“Looking to buy a budget smartphone? Then hey, Xiaomi has got you covered”. How often have you encountered people telling you something like this? Yes, Xiaomi is pretty much the only name that comes to everyone’s mind when they hear someone talking about budget smartphones. Well, at least that’s the case in India. Gone are the days of feature phones and low entry level handsets, as Xiaomi has completely changed the face of the so-called ‘budget segment’ in the country. These devices are so popular that no one is even interested in buying the Android One smartphones from Spice, Micromax, etc. That’s the kind of popularity we are talking about here with Xiaomi.
A lot of this has to do with the company’s Redmi series of smartphones. We at PhoneRadar have already covered a handful of Redmi smartphones in the past and none of them have disappointed us when it comes to its price to performance factor. For the price of an entry to a mid-ranged device, what you are getting here essentially is a powerful and beautiful package inside out. Be it the Redmi 3s Prime, the Redmi 4A or any other Redmi smartphone for that matter, it is very difficult finding people complaining about missing out on something for the price which they are paying for it. Likewise, we set out to see how good the company’s newest offering, the Redmi 4 is.
The Xiaomi Redmi 4 is essentially going to take the crown from the Redmi 3s Prime as the new budget king in the market. Considering that, the Redmi 4 really has some huge shoes to fill in. No doubt that it has some really good internals that could potentially make it the best budget mid-ranger out there. But then as we all know, it is not always the specifications that matter right? It all comes down to how well the hardware, as well as the software, go together and what it is capable of doing. So we decided to give the Redmi 4 a shot and see how good is it after all.
Note – We tested the 3GB + 32GB varaint of the Redmi 4.
When you talk about the hardware of a phone, it is equally important to acknowledge the build quality as well from the outside, since that is essentially the first thing which you notice and feel while holding it for the first time. And now since Xiaomi also has a Mi Home shop in Bengaluru, people can actually feel the device before picking it up and this makes a whole lot of difference. Talking about the build quality, the Redmi 4 certainly feels more sturdy than the other Redmi smartphones. Comparing it with the last year’s Redmi 3s Prime, right out of the bag, you will notice the difference in the feel and this is because we have more metal on the Redmi 4. It feels more solid in the hand and that is always a good feeling while holding a smartphone. You want it to feel confident while holding it and get a good grip.
The device is almost identical to both Redmi 3s Prime and the Redmi 4A in terms of the dimensions. But when it comes to the design, undoubtedly the Redmi 4 takes away the cake here. Not only it looks more elegant than these two devices, but it is safe to say that it is one of the most premium looking budget smartphones out there. It is made of metal and it sits nicely in the hand as well. The buttons on the sides are nice and tactile. It is also quite compact, thanks to the rounded edges at the back. Anyone who can appreciate a good design, won’t be disappointed here as well.
And now talking about the internal specs of the smartphone, one won’t be disappointed here as either. First of all, on the front, we are presented with a beautiful display which measures 5” in size and it is an HD display. This means that it has a resolution of 1280 x 720. Although we would have loved to see a resolution bump from HD to FHD, but Redmi phones mostly only had an HD display and this is no exception, plus you can’t complain here, for this price. It is a still a decent display to look at. The display is covered by a 2.5D curved glass as well which again adds to the overall feel-good factor of the device. Internally, the smartphone packs some serious specs as well.
The Xiaomi Redmi 4 is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 SoC which is clocked at 1.4 GHz. It has Adreno 505 for graphics processing and the package is coupled with 3GB of RAM. The 435 SoC is an upgrade from the last year’s 3s Prime but it is not something anyone would notice out of the box. However, it is still good at what it does. And as usual, we are not going to complicate this review by explaining a bunch of different benchmarks and instead we are simply leaving a couple of screenshots of the same for you to take a look at and judge all you want.
The smartphone comes with 32GB of internal storage and having the ability to expand it further via a microSD card upto 256GB through the hybrid slot is again a nice touch. With the day to day tasks and scenarios like gaming, video rendering, etc. the Adreno 505 GPU does a commendable job. We all know how good the Redmi 3s Prime was and this is no different from it. And given that it is still a mid-ranged GPU, you can certainly expect some hiccups here and there on those heavy gaming sessions that you are trying to pull off. The smartphone also support VoLTE out of the box and it will indeed work well with Jio 4G network. Call quality and cellular reception were pretty good for the most part and you should not worry about it if you are looking to buy this smartphone.
Xiaomi says that the Redmi 4 comes with 2 days of battery life. And it is somewhat believable since it is powered by a 4,100 mAh. Now, for a smartphone with HD display and Snapdragon 435 SoC, this is indeed a lot of battery capacity to work with. With our regular usage, we did manage to pull of the company’s claimed “2-days battery life”, however, when we pushed the smartphone to its limits with benchmarking, gaming, etc. we did manage to easily drain it completely well within a day. Hence, this only goes to say that the battery life of any given smartphone is definitely upto each and every individual’s usage. Having said that, if you are an average user, then you should be able to get 2-days worth of battery life out of it. And on the other hand, if the screen-on-time is what you are looking for, then you should be able to keep this thing awake for over 5 hours easily. Well, now that we have talked about everything that is good about this smartphone, let’s now talk about something that is not so appealing. (The battery life stats screenshots accidentally got deleted during our review period)
The Xiaomi Redmi 4 has a 13MP rear facing shooter with a f/2.2 aperture. It has support for face-detection autofocus and has LED flash as well. On the front, we have a 5MP selfie shooter with the same aperture size. The photos which we shot outdoor in good lighting conditions were mediocre. Yes, it will indeed get the job done for you if all you want to do is click a decent looking picture and quickly post on your Instagram stories or any other social media platform. But if you are expecting anything out of the shell, then you have to look somewhere else for that. The dynamic range is below average and the images are mostly soft. You can take the help of HDR (which is very aggressive) to make the shots look a little bit better but other than that, the shots are going to look underexposed for the most part. In low-lighting conditions as well the camera is not going to shine much.
Coming to the videography part, it can record 1080p videos at 30FPS and the footage was just about okay. There is a lot of over sharpening happening here and again the dynamic range is pretty bad. On the other hand, if you are thinking if the front camera would do a better job, then you are again wrong. The images taken on the Redmi 4’s front facing camera looks washed out as well. In fact, if you compare it with the one taken on the 3S Prime, you would pick the images coming out of the 3s prime. Let’s hope that a software update can fix something here and save the selfie enthusiasts.
The Xiaomi Redmi 4 runs on Android 6.0.1 out of the box with the company’s custom MIUI 8.0 on top of it. MIUI 8 feels exactly the same on this device as well. It is a heavily customized version of Android and it offers a bunch of customization options as well. But since this is Android which we are talking about here, we can quickly slap a third-party launcher and call it a day. Overall, the software feels nice and snappy, just like it is supposed to feel on a new smartphone. We have already covered about the MIUI 8 in detail a lot of time and you can quickly head over to our website and look up for more info on that.
The Xiaomi Redmi 4 is powered by really powerful internals for this price and together with the MIUI 8, it allows for an exceptional battery life as well. The icing on the cake is, however, the price here. For 8,999 INR (for 3GB + 32GB config), we simply can’t help but forget all the negatives or the only negative which is the mediocre camera performance. With this pricing, you simply cannot go wrong with the Redmi 4. If you are in the market to buy a budget smartphone under 10,000 INR, then it is highly recommended that you consider this one on the top of your list. And with that said, this definitely gets a big thumbs up, but if you want to pick one up then you might want to be quick since these are not going to be sitting around for a long time on their website or on Amazon.