Xiaomi’s Redmi Note phablet was launched recently in India, and it was a 3G variant with a Mediatek chipset but there was another one coming. The Redmi Note 4G, finally, in the first flash sale sold about 40,000 units in what the company claimed was just a span of six seconds. The difference between the two devices, is with the processor that runs the device, and the data network connectivity.
To explain it further, the Redmi Note 3G is powered by Mediatek MT6592 octa-core processor and Mali-450MP4 GPU, while the Redmi Note 4G has a MSM 8928 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with Adreno 305 GPU. And while the Redmi Note 3G supports 3G connectivity with 900 and 2100 band HSDPA, the 4G unit supports 4G LTE connectivity with TD-LTE 1900 and 2300 bands.
Now, with the limited 4G connectivity in India, and with some good contenders already in the market, will the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G prove its worth? We find out.
While the Note 4G comes as no difference from the 3G one, you can notice one difference in the hardware aspect. It has just one SIM card slot, unlike the two slots under the removable back cover in the 3G one. Other technical difference is with the storage expansion, where the former now is able to support 64GB MicroSD card compared to 32GB support in the 3G unit.
A large phablet, this looks almost the same in size as is the Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro with a 6-inch screen, and the OnePlus One with a same 5.5-inch display looks smaller. Let me end the design part here, as you can head to the Redmi Note Review if you want to know what I felt about the design. It is the same body, no point repeating the story.
Overall with the design, the only issue is with the slippery back and everything else is good and well placed. And the overall size is quite larger than standard top-end devices with a 5.5-inch display. The back cover is removable, and you see a single 4G SIM slot and the MicroSD card slot, and the 3000 mAh replaceable battery as well. Not really easy to hold and use with a single hand, but what else do we expect from a budget device with a large screen?
Display is again, no different. A very good responsive screen and although the pixel density doesn’t boast high numbers, kept at 267PPI for the 720p resolution under a 5.5-inch screen, the color reproduction and viewing angles keep it quite appreciable. Under bright sunlight, readability is little of an issue and this is better than the Redmi 1s, no different from the Note 3G.
Just like we felt with the other variant, the sensors do a great job in preventing the pocket dials, though that is not automatically set. We had no issues playing the Full HD content on this screen, and it felt pretty good and played neat.
While the 3G variant users might feel betrayed, no hiding the fact that the Redmi Note 4G runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat with MIUI 5. But do we really see any changes? nothing for the standard options we see, as everything is almost the same. The mixture of Android and iOS, MIUI still feels solid and complete, with availability of loads of widgets and options, though we won’t call this as one of the best ROMs.
As we review the Indian version of Redmi Note 4G, we see the Google package pre-installed, but the apps aren’t limited to that. Some other apps include Themes, FM Radio, Recorder, Mi Cloud, Torch, Compass, QR scanner as well as file explorer. Right from the lock screen, there are interesting features (some of them hidden but not hard to access) and under the settings, a lot of things to change the way you want to use the UI.
As there is no availability of app drawer, Xiaomi has given a lot for the users to change the way home screens look, giving options of widgets, effects while shifting between the home screens and such. The entire interface looks a bit like dragging, which makes it unified and not something to do with the performance.
The camera combination and the app for camera in Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G is no different from the 3G one at all, but there is one difference we can point out while using both the devices at the same time to capture some pictures. The Snapdragon 400 based 4G device is a touch slower in focusing and capturing, taking that noticeable time before readying itself for the next capture, and that isn’t very much noticed in the 3G counterpart.
Zooming in – the zoomed in pictures still show some good detail, but it needs a stabilized hand, as the shake easily gives out blurry photos on zoom.
Capture quality isn’t much different and the HDR mode in both takes a second or more, which is normal. Panoramic captures are still disappointing, while the 1080p video were decent when taken without much shakes. When you talk of comparisons, Yureka lit the pictures with some high ISO on Auto mode, and at least the subject was shown in the picture in low light. Below are a few captures in low light, captured without and with the flash.
The most important point apart from the connectivity, in this smartphone, is the chipset powering it. Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Adreno 305 GPU and 2GB RAM. On the other hand, the 3G one had an octa-core CPU (with all cores running at the same time), Mali 450MP4 GPU and 2GB RAM. While there’s always a fight about the processors and Qualcomm comes out as a winner, it isn’t the case here.
Though we won’t say the performance was bad, but it was better on the Redmi Note 3G. Mediatek it is, but the way the SoC handles multitasking, heavy apps and graphics with the 450MP4 GPU, we’d definitely vouch for it over the performance on the Snapdragon based device. Benchmark scores were a big disappointment, but we don’t limit the performance to those scores. Check the comparison below.
The issue about heating up of the device while gaming remains the same, though we did try to play Asphalt 8 for the same time on both the devices and the Redmi Note 4G seemed to have lesser heating up of the core. The device never broke a sweat while playing high-end games, except for some frame drops, though that doesn’t hurt the experience overall.
Voice and video calling are both quite decent, no disturbance and the device was able to keep the call active on unstable networks as well. Unfortunately, we could test the 4G data connectivity for only a limited time and that is actually the state of 4G in India. If there was something the company should have not shown as a USP for the Redmi Note 4G, it was the 4G connectivity itself. Not even the major cities have a proper LTE coverage, but for the time we tried it, the data network speed was superb and the reception was great.
The 3100 mAh battery in the Redmi Note 4G was able to give a days’ usage with over 3 hours of screen-on time, occasional data network usage and most of the time, connected to Wi-Fi networks. The standby is great, and if the screen usage is lesser, it could take you through the second day as well.
While the Redmi Note 4G from Xiaomi faces stiff competition from the likes of Lenovo A6000, Yu Yureka and even Nokia Lumia 735 (if we are to mention about a decent Windows Phone device), the battery life and a decent camera keep it a bit ahead than them, but on the other side, the company’s own 3G variant of Redmi Note has a better overall performance, and the specs in Yureka looks like beating this smartphone, which is retailing at Rs. 9,999. If you aren’t someone relying on 4G data network connectivity, there is no reason why we’d suggest this device over the Redmi Note 3G.