The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is here, continuing the company’s tradition of launching phones with good specifications at low price tags. The strategy has paid off spectacularly, as Xiaomi crossed the $1 billion revenue milestone in India last year. While the company’s vast product portfolio now includes fitness bands, earphones, air purifiers, power banks, and other devices, smartphones continue to be the stars, and the Redmi series – of which the Redmi Note 4 is the newest member – has been a key contributor to its success.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 follows in the footsteps of the Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3S, which were among the top selling devices online last year. The Redmi Note 3, in particular, saw a lot of success in the Indian market with over 2.3 million units sold within six months of launch. However, that model is almost a year old now, and on Thursday Xiaomi finally launched the Redmi Note 4 in the Indian market.
Much like its predecessor, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 model sports an-all metal body and boasts of impressive specifications. While the Chinese version of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 was unveiled in August last year with a MediaTek SoC, the one launched in India packs a Qualcomm chip. The Redmi Note 4 has been priced competitively and will be going up against some of the most popular smartphones in the market right now. Will the new Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 be able to continue the company’s dream run in the Indian market, or will it turn out to be a run-of-the-mill device? Find out in our Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 review.
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Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 look and feel
The Redmi Note 4 follows the Redmi Note 3 closely when it comes to design. The front panel of the Redmi Note 4 is very similar to that of its predecessor, with similar capacitive navigation buttons below the display and slim borders around it. There’s also 2.5D curved-edge glass across the front, giving this phone a premium feel. The all-metal phone feels sturdy, and compared to the Redmi Note 3, the rear panel on the Redmi Note 4 is less slippery.
The rear of the Redmi Note 4 is a bit different though, featuring design contours more reminiscent of the Xiaomi Mi 5 (Review). There are fine antenna bands running across the top and bottom. The rear camera, dual-tone LED flash and fingerprint scanner are set up much the same as on the Redmi Note 3. One of the few differences between the two is that this time around Xiaomi has shifted the speaker grilles from the rear to the bottom. The bottom also houses a Micro-USB port for charging and data transfers, while the top packs a 3.5mm audio jack and an infrared (IR) emitter. The power and volume buttons are placed on the right, and can easily be accessed with fingers.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 specifications and features
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 launched in India is powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 (MSM8953) processor clocked at 2GHz with an integrated Adreno 506 GPU. Xiaomi is selling three variants of this model in India: 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage; 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage; and 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The company provided us with a sample of the top end variant for our Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 review.
The handset has a hybrid SIM tray which supports one Nano-SIM and one Micro-SIM or a microSD card. Xiaomi notes that both SIM cards support 3G and 4G networks. The company has definitely taken note of complaints of the Redmi Note 3’s 32GB microSD capacity limit. The Redmi Note 4 supports microSD cards of up to 128GB which should be sufficient for most people.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 has a non-removable 4100mAh battery which is marginally bigger than the 4050mAh one seen on the Redmi Note 3. There’s a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF (phase detection autofocus), and a dual-tone LED flash. There is also a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture and a fixed-focus lens. Users also get dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, USB OTG, FM radio, GPS/ A-GPS, Miracast, GLONASS, and BeiDou. Much like its predecessor, the Redmi Note 4 also gives NFC connectivity a miss. 4G and VoLTE are supported, and we were happy with call quality.
The Redmi Note 4 runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Xiaomi has added plenty of new features including Now on Tap which was one of the highlights of Android Marshmallow, introduced in 2015. Google’s Now on Tap can be triggered within any app just by long-pressing the Home button, and can use what’s on screen as context for your searches. MIUI 8 on the Redmi Note 4 looks light and polished compared to previous versions. We were impressed with the system animations, which look refreshing, including a neat one when you uninstall an app.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 performance
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 was able to handle almost everything we threw at it, and we had no complaints with the octa-core processor. It handled heavy games with ease and we had fun playing Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2 on the device. We were able to use the Redmi Note 4 over the course of a few weeks, and never felt that we needed a more powerful processor. Multitasking on the Redmi Note 4 was quick, and apps launched without delay. Our test unit with 4GB of RAM had enough free memory at any given time. We noticed that 1.8GB of RAM was in use at all times, leaving us sceptical about the experience we would have had using the variant with only 2GB of RAM, which could be more popular due to its lower price.
The Redmi Note 4 is very good for media playback thanks to the excellent IPS display, and it supports high-resolution video files, including 4K ones. The speaker at the bottom is decently loud and we didn’t notice any distortion at higher volumes. Xiaomi didn’t send us a headset with this unit, so we tested audio quality through our own headphones, and were happy enough.
The 13-megapixel rear camera of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 can take some decent landscape shots in well-lit as well as low-light situations. Macro shots also appear good, with proper colour accuracy and details. The PDAF feature lets the camera focus on subjects quickly. Low-light shots have good detail, though on zooming in one can see the graininess. The Redmi Note 4 was also able to take good photos of moving subjects.
Xiaomi has focused its efforts on improving camera quality on the Redmi Note 4 after complaints about camera quality on last year’s model, and it’s clear that things are better. However, we’d still like to see low-light performance improved.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4’s 4100mAh non-removable battery lasted for 15 hours and 10 minutes in our continuous video playback test, which is impressive for a battery of this capacity. In real-world use, the phone was able to last for up to two days.