Of all the smartphones that Xiaomi has launched in India, the Mi 4i is special. The 'i' added after the model number denotes 'Made for India', hence the Chinese smartphone maker had to be extra cautious, to offer specific features combined with great hardware specs at an affordable price of ₹12,999. Seen from that perspective, Xiaomi has hit the bull's eye.
The Xiaomi Mi 4i offers a good combination of hardware, usable camera, latest Android operating system – all packed in a well constructed compact body.
There are options available for the same price, with their own pros and cons. Does Mi 4i possess the ability to survive the competition? Let's find out.
Build & Design
The Mi 4i sports a unibody design, featuring a slim and compact body. The dual-tone design of the smartphone features polycarbonate back and Gorilla glass 3 on the front.
Measuring at 138.1x69.6x7.8mm, the Mi 4i weighs just 130g and feels quite comfortable in hand. For added ruggedness, Xiaomi has used a special polycarbonate material that can withstand several types of stains. And yes, finally Xiaomi has made a budget smartphone which is not a fingerprint magnet.
A major portion of the front has been occupied by the display, yet the handset retains the much- necessary 3 capacitive buttons for handling menu, home and back options. Fortunately, they are backlit too. The 2 Micro SIM slots have been hidden on the left side, while the volume rocker and power/sleep button have been featured on the left.
The rear camera and dual-tone flash have been featured at the extreme top left on the rear and large speaker mesh has been house at the bottom.
The Xiaomi Mi 4i comes with an impressive 5-inch, 1080x1920 pixels resolution, 441PPI IPS LCD capacitive display.
The specification is identical to its older sibling Xiaomi Mi 4. We found the display pretty decent, offering good colour balance.
The IPS display did not oversaturate the colours and kept everything realistic. Red, Green and Blue levels appeared correct, white appeared quite clean and blacks remained quite deep.
Brightness levels and viewing angles are also decent. For providing better sunlight readability, Xiaomi has coined an innovation. Named 'Sunlight Display', the technology works similar to Nokia LUMIA's clear black display, controls display brightness according to the brightness sourced by the front ambient sensor, and hence brightens the display under bright light and dims in the dark.
Xiaomi Mi 4i comes with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop operating system overlaid with Xiaomi's MIUI 6.5.3 UI skin.
Though we're not a great fan of skinned Android editions, MIUI adds a few meaningful additions to Android. The interface offers several handy gestures and features to operate the smartphone in a much easier manner.
Xiaomi has loaded the Mi 4i with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Second Generation processor that combines a quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, quad-core 1.1GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, along with a Adreno 330 GPU backed by 2GB worth RAM.
Benchmarking the Xiaomi Mi 4i on AnTuTu, GeekBench and Quadrant Standard, we found the Mi 4i performed reasonably well.
The Mi 4i ran in with 34,008 on AnTuTu, 688 single-core and 2401 multi-core on GeekBench and 1852 in Vellamo Chrome browser test.
For a budget device, anything over 30,000 mark in AnTuTu is considered as decent score.
For the price, only Lenovo A7000 beats Mi 4i in AnTuTu and GeekBench by scoring 42710 and 737 single-core, 3734 multi-core. But that happened for the MediaTek processor, we guess.
Coming back to the real world performance segment, we should admit the Mi 4i meets users' requirements by opening apps and web pages without stutters. Our gameplaying experience with AspHalt 8 and Clash of Clans remained fun-filled too. The Mi 4i navigated smoothly between windows and ran most of the system heavy apps chug and stutter free.
Xiaomi Mi 4i features a 13MP rear and a 5MP front camera. Both the cameras have been manufactured by Samsung/ Sony and equip 5 element lenses for better results.
Images clicked in apt-lit environment appeared crisp, vibrant and offered enough depth of colours. Most importantly, the colours appeared in the image were balanced and free of extra hues.
In challenging lighting conditions, the camera suffered a bit if used without flash, but that's common for every budget smartphones.
But Xiaomi has added an added feature 'light mode', which helps clicking much better images in challenging lights.
Battery and Storage
Inside such a compact body, Xiaomi has managed to pack a huge 3,120 mAh battery inside. In real world test, the battery lasted around a day in mixed usage of keeping the phone connected to 3G+Wi-Fi, calling few hours and keeping the social apps on.
However, the battery life will depend on the usage pattern, so in real life, one might get little better or lower battery life from the device.
In terms of storage, the Xiaomi offers Mi 4i with only 16GB memory, of which 12GB is left for usage. Although we are aware about the performance issue with expandable memory, 12GB memory still sounds less for a user.
The Xiaomi Mi 4i might not be considered as a major overhaul like the Mi 3 of last year. But the features offered for the price are truly spectacular. The only drawback of Mi 4i is the limitation of memory, otherwise we could have announced it as the best smartphone for the price.
The Xiaom MI 4i is available in India exlusively through flash sales through Flipkart. The sale happens every Wednesday. Xiaomi has announced the smartphone will be available later through Amazon, Snapdeal, Mi India store, and also some offline stores, including Mobile Store.