Xiaomi's latest budget offering, the Xiaomi Redmi 4, went on sale at 12 noon on Tuesday, exclusively on Amazon India. In the first flash sale that had taken place on May 23, the smartphone had seen a huge interest from buyers and registered a record sales number of a whopping 250,000 units within the first eight minutes.
According to Amazon.in, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 had recorded more than 10 million hits per minute on the site, after having received some 2.3 million ‘notify me’ alerts from customers since the launch announcement on May 16.
The dual-sim budget smartphone with VoLTE capabilities is the latest offering from Xiaomi and offers an all-round performance. The Xiaomi Redmi 4 smartphone is available in three storage and RAM options – 16GB/2GB, 32GB/3GB and 64GB/4GB -- which makes it a perfect smartphone option for people moving from feature phones to smartphones or those preferring budget smartphones with ample storage and RAM.
The base model of the device, with 16 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM, is priced at Rs 6,999.
Business Standard reviewed the device to check how it matched against its tall claims. Here is a detailed review of the device:
The made-in-India Redmi 4 smartphone is the latest addition to Xiaomi’s entry-level Redmi series and succeeds the popular Xiaomi Redmi 3S and 3S Prime, the smartphone that has recorded the highest ever online sales numbers in India – 4 million units in just nine months – according to the company.
The smartphones in the Redmi series are known to offer great features at affordable price tags. Each Redmi device offers a massive battery in a sleek and compact body. The Redmi 4 follows the same trend and carries the legacy forward by offering a very efficient 4,100mAh battery.
The key features that make the Xiaomi Redmi 4 a steal at its Rs 6,999 price tag:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 Octa-core processor
4100mAh battery that can last for 2 days under regular usage
13MP PDAF (phase detection autofocus) camera, 5MP, f/2.0 front with Beautify mode
5-inch HD display
Metal body with fingerprint sensor. 2.5D curved glass
Dual SIM (3-choose-2 hybrid SIM tray)
LTE and VoLTE support
Three variants: 2GB RAM + 16GB Flash, 3GB + 32GB, and 4GB + 64GB
Up to 128GB microSD expandable storage
Available in Black and Gold colours
MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0
The Xiaomi Redmi 4 is clearly one of the best budget smartphones in the market. The smartphone takes cues from its elder sibling – the Redmi Note 4 – and the design similarities are striking. The smartphone is light, proportionate and easy to hold. The small metal built of the Redmi 4 is what we liked the most about the phone.
The front side of the device is dominated by a 5-inch HD display, covered with a 2.5D curved glass. There is no additional layer to protect the screen from unwanted scratches or accidental falls, so users are advised to use high-quality tempered glass on the gorgeous curved screen.
There are three capacitive navigation keys below the display that work like a charm. The earpiece and sensors find their spot at the front top, along with the front camera. The ejectable hybrid dual-SIM tray is placed at the left side of the device and requires a pin to bring out. The volume rockers and power button are placed on the right side.
The 3.5mm headphone jack, along with infrared blaster and secondary microphone, is placed at the top and the bottom is covered with micro-USB port surrounded by 5-hole grills on each side, with microphones in one and speakers in another.
The rear is rather bland, with the primary camera placed at the top left along with LED flash and fingerprint scanner at the centre. What we appreciate about the design at the back are the new anodised antenna lines that certainly look like a clever addition to the Redmi 4. Also, the rim around the camera is protruding but the lens is placed a little inside.
Overall, the device feels light and comfortable in the pocket and in hand. You would not need both your hands to operate it. It fits right in one hand and features like fingerprint scanner and notification bar are accessible with just one hand.
Display, Software and Performance
The Redmi 4 sports a 5-inch HD display of 1280 x 720 pixels that offers 296 PPI. While other smartphones are shifting to full-HD resolution, Xiaomi’s decision to stick to HD resolution makes sense as it reduces a lot of load on the processor and that is quite evident while using the device. The display is bright, sharp and the curved glass above it makes it easy to use. The screen remains visible under direct sunlight and offers great contrast and saturation under all light conditions.
The smartphone boots Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow skinned under MIUI 8. Now that Android version ‘O’ is on its way and Nougat is widely popular, we expected the device to come with Android Nougat. Nevertheless, the Android Nougat preview is available for users who want to experience it and they will get to update to Nougat once the stable version rolls out.
Among the pros of the software, MIUI 8 looks cleaner and more polished than previous versions of the skin. More than cosmetic ones, the new skin offers utility-based features such as dual apps, quick ball, single-hand mode, child lock and scrolling screenshot. The dual-apps feature comes in handy for users operaing multiple accounts for WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The single-hand feature shrinks the screen to one side and makes it convenient to operate the phone using just one hand. The scrolling screenshot feature takes a long screenshot of the screen, eliminating the need to take multiple screenshots to share the entire content.
As such, there are few negatives. But one thing that could have been addressed is the bloatware on the device. The smartphone comes with a lot of pre-installed bloatware that you cannot remove. This eats up some part of the internal memory. While there are options to go for extra storage, the bloatware certainly is a negative for people purchasing the base model with 16GB of storage.
The Redmi 4 runs software and features without any hiccup. The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 SoC with octa-core processor. While the processor is no powerhouse, it provides enough power to the device to operate without any glitch or lag. The HD screen puts less strain on the processor, so the processing power is used for other tasks. In regular use, we did notice a little lag sometimes but nothing major to ruin the experience. The phone is not meant for running graphic-intensive games like Asphalt 8. Though you can play the game, it makes the device sluggish and also causes a heat-up.
The Redmi 4 features a 13-megapixel rear camera assisted with phase detection auto-focus (PDAF) and LED flash. The camera is an improvement over its predecessor and is capable of clicking better shots. In day light, the camera works very well to shoot images with a lot of detail, greater sharpness and contrast. There are features like HDR mode, manual mode and panorama that could be used to improve the imaging capabilities of the device. While HDR works fine with a tripod, it slows down the post-processing level and requires steady hands.
There is a 5 MP selfie camera that supports beautify mode. The front camera also requires steady hands to click good selfies. In day light, the camera works well but the quality takes a beating during low-light conditions.
The Redmi 4 is capable of recording HD and full-HD videos with fine balance of colours and frames. In good light condition, the camera records decent clips but low light seems to ruin the essence.
The major attraction of the device is its mammoth 4,100 mAh battery that keeps the show running. The smartphone stays up for more than one day. We tested the device battery in three phases.
In the first, we used the device normally and checked the battery use. During normal use with light browsing, an hour of YouTube video, calls and WhatsApp messaging, the device could stretch for 2 days straight.
In the second phase, we used the device with heavy usage without power-intensive applications. With regular internet usage, long hours of YouTube playback, music on loud speaker, scrolling Instagram galleries, etc, the phone managed to survive one complete day and still had 12 per cent battery to go.
In the third, we used the device heavily with some serious power-hungry apps and games and the result was impressive, as the phone continued to run for 14 hours straight before asking for a refill.
The Redmi 4 is a capable smartphone with perfect screen size and resolution. With a price tag of Rs 6,999 for the base model, the phone is worth every penny and is certainly the most beautiful smartphone in its category. It boasts a processor equivalent to the one that powers the Moto G5 and, based on experience, we could say the Redmi 4 is far smoother.