What do consumers want in a new mobile phone? Talk to any device maker and chances are it will identify these features most dear to the Indian consumer: An attractive and durable design with a bright, big display; good picture and video taking capability; top-notch performance and a long-lasting batter, with the entire package available at an affordable price tag of R10,000-15,000. Almost all device makers put in a lot of effort to position their offerings keeping the above mentioned parameters in mind, however, it is the Chinese firm Xiaomi that has capitalised on this mid-range success formula to the hilt. Its Redmi Note 3 was one of the most popular devices in 2016.
This time around, Xiaomi has introduced the Redmi Note 4 smartphone that is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. It is available in Dark Grey and Gold colours and in three configurations, starting at R9,999 (2 GB RAM + 32 GB Flash), R10,999 (3 GB RAM + 32 GB Flash) and R12,999 (4 GB RAM + 64 GB Flash). A Black variant is on its way too, with a sleek new matte black finish. We got the Gold variant (4 GB RAM plus 64 GB Flash) for a product evaluation, let us check out some of its key features and overall performance.
At first look, Redmi Note 4 comes across as a stylish device. It sports a premium metal body with elegant anodised high-gloss aluminium lines and a beautifully symmetric design. Needless to say, it looks pleasing to the eye and is sturdy, too. I must also mention it is the first Redmi smartphone to feature 2.5D curved glass on the front which, paired with tapered edges, makes it extremely comfortable to hold.
Redmi Note 4 packs high-performing hardware and multitasking capabilities in a sleek metallic design powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. This is the first chipset to use 14nm FinFET technology, which is substantially more power-efficient than processors based on 28nm technology. As a result, the phone’s 4100mAh battery lasts on average 25% longer than Redmi Note 3. It also achieves nifty performance, remaining comfortable for use even under extremely demanding CPU tasks such as 3D gaming for extended time periods. Snapdragon 625 supports PC-class graphics with the Qualcomm Adreno 506 graphics processing unit (GPU), which allows for a great gaming experience.
As far as other features go, Redmi Note 4 sports the customised MIUI system (Android-based OS) and a 5.5-inch Full HD display. Company officials inform that MIUI 8 beta based on Android Nougat will be available soon. On the camera side, the phone produces some great pictures, thanks to its 13 MP CMOS camera with Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) for faster focusing, f/2.0 aperture, and a Backside Illuminated (BSI) sensor with 1.12-micron pixels, which captures more light than its predecessor. A 5MP, f/2.0 aperture front facing camera on the front makes it great for selfies. In my opinion, Redmi Note 4 offers an overall substantial photography upgrade to Redmi Note 3, which enables users to take amazing photos and videos on the go, perfect for sharing outstanding content on social media.
Probing further, Redmi Note 4 doubles the storage of its predecessor, offering 32 GB of onboard storage in the base model, and up to 64 GB flash in the 4 GB RAM variant—a first in the Indian sub-15k market—all of which are expandable up to 128 GB via an SD card. Like its predecessor, Redmi Note 4 has been designed for full compatibility with India’s LTE cellular networks, including support for LTE B and 5 used for Voice over LTE (VoLTE), which enables HD calls to be carried over 4G and is practically essential for making HD calls when indoors.
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The best part of Redmi Note 4 is its speed. I used the device for about a week and it is amazingly fast; the hardware ensures that switching between apps is swift and smooth. The call speaker has a nice warm tone and the user interface is smooth and easy to catch on. Its 4100mAh high-density battery will easily last you for two days of moderate use.
In summary, Redmi Note 4 is a decent Android smartphone with good all-round performance.