The retail box of the Redmi Note 4 contains the phone itself, a microUSB cable and a charger. The charger is the fastest that the phone officially supports - 5V @ 2A.
Xiaomi changed the manufacturing process for the metal body since the Note 3. This resulted in a higher-quality, sturdier body, but it weighs more too - 175g vs. 164g. It nears the upper end of what is acceptable for a 5.5" phone, though the iPhone 7 Plus weighs in at 188g, so the Redmi Note 4 scores some points.
Xiaomi shaved off 0.3mm from the thickness, but a more perceptible difference is the new shape of the sides.
Xiaomi advertises the Redmi Note 4 as having a "full metal" body. It takes 30 steps to go from a solid aluminum ingot to the finished product, fully 10 times more steps that what it takes to make a Note 3 shell!
Sony Xperia Z series and HTC One phones have been built this way, cheaper metal phones are usually made by forming aluminum sheets. This more difficult process allows Xiaomi finer control over the structure and finish of the metal body.
Speaking of finish, Xiaomi opted to polish the metal. The smooth texture this creates takes away from the "metal feel" and makes fingerprints more visible. We're fans of a rougher finish (brushed or not).
We liked the diamond-cut lines on the side - it's a small detail, but these shiny lines draw the eye.
The antenna lines were made with nano-injection molding, which streamlines the look of the phone but more importantly optimizes the performance of the antennas. It feels like Xiaomi asked its engineers for the best design and only told them the target price point after they were done.
The front glass is touted as "2.5D arc glass" but we have to say promo materials make it seem like the bevel is much bigger than it is in person. The lack of scratch-proofing credentials also raises an eyebrow.
The bezels around the screen seem thicker than ideal, but a search through the database for narrower phones with a 5.5" screen turns up mostly flagships.
We also like the way the metal is chamfered on the sides - it provides a nice perch for our fingers, giving us a secure grip.
Ergonomics are further helped by the classic positioning of controls. Xiaomi still uses capacitive keys below the screen arranged App switcher, Home and Back.
The Power key and Volume rocker on the right side are big enough to find, but we think their press is a little too "heavy."
On the other side of the phone is the card slot. You need a SIM ejector to open it and pull out the two-card tray. You can place either two SIMs or swap (micro+nano) the nanoSIM with a microSD card. This is okay if you buy the 64GB High edition, but using two SIMs with the 16GB Standard model is going to be a tight fit.
The bottom is home to a microUSB port, Xiaomi still isn't fully committed to USB Type-C (the Redmi Pro has the new port, though). Two Torx screws flank the port and two grills. The right one holds the loudspeaker (which used to be on the back on the Note 3). Note that only one of the grilles hides a loudspeaker.
On top, you get the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, the secondary mic and the IR blaster.
The main 13MP camera is on the back symmetrically opposite the round fingerprint reader, with a dual-LED, dual-tone flash. The fingerprint reader is recessed, making it easy to find by feel.
The other camera on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is on the front - a 5MP shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. The design here is symmetrical again, the other round element is for the proximity and ambient light sensors.
There's a notification LED, but it is fairly small and not that bright. It almost gets lost in the white glass (used on the White and Gold color options) but should be more visible on the black glass (used on the Silver model). We miss the honking big notification lights on feature phones.
We felt like we were holding something special with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. Not so much for the build quality, we've had that before - at several times the price. It's really the price that makes it special - Xiaomi has put together a sturdy, ergonomic phone at the price of far lower quality phones.