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Xiaomi Redmi 4A first impressions: A refreshing addition in the budget smartphone segment

Xiaomi is looking at disrupting the affordable smartphone segment with the new Redmi 4A. Here are our first impressions.

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Xiaomi’s Redmi series smartphones continue to do well in India, be it the Redmi Note or the Redmi 3s range. Recently a report suggested that since last August, Xiaomi has sold over three million units from the Redmi 3s range. Today the Chinese company took the wraps off a new Redmi smartphone, called the Redmi 4A. Priced at Rs 5,999, the Redmi 4A is aimed at a segment crying out for a smartphone that is well-built and offers decent performance. Having spent sometime with the smartphone at the Delhi launch event, here are my first impressions.

The Redmi 4A is a quintessential Xiaomi smartphone in terms of the overall look and how it feels to hold. It boasts a polycarbonate body that is polished to give an impression of a metallic body. Only when you hold the device in your hands that you realize that it is a plastic phone. The rounded corners and a thickness of only 8.5mm means the device sits comfortably in your palms. Buyers will be able to choose from three color options — dark grey, gold and rose gold.

The front is dominated by the display with capacitive navigation buttons underneath. The power button and the volume rocker are placed on the right, while the SIM card tray is placed on the left. Xiaomi has opted for a hybrid setup, which means one can either use two SIM cards or a combination of one SIM card and a microSD card to expand the internal storage. The rest of the ports include a 3.5mm audio jack and an IR Blaster at the top, and a micro-USB port at the bottom. ALSO READ: Xiaomi sets up second manufacturing unit in India

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The Xiaomi Redmi 4A flaunts a 5-inch HD (1280×720 pixels) IPS display. In the short time I spent with the device, the display performed satisfactorily with good color reproduction, and text looked sharp as well. Under the hood is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 425 quad-core 64-bit chipset paired with 2GB of RAM. Performance was decent during the time I spent with the new device. To a large extent, things worked smoothly with apps opening and closing with ease. There were barely any lags despite having multiple apps open in the background. That said, we will take a closer look at the device’s performance over a longer time in our review.

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There’s 16GB storage on offer, which can be expanded up to 128GB using a microSD card. On the software front, the Redmi 4A runs on Android Marshmallow-based MIUI 8. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Redmi 4A vs Moto E3 Power vs Samsung Galaxy J1 4G: Price, specifications and features compared

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In the photography department, Xiaomi’s smartphone is equipped with a 13-megapixel rear snapper with f/2.2 aperture, 5-element lens, and a single LED flash. Under ambient lighting conditions at the launch venue, the camera performed just well enough for a sub-Rs 6,000 smartphone. Even the 5-megapixel selfie camera performed as expected. As with most Chinese smartphones, the Redmi 4A also comes with Beauty mode. We will, however, reserve our judgments on both the cameras till we have tested them extensively in our review.

Making sure everything ticks is a 3,120mAh battery underneath, which Xiaomi says is good enough for standby time of up to seven days. One feature that is, however, missing is a fingerprint sensor. Lately, fingerprint sensors have become an essential feature that offer an extra layer of security for our devices. The absence of this feature then feels like a compromise, and seems like Xiaomi left it out to keep the costs down. On the connectivity front, you get the usual bevy of features like 4G with VoLTE support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

At first look, Xiaomi does seem to have a strong contender in a segment that is currently missing a noteworthy smartphone. While the Redmi 4A lacks a standout feature, it does feel like a jack of all trades. The Rs 5,999 price tag seems apt, and there will be the usual rush of buyers on the first day of sale on March 23. Though initial impressions are positive, it is too soon to pass a judgment of how good the smartphone really is. We will soon be posting a detailed review of Xiaomi’s new smartphone, so stay tuned.