Chinese smartphone makers are on a roll in India. According to International Data Corporation, in the first quarter of CY17, China-based vendors accounted for 51.4% share of smartphone shipments in India, with 16.9% sequential growth and 142.6% growth over the same period last year. The leader of the pack is Xiaomi—it has become India’s second-largest smartphone brand with a 14.2% share and, more importantly, its model Redmi Note 4 has replaced Samsung Galaxy J2 as the highest shipped smartphone in India. Xiaomi has now launched Redmi 4. Consider it as a lower-priced Redmi Note 4 with almost similar features. In size and appearance, the Redmi 4 looks just like the iPhone 6, minus the latter’s trademark Home button, of course.
Its fit and finish is impeccable for a sub-Rs 10,000 phone. It has a beautiful metal frame made of anodised aluminium, with a 12.7-cm (5-inch) display. The front is a 2.5D curved glass that feels smooth when you tap or swipe your fingers across the screen (2.5D essentially means a tiny curve at the edges of the screen, unlike, say, Samsung’s S6 Edge that has a 3D curve). The rear enclosure has two bright strips, giving the phone an additional sparkle. It’s available in two colours, gold and matte black. Nowadays, most phones cannot be used with a single hand, and Redmi 4 is no exception. However, it has a one-handed mode, and by switching it on you can easily operate it with one hand. The problem is, in this mode, the screen becomes too small for comfort. Use it with one hand and a drawback gets exposed—the phone has a tendency to slip out of hand. While its bevelled metal frame and tapered edges make it easy to hold, the smooth aluminium makes it slippery. The Redmi 4 has a fingerprint scanner whose placement, at the rear, is perfect—when you hold the phone, your index finger reaches the scanner and the phone unlocks.
The battery, at 4100mAh, is a powerhouse. The company claims that it runs 18 days on standby mode and up to two days with heavy duty usage. That’s correct—on a particular weekend, I could run the phone three days, without charging, with moderate usage! The Redmi 4 runs on Snapdragon 435 octa-core processor, so even if you run multiple apps and play mobile games all day, there is almost no delay in opening even more apps or using any function/feature. Herein lies an amazing thing about the phone. Even though it houses a large battery and a powerful processor in a small metal frame, the phone doesn’t heat up.
The rear camera is 13MP and the front is 5MP. The rear camera focuses fast and comes to life within a second of touching the camera icon. There is a range of built-in camera functions that help you take panoramic and night shots. The video camera has a time-lapse function too.
The Redmi 4 comes with a few features that are usually found in more expensive phones. For example, a private second space (using different passcodes or fingerprints, you can access different profiles, each with its own wallpaper, apps, files and photos), dual apps (allows you to create and sign into dual accounts for any app, including WhatsApp and Facebook), and a universal infrared remote (you can control your TV, set-top box, AC, fan and DVD). The phone is available in three configurations—2GB + 16GB (Rs 6,999), 3GB + 32GB (Rs 8,999) and 4GB + 64GB (Rs 10,999)—so you have ample choice too. At these prices, consider the Redmi 4 as an iPhone 6 at one-fifth the price. Just hold it tight, or better, buy a cover case that provides plenty of grip.