The Mi 4i phone is an excellent budget offering designed specially for India by Xiaomi. After the Mi 4 (the successor to the hugely popular Mi 3) proved to be a disappointment due to its exorbitant pricing, the Mi 4i stoked the same expectations again thanks to its competitive pricing coupled with high end specs (though certainly not in the same league as the Mi 3). The following is my review of the Xiaomi Mi 4i based on a few weeks of usage.
The USP of the Mi 4i is clearly the dual 4G option. That means both SIMs can simultaneously connect to a 4G network. This is something that currently even the Indian version of Xiaomi’s flagship Mi 4 phone doesn’t offer. In Bangalore, I was able to get over 20 Mbps of speed on Airtel 4G!
That apart, the rest of the specifications are not extraordinary. The phone uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core chipset which is a budget offering (the same is used by the YU Yureka as well, and that phone is priced below Rs. 10,000). Of the eight cores, four are clocked at 1.7 GHz and the other four at 1.3 GHz. Depending on the performance mode chosen by the user (Balanced or Powerful), either of the four high-speed or low-speed cores are used. As a result, the phone feels snappier in Powerful mode but the battery drains faster (lasts about a day), while in Balanced mode the battery life is excellent (lasting about two days) but the phone is not that responsive and lags a bit.
In comparison, the Mi 3 and Mi 4 use the superior Snapdragon 800 and 801 quad-core chipsets respectively that are much faster (the cores run at 2.3 and 2.5 GHz respectively) while still being more power efficient. As a result, those phones offer almost an iPhone-like user experience along with a decent battery life.
That apart, the phone comes with 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage. There is no 64 GB variant and no external memory slot either. The screen is a 5 inch display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution (Full HD) implying a pixel density of 441 ppi. Weight-wise the phone is ultra light – it weighs 130 grams, which is remarkable for a 5 inch display phone.
The phone comes with two cameras, a 13 MP main camera and a 5 MP front camera. The main camera has Sony/Samsung lens with a f/2.0 aperture and two-tone dual LED flash. The picture quality is average.
The phone sports a 3120 mAh battery which is quite adequate for 1-2 days of use in Balanced mode. My phone easily lasts 2 days with 15-30 minutes of calls and several hours of web browsing (mostly Wi-Fi and some 3G/4G).
The software is Xiaomi MiUI 6 based on Android 5.0.2. The software is the other principal USP of all Xiaomi phones, since it tweaks Android to the extent that it resembles iOS in both look and feel.
Overall, my verdict on the phone is 50-50. Although the phone is priced similar to the Mi 3, it is definitely not in the same league. 4G is the killer feature, and so the phone is an excellent option for those who intend to use 4G a lot. The user-friendliness of MiUI is another advantage. So if those features are important then you can go for this, else you can explore other options in the price range.