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Review: Xiaomi Mi 4i is the best smartphone under Rs 13,000

Xiaomi is trying to be a truly Indian company by launching the Mi 4i, a smartphone not only designed for India but also launched first in India.

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal   New Delhi     Last Updated: May 5, 2015  | 10:26 IST
Xiaomi Mi 4i: Best smartphone under Rs 13,000
Mi 4i is a smartphone not only designed for India but also launched first in the country.

Price: Rs 12,999
Rating: 4.5/5

Just five years old in the industry, Xiaomi, also known as the Apple of China, entered the Indian market in July last year. In less than six months, the company claims to have sold over one million devices in India. Realising the potential of the Indian market, Xiaomi is trying to be a truly Indian company by launching the Mi 4i, a smartphone not only designed for India but also launched first in India. While the smartphone looks good and the company has boasted a lot about the Mi 4i, does it justify the price tag of Rs 12,999? Let's find out.

The Mi 4i has got a simple yet appealing design. Just like its big-screen sibling Redmi Note, the Mi 4i also has a straight line design with a soft finish polycarbonate back. It packs in a 5-inch display and yet has a thin bezel at 7.8 mm, which makes it comfortable to grip and operate with one hand. With a weight of 130 gm, the phone does not feel heavy. It has a uni-body design and the back panel is non-removable. Other than the regular controls, the dual-SIM tray has been placed on the left panel. There isn't any expandable memory card slot on this phone. My review unit in white looked good. However, the other matte colours awarded it a premium look.

The Mi 4i boasts a 5-inch full HD display with 1920x1080 pixels and 441 ppi. It has good viewing angles and everything appears to be sharp on the screen. But Xiaomi has gone a step ahead by adding a sunlight display feature that remains on by default. Using hardware level technology, it enhances the contrast depending upon the ambient light, enhancing the sunlight legibility to a great extent. While it sounds good, it comes handy too. Whether it is capturing images in the sunlight or reading an email, everything is visible even when the sun is shining right above your head.

Of late, a 13-MP sensor has become standard in smartphones over Rs 10,000 and it is the same with Mi 4i, too. It comes with a two-tone flash that balances out light when used. The camera app has a neat interface and is intuitive to use. The images captured during bright daylight appeared sharp and offered great details. However, when transferred to the laptop, they were not as rich as they appeared to the display. But even then, I am not complaining. Given the phone's price, the camera is impressive.

Low-light images were also good but had visible noise. There is also a torch setting that balances the light when capturing images in the dark. The 5-MP font facing camera captures decent selfies. In short, the Mi 4i offers the best camera when compared to the other smartphones in its price band.

This isn't a flagship competitor and is packed with the new Qualcomm 64-bit, 1.7-Ghz octa-core Snapdragon processor (1.1 GHz quad core + 1.7 GHz quad core) paired with 2 GB of RAM. It runs on Android Lollipop with MIUI 6 version. There isn't any concept of an app tray and all the icons are placed on the homescreen. Folders can be created to store the apps. Overall, the performance is impressive and it can handle heavy graphic games with ease. There wasn't any lag and I was able to switch comfortably between multiple running apps.

The phone scored 38,218 on AnTuTu, an Android benchmark app. Xiaomi has also added an innovative visual IVR feature to the Mi 4i that allows users to navigate through the menu without listening to the full recorded message. In beta stage at the moment, it wasn't added to my review unit. The only drawback of this smartphone is the 16-GB internal storage, of which around 12.90 GB is user accessible. This is a dual-SIM smartphone and supports 4G connectivity.

Xiaomi has managed to add a 3,120-mAh battery to this sleek device. Despite the heavy usage including a couple of email accounts, Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook, camera and browsing, the phone lasted me over a day. Even when I turned on the display brightness to maximum and with wireless connections on, it lasted a day.

Undoubtedly, it is the best smartphone under Rs 13,000.

Design, Camera, Price

No expandable storage

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