Xiaomi Mi 4 : Detail Review

Xiaomi launched its previous generation smartphone, the Mi4, in India on 28th January. Currently there is only one variant which would be available for sale. It's the 16 GB White variant of the device.

Needless to say, Mi4 was the most anticipated device launch by prospecting customers. After the launch event, there was a huge response to the device on MIUI Forum and on Social Media. But it was a mixed reaction. While some of us appreciated finally being able to lay hands on the awesome device, some were disappointed and expressed their anger on forums and Social media alike.

Funny thing though, the only complaint/issue being expressed right now is regarding the pricing. The device has been announced to go on sale at 19,999/- INR which translates to roughly $325 USD.

So is a 16GB White Mi4 worth paying 19,999/- of your hard earned money or is it just too much? Or is the price still a steal-of-a-deal that we are used to from Xiaomi? I'll try to clear that doubt to the best of my abilites. I will give a skip to features which you can understand just by reading the spec sheet.

I promise to write this review in an unbaised, non-fanboyism style. Because I dont want to misguide my fellow Mi users and don't want to influence them wrongly. So, without wasting any more time, let's find out if this device is worth out time and money or if this is the first fail from Xiaomi.

First of all, you should know that there is always exists a contrast between how the device looks on the Internet and how it looks in Reality. Rendered Images cannot tell us if the device actually looks and feels as good as its shown.

As for Mi4? Trust me when i say this, Mi4 looks stunning. It looks as good as the rendered images, if not better. I am not gonna say it looks stunning for the price point, because that would be hating the device for no reason. Pitch it against any Flagship smartphone from any brand, and you would be surprised at how premium the device is. When you hold the device in your hand, it feels very snuck and compact. Gives you a great feeling. The size and weight of the device is just right. Doesnt feel too light and filmsy and doesnt feel bulky. But lets talk about the design in a more detailed view.

Mi4 has the same 5" display like Mi3, but its smaller. Thinner bezels not only give it a sexier and costlier look, it reduces the length and width by half a centimeter. It's heavier by 4 grams compared to the Mi3, but unless you are a goldsmith, that would be hard for you to notice or care.

If you head over to mi.com and took a look at the Mi4's design page, they state that a piece of stainless stell goes through 40 steps and 193 processes to turn into a metal frame. A lot of fancy terms are used. But who cares right ? Honestly, all i can tell you is that metal frame on the Mi4 turns into a absolutely gorgeous tech. I always felt my Mi3 was a bit like the Nokia Lumia series of phones(which are well built too). But the Mi4 elevates to a whole new standard. And as long as metal frame is giving that premium look and feel, I dont care how hard Xiaomi production team worked to create it. The flat metal sides gives it kinda iPhone 5s style feel.

The back cover of Mi4 is removable. But it is ridiculously tough to do so. About 17 clips hold it so tight that you would need a suction cup style thingy to remove it without damaging the design. I don't know if it's a good thing or bad. Your decision. But what I do know is that this gives us a whole new world to customize.

Overall, even the back cover is slippery and glossy, the phone feels compact. And the metal sides provide great grip so you wont have to worry about the phone slipping out of your hand. Unlike the square brick design on Mi3, it has curved edges which again make it a better device to hold and look at.

How It Looks:
I'll Just let the Images do the talking. You can see why I praise the phone. And Please forgive my terrible photography skills. Clicking pictures is not my forte.


One thing which has upset me about the India launch is that the only option available is glossy white. White back doesnt show much fingerprints and smudges. But black one does. If you keep it clean though, its like a mirror. Even though I have the black version, I feel bad for other buyers because I know black is a much preferred choice. So a little booo for that. But wait, is that a dealbreaker ? Certainly not. 


Mi4 has removable back cover. So, even if you hate White(which by the way is a classic color), fortunately, there are some sexy back replacement covers out there. You can transform your phone into your personal statement


Mi4 features a 5" 1080p (full HD) display which put the pixel density at about 441 ppi. This is amongst one of the best displays out there. But users looking for 2k or 4k screens should give it a miss. Mi4 employs OGS. OGS stands for One glass solution. The protective glass is fused with the display and the touching mechanism is integrated into the protective glass itself. Therefore, to use OGS, Corning Concore protective glass is used. It offers excellent scratch protection exactly like Corning Gorilla glass and is damage resistant too. It feels like you are actually touching the display unlike other non OGS devices where there is a noticable gap between the Display and touchscreen. 

Now i won't go into details as to who makes the screen and what are cd/m2 ratings for black and white. All you should care about is that it produces more brightness then Mi3's display. The backlight is much more uniform and it won't sting your eyes if you look at the screen for long durations. Highly sensitive glove mode is available too. 

The Color reproductions is awesome. The display produces more realistic color tones and sunlight visibility is great. You can use the screen comfortably on the suniest of days. Viewing angles are decent. But don't expect the best in the industry. Then again, i doubt you hold the phone on an 80 degree angle to watch videos. Because that would be stupid. 


Except the usual 3G, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi and so on, Xiaomi Mi4 has an IR(InfraRed) Blaster. Why IR you ask? Well you can  use it to control pretty much all the remote controlled devices you have in your house, coupled with the right software on your phone of course. That means A.C., Smart lights, TV, DVD players, Set top boxes and so on. Have fun changing TV channels in a public place. 

On the Con side, there is no NFC. My Mi3 has NFC but i haven't really used it yet. So Unless you are the real Geek type user, this feature would make no difference to use. Unlike IR blaster which you can use daily. Wireless screen casting via Miracast is standard too. 


If you have read this far, i am guessing you are a smart guy and already know what a monster Mi4 is. Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AB) processor Clocked at 2.5 Ghz coupled with Adreno 330 GPU. Now without dwelling on the architecture or manufacturing process, I can tell you its one of the best SOC out there. This is at par with the current generation of Flagship devices. But, good hardware without equally good software to run it is a waste. So does it fair well ? 

There isn't anything I have encountered that can bring a Mi4 to its knees. The devices comes with 3GB RAM and coupled with the SOC, any high end gaming or any amount of heavy multitasking is a child's play. Now the device does heat a bit. So if i told you its cool as a cucumber, i would be a liar. But anyone who has ever used a Qualcomm based device know they heat a little. Compared to Mi3, the heat generated by Mi4 is not even countable. Unless you are running multiple benchmarking apps back to back, playing CPU intensive games like Goat simulator for an hour, you won't even feel the heat. 

In short, unless you live on the equator and are hell bent on putting the phone through hours of stress, you wont feel heat which would cause discomfort. I know because my Redmi 1s frequently and my mi3 sometimes causes me discomfort with the heat. 


I have said it in my earlier posts and I repeat it now, Benchmarks are no indications of the real-time performance and multitaskig ability of a device. A low scoring device may still feel better to use then a higher scoring one. But for those who do judge performance based on Benchmark scores, here's how the Mi4 fares- 







Why Xiaomi? Why you not stress on the fact that how good the camera is? Oh wait I know why. As far as my technical knowledge serves me, Xiaomi Mi4's camera on MIUI v5 was not good due to driver issues. It was essentially running on the same set of drivers Mi3 runs on. And with little technical knowledge, you would know that's not good. But that's history. Now it comes with MIUI v6, correct set of drivers, and a performance that Rocks, and other devices shocks.  I wont give you too many sample images, because like i mentioned earlier, i am a terrible photographer. But you can google for sample shots and check review websites and you would be blown away by its quality. 

P.S: These are not my clicks, These are images taken by our ex admin Katez in July 2014, and the camera has improved a lot after that. So you would get even better images. I am too lazy to click pics with it. And like i said, a bad photographer. 

There has be a substantial improvement in the new camera sensor for sony. Mi4's camera features a 13 MP BSI sensor with f1.8 aperture compared to Mi3's f2.2 aperture. And lower is better. Another nifty feature is the smart flash. Merging two pictures together taken in quick succession. One with flash and one without it. 
The front shooter on the Mi4 is an 8MP camera. Which is highly impressive even for the current generation of flagship devices.


An Android Operating system like no other. The most feature rich and the most customized OS you can have on your device. And even though you can get MIUI on other devices too, no other device will give you the feature set, performance and stability that Mi4 provides. 85 Million Active MIUIers. Yup the figure is right. That's how many users show their love to this OS. Once you use it, you are hooked. Add to it the fact that Xiaomi has a whole range of gadgets and devices like Mi band, Mi box, Mi wifi, Mi Tv and so on, you have a complete and sexy technology ecosystem of devices rather than just a phone with Android. Out with the Old and in with the new isn't it ? 


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