[REVIEW] Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 - Raises The Bar for Budget Smartphone

4/03/2017 Joshua Wong 0 Comments

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 that announced a year ago still being one of the favorite mid-range phone for a sub RM 800. The successor, Redmi Note 4 was announces early this year has made available for Malaysia market last month.

Do check out my unboxing & first impression of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4



Here's my full review after using the Redmi Note 4 for 2 weeks now. There are 2 version of Redmi Note 4, the China-only that sold by parallel importer which is powered by MediaTek Helio X20 and the Global version is Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 which I'm using it now.

Despite the Redmi Note 4 is less powerful than its predecessor that powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, the Snapdragon 625 offers better battery efficiency and produce lesser heats thank to the advanced 14nm FinFet manufacturing process.

Display is a 5.5-inch Full HD with 401 ppi and 72% coverage of NTSC color spectrum. The sunlight legibility is decent, just suffers a little washed out colors in the sun but other than that the display is readable. You can also enable "Reading Mode" if you are using the phone in dark environment where it will reduce the amount of blue light on the display.



The Redmi Note 3 that we reviewed last year earned nothing but high praise and great price point. So does the Redmi Note 4. It has all metal aluminum unibody design wrapped along with scratch resistant 2.5D edges front glass. It has a very sturdy built and it doesn't look or feel like a budget phone to me.



Fingerprint sensor is located on the rear that able to pick up my fingerprint accurately and fast. The speaker now relocated to the bottom instead at the back that muffled when lying flat on table. It's a mono down-firing speaker and audio quality was decent and loud, unfortunately it tend to get distorted at high volumes. 

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 supported hybrid dual SIM where you can have two SIMs or scarifying the second SIM slot for storage expansion. VoLTE is also supported on this phone.



IR blaster is positioned at the top of the device and let you to take control over your home appliances such as TV, Fans, Air Conditioner and etc. FM Radio feature is there on the device as well.

Redmi Note 4 may not have the most powerful mid-range SoC but it definitely one of the best battery efficiency processor and decent performance. The Octa-core Snapdragon 625 is built on 14nm manufacturing process performed very well in real life. Switching in between apps was buttery smooth and has only minor frame drops on gaming. The variant that I received for the review were the 3GB of RAM and 32GB onboard storage. There's also a 4GB of RAM and 64GB onboard storage variant at slight higher price.

The benchmark score wasn't that shabby but it gave me an utmost battery life; 8 hours of SOT (Screen-On-Time) meaning I can have more that two days worth of battery life. To full charge the Redmi Note 4 would take less than 2 hours from 0% to 100%



On spec sheet, the Redmi Note 4 has a much larger pixel area sensor as compare to Redmi Note 3. The 13 megapixel f/2.0 performance very well on bright lighting environment, the color contrast and white balance were pretty accurate. The struggle happens on low and limited lightning where the  focusing and shutter speed seem slower. This not to say the low light performance is bad just that you may need to have a steady hand to capture better photos.



There are assorted modes available for easy of effect shooting that you want. The manual mode settings was quite limited to White Balance and ISO only.

As for selfie camera, it packed with a 5 megapixel f/2.0 aperture lens. It captures well details and has good color contrast but doesn't work that well under low light environment. There is no front flash or display flash option for low lights front selfie taking scenario.

Here are some sample photos taken out directly from the device without any post editing/touch-up (click on the image for larger preview)

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Selfie taken with the 5 megapixel front camera

Video sample from Redmi Note 4. Noticed there is a bug where everytime I start recording there will be a loud sound recorded. Software update may iron up this issue.


The Redmi Note 4 runs on MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The MIUI has a lot new features and UI tweaks that customizable.







The highlight of the new features from the MIUI 8 are the Dual Apps and Second Space.




The Dual Apps allows you to have two same apps but different accounts on the same phone. For instance, you can have two different WhatsApp or Facebook accounts since you may have two SIM cards running on the phone.



Next is the Second Space, this enabled you to set up two profiles on the phone where each featuring a different home screen and installed apps. Each profile will have their own storage and can be move between profiles if required. The switching profile were very straightforward, just a tap and use fingerprint/PIN to enter to the new profile (if security were setup)

Conclusion

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 may not be the most powerful mid-range smartphone on the market but it's the most afforable Snapdragon 625 powered smartphone. The company focuses on fixing the flaws of the Redmi Note 3 had and offers much crucial key feature of a smartphone which is the "Battery Life".

So does the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 worth the purchase? It's a definitely yes if you are looking for a sub RM 800 smartphone but if you are coming from the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, I wouldn't suggest you to upgrade as the Redmi Note 3's spec are still good and MIUI 8 upgrade is available for it.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is available on Lazada Malaysia for RM 799. It comes with 2 color options which are Gold & Black

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