Xiaomi has launched the Redmi Note 4 in India, a successor to the highly popular Note 3 that has received accolades from all corners. The three variants launched include 2GB RAM with 32GB onboard storage priced at Rs 9999, 3GB RAM + 32GB storage at Rs 10,999 and 4GB RAM +  64GB onboard storage at Rs 12,999. While the pricing positions the Note 4 as the most desirable device in the price bracket, it is the sheer comparison with the benchmark set by Note 3 that turns it pale.

 

 

We got to spend some time with the Redmi Note 4 at the launch event and here are our first thoughts. 

 

Design

At a glance, the Redmi Note 4 is almost identical to the Redmi Note 3 with a metal unibody, but has a slightly curved back with aluminum polished antenna bands. It has a powdery metal finish that allows a good grip. 

The black variant The new matte black model

On the right side are the volume and power buttons while the left side comes fitted with the SIM slot. It's a dual SIM device, but disappointingly with a hybrid slot. A hybrid slot could mean either you can use two SIMs or one SIM and one microSD card simultaneously. 

 

On the lower edge is the microUSB port and speaker grille. Unlike others, Xiaomi hasn't switched to the new USB Type C port. On the upper edge, you will find the audio jack. 

 

The metal finish looks classy and the new addition of black reminds us of Apple's attempt at making jet black the new favourite. With the Note 4, Xiaomi adds matte black variant and other options are grey and gold. It felt solid in palms, but considering  the limited time we spend, it is too early to comment on how sturdy the device is.

Display

The Redmi Note 4 sports a 5.5-inch Full HD display with roughly 403 ppi. The display size is pretty standard these days, but Xiaomi has utilised the display real estate to the fullest. It also gets a new Reading mode that ensures less strain on the eyes, but it isn't something novel as we've seen such a feature in devices from other Chinese vendors like Vivo.

 

 

Processor

India doesn't get the deca-core Mediatek Helio X20, and instead has to settle for the  Snapdragon 625. The Note 3 came equipped with a Snapdragon 650, and the question is why a 625 for the Note 4. It’s a step backwards, at least on paper.

 

 

However, Xiaomi says that the Snapdragon 625 uses 14nm processing and fintec structures that helped enhance the battery life. It also showed some lab scores highlighting the performance.  However, we will be able to talk about the performance once we have conducted the benchmark tests.

 

OS

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 runs Android Marshmallow based MIUI 8. It is the latest OS update from Xiaomi that brings features like Dual apps, Quick Ball, more video editing features and so on. Dual apps feature when enabled allows two separate instances of an app to run simultaneously. Yes, you can run two WhatsApp accounts at the same time.

 

MIUI comes with a bold colour palette and has also added features like the currency converter (added to calculator) and Scrolling screenshots that allows taking extended screenshots that go beyond a page. The company also announced the Android Nougat preview for select Note 4 users.

 

Storage 

Xiaomi has doubled the storage capacity of the base model. So, say goodbye to 16GB model. The base variant will be 32GB with 2GB RAM and other option is 32GB storage + 3GB RAM. It also offers a 64GB variant. 

 

Camera

Xiaomi Note 4 comes with a 13MP rear snapper and a 5MP front-facing camera. The resolution is a drop from the 16MP that we saw in the Note 3. However, Xiaomi claims that the technology in the camera allows capturing more detailed images. 

 

We did try taking a few snaps that appeared decent in bright light, but the true test would be low light photography. 

 

Battery

The 4100mah battery is just slightly bigger than the 4050mAh that we saw in the Note 3. But Xiaomi says that despite the no change in battery size, it has managed to improve better battery life by about 25 percent compared to Note 3. 

 

Now this has been made possible by the Snapdragon 625 and the fintec structures that reduce leakage. Again, we can't confirm this until we've taken the device for a spin.

 

Verdict 

Xiaomi Note 4 is one of the best devices in the sub Rs 10000 category, but we expected more from a Note 3 successor. A starting price of Rs 9999 just like the Note 3 with bumped up efficiency will definitely work in its favour. But, the Note 3 had set a benchmark and the Note 4 was to take it higher, which it arguably hasn't.

 

However, the specs sheet at that price point is spot on for value conscious Indian users. In our limited usage, there was no stutter and the device performed well. That's pretty much what we thought of the Note 4 while it went up on display. Watch out the space a complete review soon.