Xiaomi Redmi 4 Review: Total Value for Money

Namrata Gogoi

Chinese smartphone company, Xiaomi has seen a string of success in the recent past with both its premium and budget smartphones. The latest offering in the budget segment is the all new Xiaomi Redmi 4 which is priced at only Rs.6,999 for its 2GB variant and looks as promising as ever.

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The device landed in our office a week back, and since then it has been undergoing an array of tests so as to prove that it’s worth the money. So, here we are, with the full review of the Xiaomi Redmi 4.

The Xiaomi Redmi 4 boasts itself to be the successor of the Redmi 3S that was launched in 2016 and sports a few subtle changes over its predecessor. So, let’s see how the Redmi 4 fares for a budget device.

Design

You won’t get to see the typical flat design of Redmi phones on this one. In its place, you will find a sleek glass and metal phone with 2.5 D curved edges and beautifully rounded corners.

If we talk numbers, the phone’s display is just a 5-inch unit. It’s these features that give this INR 6,999 phone a premium and high-end aesthetic appeal.

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These days it’s quite rare to find phone makers that build quality phones which fit easily in the hands these days (read: Oppo F3 Plus) and the Xiaomi Redmi 4 figures in that rare collection of devices.

The 5-inch display makes the phone super easy to hold, plus the matte finish on the rear makes it less susceptible to accidental falls and slips and also contributes to its elegant looks.

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Speaking of the design, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 has the volume rockers and power button on the right and the hybrid SIM tray — designed to house a memory card and a SIM or two SIM cards — on the left. On the top, we have the IR blaster and 3.5 mm headphone jack.

On the rear, we have the primary camera on the top corner with the fingerprint sensor located a tad lower at the center.

Given the small size of the device, the fingerprint sensor is easier to reach and the turnaround time is great too.

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At the bottom, you’ll find the Micro-USB charging port flanked by the speaker grills. But mind you, only one of them gives the audio output while the other acts as the microphone.

If you ask me, I think it’s high time that Xiaomi replaced the charging ports on upcoming smartphones, even the budget ones, with the newer USB type-C chargers.

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There are capacitive hardware buttons onboard the Redmi 4, but sadly they aren’t backlit. The feedback of all the buttons is quite sound and makes up for a good experience.

Overall, the design is premium and it looks particularly great on the black variant. But since the display isn’t protected by Corning Gorilla glass, you might have to cover it up with a tempered glass or body armor.

Display

The Xiaomi Redmi 4 bundles in a 5-inch display with 720 x 1280 resolution at around 320 DPI. The display is bright, crisp and sharp and is coupled with streamlined bezels. Along with the bright display, the viewing angles are also great and provide good sunlight legibility.

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What’s more, the built-in wallpapers and themes do absolute justice to the vivid display. Going by the looks and display alone, it’s hard to tell whether you’re holding a budget device or otherwise.

Performance and Hardware

Moving on, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 SoC which clocks at 1.4 GHz. As far as the processor is concerned, it has upgraded only a bit from the Snapdragon 430 in the Redmi 3S. We had the 3 GB variant with us and so far it has performed amazingly well.

This can be attributed to the 720p resolution of the screen which makes it easier for the processor to handle operations as opposed to an FHD display.

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The AnTuTu benchmark tool scored 43917 points which is pretty decent for the device.

During our gaming review, it handled high-end games quite well without any noticeable lags. However, in higher graphics settings on Asphalt 8, we did encounter a few lags and stutters.

The fingerprint sensor responds swiftly, resulting in a lower turnaround time. In the black variant, even the fingerprint sensor is matte, blending in perfectly with the rest.

Plus, unlike a few device like the Galaxy C7 Pro, you don’t have to wake up the device beforehand for accurate readings.

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The device heated up from 32 degrees to 38 during the high-end gaming session
The only shortcoming here is that the device heats up above average during normal use and that too pretty quickly. A 10-15 minute browsing session on the internet or a gaming session can boost up the temperature considerably.

Software

Like most of the latest Xiaomi devices, this one too runs MIUI 8 on top of the Android Version 6.0.1 (Marshmallow).

Here again, a built-in Nougat update would have been certainly better, but given the recent trend in the smartphone market (even premium Samsung devices like the Galaxy A5 and C7 Pro are shipping with Android 6), it seems that the consumers have little choice.

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However, the makers have promised that Nougat would be available soon. Beyond, the usual features of the MIUI 8 like Second space and scrollable screenshots (which is same across all the Xiaomi phones), the three finger screenshot is a nifty method for taking screenshots.

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But as is the case with most of the Chinese ROMs like EUI or CoolUI, MIUI is also feature packed but a bit heavier on the RAM. By feature packed, I mean the features like scheduled power options, do not disturb mode, etc.

But, if you are looking to increase the internal storage, then you’re in for bad news as the Xiaomi Redmi 4 doesn’t come with the option of adaptable storage.

Camera

Up next is the camera of the Xiaomi Redmi 4. It packs a 13-megapixel camera at the rear with f/2.0 aperture value, PDAF and dual tone LED flash.

The camera has a quick autofocus and also supports smile detection, touch focus and HDR mode. Again, for a budget phone, the photo quality is decent, however, do not expect too much out of it.

The photos look crisp, vivid and the color reproduction is just about perfect when taken under normal lighting conditions. However, when the light is dim, you’ll find noise creeping into the pictures.

Here are a few samples that were taken from the rear camera.

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Moving on to the selfie shooter, it’s a 5-megapixel camera with an aperture value of f/2.0. This one too yields decent pictures. However, it’s the low light photos that take a hit with too much of noise.

Battery

A battery can make or break a smartphone experience. Thankfully, the Redmi 4 is powered by a 4100 mAh battery which promises an impressive battery life. Although the company promises up to 2 days of activity on a single charge, it will even support heavy usage for up to a day and a half.

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If you see the screenshot above, it lasted easily a day and has almost 40% of its power left, with a screen-on percentage of 40%. This can again be attributed to the Snapdragon 435 processor which optimizes the battery life.

But there’s got to be a catch somewhere, right? That’s in the guise of the charging type. The Redmi 4 supports neither quick charge nor fast charge, so you will have to shell out some 4 hours to fully charge the device.

But then again, the phone is merely priced at just INR 6,999, so the charging time is something that I can live with.

My Verdict

All in all, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 features an impressive price to performance ratio. At just INR. 6,999, you get your hands on a device which has a great battery life, 4G VoLTE support, premium looks, and good processing power.

In the hindsight, if 2GB RAM and 16 GB of internal storage don’t seem sufficient, there’s always the option to upgrade to the 3 GB (32 GB) variant priced at Rs.8,999 or the 4GB (64GB) priced at Rs.10,999. But hey, don’t forget to mount a protective armor, since Xiaomi isn’t really known for the sturdy built of its devices.

See Next: Moto G5 Plus vs Redmi Note 4: Which is Better Worth for Your Money?

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Namrata Gogoi

Written By

Namrata Gogoi

An engineer turned tech writer, Namrata used to write software codes before turning to a career in tech- writing. She is passionate about travelling, food and reading about cool new stuff. Apart from that, she holds a bachelors degree in I.T and hails from Guwahati.