Xiaomi’s Redmi series has changed the expectations of what a budget phone should offer, at least in India. So it’s not surprising to see the company launch one Redmi phone after another this year. The Mi phones are coming, promises Xiaomi, but for now the mantra for success is Redmi, Redmi and some more Redmi.
The latest is the Redmi 4 smartphone that marks the return of the budget series with a starting price of Rs 6,999. This time, however, there’s a 4GB RAM and 64GB storage version as well. We got the Redmi 4 unit with 3GB RAM+32GB storage for review. So does the Redmi 4 live up to the expectations? Here’s our review.
Specifications: 5-inch HD display |Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor at 1.4 Ghz |3GB RAM+32GB storage (expandable) | 13MP rear camera with PDAF, LED flash + 5 MP front camera | 4100 mAh battery | Android M with MIUI 8 | See full specifications of Redmi 4 here |
Price: Rs 8,999 for the 3GB RAM+32GB storage
Redmi 4 sports a metal unibody design, just like the Redmi Note 4. In fact, it is fair to call this a mini Redmi Note 4. It’s good to see Xiaomi introduce a matte black variant at this price point, however the phone is prone to picking up dust, fingerprint smudges on the back.
The volume rockers and power button are on the right side, the SIM tray on the left side. It has antenna lines at the top and bottom on the rear of the phone. The camera lens is tucked away neatly in one corner with the LED flash placed before it. The fingerprint scanner is at the back.
Xiaomi has added dual speakers at the bottom, and there’s a micro-USB port at the bottom of the phone. There’s glass all over the front, along with the front camera on top. Yes, this one still has a 3.5mm headphone jack on top, but you’ll have to purchase the headphones separately.
Given the 5-inch form factor this is compact, and will fit in your jeans pocket. Also you can easily use this smartphone with one hand. I would say this is one of the nicest-looking devices you can get for Rs 6,999. However, getting a cover is a must for this phone.
Redmi 4 has 5-inch HD resolution display, and while 720p might be a bummer, it works pretty well for this screen size. You can read easily on this, even in bright sunlight. For video consumption, this is a more than acceptable display considering the price.
Battery is the highlight of the Redmi 4. It will easily last more than a day with heavy usage. I didn’t have to charge this phone on daily basis. For most budget phone buyers, this is a major relief point. In the PCMark battery test, it scores around 12 hours plus.
But yes, charging this one takes some time. I used this phone as WiFi hotspot to set up another, much more expensive phone and even though Redmi 4 was under 40 per cent, it lasted the whole day. The battery saver option is another feature in the phone that you can rely on to extend your phone’s usage. Even with under six per cent charge, it managed to last the 40-minute ride back home.
For a budget phone, I’d say this is impressive. I used this phone with a 4G SIM card.
Performance of the Redmi 4 is certainly above average when you compare it with other phones in similar price range. Benchmarks scores might not be that high, but the 3GB RAM version we got can handle multitasking easily. If your major points of consumption are YouTube, Facebook, and the rest of the social media apps, this phone is more than enough. Side note: You can run games like Asphalt 8, etc on this, but there is a noticeable lag at times.
Coming to the camera, Redmi 4 has 13MP rear camera, which manages to get some really nice shots when the light is proper. It is quick to focus, though HDR results take some time to process and the colours don’t look so bad. The low-light performance is not terrible, considering this is a budget phone. However, pictures do have noise on the edges, which is hard to miss.
The fingerprint scanner is now standard across all storage options and it works pretty accurately most of the time. Redmi 4 runs the MIUI8 on Android M and you get features like dual WhatsApp and dual Facebook Messenger. I like how Xiaomi’s UI will put all the annoying SMSes under the notifications tab, rather than flooding your inbox with them. These neat tricks make the MIUI8 actually more useful than a lot of other ‘customised UIs’ in the market.
So what’s not good?
This phone is still running Android M. Now Xiaomi has promised an Android Nougat build, but they sure could have launched the phone with the latest build. After all, Android O is already here.
The low-light performance is still far from perfect. Colours like red tend to look washed out in some of the photos. Also in bright sunlight, it’s hard to figure out how the final picture will look like at times.
The phone tends to heat up at times, especially when you leave it for charging for sometime or are playing games for a really long time. However, this is not a major problem, and not something that would discourage usage of the phone.
Should you buy?
Xiaomi Redmi 4 is for those users, who want long battery life, and a phone that works just right without paying over Rs 10,000. I’d say this phone has the advantage over Redmi 4A because the battery will last you much more, and for Indian users this is a crucial factor to keep in mind.
Plus the 5-inch form factor means this will appeal to those who don’t like big displays, and want a device that easily fits in their pant pockets. Get the Redmi 4 if you’ve been on the lookout for a new budget smartphone. But if you want to pay more, the market has other options as well, including Redmi Note 4, Moto G5 Plus, and others.