This formula of Xiaomi was liked by the Indian customer. As of today, the brand is the fifth largest smartphone vendor in India and India is the largest overseas market for the company.
The company has priced its latest product Xiaomi Mi 4i at Rs 12,999. As far as the price is concerned, it is around the range of Mi 3. But does this smartphone have everything that will maintain the image of Xiaomi’s superhit mobile offering in the market in the coming times. Let’s know.
design and display
The unibody design of the Xiaomi Mi 4i gives the smartphone a solid look. It is made of good quality polycarbonate which is rarely seen in phones of this price range. At first glance, the Mi 4i looks a lot like the iPhone 5c, especially with the multi color option. In terms of look and feel, the Mi 4i is similar to many high-end Lumia devices.
The Mi 4i will be available in more colors in the future, but at launch, the phone will be available in white (16GB). The white color may disappoint many customers as it is more likely to get dirty in the Indian environment.
The Xiaomi Mi 4i follows a standard format in terms of the layout of buttons and ports. The power button is on the right edge and the volume buttons just below it. The 3.5mm audio jack is on the top of the phone and the micro USB port is on the bottom. Noise canceling microphones are built on the back of the phone. This part also houses the rear camera with dual tone LED flash. The dual micro-SIM tray is on the left side of the phone.
The Mi 4i has a 5-inch (actually 4.95-inch) Full HD screen, but the phone doesn’t feel too big to hold. Either we are used to big smartphones or the display-to-body ratio of the Mi 4i is so great that it doesn’t feel awkward in the hands. The company claims that it has taken help from the Corning brand for the screen and the screen on the smartphone offers protection similar to Gorilla Glass 3.
Color reproduction and viewing angles are excellent. The display is bright enough to see text and on-screen elements in sunlight. Xiaomi has told that the Mi 4i has a sunlight display.
Actually, the function of Sunlight display is that whenever you are outdoor, it should work to brighten the dim part of a photo so that you can see all the details properly. By the way, the company is presenting this function a little exaggeratedly, you will not be able to feel the changes happening on the screen with open eyes. Well, this is also a compliment in a way. Xiaomi also says that the sunlight display has little effect on the phone’s battery.
After using the phone, it can definitely be said that the display of Xiaomi Mi 4i is the best in this range and probably the most important feature of this product.
software and performance
Android 5.0.2 in Xiaomi Mi 4i. With latest MIUI 6 firmware. The problem is that MIUI uses a lot of RAM. Fortunately, the Mi 4i has 2GB of RAM, of which a little less than half is available for applications. You can see the recent apps through the button made in the leftmost part of the phone and information also comes on the screen that how much RAM is available for the apps at that time. A button with an (‘X’) sign appears on the screen that lets you close apps. By the way, there is not much problem in opening and closing multiple apps at once on Mi 4i. In this case you will not need much of (‘X’) and should avoid using it.
We believe that memory management should be left to the operating system itself. Because unnecessarily closing apps again and again can slow down your phone, especially when you want to use that app again.
You can also lock an app icon by sliding it down in the Recent Apps view. That is, this app will not be closed even when you use the X button. And this action will persist even after rebooting the phone.
However, MIUI also has some drawbacks. Due to many animations, the phone takes a long time to respond. To use the Settings app, you have to start from its home page again and again. That is, this app forgets the action and position of your last visit. Some third-party apps keep crashing on Xiaomi devices, this is a problem with phones from other brands as well. But this happened more on this phone than on others.
There was also an occasion when the phone was not able to complete data send and receive action on 3G network. Even restarting the phone twice did not work. But after turning off and restarting the 3G data option for the third time, the problem got fixed. On several other occasions, the e-mail app had trouble responding to touch input. At first we thought that the issue might be related to the touchscreen, but after researching, we found that the issue was only occurring in the Mail app, which was very disappointing.
Xiaomi had also informed about the Visual IVR specification while launching the product. Actually, the company will prepare a menu of IVR numbers used by companies like Indian Railways, Vodafone and Cleartrip by studying users’ data. Means the next time you call in Indian Railways, the message of 1 for English and 2 for Hindi will already appear on the screen. That means you will not have to listen to the whole message to tell your choice. You can select the option just by tapping on the screen. We were eagerly waiting for this feature, but it is still in the testing stage, which will come to the Mi 4i first and then to other Xiaomi phones through a software update in the coming times. Let us tell you that this is not an app, Xiaomi has not partnered with any company for this, but is preparing to provide this facility to you through user behavior.
There was no much shortfall in the performance of the phone. In synthetic benchmarks, the Mi 4i outperformed the Mi 3 as well as the Mi 4, which was a bit surprising. The smartphone did get a bit warm while playing games and during the battery loop test, but the situation was not worrisome.
The Mi 4i packs 16GB of internal storage, of which 10.68GB is available for applications and user data. The only disappointment is that the phone does not have a slot for a micro SD card. By the way, there is talk of launching the 64 GB variant soon, although no official information about when this will happen is currently available. The Mi 4i has support for USB OTG, which means that you can connect any USB drive and other devices to the phone via the micro USB port.
Xiaomi claims that support for 6 Indian languages is available on MIUI. This is good news for customers using Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali. By the way, we also saw the option of Marathi in the settings menu.
We didn’t face any issues while making phone calls with the Xiaomi Mi 4i, the phone supports 4G on both the SIM cards, though we couldn’t test it due to unavailability of 4G networks in our area. The loudspeaker performance was good, be it for calls, watching movies or listening to songs.
Camera and Battery Life
Xiaomi Mi 4i sports a 13-megapixel rear camera that captures better photos in good lighting conditions. Whereas in medium or low light conditions, the quality of the photo does not show that power. Performance is good in HDR mode.
The dual-tone LED flash does a good job, illuminating every area of the subject while taking a photo. Videos shot by the rear camera are above average. However, the lack in terms of color reproduction persists in this feature as well. The in-built mic does a good job of recording audio.
The story is the same for the front camera or the selfie camera, when the light is good the photo quality is excellent. But in low light the result was poor on more occasions. Mi 4i has a beautification feature through which you can make your picture more beautiful. Means there are pimples and spots on the face, everything will disappear through this app. If you believe in natural photos, then you can also turn off this feature.
Xiaomi Mi 4i houses a 3000mAh battery and the company claims that it is designed to last at least a day and a half of usage. However, on using the phone, we found that it lasted well for a day but by the next morning, there was very little battery life left in it. This performance was found during normal to heavy use. Two push e-mail accounts were active on the phone. During this, social media was also used for some time. 20 minutes of phone calling and a few minutes of gaming. The display was kept on auto brightness and the phone was connected to a 3G data connection throughout the day. Apart from this, we had also paired our phone with Mi Band via Bluetooth.
Smartphones with Snapdragon 615 have had poor battery results. Seeing this, Xiaomi has done a good job by giving a bigger battery and its performance result has to be considered good.
Through Mi 4i, Xiaomi has once again won the game. The price of this phone is almost half of the smartphone made on powerful platform like Snapdragon 615, but in terms of performance, Mi 4i gave good results in every department. The Mi 4i deserves to be applauded for the great screen and good build quality in this price range.
On the other hand, MIUI also has some drawbacks. Camera performance could have been better. If you’re looking for a standard Android UI, expandable memory, and are willing to compromise on the camera, then go for the Moto G (Gen 2). Rest all register yourself for the next flash sale of Xiaomi Mi 4i.