Xiaomi Mi 4 review: Dragons forever
Xiaomi is in no mood to slow down and the Mi 4 is ready to succeed one of the most popular Chinese smartphones, the Mi 3. Riding the new wave of made-in-China flagships, with the likes of Oppo, Meizu and Huawei, this one is a highly anticipated sequel that has its mind on shaking the market just like its predecessor.
Xiaomi Mi 3 paved the way with its spotless design, high-quality unibody build, top-notch hardware package and clean and responsive MIUI. Not to mention the affordable price tag, which is one of the key reasons why Xiaomi is so popular. Well, the Mi 3 is still not going anywhere, as it remains Xiaomi's flagship on a number of markets, but the next iteration will surely try and nudge it out of the spotlight.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 has the same form factor and uses a similar 5" 1080p IPS display. So what's new about it? Well, for starters, it has a brand new glossy plastic shell for the rear cover, which can be replaced with a wide choice of optional patterns and textures, including bamboo and stone. The highlight of the new design however is the metal frame, which gives the Mi 4 a more solid, premium feel. The Mi 4 is also a tad more compact than the Mi 3.
As becomes of a new flagship, there are upgrades under the hood, too. Snapdragon 801 takes over from the older generation, bringing faster Adreno 330 graphics and more RAM (3GB). Xiaomi has also added LTE connectivity and enabled 4K video recording. A massive 8MP front-facer promises some of the best selfies in the business.
The Xiaomi Mi 4 runs MIUI v5 based on Android 4.4.3 KitKat, but it will most certainly be updated to the next version, currently in beta release. MIUI v6 brings flat iOS7-like interface, prettier and more feature-rich. Don't you worry Mi 3 owners, you will be getting it too.
So let's check the Xiaomi Mi 4's main feature list.
- 5" IPS 1080p capacitive touchscreen of 441ppi
- Android 4.4.3 KitKat with MIUI v.5, upgradable to MIUI v.6
- 2.5GHz quad-core Krait 400 CPU; 3GB of RAM; Adreno 330 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset
- 13MP camera, f/1.8 aperture, LED flash, 4K video capture, HDR video, 1080p@30fps, 720p@120fps
- 8MP front-facing camera; 1080p video recording
- 16/64 GB of built-in memory
- Active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone
- 3,080mAh battery
- No Gorilla Glass
- No microSD card slot
- No user-replaceable battery
- No NFC
- Sold exclusively online
The lack of a microSD slot isn't unexpected. No Mi flagship, besides the very first one, has ever come with expandable storage.
Other than that though, the equipment is flagship-grade. Xiaomi has put some extra effort into the Mi 4's design as well. Perhaps a bit too much even. The customization options are probably second to the Moto X only but going squarely after the iPhone is a questionable decision compared to the subtle but powerful Nokia-like aesthetics of the previous generation.
Anyway, we have the review to decide where we stand on that - and getting right to it. We're back after the jump for our traditional tour of the exterior.
Special thanks to HonorBuy.com for providing the review unit.
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