Xiaomi Mi4 First impressions: Fat but good


xiaomi mi4 review

The Xiaomi Mi4 has arrived at GizChina towers. A full review is underway, but to keep you all up to date with events here is a brief first impressions of the latest flagship Xiaomi.

The Xiaomi Mi4 can be seen as a slight departure from previous Xiaomi phones. Instead of loading their new phone with the latest, cutting edge features (as they have managed in the past), Xiaomi instead decided to refine the work they had already started with the Mi3 and build it all in a new body made of quality materials.

xiaomi mi4 review

So instead of a Snapdragon 810, 4GB RAM, 2K display etc the Xiaomi Mi4 has a Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM and 1080 FHD display, and that’s just fine by us as those specs are more than enough for everything you could want to throw at it. Not loading the new phone with (unnecessary ?) features, has allowed the Mi4 to receive a stainless steel chassis, and better build quality than ever. If Weibo is to be believed (hmmm) the Mi4 is so good that wives of Xiaomi bosses have thrown their iPhones away in favour of the new Mi Phone.

Xiaomi Mi4 – First Impressions

This year has been amazing for Chinese phone fans, for us too! We have recently reviewed the OnePlus One, were one of the first to get our hands on the Oppo Find 7 and we have the 2 flagship Vivo phones in constant use at the office. So the Xioami Mi4 really does have it’s work cut out, and thankfully we haven’t been let down.

xiaomi mi4 review

Xiaomi have never been designer looking devices and the same can be said for the Mi4. The body is purposeful instead of attractive. It is extremely well put together though, and the materials are as good as on a phone costing double or even triple that of the Mi4’s $320 starting price.

xiaomi mi4 review

Many have commented on how the Mi4 looks alot like the iPhone, and it sort of does, but next to the Vivo Xshot the similarities are uncanny. It is almost like the smaller, fatter brother of the camera centric Vivo.

xiaomi mi4 review

After using the most recent, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus devices the new Xiaomi does feel rather thick in the hand, and that stainless steel adds a bit of heft to the phone too. The thickness of the phone isn’t wasted though as there is a 3080 mAh battery inside, but had they gone for a 5.2 or 5.5-inch display the same size battery could have gone in a thinner body without sacrificing screen on time.

I’ve yet to remove the rear panel, and I cannot wait for the wooden covers to launch as that could be the missing design touch the phone needs to really grab people’s attention.

Read Also:  Lei Jun leaves the command of another Xiaomi subsidiary

Build and material choice wise, there isn’t anything between the Xiaomi Mi4 and other current Chinese flagships. So all good there!

Full testing of the phone is needed to see how the performance really is, but looking over the hardware and using the phone for the past day I can say for now it is as fast as anything else on the market. In fact the camera on the Mi4 is actually faster than most other phones and even gives the Meizu MX3 a run for its money (yes, the MX3 still has one of the fastest cameras on the market but the Mi4 has a larger aperture and more mega-pixels).  While I’m on the camera, there is a significant improvement here, but the auto-focus isn’t as good as it could be. Perphaps MIUI V6 will fix this?

Xiaomi Mi4 – Photo Samples

MIUI on the Mi4 is version 5 and based on Android Kitkat. I do like MIUI for its functions etc, but the UI is looking a little old so I cannot wait to see what is in store on 16th August when the new system is launched.

Even if you don’t like MIUI you could always use another launcher if you wish. Nova launcher is great, however the Google Now Launcher is what I prefer but I cannot seem to get MIUI to allow me to change to Google’s launcher. I have the same issue with the Xiaomi Mi Pad too. No matter how I try I cannot get Google launcher to show up in the launcher settings.

xiaomi mi4 review

This first version of the Xiaomi Mi4 does not support LTE so I cannot test that. In fact I’ve had the phone such a short amount of time I haven’t had chance to test 3G, or the IR blaster, but WIFI has a very strong signal. Battery life, GPS and other details will have to wait until the full review.

As for now though the Mi4 is a great addition to the Xiaomi line up and a great flagship phone in its own right. The design, construction and hardware are equal to rival phones and the price is similar too. The choice of which you should buy now really comes down to just personal preference of the screen size and which ROM you prefer.

Keep posted for the full Xiaomi Mi4 review coming soon!

 

Previous More Meizu MX4 specs, photos and MX3S leaks
Next Xiaomi Indonesia site is live, launch coming?

80 Comments

  1. Lukas Markech
    August 14, 2014

    regarding launcher-> did you try the usual : settings->apps->default app settings->launcher ?

    • August 14, 2014

      yep, this works with the Mi3 but not on the Mi4 or the Mi Pad

      • Shade Alafenish
        August 14, 2014

        Andy
        Can you make a review for onda v989 tablet ?
        i want to buy it

  2. Stefan
    August 14, 2014

    Andi,
    Will be good to compare and comment photos taken with Mi4, OnePlus One and Oppo Find7a.

  3. Zeca
    August 14, 2014

    I thought that the borders are still wide!

    • desponent
      August 15, 2014

      You can only find a handful of 5″ with the same width as mi4.

  4. Lukas Markech
    August 14, 2014

    regarding launcher-> did you try the usual : settings->apps->default app settings->launcher ?

    • Andi Sykes
      August 14, 2014

      yep, this works with the Mi3 but not on the Mi4 or the Mi Pad

    • Shade Alafenish
      August 14, 2014

      Andy
      Can you make a review for onda v989 tablet ?
      i want to buy it

  5. Bailey
    August 14, 2014

    Andi come on get real Snapdragon 810 4GB Ram 2K display. They already sell their phones at cost. If they included that they may as well just give them away. And simply put what phone they match the well known smartphones out so it really is not needed yet again. People want specs just for the sake of having them and they chat about future proofing and then go and get a new phone next year.

  6. Guest
    August 14, 2014

    Andi,
    Will be good to compare and comment photos taken with Mi4, OnePlus One and Oppo Find7a.

  7. Guest
    August 14, 2014

    I thought that the borders are still wide!

    • desponent
      August 15, 2014

      You can only find a handful of 5″ with the same width as mi4.

  8. Bailey
    August 14, 2014

    Andi come on get real Snapdragon 810 4GB Ram 2K display. They already sell their phones at cost. If they included that they may as well just give them away. And simply put what phone they match the well known smartphones out so it really is not needed yet again. People want specs just for the sake of having them and they chat about future proofing and then go and get a new phone next year.

  9. realjjj
    August 15, 2014

    What i really want to see tested is the storage.The only thing i am curious about when it comes to this phone.
    Xiaomi claimed that it has eMMC 5 , not sure what controller they are using but Marvell and Sandisk announced eMMC 5 controllers that can reach about 300MB/s. Don’t think Xiaomi is using one of those but the storage perf could still be nice.

    • desponent
      August 15, 2014

      Does it really matter when you can only put around 8GB worth of data on this stupid phone?

      • Airyl
        August 15, 2014

        Yes.

        • desponent
          August 15, 2014

          Gopd for you, I need my phone for more than that.

          • Airyl
            August 15, 2014

            OK.

      • realjjj
        August 15, 2014

        Yes the storage subsystem impacts the performance of the device and eMMC 5 can provide a huge step forward. NAND in phones and tabs used to be very slow, now things got a bit better and are about to get a lot better.
        Most ignore NAND perf but some do test it like Anandtech (scroll down) http://www.anandtech.com/show/8169/the-lg-g3-review/7

  10. Kester
    August 15, 2014

    NIce piece of Oakley sunnies 🙂
    This might probably sound out of topic, but could anyone be kind enough to do a review of Xiaomi’s new version of their piston earphones (not the old version).

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      I’ll send a review to Gizchina once I get mine.

    • August 15, 2014

      Thanks 😀 They are a little scratched not though 🙁 Not tried the new ones, but the I had two paris of the old ones stop working within weeks.

  11. desponent
    August 15, 2014

    Try theme called SPEC Andi, far better than miui cartoonish UI.

    • August 15, 2014

      Awesome, certainly will

    • August 15, 2014

      Just took a look. It’s a Flyme based UI 😀 Love it!

      • desponent
        August 15, 2014

        Haven’t seen FlyMe but if it nornally looks like that I wouldn’t mind a Meizu phone then. 🙂

        • Airyl
          August 15, 2014

          Flyme is the best UI in terms of looks. Plus, it’s super smooth and fast.

  12. Juxhit
    August 15, 2014

    Mega Fail, no NFC, no LTE. Specs almost same as mi3.

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      Specs are almost same like Mi3.

  13. Jay
    August 15, 2014

    “This first version of the Xiaomi Mi4 does not support LTE”?

    Did you mean firmware? Or it the hardware support itself lacking?

    From what I now the SD 801 chipset natively supports LTE (Cat 4, though).

    Please clarify.

    • August 15, 2014

      This version of the phone only has WCDMA 3G and GSM. I am not sure if Xiaomi have done this through hardware or software, but I assume it is hardware as LTE is not mentioned on the box. The lack of LTE was mentioned at the launch. Only later phones will have it, Id be more than happy to hear if MIUI V6 does something to unlock LTE though.

      • Marco Lancaster
        August 15, 2014

        Still not understanding, the phone have 801 processor but lack LTE? That’s a strange way for Xiaomi.

  14. Aeonia
    August 15, 2014

    am curious how this is able to get such a high antutu than all other high-end smartphones by almost 7000 points with almost the same specs..like the Z2 e.t.c

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      MIUI. It’s pretty polished. Also, the Z2 sucks in benchmarks. The OnePlus One scores more than it.

    • george
      August 15, 2014

      Xiaomi owns Antutu in part, you can test 1000s of phones with the official Antutu app and it will always show Xiaomi models as reference on the short compare list

    • realjjj
      August 15, 2014

      First of all Antutu is a horrible benchmark, just like all benchmarks that bundle everything together.
      Second, i’m sure that most of your confusion comes from not realizing that the score here is in Antutu 5 and the scores are quite a lot higher vs Antutu 4 so the score is actually similar to what other phones score.

  15. koss_x_treeme
    August 15, 2014

    Nice preview 🙂

  16. realjjj
    August 15, 2014

    What i really want to see tested is the storage.The only thing i am curious about when it comes to this phone.
    Xiaomi claimed that it has eMMC 5 , not sure what controller they are using but Marvell and Sandisk announced eMMC 5 controllers that can reach about 300MB/s. Don’t think Xiaomi is using one of those but the storage perf could still be nice.

    • desponent
      August 15, 2014

      Does it really matter when you can only put around 8GB worth of data on this stupid phone?

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      Yes.

    • realjjj
      August 15, 2014

      Yes the storage subsystem impacts the performance of the device and eMMC 5 can provide a huge step forward. NAND in phones and tabs used to be very slow, now things got a bit better and are about to get a lot better.
      Most ignore NAND perf but some do test it like Anandtech (scroll down) http://www.anandtech.com/show/8169/the-lg-g3-review/7

    • desponent
      August 15, 2014

      Gopd for you, I need my phone for more than that.

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      OK.

  17. Guest
    August 15, 2014

    NIce piece of Oakley sunnies 🙂
    This might probably sound out of topic, but could anyone be kind enough to do a review of Xiaomi’s new version of their piston earphones (not the old version).

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      I’ll send a review to Gizchina once I get mine.

    • Andi Sykes
      August 15, 2014

      Thanks 😀 They are a little scratched not though 🙁 Not tried the new ones, but the I had two paris of the old ones stop working within weeks.

  18. desponent
    August 15, 2014

    Try theme called SPEC Andi, far better than miui cartoonish UI.

    • Andi Sykes
      August 15, 2014

      Awesome, certainly will

    • Andi Sykes
      August 15, 2014

      Just took a look. It’s a Flyme based UI 😀 Love it!

    • desponent
      August 15, 2014

      Haven’t seen FlyMe but if it nornally looks like that I wouldn’t mind a Meizu phone then. 🙂

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      Flyme is the best UI in terms of looks. Plus, it’s super smooth and fast.

  19. sharlamov
    August 15, 2014

    Comparing with Nubia z7 max Nubia wins for having LTE support, double sim card + SD card + battery of 3100 and the design is better, imho

  20. Guest
    August 15, 2014

    Mega Fail, no NFC, no LTE. Specs almost same as mi3.

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      Specs are almost same like Mi3.

  21. Guest
    August 15, 2014

    “This first version of the Xiaomi Mi4 does not support LTE”?

    Did you mean firmware? Or it the hardware support itself lacking?

    From what I now the SD 801 chipset natively supports LTE (Cat 4, though).

    Please clarify.

    • Andi Sykes
      August 15, 2014

      This version of the phone only has WCDMA 3G and GSM. I am not sure if Xiaomi have done this through hardware or software, but I assume it is hardware as LTE is not mentioned on the box. The lack of LTE was mentioned at the launch. Only later phones will have it, Id be more than happy to hear if MIUI V6 does something to unlock LTE though.

    • Marco Lancaster
      August 15, 2014

      Still not understanding, the phone have 801 processor but lack LTE? That’s a strange way for Xiaomi.

  22. Boni M.
    August 15, 2014

    am curious how this is able to get such a high antutu than all other high-end smartphones by almost 7000 points with almost the same specs..like the Z2 e.t.c

    • Airyl
      August 15, 2014

      MIUI. It’s pretty polished. Also, the Z2 sucks in benchmarks. The OnePlus One scores more than it.

    • george
      August 15, 2014

      Xiaomi owns Antutu in part, you can test 1000s of phones with the official Antutu app and it will always show Xiaomi models as reference on the short compare list

    • realjjj
      August 15, 2014

      First of all Antutu is a horrible benchmark, just like all benchmarks that bundle everything together.
      Second, i’m sure that most of your confusion comes from not realizing that the score here is in Antutu 5 and the scores are quite a lot higher vs Antutu 4 so the score is actually similar to what other phones score.

  23. koss_x_treeme
    August 15, 2014

    Nice preview 🙂

  24. Brooklyn701
    August 15, 2014

    Too bad they missed out on giving it dual SIM. Thats a key for me. With that added I would go for it. But without its just useless to me…

  25. iKosh
    August 15, 2014

    The wives of Xiaomi bosses using iPhones… priceless.

  26. jauling
    August 15, 2014

    Xiaomi needs to start making waterproof cameras, get with the times. If Sony can do it for ALL their Xperia phones, why can’t Xiaomi?

  27. Guest
    August 15, 2014

    Comparing with Nubia z7 max Nubia wins for having LTE support, double sim card + SD card + battery of 3100 and the design is better, imho

  28. Stefan
    August 15, 2014

    For me is important camera quality of the phone. That’s why I expect with interest the impressions for the camra.
    Here are one of the first impressions.
    http://pocketnow.com/2014/08/14/xiaomi-mi4-camera-samples

    Not very promising.

    • Stefan
      August 16, 2014

      Forgot to mention that at the same time the pictures of Andi look great.

  29. Guest
    August 15, 2014

    Too bad they missed out on giving it dual SIM. Thats a key for me. With that added I would go for it. But without its just useless to me…

  30. iKosh
    August 15, 2014

    The wives of Xiaomi bosses using iPhones… priceless.

  31. jauling
    August 15, 2014

    Xiaomi needs to start making waterproof cameras, get with the times. If Sony can do it for ALL their Xperia phones, why can’t Xiaomi?

  32. Guest
    August 15, 2014

    For me is important camera quality of the phone. That’s why I expect with interest the impressions for the camra.
    Here are one of the first impressions.
    http://pocketnow.com/2014/08/14/xiaomi-mi4-camera-samples

    Not very promising.

    • Guest
      August 16, 2014

      Forgot to mention that at the same time the pictures of Andi look great.

  33. Gd111
    August 15, 2014

    The first batch of xiaomi mi4 now is using snapdragon 801 msm8274ac processor is not support 4g Lte. By this coming sept2014 only will launch msm8974ac processor to support 4g lte.

  34. Guest
    August 15, 2014

    The first batch of xiaomi mi4 now is using snapdragon 801 msm8274ac processor is not support 4g Lte. By this coming sept2014 only will launch msm8974ac processor to support 4g lte.

  35. Zazzy
    August 22, 2014

    2K display….useless…it only drains the battery and power from the SoC…

  36. Zazzy
    August 22, 2014

    2K display….useless…it only drains the battery and power from the SoC…

  37. CK LALIT
    August 25, 2014

    Hello, I have one invite for 64 gb Oneplus one for sell. This invite can only be used for orders shipping to Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States with guarantee and warranty. Please contact me asap at cklalit@yahoo.co.in with your quote. Looking forward to your reply.

  38. Guest
    August 26, 2014

    Hello, I have one invite for 64 gb Oneplus one for sell. This invite can only be used for orders shipping to Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States with guarantee and warranty. Please contact me asap at cklalit@yahoo.co.in with your quote. Looking forward to your reply.