This review of Xiaomi Redmi 4X was originally published on Team Android.
Xiaomi is a renowned brand with years of experience under its belt but outside of China, many people don’t really relate to the company. Today we will be reviewing their newest Redmi 4X smartphone. The Xiaomi brand has created Android smartphones for almost 5 years and during those years, it has taken user feedback and grown into what it is now, a company providing excellent products. The Redmi 4X seems as the best example to showcase what Xiaomi has to offer, thanks to the experience it offers in a very competitive price. Let’s take a detailed look as to what Redmi 4X from Xiaomi brings to the table to distinguish itself from a crowd of budget Android smartphones.
The target which Xiaomi had in mind with the Redmi 4X was to provide a flagship experience in a limited budget. With Xiaomi Redmi 4X costing RS18,900 which is roughly 192USD, in Pakistan, I think they have certainly hit it home with the price. Furthermore, over the course of recent years, the budget smartphone market has seen the most development and also the most number of device releases. Xiaomi Redmi 4X has a lot to compete with. Read further to find out how it stacks up with the competition.
Let’s take a look at the paper specifications of the Xiaomi Redmi 4X.
- Dimensions 139.2 x 70 x 8.7 mm
- Network GSM / HSPA / LTE
- Display IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 720×1280 pixels, 5.0 inches
- Processor Snapdragon 435, Octa-Core 1.4GHz
- Memory 32GB ROM with 3GB RAM or 16GB ROM with 2GB RAM
- OS Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
- Camera Primary: 13MP, f/2.0 Secondary: 5MP, f/2.2, 1080p
- Video MPEG4, H.265(HEVC), H.264(AVC), H.263, VC-1, MP43, WMV7, WMV8, VP8, VP9
- Audio MP3, AAC LC/AAC+/eAAC+,AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WMA, FLAC, Vorbis, Opus
- Additional features Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, MIUI 8
- Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, microUSB 2.0
- Battery 4,100mAh
Xiaomi Redmi 4X: Design and Hardware
The Xiaomi Redmi 4X has two main exterior materials, the full metal enclosed back and 2.5D glass on the front. The phone chooses a very straight forward and practical design. Recently, the outward materials have gotten more importance in a phone’s reputation and for the Xiaomi Redmi 4X, these choices work in its favor. When you hold the phone in your hands for the first time, you feel a well-engineered piece of machinery. As mentioned, our unit arrived in a Metallic Matte Black color. It reflects well in light while maintaining a texture that doesn’t create a fear of slipping out.
Taking a look at the screen, it is packing an IPS LCD display. Contrary to OLED displays, the colors are a little bit less saturated and the blacks aren’t as deep but for an IPS panel, the Xiaomi Redmi 4X carries a respectable display. The resolution is a backward 1280×720 pixels. This might be the phone’s weakest point. For a 5.0 inch screen, 1080p is a standard that many smartphones carry these days. However, in the defense of the Redmi 4X, the price bracket it hits might solely be due to the display. Packing a 1080p panel might have shifted the Redmi 4X a couple of price brackets. For normal usage, I wont class this as anywhere near a deal breaker but certainly not the best out there. That said, the Xiaomi Redmi 4X has touch buttons below the screen, which is a very good thing. As 5 inches is somewhat on the smaller end of screen sizes, no on-screen buttons mean no space on the screen is wasted. Also, there is a subtle, square notification light present right beneath the buttons. It reminds of the Nexus 5’s notification light which, in my opinion, had great positioning.
Looking at the phone from the right side, you would be able to see the elongated single button meant to serve as the volume rocker. Right below it, is the power button. Thanks to the fingerprint scanner being placed in a such a convenient position, I rarely found myself pressing the power button.
On the left side, there is the hybrid SIM tray. You can either use two SIMs on this phone or one SIM and one microSD card slot. For regions like Pakistan, companies do offer Dual SIM phones with separate expandable storage trays. However, as the Xiaomi Redmi 4X comes with 32GB of storage as standard, I don’t think dual SIM users would ever be needing to sacrifice this slot.
At the top, there is one unique feature which the Redmi 4X offers and that is an IR blaster. I have been a loyal user of IR blaster functionality when it was initially included in the Galaxy S4 then Galaxy S5 and then Galaxy S6 Edge. I don’t know why Samsung has left this out in recent releases but this feature was certainly useful for many customers. Thankfully it is present on the Xiaomi Redmi 4X and it works quite well. You can easily configure it using the Mi Remote app and control a variety of home appliances and other devices that have IR remote functionality.
Bottom, you will find machined holes for the speaker as well as the microphone. Just as on the old iPhones, the speaker is placed on one side of the cutout while the other is dedicated for the microphone. Sandwiched between the both is your standard microUSB connector for charging and data transfer.
The back of the phone is machined aluminium. For antennas, the phone has two lines going across the back on each end. On the top left, you would find the camera module. There is one key thing placed at the back and that is the fingerprint sensor. As fingerprint unlock method has become the standard these days, positioning it on the back of the phone gives Redmi 4X a great advantage. It is where your index finger generally lands when you hold the phone. As for the speed, it is quite fast. However, I have noticed some delay when you don’t press the power button and just unlock the phone by holding your fingerprint on the back. This can be addressed through software or Xiaomi might have added this delay for security reasons. When the power button is used to first power on the display and then the fingerprint is placed on the sensor, there is hardly any sort of delay rather the speed is up to par with many flagships.
Xiaomi Redmi 4X: Camera
The Redmi 4X camera is a 13 megapixels shooter with f/2.0 aperture and no Optical Image Stabilization. The camera works very well in daylight situations, creating quite amazing shots but in low light conditions, the camera suffers. As the phone hasn’t been created as the next best photo taker, that is not an issue. The Redmi 4X camera works just as it is supposed to, giving users a slightly above average camera in the same price bracket. Interestingly, thanks to the built-in photo editor, you can post-process your shots quite a bit and make-up for any shortcomings. The video it shoots goes up to 1080p.
Front facing camera has a similar story but it offers 1080p video recording. That might not seem as a major feature but, again, phones in this price bracket cut this corner and offer quite bad experiences. The Redmi 4X front camera is there not just for pure necessity but it offers more.
Here are some sample pictures taken with the Redmi 4X:
Xiaomi Redmi 4X: Connectivity, Memory and Battery
Dual SIM functionality has become a key in markets like Pakistan. Along with that, 4G LTE communication has gained the same, if not more, importance. Thankfully, the Xiaomi Redmi 4X comes with both of these features. The hybrid SIM tray that we referred to before is an interesting addition. Not only does it offer extra functionality but for users who don’t have dual SIM as a priority, it gives them a chance to increase storage right after they buy it.
Speaking of storage, the Redmi 4X is being sold in one variation in Pakistan, 32GB ROM and 3GB RAM. This iteration is the one to buy. It gives you enough internal storage to install quite a few apps and store data while also increasing memory available to the OS.
Xiaomi Redmi 4X has shined in quite a few aspects that we have already discussed but where it shines the most is the battery. Xiaomi knows that as well and it is exactly why it has placed the battery right at the start of its marketing campaigns. In our tests, the phone can easily last up to 2 days if the Screen On Time for each day is 3hrs which is quite handsome. A phone that lasts a full day with 3hrs of SOT is considered great and yet, the Redmi 4X offers double that. The 4,100mAh capacity is half the reason. The other half lies in a highly efficient Snapdragon 435 processor along with MIUI optimizations.
Xiaomi Redmi 4X: Software
Software and Android skin, these two things are the most dreaded features on smartphones coming from inexperienced brands trying to sell budget phones. Not only is Xiaomi experienced quite well in this area but it excels in it as well. Logically, the Redmi 4X provides great evidence for that. MIUI is the name of the skin designed and developed by Xiaomi just as TouchWiz is developed by Samsung for its phones. I have gone through many such skins, not only from big names such as HTC, Samsung etc but smaller and less influential ones as well. Having experienced both sides of the aisle, I can safely say the MIUI is one of the best skins out there.
Now how did I come to this conclusion? Starting off, Android has always been sold as the most customizable Android OS out there yet many skin overlays restrict just that. MIUI, however, offers the same level of customization, if not more, that Android originally intended. From icon packs to launchers to themes, MIUI rather than restricting, encourages its users to try these. MIUI has its own selection of bundled themes that each Redmi 4X ships with, no extra download. Giving users an option to truly make their phone unique right out of the box. You can even change the battery icon from a number of selections as per your preference. This functionality is acquired on much expensive smartphones through root and yet it is available here as stock.
Next, the overall cohesiveness of the UI has made a great impact. From error / information pop-ups to something simple as sliding buttons, all have been thought out and linked together quite well. You don’t feel that some area wasn’t meant to be part of the same design scheme rather, it resembles the refinements of iOS. Its all in the little details. For example, the MIUI 8 on the Redmi 4X disables the persistent time on the notification bar when a time widget is displayed on the home screen. From this small yet quite satisfying detail you can guess how much work and thought has been put into MIUI.
Further, the bundled apps. First of all, there is no bloatware whatsoever on the Redmi 4X. The only extra apps it ships with are Facebook and Swift key, both of which I regard as a great addition rather than bloat. The Mi apps such as the Calculator, Compass, Gallery, Calendar etc are all very nicely designed. Each app follows the Material Design guidelines and has a very pleasant color scheme. They all work as intended and give the phone all the basic functionality you might need.
Lastly, the Second Space functionality and Dual Apps feature really do seal the deal. These two additions are very purposeful. Second Space allows you to have a second user environment on the same phone. Think of it as a seperate user on Windows, all the preferences, apps and other features are unique to each user. This gives the phone excellent functionality to be shared or also, set up one space dedicated for work and other for play.
Dual Apps function basically lets you implement an app twice on the same phone. It doesn’t make sense but when you look at apps like Facebook, Twitter and other apps which require one account to sign in, a second iteration of the same app lets you setup another account. This makes for easy management of multiple accounts on multiple apps. I used the Facebook dual app and it was all seamless. However, the second app does take extra space.
Default bundled Xiaomi Apps & Features:
- Xiaomi Mi Remote: As mentioned, the Xiaomi Redmi 4X ships with an infra-red sensor and to use it, Xioami bundles the phone with Mi Remote app. The app itself has a very clean UI and has support for a very large number of appliances and devices.
- Xiaomi Notes: For your Note taking needs, the Notes app is default on Redmi 4X. You can store all your notes here and sync them with your Mi Account.
- Xiaomi Explorer: To view all the stored offline files on your Redmi 4X, the Explorer app comes as stock. You can categorize your files or view them all at once like you do on a desktop computer.
- Xiaomi Security: The Security app is a multi-purpose maintenance app. It not only monitors the security side of your smartphone but also allows you to monitor the phone, create automated tasks, clean files, free up space and more.
- Xiaomi Tools App Bundle: The Tools bundle on the Redmi 4X includes multitudes of apps that might come in handy. For starters, you will find the stock Mail client, Contacts app, Calculator and Clock. Mi Account app comes included as well and this app allows you to monitor your Mi Account and retrieve data from it. Other utilities include a Feedback app, Updater app, Downloads app, Compass app and a Universal Scanner app.
Xiaomi Redmi 4X: Buy Online
Interested in buying the Xiaomi Redmi 4X phone? You can purchase this phone and other Xiaomi products online from the official Mi Store Pakistan.
Mi Store is the official Xiaomi store in the country that has been launched in partnership with their official distributor, Smartlink Technologies.