Xiaomi Mi 4: Make Way for Mi!

 
Xiaomi Mi 4

Xiaomi Mi 4

Supriya Joshi puts Xiaomi’s latest flagship, the Mi 4, to the test to see if the latest iteration of the Mi series is just as good as its predecessors.

Xiaomi seems to be on an unstoppable rampage to reach the top of the budget Android phone market. With the release of the latest flagship, the Mi 4, the company has launched yet another contender on the battlefield. Here’s what you can expect from Xiaomi’s latest offering.

What’s New?
The phone features a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB RAM, so it’s pretty fast. The memory, however, is not expandable and it comes in two versions, 16GB and 64GB. At the time of its launch, only the 16GB version was released in India, which is what we tested.

The Mi 4 features a 13MP 1/3inch Sony-made sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. Like the Mi 3 before it, the phone also features an Auto mode, allowing you to control White balance, Focus, Exposure Time (1sec–1/1000sec) and ISO (ISO 100–3200). Maybe I’m expecting too much, but a RAW mode should have been the next logical step for Xiaomi. Hopefully we’ll see one in the next flagship.

Another new feature introduced in the phone is a Refocus mode, which recreates what the Lytro camera does by allowing you to choose different points of focus in the image. Plus, you can now make 4k video at 30fps as well.

Supriya Joshi puts Xiaomi’s latest flagship, the Mi 4, to the test to see if the latest iteration of the Mi series is just as good as its predecessors. Photograph/Supriya Joshi

Supriya Joshi puts Xiaomi’s latest flagship, the Mi 4, to the test to see if the latest iteration of the Mi series is just as good as its predecessors. Photograph/Supriya Joshi

Something Borrowed?
On the phone, you can now adjust the exposure on the fly, simply by tapping the screen and moving your thumb forward and backward in a circular motion. Useful as it is, the same feature can be seen in Apple devices running iOS 8. Was Xiaomi going for the poor man’s iPhone with this version of the Mi?

What’s My Age Again?
The Mi 4 features an 8MP front-facing camera, which is quite nice. I do have one issue though. By default, the phone displays what it thinks is your age and sex when you are shooting a selfie. According to the phone, I’m a 50 –year-old man… and which woman doesn’t want to hear that, right? On the positive side, it did make me look super fabulous by softening the appearances of what I’d assume are my manly wrinkles.

The phone has an Audio mode as well, which will make a picture as soon as it hears an audible command like ‘Shoot’ or ‘Say Cheese’. It was almost always effective. Photograph/Supriya  Joshi

The phone has an Audio mode as well, which will make a picture as soon as it hears an audible command like ‘Shoot’ or ‘Say Cheese’. It was almost always effective. Photograph/Supriya Joshi

Hot and Cold
The camera performance of the Mi 4 is a mixed bag. In bright sunlight, the highlights would be completely blown out. I also found inconsistencies in colour reproduction, as out of the camera, most of the images looked too saturated. I found this quite strange, as we were quite pleased with the image quality of the Mi 3. The videos quality, on the other hand, was quite good.

You can release the shutter by pressing the volume button, which is especially useful when you’re shooting vertical frames. Photograph/Supriya Joshi

You can release the shutter by pressing the volume button, which is especially useful when you’re shooting vertical frames. Photograph/Supriya Joshi

As a whole, the Xiaomi Mi 4 is a good phone, but an average shooter. It’s priced at Rs. 19,999, but I’d still prefer the image quality of the much-cheaper Xiaomi Redmi 1s over it.

 

AT A GLANCE
SPECIFICATIONS 13MP, f/1.8 lens, 8MP front camera, 16GB inbuilt memory, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, 4k video, Rs. 19,999 for 16GB version
WHAT WE LIKE Fantastic design, Manual mode, speedy
WHAT WE DISLIKE Non expandable memory, average image quality
WHY BUY IT It is one of the better Android phones around and its processing power packs a considerable amount of punch
FINAL RATINGS 86%
CAMERA FEATURES Manual mode, 8MP front camera, refocus mode  23/25 
IMAGE QUALITY  Average image quality, tendency to blow out highlights  23/30
VIDEO QUALITY 4k video at 30fps  13/15
HANDLING  Sturdy phone, easy to operate with one hand  13/15
SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Very quick, no shutter lag  14/15

 

Tags: Cellphone camera, March 2015, Supriya Joshi, Xiaomi, xiaomi mi 4, Xiaomi Mi 4 price India