Sunday, March 8, 2015

Review : Xiaomi Mi4 - The Dragon Warrior!

Pros: Performance, Value for money pricing, looks, decent battery life
Cons: After sales support issues, reported heating problems, no external sd card support.



The Xiaomi Mi4 has been launched in India in February 2015 with a price tag of Rs. 19,999. The successor of now discontinued Mi3, this phone is powered by Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 processor, 3 GB RAM, Adreno 330 GPU, 16 GB internal memory, 13 MP primary + 8 MP secondary camera, 5.0 inches IPS LCD capacitive screen and Android OS v4.4.3 KitKat with MIUI 5.0 UI.




Prologue


Not long ago, a company from the land of dragons called Xiaomi introduced a smartphone in India which totally redefined performance and value for money attributes of a phone. The Xiaomi Mi3 offered specs similar to phones which are priced almost two times higher than Mi3. People gave positive response to Xiaomi despite issues related to after sales services, heating complaints and inconvenient flash sale system on flipkart. It clearly shows how important value for money factor is for Indian market! Let’s take a closer look at the Mi4 which is the latest and most expensive Xiaomi phone on sale in India till the time of writing this text.





Screen & Build Quality

The Xiaomi Mi4 looks and feels solid. The built quality is impressive. Carrying design cues from Apple and Samsung, Xiaomi Mi4 is one of the good premium looking phones in the market. It comes with 5.0 inches  IPS LCD capacitive multi-touchscreen, 16M colors with resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels  offering enormous ~441 ppi pixel density. The overall screen quality is crisp and clean. The text, images, photos and videos are treat to watch on it. There is no official word from Xiaomi on whether Mi4 is protected by gorilla glass protection or not.






Back panel is made up of highly glossy and premium plastic with Mi logo in the bottom and a 13 MP primary camera along with LED flash. On the front, we have capacitive back, home and apps buttons below the screen. Above the screen, there are couple of sensors and 8 MP front camera.  


Camera, Buttons & Call/Audio Quality

Xiaomi Mi4 is equipped with capable front and back cameras. The 13 MP primary camera clicks pictures at 4128 x 3096 pixels and can record videos at 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, 720p@120fps. Camera has all necessary features including autofocus, LED flash. 1/3'' sensor size, 1.12┬Ám pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, panorama, HDR/Video HDR. Image quality is nice for day time and for night photos also the camera performance is at par. The front 8MP camera can also record 1080p@30fps videos which is excellent for video calling purposes.









The neatly built power and volume rocker buttons are placed on the right side of the phone. Buttons are nice to use. Charging cum USB port lies on the bottom of the phone along with grilled speaker which offers loud enough sound quality. Xiaomi Mi4, however, doesn’t come with ear phones. Call quality wise, Mi4 is pretty decent.


OS/Performance and Battery

Xiaomi is known for bringing amazing specs packed in a value for money proportion. The Mi4 sports an Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 processor, 3 GB RAM, Adreno 330 GPU, 16 GB internal memory, 13 MP primary + 8 MP secondary camera, 5.0 inches IPS LCD capacitive screen and Android OS v4.4.3 KitKat with MIUI 5.0 UI. Performance wise there is no issues at all. It can just run any number of apps not matters how gui intensive it might be.







The MIUI 5.0 interface however has some nags and animations are bit slow at times. More of a software issue rather than shortcomings of hardware specs. Over MIUI 5.0, Android 4.4.3 KitKat OS does the duty. Mi4 is powered by Non-removable Li-Ion 3080 mAh battery which easily backs up the phone throughout the day in normal operating conditions. However, with lots of power under the hood, it is recommended to buy a Xiaomi power bank as well with the phone if you are a heavy smartphone user.


Verdict

While there is no doubt that Xiaomi Mi4 is a well-built powerful yet value for money smartphone, there are some areas where Xiaomi needs to work before they can actually become mainstream smartphone competitors in Indian market. Software issues, data theft reports by Chinese servers, MIUI interface nags, poor availability and reported heating issues needs to be tackled at the earliest.

Ratings (out of 5 stars)

Build Quality ****
Screen *****
Camera ****
Performance *****
Value for Money *****

Overall *****

Specs at a glance



Screen
5.0 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels  and ~441 ppi pixel density
Processor

GPU
Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 processor Adreno 330 GPU
RAM
3 GB RAM
Storage
16 GB internal memory
Camera
13 MP Primary camera + 8 MP Secondary camera
Network Type
Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 GPS, GPRS/EDGE, 3G, FM Radio, DLNA, hotspot
Battery
Li-Ion 3080 mAh battery
OS
Android 4.4.3 KitKat with MIUI 5.0
Dimensions
139.2 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm
Weight
149 grams