Xiaomi Redmi 4 review

Really solid

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Our Verdict

It is one of those smartphones that give no chance of complains in any department. If you are in for a budget Android device, Redmi 4 can certainly be the best choice in its range.

For

  • Solid built
  • Punchy display
  • Great battery life
  • Impressive camera performance
  • Value for money

Against

  • Hybrid SIM slot
  • Android Marshmallow

Xiaomi has added another charmer to its smartphone portfolio, and it’s the smaller sibling, the Redmi 4. The company promised the unveiling of the successor to its highly successful Redmi 3s Prime at the Redmi 4A launch, and we got lucky enough to review the latest device. 

Its the latest smartphone in the sub 10k category, although there’s 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant that costs a little over 10k. There are three models—2GB RAM/16GB storage, 3GB RAM/32GB storage and 4GB RAM/64GB storage At Rs 6,999, Rs 8,999 and Rs 10,999 respectively. 

I reviewed the Matte black colour variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, which sounds fair enough to have an idea of how other variants will perform. I have been playing with the device from more than 10 days now, and it reminds me of how Redmi Note 4 felt in its initial days. 

The smartphone does not pack anything that we haven’t seen before but its affordable price tag makes it an interesting piece of hardware. Is it really a complete device for its price? Well, that’s what we are trying to figure out in this review. Read on. 

Design

Redmi 4 has a sturdy and handy feel

The Redmi 4 looks strikingly similar to the Redmi Note 4 at first, but there’s a lot of tweaking done on the top. The Chinese version and the Indian version of the Redmi 4 have different designs. The Indian variant is similar to the Redmi 4X, which was launched earlier in China. Redmi 4x is basically renamed as the Redmi 4 for Indian market. 

In terms of aesthetics, this is the most premium looking phone in its price segment, especially the matte black variant. It has a non-removable back panel, which is made out of good quality aluminium, while the head and chin use polycarbonate for uninterrupted antennae reception. One thing that really enhanced the design is its curved back with rounded corners. It gives a smooth and comfortable when held. The 5-inch display size adds up to the one-handed usability, aided further by the 2.5D curved glass on the front. In a nutshell, the smartphone is solid, has no sharp edges, feels good and sits perfectly in hand. 

The 4100mAh battery does make it a little bulky for its size but 150grams won’t bother most of the users. It is 8.7mm thick, which seems decent for a phone with such juicy battery. 

Camera and fingerprint sensor

The camera lens is placed on the top left corner and the fingerprint sensor is placed at the centre. The button placement is perfect for single handed usage and it gives has a tactile feedback. Moreover, you can easily reach the volume rocker, power/lock key, and fingerprint sensor without any hassle. 

Display

Display looks bright and punchy

The Redmi 4 comes with a 5-inch IPS LCD HD (720p) display and a pixel density of 294 ppi. It has a 2.5D curved glass on top, which is said to be protected by an unspecified display glass. The 5-inch display looks bright, crisp and produces vivid colours. 

There is hardly any smartphone that has a display of this kind. The display is bright enough to handle harshest of the sunlight. 

Camera

Good camera performance for its price

It comes with a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, and an LED flash. It has a 5MP front camera with f/2.2 aperture on the front. 

The PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus) results in speedy autofocus and the image processing is also snappy. I was actually amazed to see the time it takes to process the image without compromising the image quality. Day light photos look well balanced, but you might find it struggling 1 out of 10 times when there’s a light source on the foreground. However, the camera UI allows you to adjust brightness using the scroller. 

Moving to low light images, the smartphone has got a huge improvement over Redmi 3s Prime. Knowing the fact that it is a budget phone, its unfair to expect a lot in dim light conditions. If I compare it to other phones under this budget, the low light images now look well lit, there’s still some work needed to be done for better details. You might end up clicking hazy or noisy pictures if you don’t have a proper light source. 

The 5MP front camera is very impressive as long as there’s some light. I was able to click some really impressive pictures under natural and well lit indoor lights. One thing that seems missing is the front screen flash, which would have made it a complete camera in all the lighting conditions. The processing speed scales down in low light, resulting in grainy selfies. 

It can record videos up to 1080p, which came out to be pretty decent in most of the scenarios.

The camera UI on the Redmi 4 is easy to use and offers multiple settings and modes to play with it. One complaint that I have with the UI is its thick black panel on the right side, eating up around 70% of screen space. On a 5-inch display phone, it is always better not to clutter the viewfinder.

Battery, connectivity

Micro USB port and loudspeaker grill

The Redmi 4 packs a 4100mAh battery unit, which is one of the key highlights of this smartphone. Basic usage that involves browsing social media, texting, listening to music or 3-4 hours of calling can easily get you more than 35 hours of backup. For those who need a reason to love this phone, this is something you can’t ignore even if you want to. 

Aggressive users can get more than a full day of battery backup without a hitch. Xiaomi has confirmed the support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, which charges the Redmi 4 from 0-100 percent in 2.5 hours which is pretty pretty impressive for a huge battery like this. 

The new Redmi 4 supports 4G and VoLTE along with other connectivity options like WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB. It is worth noting that it will allow 4G calls and data only on the primary SIM, while the secondary SIM restricts to 2G calls only. Other than this, I did not find any connectivity issues while testing the device. 

Performance

The Redmi 4 runs the Snapdragon 435 octa-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz couples with Adreno 505 GPU for improved graphic performance. Like all the Xiaomi phones, this one also top of the line specifications under its its segment. The performance will vary depending on which RAM variant is in use. 

The 3GB RAM variant seems to be a perfect choice for basic to moderate users. It can easily sail you through your social networking needs, moderate gaming and multimedia requirements. I tried playing some graphic greedy games like Nova 3 and Asphalt 8, and realised that it stutters in handling some heavy games but it can still handle some high-end games till an extent. 

Apart from that, I was really impressed with the RAM management and multitasking capabilities, as it didn’t stutter much even after prolonged usage. It did not heat up while using it in an air-conditioned room but it may get a little warm when it’s hot outside. 

Considering the price that it comes for, the smartphone totally nails the performance that you get on it. 

Software

The Redmi 4 comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the latest version of MIUI 8 on top. If you look for something to complain about this smartphone, it would certainly be its software. I am not a fan of customised UI personally but if I get anything close to stock, works well for me. 

For those who prefer customising their smartphones, MIUI may turn out to be a great software. It comes with a bunch of additional features, icon packs, themes and bloatware apps. While some of the features seem to be useful, there are still some gimmicky features packed inside. 

The MIUI eats up slightly more RAM as compared to the stock Android but it still feels smooth and I did not spot any hiccup or lag in between animations and transitions initially. 

Verdict

At this price point, there is hardly any other option that offers the kind of package Redmi 4 has. For those who find it uneasy using a 5.5-inch screen and want a perfect alternate for a Redmi Note 4 or a Moto G5 Plus, the Redmi 4 can serve all your needs. The only issue with the Redmi devices is the supply, which Xiaomi says it's trying to improve.