Mention the brand Xiaomi and you are bound to generate a considerable amount of excitement among many people, especially among those who are plugged in with the latest in the mobile world. Yes, my reference is to the five year-old Chinese brand, founded by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun, who believes that high-quality technology doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
In India, the company has gained recognition primarily due to the flash sales of its budget smartphones; few days back, its last flash sale saw 50,000 units of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G going out of stock in just 5 seconds while the 20,000 Xiaomi Redmi 1S units went out of stock in 4 seconds. The fact is that Mi handsets are a judicious mix of hardware and software and are able to attract cost-conscious buyers because of their affordable price tags.
For those who came in late, Xiaomi entered India with online retailer Flipkart.com in July last year, selling phones through flash sales whereby availability is limited to short time frames. The online strategy cuts down on marketing and distribution costs, allowing Xiaomi to sell feature-rich phones at low prices.
This time around, Mi India is testing the waters with its new flagship device, the Mi 4, a gorgeous device packed with powerful specifications. It retails for Rs 19,999. Until now, Mi handsets were positioned in the mid segment and by virtue of being feature-rich phones at low prices definitely attracted the customers; the Mi 4 is in an altogether different price segment and therefore, it remains to be seen whether it will be able to generate similar excitement among the buyers here.
I have been using a Mi 4 review unit (16 GB) for the past 10 days and take my word, it is a beautifully designed 5-inch device that is packed with powerful specifications. It is light and can easily fit in one’s pocket. It is a smart and stylish handset that will appeal to trendy and tech savvy mobile users in India. In the box, you’ll get the Mi 4, USB 2.0 cable, user guide and EU adapter. In terms of its physical appearance, the device resembles an iPhone 5s, but somewhat a taller version.
Mi 4 also includes a 13-megapixel rear camera, and an impressive wide-angle (80 degree) front-facing camera of 8 megapixels, both with an unprecedented f1.8 aperture.
Switched on, you’ll enjoy a delightful entertainment experience on the 5-inch HD IPS LCD display of the Mi 4. The screen is very sensitive to touch, making it easy to operate. Basically, MIUI 6 is MIUI redesigned in its simplest form, with beautiful colour and motion graphics throughout, and all unnecessary distractions stripped away so you can focus on your content. It is visually stunning, and amazingly simple. Company officials say MIUI is one of the world’s most popular Android-based platforms with over 85 million users worldwide.
Today, people take pictures and share images with their friends, followers, and family with just several taps on their phone. In sync with this trend, the Mi 4 permits users with its ability to not only take great still photographs, it can shoot superb videos as well. Thanks to the latest camera technology incorporated into this device, the 13 MP primary shooter is extremely quick to activate, focus and capture your precious moments before they pass. The Mi 4’s camera takes just 0.5 seconds to launch without any shutter lag.
With the advanced close-loop focus system of this device, it can autofocus in just 0.3 seconds. The Beauty app offers you 36 smart filters that can be applied to perfect your selfies. All in all, a great device to have around for the person who likes taking photographs.
In my assessment, the Mi 4 is targeted at the young generation and tech-savvy office goers, who are always on the lookout for better and savvier smartphones. It will attract users with its good looks, judicious mix of hardware and software and premium build quality. Highly recommended.
* Display: 5-inch HD IPS LCD display
* Resolution: 1920 x 1080p Full HD (441 ppi)
* Processor: 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
* Operating system: MIUI 6 based on Android 4.4.4
* Memory & storage: 3GB LPDDR3 RAM, 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash memory
* Camera: 13 MP (rear); 8 MP front camera
* Battery: 3080 mAh Lithium-ion polymer battery
** Estimated street price: R19,999