Yesterday at an event in New Delhi, Xiaomi finally launched the Mi 4 in India. The 2014 flagship device is priced at Rs 19,999 and will go on sale next month on February 10 via Flipkart. We have had some time with the Mi 4 and here are our first impressions. Also Read - Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12X, Xiaomi 12 Pro might launch by the end of this monthAlso Read - Cryptocurrency regulation bill: How worried are Indian investors?
There are two things you are bound to notice the moment you hold the Mi 4. First, it feels much more premium than the Mi 3, and the second, it looks deceptively like the Apple iPhone 5S. Xiaomi and its executives have time and again taken offence with the tag Apple inspired, but one look at the Mi 4 and you will know where the term emerged from. The stainless steel frame, and chamfered edges seem heavily inspired from Apple s iPhone.
The front of the Xiaomi Mi 4 is dominated by the 5-inch display, with backlit capacitive navigation buttons at the bottom, a small Mi logo at the top-left corner, and the front-facing camera on the top-right corner. The volume rocker and power button on the right are built with the same metallic materials and offer good tactile response. The SIM card tray is situated on the left, while the speaker grille and micro USB port is situated at the bottom. The 3.5mm audio jack and Infrared sensor are at the top.
The back of the smartphone sports a slightly rounded back cover, which makes it easy to pick up the device when kept on a flat surface. The cover boasts a diamond-style texture and gets a glossy finish. It is this finish however that makes the back prone to fingerprints and smudges.
The Mi 4 s Apple-inspired design aside, there s no denying that the device looks and feels premium. When you compare its closest competitors like the OnePlus One, Huawei Honor 6 and the Lenovo Vibe X2, the Mi 4 s build quality and finishing stands out.
The smartphone features a 5-inch full HD JDI/Sharp display with Corning OGS (One Glass Solution) for protection against scratches. The display is one of the brightest we have seen in this segment and colors and text look sharp and crisp. Viewing angles are quite good as well.
Under the hood is a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor paired with Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. In theory these specs are more than enough to handle any and everything that is thrown at the device. In the time we have used the device we have rarely come across any lags when using apps, clicking photos or browsing the Internet.
On the photography front, there is a 13-megapixel snapper at the back with LED flash, 1.12 m pixel size, and support for 4K video recording at 40 frames per second. In the brief time we have used the device performance has been decent, though there was a marked drop in the quality when clicking photos indoors. As for the front camera, the 8-megapixel snapper will keep the selfie lovers satisfied. We will however be passing our final judgment over how good the cameras are when we test them extensively during our review.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 boasts a 3,080mAh battery that the company claims is good enough for a day and half of usage. There is also a quick charging mode, which will charge the device to 60 percent in just 30 minutes.
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On the software front, the Mi 4 runs on the latest MIUI 6.0, based on Android 4.4 KitKat. The new UI is lighter and faster than previous iterations and feature a flatter theme. You can check out some of the new features here, and we will take a more detailed look at the features when we review the smartphone.
Until this point, the Mi 4 has made a strong case for itself, but this is where it goes downhill a bit. For starters Xiaomi has launched the 16GB variant of the Mi 4 in India. In essence once you have setup the smartphone you will get only around 12GB for use, and there is no option for a microSD card to expand the memory either. This is a huge downer considering its rivals either offer a microSD card slot, or 32GB/64GB internal storage at the very least.
Another aspect that goes against the Mi 4 is the lack of 4G LTE support. The company reportedly faced issues while trying to fit the dual-mode 4G (TD LTE+FDD LTE) antenna in the device s slim form factor. In a time when Indian cities are steadily getting 4G connectivity and companies are launching affordable LTE-capable smartphones, the absence on the Mi 4 is a downer.
The Mi 4 then is everything you would expect from Xiaomi a device boasting high-end specifications, and priced aggressively (Rs 19,999). Low storage and an absence of LTE-capability notwithstanding, the smartphone makes a strong case for itself. Unlike when the Mi 3 was launched though, the Mi 4 will face some stiff competition from the likes of the Huawei Honor 6, Lenovo Vibe X2 and the OnePlus One among others. We will soon be reviewing the smartphone, so stay tuned!