The Mi 4i is dubbed as a flagship by Xiaomi but no way it is one. At best, it is a mid-range device with great value for money pricing. How can you even call a smartphone with unibody polycarbonate body and Snapdragon 615 SoC a flagship? However, it has a compact new design which makes it easy to use with one hand and also feels premium to hold. For Rs 12,999, it certainly does not feel cheap or flimsy.
Xiaomi Mi 4i Hands on
Display and Build Quality
In our Xiaomi Mi 4i hands on, lets talk about the display first. The Mi 4i features a 5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) fully laminated OGS Sharp/JDI IPS display. It packs in a pixel density of 441ppi. The display was really bright with vivid colours. It had great viewing angles and according to Xiaomi it has 178-degree wide-viewing angle and NTSC 95% ultra-high colour gamut. The phone also comes with sunlight display technology which improves screen readability using hardware-level technology to adjust contrast for each pixel in real-time. We obviously could not test the sunlight display technology in a closed auditorium but more on that when we get our hands on the smartphone.
The Mi 4i comes with a unibody design made with polycarbonate which is 7.8 mm thick and weighs 130 grams. The phone feels really compact and is very easy to use with one hand in spite of rocking a 5-inch display. Kudos to Xiaomi’s engineering team for the design. The weight feels balanced throughout the body which will make it easy to hold and use it for long duration. At the back, it has a soft-touch matte finish with anti-grease coating for better grip only on the Black and White colour variants. The orange, light blue, yellow, pink variants have a glossy back.
Performance and Storage
The smartphone is powered by an octa-core (1.7 GHz x 4 + 1.1 GHz x 4) 2nd Gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 64-bit processor. The new processor is designed in India by Qualcomm. Xiaomi has mentioned that the 2nd Gen Snapdragon 615 does not get ‘heated like before’. The 1st gen 615 had a lot of heating issues which is widely known and we expect Qualcomm to make the new one a lot better. Xiaomi seems to have collaborated with Qualcomm and tested the processor thoroughly but we need to test it out to give our final verdict.
It comes with 2GB of RAM and 16 GB internal storage with no option for expandable memory via microSD card. So, the biggest concern about the Mi 4i anywhere on the Internet is its 16GB storage, that too without a microSD card. On one hand, Xiaomi dubs it at the ‘flagship’ and on the other it has only 16GB storage, a backlash was obviously expected. But according to Xiaomi, only 10% of their consumer base wants higher storage and the rest is fine with 16GB. Xiaomi wants consumers to make their voices heard on their forum and social media channel and if there is a strong demand, they will consider making a 32 or 64GB variant. So, if you’re interested in a higher version, you know what to do!
Xiaomi Mi 4i will run on MIUI 6 based on Android 5.0 Lollipop OS out of the box. It is the first Mi device to ship with MIUI 6 based on Lollipop. There isn’t much visual changes outside but there are performance improvements inside and it is a lot smoother now. With our limited Xiaomi Mi 4i hands on time, MIUI 6 felt very smooth and responsive but of course we need to spend more time with it. The 16GB model has 10.9GB as free storage, thanks to the heavy MIUI 6.
On the camera front, the Mi 4i has a 13 megapixel rear camera with dual two-tone LED flash. It has f/2.0 sensor size five-element lens. It also has the capability to record 1080p videos. The shooter looked quite good in low light condition at the event but again we need to test it out. However on the front, it has a 5 megapixel front-facing camera with f/1.8 aperture along with 36 beauty profiles to smoothen skin, brighten eyes and more, which will result in better selfies. Xiaomi has worked a lot on the front camera, specially the software part adding new features like Beauty profiles. I am personally not a fan of these features but I guess this is the market trend right now and people use these features a lot. So, Xiaomi had to jump in to make people look better when they say ‘Lets take a selfie now.’
The Mi 4i has 4G LTE, 3G, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.5 & 5 GHz), WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS/GLONASS and USB OTG as connectivity options. It comes with Dual SIM along with Dual Standby which supports 2G, 3G and 4G LTE on both the SIM. Xiaomi has got the Mi 4i covered this time around with the inclusion of 4G LTE. The company faced a lot of backlash when it launched the Mi 4 sans the 4G LTE bands.
The smartphone packs in a 3,120 mAh battery under the hood which will last up to 1.5 days of moderate usage, according to Xiaomi. It supports quick charging as well. Xiaomi did a commendable job fitting in a large battery in a 7.88 mm compact body.
Xiaomi Mi 4i Hands on: Conclusion
The registration for Mi 4i has already started and the first flash sale is a Flipkart exclusive on April 30. It will be sold on Amazon, Snapdeal, The Mobile Store, Airtel Stores and Mi.com later. Only the white colour option is available now and the black variant is expected after a month. Xiaomi will bring other colour options, considering the demand. So, if you’re interested in other colours, you know what to do (refer storage).
The Xiaomi Mi 4i is a winner in India priced at just Rs 12,999 barring the storage issue. You can always use USB OTG but that’s not a permanent solution. We would reserve our final thoughts on the device until we get test it out for a longer duration. Our hands on video is coming soon and also stay tuned for our full review.