Xiaomi Mi 4i: Hands on, first impressions and launch recap

As you might already know, the Mi 4i is finally alive and kicking. If you aren’t aware of the specifications, go over the numbers real quick: there’s a 5-inch 1080p screen, an octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 615 (2nd gen), 2GB of RAM, a 13 mega-pixel rear sensor (as seen on the Mi Note) with dual tone flash, a 5 mega-pixel front sensor, a 3120mAh battery and a polycarbonate body that’s 7.8mm thin. Full specifications can be found here.

Mi 4i (20)

Lets get to the meat of the matter now.  The Mi 4i is a ‘knocked down’ Mi 4, and features a polycarbonate body in contrast to the Mi 4’s metal frame. This doesn’t just make the Mi 4i a less expensive phone, but it also gives the device an altogether different appeal.

Mi 4i (29)

That, paired with the 7.8mm thickness make the Mi 4i quite a winner, at least as far as build and ease of handling the device are concerned.

Mi 4i (30)

The Mi 4i is all about colour; the ‘boring’ white-backlit capacitive buttons now make way for more colourful, youthful blue backlights.

Mi 4i (25)

It’ll come in a variety of different colors, including White, Black, Red, Yellow and Blue. Every colour variant has a glossy finish to it barring the Black one.

Mi 4i (26)

The rear camera of the phone reminds you a lot of the eldest Mi bro, the Mi Note. Two tone flash on a $200 device is pretty impressive, and unlike other ‘shanzhai’ phones this one seemingly will work as advertised.

Here’s how the Mi 4i stacks up against the original Mi 4, which certainly looks dated and pale in comparison to the Mi 4i which is a lot more in-the-face.

Mi 4i (18)

The notification LED is moved from the bottom to the top of the phone, which certainly seems like a good idea. Also, this one seems to be a lot more brighter than the one found on the Mi 4.

Mi 4i (27)

Speakers on the Mi 4i have now been moved to the rear of the phone… the Mi 4 has them on the ‘chin’ i.e., bottom edge.

Mi 4i (31)

The front camera is a 5 mega-pixel sensor with a wide angle 80 degree lens with an f/1.8 aperture (unless Xiaomi got it wrong on the slides; the rear was mentioned to have an f/2.0 aperture).

Mi 4i (8)

What’s perhaps most impressive is that there’s a 3120mAh battery on the Mi 4i, which is in fact larger capacity than the Mi Note. The battery works at 4.4V and is quick charge compatible.

Mi 4i (4)

Xiaomi will ship the Mi 4i with a coating that will make it virtually impossible to spoil. During the presentation, Barra played a little video that showed a permanent marker being used on the Mi 4i’s rear cover, the marking of which was removed using an eraser from the Mi 4i’s back!

The Snapdragon 615 has had heating issues in the past, it will be interesting to see if the problem persists. In any case, the polycarbonate rear should help.

Keep reading after this break if you wish to know about how the presentation was conducted; else, feel free to discuss the Mi 4i (and it’s possible rivals) in the comments section below. We’ll soon be bringing you the review of the phone!
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-IlCcQJ6NY]

Launch Recap

In one of the grandest Xiaomi launches to date, the company showcased its Mi 4i in New Delhi, India today. There had been a lot of speculation around the phone, and leaks almost let the cat out of the bag. Xiaomi’s global face, Hugo Barra, however managed to keep the interest alive during the event.

Mi 4i (7)

Xiaomi did a lot of teasers and such across their social media channels that built up a lot of hype prior to the launch event. To show its love for its ‘MiFans’, Xiaomi invited scores of non-media folks — who incidentally or not, made the most noise.

Mi 4i (14)

After he took centerstage, Xiaomi bosses including Bin Lin, Lei Jun and India head Manu Jain were greeted.

Barra started off with a little history about Xiaomi and went on to speak how the company has been growing in the past couple of years (which was indeed impressive). It was clear however that Barra was going through the motions at that point and wanted to speak about the device – it was great to see the passion in the senior Xiaomi exec.

Mi 4i (6)

Interesting shot, don’t you think?

The phone itself was revealed bit by bit… although everyone did have a fair idea of what was to come. Like I said, however, Barra did his best to keep everyone on their toes, and did manage to do that for the most part.

After announcing the phone, Barra even pulled off a ‘one more thing…‘ covered in a ‘the end?‘ cloak… that’s when he announced the Mi Band for India at 999 INR (US$16). Mi Bands were also presented to each attendee in a Xiaomi goodie bag along with an Mi T-shirt.

Mi 4i (2)

Media and fans were then given a hands on time of 3 minutes with the device (which is why we haven’t been able learn as much as we’d like about the Mi 4i) which, honestly, sucks.

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