Tuesday 7 February 2017

Xiaomi- Redmi Note 4

Xiaomi is back with their new budget device, the Note 4 with multiple variants. The Note 3 was a runaway success last year and Xiaomi has launched the Note 4 with a similar fanfare and enthusiasm in Asian markets. Let’s see if the Note 4 is indeed a notch above the Note 3 and 3S Prime from last year...

Design & Hardware

Redmi Note 4 comes in 3 variants: 2GB or 3GB RAM with 32GB ROM, also a 4GB RAM model with 64GB ROM. The 2GB and 3GB variants are the budget ones while the 4GB one is the high end one. In terms of looks and feel, the Note 4 is very different from the Note 3 from last year thanks mainly to the 2.5D curved edge glass on the display and the less slippery all metal back.The antenna bands are visible at the top and the bottom and the speaker grill is also moved to the bottom rather than at the back that was seen in the Note 3. At the bottom you’ll also find the Micro USB charging port while the 3.5mm jack and the IR blaster are at the top. The left edge is empty while the power and volume buttons sit on the right. The Note 4 is available in 3 color options: Grey, Gold and Matt Black (still not available anywhere though). 

The 5.5” display is full HD, has 401ppi and it shows when you’re using  the phone in the sun. Display is crisp and always legible. Color temperature can be adjusted from the settings and you also have the reading mode that can be used in low light conditions. It boasts a Snapdragon 625 with Adreno 506 GPU. The handset has a hybrid dual sim slot and supports Micro SD cards up to 128GB. VoLTE and 4G are supported and I had no issues with call quality, signal strength was better than what I was getting on my 3S Prime. 

The battery is a non removable 4100 mAh which is marginally bigger than the Note 3. At the back, the design remains the same with the camera at the top, dual tone flash below it and the Fingerprint scanner just beneath. At the front you will find the 5MP camera. The phone supports USB OTG but still gives NFC a miss! 


The Note 4 runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with the MIUI 8 on top. It’s my favorite UI amongst all manufacturers purely because of the massive customisation options and regular updates. Xiaomi does not limit their updates to just Android updates but keeps adding useful features every year to the UI.

The new features this time include photo and video editing within the Gallery and 5GB of free cloud storage . The Quick Ball feature which is similar to the one you have on iOS and Samsung’s Accessibility option lets you adds all shortcuts in a floating icon on the home screen like screen lock, screenshot, etc and many more that can be customised. The Dual App feature now lets you duplicate select apps like Facebook and Whatsapp that can be used with different accounts simultaneously. 

The Second Space option meanwhile lets you have a personal and business space on your phone with customized wallpapers, icons etc. Using 2 completely different Google accounts is also possible! This is the kind of stuff no manufacturer has reached yet within the Android domain with their own UI which is why fans love Xiaomi so much! 

You can also take scrolling screenshots of multiple pages at once. The MiUI 8 also categorises your SMS according to banks, food orders, spends etc, all in different folders.The one hand mode meanwhile narrows down the 5.5” screen to 4” so it’s easy to use in one hand. 


The rear camera is 13MP (f/2.0 ) which  uses a noise-eliminating CMOS sensor with backside illumination (BSI) and larger pixels which might help you snap good pictures in low light. It also comes with Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) for 0.1s ultra-fast focusing, which is especially useful for shooting moving objects.

You have the usual Beauty, Panorama, Manual modes to chose from while the scenes include Portrait, Sunset, Backlight etc. It supports full HD video recording and does a pretty good job at it. The daylight photos are definitely an improvement over the Note 3 but always leaves you asking for more in low light. Focussing is fast but zooming in beyond 2x would give you only grainy pictures. The front 5 MP is f/2.0 will deliver decent selfies. No wide angle photos here though so forget the groupies! 


The Redmi Note 4 does great at any apps or games you throw at it. Dead Trigger 2, Asphalt 8 and FIFA 16 all can run without lags and can be switched at will without any issues when other heavy duty apps are running in the background. 

It also supports 4K Video playback and audio quality is not bad either with the mono speakers at the bottom. In terms of benchmark it was a bit low at 65550 in the AnTuTu test but don’t compare with other high end devices, it can do the same tasks that other premium device can do with ease though. Thanks to the 4100 mAh battery the device lasted more than a day on heavy usage of games, 4K videos, Youtube and a few hours of Music. The phone disappointingly does not support fast charging so charging your phone takes upto 2.5 hours!   


Overall, the Redmi Note 4 is a great device at the price point. It has all the hardware bells and whistles of any premium phone that would almost be double the price at any point of time. Xiaomi is famous for keeping costs low but manufacturing limits units, which is why they sell out in seconds when released online! For this particular variant there is no real competition considering the price range or devices like Moto G4 plus,Vibe 2,Honor 6X in the same range have much lower specs. 


Pritesh Khilnani

Xiaomi Note 4 at CeX

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