Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 after 6 months of use

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 was launched in India in January 2017. The phone was  then one of the first phones to feature the super power efficient Snapdragon 625 chipset. It recently received the much awaited Android 7.0 Noughat update via OTA. Sadly the Android 7.0 Noughat update is not based on the MIUI9 and is MIUI version 8.5.4.0. The file size was 1.3 gb and it has brought so many changes to the Note 4.  When the phone was launched, it had no competitors since it came with the newest processor of that time. But right now, there are plenty of options in the sub- 15,000 category-like the Moto G5 plus, Honor 6x, Smartron SRT phone and Lenovo Z2 plus. Recently, Xiaomi announced that they have sold 5 million phones in India alone. That itself can give you an idea how much people loved this product. Now it’s been 7 months since the launch and 6 months since I got mine and let’s see if my RN4 can still hold up after 6 months of use.

Product Overview:

Retail Box- Xiaomi has been very minimalistic in their style of presenting the hardware in the retail box. The retail box comes with the phone, a USB adapter, USB cable, Sim card ejector tool, and a quick start guide. Sadly, there is no ear phone.

Design- The phone weighs only 165g despite carrying the huge 4100mAh battery.

It measures 1518 into 76 into 8.5mm.

Xiaomi is known to produce stylish products at reasonable price and the RN4 is no exception. The RN3 was one of the best phones in the budget and RN4 has taken it one step further. The aluminium unibody of RN4 looks elegant and premium in hands. When you hold it you will feel how well built the phone is. The only negative is that the design is not new and is a continuation of the Note 3’s. However, the RN4’s built is better.

It sports an aluminium unibody design that feels durable. They have used plastic strips but you will never know it unless you make a thorough examination. The phone’s 2.5D curved glass makes it look elegant at the front.

Even with the 5.5 display, the phone is comfortable to use. If your hands are small then you can switch to one hand mode. And with the matte finish, the phone offers great grip.

Device Description:

  

On the front you will see a 5.5 inch 1080 into 1920 full HD PPS display that is covered with a 2.5D curved glass. Xiaomi has said that it also has a protection glass but hasn’t yet disclosed the name.

Above the display there are some sensors, earpiece, selfie camera and the notification LED. Below the display you will see normal 3 capacitive touch keys.

There is a 3.5mm audio jack at the top and along with it there is an IR blaster to remote control your home appliances and a secondary mic for noice cancellation and recording stereo sound.

At the bottom there are two grills out which one has speaker and the other has a mic. There is also a  micro-USB port to charge the phone. But it doesn’t support quick charging.

To the left there is a hybrid sim slot that supports either 2 sims or one sim and one memory card. On the right side, there is the power button and the volume rockers.

At the back, we see a 13 MP camera, a dual tone LED flash just below it and a finger print sensor.

Display:

The RN4 has a 5.5 inch full HD IPS panel with 401ppi. The company also claims an aspect ratio of 1000:1 and 72% of NTSC colour spectrum coverage.

The display is better than the predecessor’s. The black levels have been improved considerably so that the texts and images look sharp. The phone offers good viewing angles. It also has an increased comfort mode that makes the images look punchier with good colour accuracy. The sunlight legibility is decent. The display is visible even in the bright outdoor conditions.

There is an automatic brightness level but it did not work well for me. There is also a reading mode that will help you read at night hassle-free.

Battery life:

Redmi Note phones have always managed to offer great battery life. The RN4 houses a huge 4100mAh battery. What disappointed us is the fact that the phone doesn’t support quick charging. It supports the normal 5V/2A charging which takes about 3 hours to charge the phone from 0 to 100%.

The company promised at the launch that the SD625 would increase the battery life by at least 25%. So, our expectations were sky high and the phone held up to it.

Being an average phone user, I get a battery life of two days from this phone. If you are a heavy user, then you should get a battery life of at least a full day.

Connectivity:

Redmi Note 4 comes with SIM slot that can have 2 sim cards (one micro and one nano) or one micro sim card and a micro SD card.

The phone supports 4G and VoLTE for fast internet access. It also offers dual- band Wifi 802.11 a/ b/g/n, USB OTG, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS/A-GPS, Miracast, GLONASS and BDS. It also has an FM radio.

The phone has an IR blaster with which you can remote control your home appliances. We found this feature very handy at times.

Software:

The RN4 comes with Android Marshmallow with MIUI8 out of the box. In August 2017, the phone received an upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat with MIUI 8.5.4.0. The MIUI runs on Android 7.0 and has made so many twirls because of which the OS has become heavy.

Performance:

The RN3 was ran by the SD650 and so when Xiaomi announced RN4 with SD625 everyone was surprised. We thought there will be a dip in the performance. To support that, the benchmarks also showed lower scores.

But in real life usage, I didn’t find the SD625 slower. The phone offers snappy performance and it runs most of the games and handles all the day-to-day tasks smoothly. The RN4’s SD625’s chipset is supported by Adreno 506 for graphics. The combo gives smooth gaming and movie watching results.

The RN4 SD625 has an octa-core cortex A-53 processor clocked at 2GHz. The RN4 comes with 3GB and 4GB RAM variants. If you are not on a tight budget then we would recommend you to get the 4GB model.

Software overview:

Like every other Chinese phone, the Redmi Note 4 does not come with an app drawer.  Also, Redmi does not have so many apps pre-installed. And from the pre-installed apps, a few could be uninstalled.

Calculator:

The pre-installed calculator just blew my mind. Unlike other calculator apps, this app can do more things than you imagine. It lets you compare and calculate different currencies, provides an option for mortgage calculation, temperature, speed, time, mass calculations, etc. We found this pretty impressive.

Clock:

The app looks stylish and has options for alarm, clock, stop watch and timer.

Recorder:

The built-in recorder is very clean. You can record audio in different qualities like High, Standard and Low. This will be helpful for vloggers.

The built-in recorder
Scanner, Compass, Mi remote:

  

The RN 4 has the scanner app pre-installed which is very handy. The compass app works perfectly. The Mi remote app is not compatible with all gadgets but it is possible for you to install any other third party remote control application.

Browser:

The built-in MI browser is simple and fast. As the Chrome browser was also pre-installed we prefer using the Chrome Apps. The new update to Android 7.0 Nougat has made the software stable and Xiaomi has also  promised its customers to offer more updates.

Camera:

Camera was one of the complaints that we had with the Redmi Note 3. We wanted Xiaomi to put a better, upgraded sensor in the Redmi note 4.

The RN4 has a 13 megapixel f 2.0 primary camera with face detection autofocus and dual LED dual tone flash. At the time of launch this was surprising because the Redmi Note 3 had a 16 megapixel f 2.0 camera. However, these days so many phones have proven that megapixel is not everything.

On the front the Redmi note 4 has a 5 megapixel camera that can shoot video at 1080 p.

The camera interface in the note 4 is simple, clean and easy to use.  The touch to focus works just great.

You can choose either an automatic mode or a manual mode where you get manual control over ISO and white balance. There is a beautify mode that predicts the age of the person whose photo you are taking. And it also softens their skin. Apart from that,  different modes are available for different types of photography.

There are also other options like timer, panorama, straighten,HHT and tilt-shift. HDR is also available.

We can clearly see the smart work Xiaomi has put to improve the camera. The camera is overall better than the Redmi Note 3’s but still the competitors offer some better camera phones in the segment.

The image quality from the Redmi Note 4 is good. The daylight photos came out well with good colour accuracy and details. The close up shots look great. If you are taking landscape shots of any far away objects then you may find it lacking details.

 

The case is not the same when it comes to low light photography. The photos taken in the low light conditions do not have enough details and so the photos look flat. But they could be uploaded to social media sites. After all, most people use their phone’s camera for that purpose.

The camera also has an HDR mode, but it has some trouble with contrast and colour accuracy. The end result did not impress us.

The Panorama shots came out well with good amount of detail.

The 5 megapixel front camera could not complete with the competitors. The selfie camera takes decent selfies in the daytime with some details but the skin looks flat in low light situations. The photos came out noisy and flat. There are some scenes options to take selfies and they are fun to use.

Video camera:

4K is becoming common in all phones these days but Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 stops at 1080p at 30 FPS.

The video interface is very simple that you do not get much control over the video shoot, you get only two modes- the time lapse and slow motion. The video quality from the rear camera is better than what we expected, with good details. The autofocus in video mode works fine.

You can also shoot 120 FPS slow motion but at 720p the slow motion video quality is good and can be used for social media uploads.

The front camera also can shoot at 1080p and the quality is fine. In good lighting conditions it produces good details but in low light conditions it suffers from loss of details.

Conclusion:

The Note 4 is a good catch because it ticks all the right boxes. Snapdragon 625 is still one of the best mid-range chipsets available in the market. Other phones with the same processor are priced at minimum 3000-4000 rupees higher than the price of Note 4.

Processor is not the only good thing about RN4. With excellent performance, great battery life, good camera, an updated battery and smooth Android Nougat- all in one stylish aluminium body, the Note 4 has got everything that you can possibly look for in a phone at that price range and even more. It’s been 7 months already since the phone was launched and we still recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great phone within INR 11,000.

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