The Redmi 4 is one of the best smartphones available for under ₹10,000 right now.
Xiaomi saw a lot of success with the Redmi 3S in India — over 4 million units were sold, making it the best-selling phone in the online segment. The Chinese manufacturer is looking to do the same with the Redmi 4, its latest entrant in the budget segment in India. The phone made its debut last month for ₹6,999 ($110), offering enticing specs and excellent value for money.
Here’s what you need to know about Xiaomi’s latest budget phone.
It shares design similarities with the Redmi Note 4
At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the Redmi 4 as a smaller version of the Redmi Note 4. That’s by design. Xiaomi is moving to a unified design language for its phones, and the result is that there’s now a shared aesthetic amongst the manufacturer’s budget offerings. Considering the Redmi Note 4 is one of the best-looking phones in the sub-₹15,000 segment, the design is a point in favor of the Redmi 4. Like its pricier sibling, the Redmi 4 offers an all-metal back, and the black color option in particular looks great.
As is the case with most Xiaomi phones, the Redmi 4 offers a build quality that belies its affordable price tag. While it lacks the accents around the camera sensor and antenna bands at the back, the overall design makes the phone look premium.
The 5-inch display is great for one-handed use
The Redmi 4 has the same 5-inch screen size as its predecessor, and the resolution at 1280×720 is also the same. This time around, however, Xiaomi added 2.5D curved glass at the front, making for a more seamless transition from the screen to the frame. The 5-inch screen and compact form factor makes the Redmi 4 ideal for one-handed usage.
The multitasking, home, and back buttons (in that order) are located underneath the display, and the fingerprint sensor is at the back of the device. The screen itself is great, with accurate colors and excellent viewing angles. You also get a blue light filter, and the screen goes all the way down to 1nit for nighttime viewing. The speaker is now located at the bottom of the phone, and while it’s still a single speaker, it delivers an impressive amount of sound.
There are several configurations available
All variants of the Redmi 4 sold in India are powered by the Snapdragon 435 SoC, which has four Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz and an Adreno 505 GPU. The phone is available in three configurations: a base model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage for ₹6,999, a variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage for ₹8,999, and a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage that is available for ₹10,999.
Considering the Redmi 4 has a microSD slot, your best option would be to get the variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage. That way, memory and storage won’t be a bottleneck, and you still have a capable device. While it’s great that Xiaomi is offering a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, the fact that it costs ₹10,999 doesn’t make it an attractive option as you can pick up the Redmi Note 4 for a smidgen more.
MIUI continues to get better, as do the cameras
The Redmi 4 offers the latest version of MIUI 8.2, which is great. What isn’t so great is the fact that the phone is still running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and there’s no mention of when the Nougat update will be available. That said, MIUI 8 has a ton of customizations and is one of the best skins out there if you like changing every facet of your phone.
As for the camera, the rear 13-megapixel shooter on the Redmi 4 features a Sony IMX258 imaging sensor, and there’s PDAF along with dual-tone flash. Images taken with the rear camera offer a lot of detail and accurate colors, but the phone struggles with HDR and low-light conditions. That’s par for the course in this segment, but overall, the camera on the Redmi 4 is passable.
The battery life is amazing
If there’s one area where Redmi phones have excelled in recent years, it’s battery life. The Redmi 4 exemplifies this, thanks to a massive 4,100mAh battery that lasts at least two days on a full charge. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the stellar battery life: the 720p display, MIUI’s aggressive memory management, and of course the large battery capacity in a compact chassis.
You’ll easily get six to seven hours of screen-on-time, and that’s with Bluetooth enabled throughout the day and a few hours on cellular data. If you’re in the market for a phone with great battery life, there isn’t an option that’s as good as the Redmi 4 in this segment.
It’s exclusive to Amazon (for now)
The most frustrating part about the Redmi 4 is its availability — you can’t walk into a store and pick one up. The phone is currently exclusive to Amazon and is sold via weekly flash sales. For its part, Xiaomi is making sure that there is adequate stock of the Redmi 4 every week and is putting the phone up for sale every Tuesday.
As an added bonus, Xiaomi is bundling free subscriptions to Hungama Music, and you also get a ₹200 promotional credit toward Kindle e-book purchases. If you’re a Vodafone customer, you can get up to 45GB free for 5 months.
There is a possibility that the phone will be available at other e-commerce stores as well as offline stores in the future, but for now, you’ll have to resort to picking up the device in a flash sale. There are resellers that are selling the device at a ₹1,000 to ₹1,500 markup, but it isn’t advisable to go down that route.