Chinese electronics company, Xiaomi had tremendous success in India in 2016 by selling over 2+ million units of Redmi Note 3(a budget smartphone) in the span of just six months. To continue the legacy in 2017, Xiaomi is back with the Redmi Note 4.
Xiaomi failed to impress the customers with their flagship device, the Xiaomi Mi 5 but managed to gain the revenue with their most successful line of budget smartphones. Xiaomi’s flagship phones couldn’t make to the top of the list though they are having a decent price tag and specs like ‘we get more than what we paid for.’ Rival company OnePlus, which is also a Chinese electronics company, won over Xiaomi with their flagship device OnePlus 3.
The market isn’t the same now as it was at the time of Redmi Note 3 launch back in 2016. Counterparts like LeEco, Honor, etc. are making sure that budget segment is given paramount importance in their strategy. These companies are delivering, even more features than Xiaomi at an affordable price tag.
Now will the Redmi Note 4 continue the triumph of its predecessor or will it lose the game? Let’s dive a little deeper to find it out in our the full review of Redmi Note 4.
Both Redmi Note 3 and Redmi Note 4 are almost similar regarding design. A few tweaks are made in Note 4 to make it look more polished and futuristic. The major tweak is the addition of 2.5D curved glass which is absent in Note 3. Xiaomi claims that screen will be smoother now and yes it is. However, Xiaomi stuck to the same 5.5″ display with the screen resolution of 1080*1920 pixels and the pixel density of 403 PPI like its predecessor.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 boasts a unimetal body design with 8.4mm thickness and the edges are more rounded than Redmi Note 3. The phone weighs 165 grams, just a gram heavier than Note 3 and Xiaomi’s design team needs to be appreciated in this aspect.
The traditional backlit hardware capacitive buttons are still present, and unlike other brands, Xiaomi did not consider removing them. On the bottom of the phone, there is micro USB port surrounded by two bottom firing speakers on both sides.
Xiaomi decided not to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, and it is placed on the top of the phone along with an IR blaster. For the unaware, IR blaster can be used as a universal remote to control TV, AC, etc.
The power/lock button and the volume rockers are on the right side of the phone and fall comfortably under the thumb finger, while the hybrid SIM tray is on the left.
The 13MP rear shooter finds its place on the top half of the back, and the dual-tone LED flash is placed exactly below the camera module. The fingerprint sensor, which unlocks the phone at almost zero lag is situated below the LED flash and is within reach of your index finger.
Antenna lines go across the upper and lower part of the back, and the Mi logo is placed slightly above the bottom antenna line.
Performance: Hardcore gamers will be disappointed a little bit
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset, which is an energy efficient SoC built on the 14nm manufacturing process. There is 4GB of RAM (available in 2GB/3GB RAM variants as well), and the onboard storage is 64GB, while the Adreno 506 GPU takes care of the graphics part.
These specifications seem to be very promising on the paper, and the day-to-day usage of the handset was excellent, but we were slightly disappointed with the gaming aspect. Frame drops can be easily noticed while graphic intensive games are played. Continuous usage for about half an hour warms up the phone, but that’s not a big issue.
The Redmi Note 4 handled the tasks well in multitasking, and all the apps opened without any delay. However, with a plethora of apps opened in the background, there is a little lag. This might be due to the Xiaomi’s aggressive RAM management. Speakers on the bottom are satisfyingly audible, and thankfully there are no distortions.
On the whole, performance is excellent, but hardcore gamers will be slightly disappointed.
Display: A new cover over the old screen seen on its predecessor!
The same Full HD LCD panel seen on Redmi Note 3 is catered to the Redmi Note 4, but this time for a more buttery feel, Xiaomi added a 2.5D curved glass over the LCD.
This 5.5″ LCD panel is brighter than the one seen on its predecessor. It offers vivid colors, better color accuracy, and the viewing angles are satisfactory too.
From the software side, there is a preloaded blue light filter mode which avoids your eyes from getting strained during the night times. The power/lock button is a little harder to press, but thankfully there is a double tap to wake option.
Camera: No light results in dull photos.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is packed with a 13MP rear shooter with f/2.0 aperture, dual-tone LED flash, PDAF and a 5MP front shooter with f/2.0 aperture as well. Though there is a downgrade in the megapixel count when compared to its predecessor, Redmi Note 4 thumps the Redmi Note 3 in the camera section.
Under well-lit conditions, the Redmi Note 4 can take great shots, and the photos look well saturated with great detailing. However, the handset cannot handle the low light situations. The selfie camera is decent and can perform satisfactorily only in a well-lit condition.
The HDR mode allows you to take great shots, but you will notice a little lag while doing so. The camera app lets you manually change ISO, white balance and it also has a ton of features including beautifying effects, image filters, etc. The absence of OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) makes it difficult to take blur-free shots because a little shake results in a blurred image, especially during night times.
Software: You will miss the pure Android experience.
Redmi Note 4 comes with MIUI 8 out-of-the-box, and as we all know that the MIUI is one of the heavily skinned versions of Android. MIUI 8 is based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and is loaded with a ton of additional customizations. Xiaomi is even planning to release the much awaited Android Nougat in the coming months.
The additional features include Dual Apps, Second Space, Quick ball, long screenshots, One-handed mode, Caller ID, etc. Dual Apps feature enables users to run multiple accounts of the same app simultaneously. For instance, you can run two Facebook or 8 Ball Pool accounts at the same time and in the same phone.
The Second Space feature allows users to maintain two different accounts in the same phone. You can install apps, set background images and maintain data separately in both accounts.
The Quick Ball feature resembles Assistive Touch(IPhone), it can hover over the screen, and it gives users quick access to shortcuts and frequently used apps. Long screen shots option helps users to take screen shots of the entire web pages.
One-handed mode shrinks the display size down to 3.5 or 4.0 or 4.5 inches. Caller ID displays the caller information and avoids the necessity to install third party apps like Truecaller.
Battery life: Nailed in this segment!
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 packs in a massive 4100mAh battery and this battery working in collaboration with the energy-efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset changes the game. With moderate usage, the handset lasts for two days long without any feeding. For heavy users like me, it can stay alive until the end of the day and more than that, at times.
In our video playback test, the Redmi Note 4 lasted for nearly fourteen and half hours which is quite impressive. There is no Quick charge support, but the handset can charge from zero to 100 percent in less than 2 hours.
The Final Judgement
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 starts at Rs. 9,999 for the 2GB of RAM variant and goes all the way upto Rs. 12,999 for the 4GB of RAM variant. At this price point, the Redmi Note 4 is surely a better phone with some downsides. However, it will offer a tough competition to its counterparts.
But, if you’re a user of Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, then you should not consider upgrading your phone to Note 4. If you’re a camera lover and having a terrible time with the Note 3’s underwhelming camera, then you should consider getting a Note 4, but again, you should sacrifice the low-light imaging.