Imitation is a sensitive topic in technology circles, however, few manufacturers are as slavish as Chinese firm Xiaomi. Branded by many as “The Chinese Apple”, Xiaomi has adopted lots of its rival’s tactics with great success.
Xiaomi might not be a name that’s instantly familiar to most western mobile users, however in its native China, the corporate sells extra smartphones than Apple and Samsung. Despite being fairly a young firm it was solely established in 2010
On paper, the Mi 4 is an insane deal. A solidly-built 5-incher (1080p) with a robust Snapdragon 801, 3GB of RAM, a pair of 8MP/13MP Sony cameras at the back and front, and a long-lasting, 3080 mAh battery. And the worth tag? That is one of the best parts – the Mi 4 costs ¥1999, or the equivalent of about $320, at least in China.
All of this actually sounds tot good to be true, and some of us are usually somewhat skeptical in a direction of such things. Should we give voice to our skepticism, in this case, though? Time to seek out!
Whereas a lot of Chinese manufacturers are all the time attempting to clone Apple’s products, we’ve a different strategy with the Xiaomi Mi4 – the corporate might borrow a detail here and there, but it then goes off in its own direction.
While we do assume that the Xiaomi Mi 4 predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi3, is an extra unique looking device, there is no arguing towards the fact that Xiaomi has crafted a very, very compelling device however. The Xiaomi Mi 4 is defined by its stout stainless steel frame that adds simply sufficient heft to the device to make it value obsessing over its security, even though it seems to be well-equipped to handle accidental bumps and even small drops. That seeming contradiction is sort of humorous, particularly seeing as everything else about the Xiaomi Mi 4 screams “dependable” – absolutely nothing creaks or moves with this phone. It actually has no give. This identical high level of execution additionally holds true for the power and volume key, each of that is situated on the right side of the metal frame and provide good tactile feedback. On the top side, Xiaomi has fitted a 3.5 mm audio jack and an infrared blaster for control over home electronics.
The rest of the Xiaomi Mi 4’s design is not as impressive, however still fairly attractive. The (removable) back plate is made out of shiny plastic, however, it is the good kind of plastic – sturdy, with a sexy finish and a diamond-like texture that provides a subtle brush of polish. The front is a bit generic-looking, though – only the large opening for the monstrous front camera stands out, along with the capacitive navigation keys (yay for those!). The traditional “Mi” logo is seen on the highest left, subsequent to the pretty large slit for the proximity sensor.
All in all, whereas we would not call the Xiaomi Mi 4’s design original per se, the best way this thing is built is quite remarkable and the device is still lots attractive.
Most manufacturers are not very open about the firms they source components such as the display from, however, Xiaomi does not belong to that group. We all know for a fact that, relying on the batch, Xiaomi makes use of 5 inch, 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution (441 ppi) IPS panels made by either Sharp or JDI (a joint venture between Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi). It is an attractive, bright, and sharp display, but it is not excellent.
Indeed, even with the optimal “Warm” colour profile on, the display’s measured colour temperature of 7392 K falls north from the reference worth of 6500 K and the image has a slight purplish tint. In fact, the higher the brightness of the display screen, the extra over-represented blue is – generally at the expense of green. Moving on, the display screen’s colour fidelity is also a bit out of whack, with measured average Delta E RGB CMY color inaccuracy of 4.82, which is about common. In the non tech lingo, which means the various shades of primary (red, green, blue) and secondary (cyan, magenta, yellow) colours are generally off target. That is true regardless of which of the out there colour profiles you select. Thankfully, so long as you stick to “Warm”, you may anticipate a perfect gamma – we measured 2.2, which is spot-on.
As for brightness, the Xiaomi Mi 4’s display peaks at 490 units, which is fairly good. Thankfully, the laminated cover glass isn’t almost as reflective as the one on the Xiaomi Mi3, so outside visibility is also good.
Xiaomi has taken the decision to launch the Xiaomi Mi4 in 2 basic configurations. The 1st — which is the one we’re reviewing — only supports 3G. A revised model with support for 4G networks is expected any day now, however, that has not stopped the 3G-only model selling like hot desserts in its native China.
A top of the line smartphone that lacks 4G is rather strange in 2014, and if you are thinking of ordering a Xiaomi Mi4 from abroad you will almost certainly wish to take this into account – particularly if you are already signed up to a costly 4G contract. We did not experience any issues with signal strength or reception high quality.
Elsewhere the Xiaomi Mi4 has dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/as Wi-Fi, an IR blaster, GPS and DLNA support, but it lacks an NFC chip — something which was current within the Mi3. According to Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun, only 1% of existing Xiaomi Mi3 users actually make use of the contactless tech, and the feature was removed from the Xiaomi Mi4 to maintain prices low.
While NFC is still clearly in its infancy, it might well take off in 2015 — particularly now that Apple has put it into the iPhone 6. Not having NFC might be an actual drawback for Xiaomi Mi4 owners moving forwards.
In terms of cameras, Xiaomi has placed on its best foot ahead. You get a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front facing a camera. Each the cameras sport a fast f/1.8 lens. Xiaomi has redone the camera app and made it extremely minimal in look. You get a central white colored shutter button to the left of which you’ve a gallery button and on the best video record button on the right. Swiping from the right will convey up the 12 filters and swiping from the left brings up features such as HDR, Refocus, Panorama, burst capturing mode and so forth. You even have a manual mode wherein you may choose your White Balance, focus, exposure time and so forth. It options Chroma flash which mainly lets permits you to click 1 image with flash, one without flash and then mix the 2 photos to get an image which has the foreground and background nicely lit.
The daylight images are fantastic and pack in lots of detail. The exposure control ring while composing the shot is quite useful in tricky lighting conditions. Taking pictures in low light is still not the perfect. The sensor does tend to select up lots of chroma noise, as seen within the sample below. The live filter mode allows you to see your picture earlier than you actually go about choosing the filter, which is a pleasant touch. HDR mode was good and there weren’t pointless color additions while capturing the sky. Panorama mode is simple to use, however stitching can take some time.
The XiaomiMi 4 can shoot in 4K and full HD mode and the video high quality was quite good, with decent publicity levels. The default video capturing mode is set to HD. Of course panning does create the rolling shutter effect. The microphone on the Xiaomi Mi 4 is able to capture the surrounding sound quite properly while suppressing noise. For amateur video bloggers, the 8MP front camera which may additionally shoot in full HD mode is a boon. Within the video mode, you get options such as fast-motion capture, slow-motion capture and HDR video recording as nicely.
In its short history, Xiaomi has never once dropped the ball with performance – its units have consistently conducted themselves greatly. That is, in part, because of the software program, but additionally due to the high-end hardware Xiaomi typically makes use of.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 is no exception. Powered by a potent quad-core Snapdragon 801 with four Krait 400 cores ticking at 2.5GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU, together with 3 gigs of RAM, this phone is no slouch – and it shows. Whether we are talking about general navigation throughout the interface or enjoying Asphalt 8-level graphics-intensive games, it is fair to say that the Xiaomi Mi 4 delivers. However there is a caveat that is value talking about.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 has two distinct efficiency “modes” out there through the Battery menu – “Balanced” (default) and “Efficiency”. It should not be too hard to guess what the concept behind either is – the former is more conservative and places a cap on the maximum achievable clock speeds of the processor’s cores in order to conserve battery, while the latter permits it to go all out. We ran our usual suite of efficiency benchmarks with each modes on (the ones you are seeing below are for the default “Balanced” mode), and the differences in efficiency are there – when left to go full out, the Xiaomi Mi 4 lands among the greatest we have tested. Otherwise, it’s quite ordinary with its scores.
Finally, in terms of storage, the Xiaomi Mi 4 is available in 2 flavors – a 16GB and 64GB one. If you are hoping you could build on top of that, however, you will be disappointed to hear that no microSD slot is to be found on board Xiaomi’s newest.
Beating at the heart of the Mi4 is a 3,080mAh energy cell, which in theory should give the handset a shade more stamina than phones like Samsung Galaxy S5 (2,800mAh) or LG G3 (3,000mAh). Whereas the complexities of mobile hardware imply that extra capacity does not necessarily mean longer battery life, the Xiaomi Mi4 was capable of last well over a day on a single charge, which is something which cannot at all times be stated for many different Android smartphones.
There are 2 power modes on provide here, the 1st of which is named “Balanced” and is the default choice. Switching to “High Performance” yields extra impressive outcomes, however predictably at the price of stamina. To be fair, the Xiaomi Mi4 is so swift that even when set to Balanced mode it stays responsive and amazingly fast.
While you can take away the back panel of the phone and gaze longingly upon the Xiaomi Mi4’s battery, it isn’t detachable by the end user, so you can not exchange it or carry a spare around with you.
Xiaomi Mi 4 Review: Specification
- OS: Android 4.4
- Body: 139.2 x 68.5 x 8.9 mm
- Weight: 149 g
- Display: 1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.0 inch
- Memory: 16/64 GB internal, no expandable, 3 GB RAM
- Processor: Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801
- Camera: 13 MP, 8 MP secondary
- Battery: 3,080 mAh
The Xiaomi Mi4 is undoubtedly the perfect thing to come out of Xiaomi’s Chinese factory so far, and provides cutting-edge power, an eye-catching, iPhone-like design and a very good custom version of the Android operating system. However, for buyers outside of China, it is something of a tough sell, despite the ¥1999 price point.