the time on Wi-Fi, and the regular calling and usage included.
If you are going to use the phone as a primary one, or the only device in your pocket, you can still be easily seeing it through the day. For the secondary phone seekers, the Redmi 4 should last for a couple of days if you are using it mainly for calling or occasional data or social browsing.
The Redmi 4 has support for 4G and VoLTE and the device has all the other common connectivity options including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the company has as usual given the IR blaster as well for the phone to function as a quick remote.
The second SIM slot is a hybrid one where either you can have a SIM card or a MicroSD card, but if you are having a SIM there, it can be a 4G one as well because the Redmi 4 has a dual 4G SIM capability. The connectivity has been great with no issues. I could swiftly connect to 4G whenever the Wi-Fi coverage goes off and there was a good signal with Wi-Fi as well.
The phone’s Infrared blaster on the top has been doing well in controlling the smart stuff that is registered and that can be turned on / off with this sensor.
The bottom grills don’t have speakers on both of them but only the right grill has the speaker embedded within itself and the speaker quality is appreciable, even though it isn’t the loudest that I’ve heard, but there is rarely any distortion even on the maximum output. Having a speaker on the frame area is always good because when it is on the back, there is always a compromise when you have the phone lying down on a flat surface.
Said more that enough there, did we? Most of it is positive, very much. Why? Because it is what it is. The Xiaomi Redmi 4 is an excellent phone for its price and in the price range at which it is selling, the phone is the best.
It is no way an upgrade you should be considering from the Redmi 3s but then, for someone who is looking to buy a phone for under Rs. 10000 and is going to use it even as their main device, the Redmi 4 is a great choice. As said above, we always have high expectations from Xiaomi already because of how good the phones from the company have been, and there is no way we are disappointed.
The phone faces competition, but unsurprisingly from the same company. The Redmi Note 4 is one, with a better chipset, but a larger screen so you still have an easy decision to make – based on the screen size. Also, I have used the 3GB RAM variant of the Redmi 4 all this while, so if you have a tighter budget, there is a 2GB RAM variant as well priced at Rs. 6999.
Just so you know that there are other considerable options if you feel like Xiaomi might not be able to fit in your requirements, and these include the Lenovo K6 Power and Moto G4 Play, but frankly, they don’t serve as good as the Xiaomi Redmi 4.