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Redmi Note 4 – Review – The best budget phablet in town

One of the most anticipated mobiles of the year, the Redmi Note 4 is finally here. The Redmi Note 3 was a great success, own to the value for money and the battery performance it had to offer. Is Redmi Note 4 a worthy successor to the legendary Note 3? Let’s check it our in this review.


Design

Though Xioami stresses a lot in their presentation about the design finesse of Redmi Note 4, in reality it is just a typical template. Yes, the design has improved a lot from the Note 3, but still there is nothing creative or innovative about it. It is a plain metal body with finely chamfered edges and perfectly smooth edges. The finish is great and Xiaomi has time and again proved that they can make great quality design at affordable price. The front glass has 2.5D curved edges. At the back is the 13 MP camera, dual tone LED flash and fingerprint sensor. The bottom has the micro USB port and speaker grills with speaker and mic. The top has the 3.5 mm audio jack and IR blaster. The SIM cards go in the hybrid SIM tray on the left. The placement of power and volume buttons is perfect for the hand to reach and operate. The navigation keys are backlit and it has notification led on the top. The mobile feels big and heavy in the hand. The material is also slippery at the back and I would advice you to get a back case on it. Nothing can go wrong with this design. Good quality material, logical design and pseudo-premium feel is what the Redmi Note 4 has to offer.

Display

The mobile has a 5.5 inch Full HD display. The display is impressive both under indoor and outdoor conditions. The color reproduction and the saturation levels are spot on. The gamma correction is at about 2.3 which gives it a perfect contrast. Being an IPS panels, the black levels are not great, but it does not appear faded at all, which is a good news for gamers. The viewing angles are wide and the brightness is also pleasing on the eyes. Overall, the Redmi Note 4 has got an impressive display.

The display is not protected by any kind of toughened glass. So it is recommended to buy a quality tempered glass for the Redmi Note 4. Buy it here.

Hardware and Performance

The mobile is powered by Snapdragon 625 processor clocked at 2.0 GHz. It has Adreno 506 for the GPU. The international variant (Chinese) runs on Mediatek processor. In India, the mobile comes in 3 variants: 2 GB/32, 3GB/32 GB and 4 GB/64 GB. My review unit has 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage. I would highly recommend the 64 GB variant as you can happily use the hybrid SIM slot for a dual SIM. It support USB OTG, if that is of any use to you.

The fingerprint sensor at the back is snappy. It is accurate and can detect for valid fingerprint from all angles. Wet or oily finger is not a problem, to an extent. The fingerprint can not only unlock the mobile from sleep/lock screen, but it can also do some other tricks like snapping a selfie.

The speakers are loud enough, but not crisp for high fidelity audio. It is a 4G VoLTE mobile.

Voice clarity is just about average. I am not happy with the quality of voice from the earpiece. It is tinny, but at the same it is quite audible. It does the job, but just that tinny voice is a problem for me personally.

Graphically intense game is handled with ease. I played Asphalt 8, Mortal Combat 5 and Nova 3 for more than 30 minutes on it non-stop. The mobile temperature rose from 27 degree (room temp) to about 37 degree. This is within acceptable. I felt no over-heating in the hand. On regular usage and on shooting video for more than 10 minutes, the mobile does not heat up. The graphics are handled with ease. Game play is smooth, but the graphics rendering is a tad bit jagged on the edges, and that is me being nitpicky. Overall, the Redmi Note 4 has impressive hardware and it performance is good.

Software

MIUI is on version 8.1 in the Redmi Note 4. The base android version is Android 6.0.1 and the device will soon get Android 7. Infact I am loading the official Beta version on it right now and I will be posting a separate post on Android Nougat on Redmi Note 4. Right from the lock screen to the settings section, everything is optimized for better user experience. The MIUI has a few pre-installed third-party applications or bloatware as we affectionately call them. It comes with a few native apps that are feature centric like the security app, Scanner, Recorder and Mi Remote. Mi Store, Flipkart, Amazon store, Kindle app, WPS office and Swiftkey are pre-installed 3rd party apps. The hardware handles the UI smoothly and MIUI is optimized well for the hardware, like any Mi device.

We have covered in enormous details about all the features, tips and tricks with the UI on Redmi Note 4. Here are the UI guides for Redmi Note 4.

Camera

The Redmi Note 4 has a 13 MP primary camera and 8 MP front facing camera. The primary camera has PDAF focusing mechanism while the front camera is a fixed focus camera arrangement. The Camera UI simple and usable. It has a bunch of modes like Panorama, Timer, Manual, Beautify, Tilt Shift and many scene modes. The manual mode is useless at it can control only white balance and ISO. There are a bunch of color filters as well. The primary camera can shoot Full HD videos. It has slow motion and time-lapse modes.

As far as the camera output is concerned, the Redmi Note 4 is a casual shooter. It does not excite you with its performance, but it is good for some casual shots and usual documentation. Under ample day light, the focusing is fast and also the images are sharp. The details come out well with good color gamut. The color reproduction is just about average. The camera suffers quality loss as the light drops. There is visible noise and uneven smoothing of the edges under low light conditions. The images from the front camera is also similar in terms of quality. Under challenging light conditions, the front camera does not click pleasing selfies. Check out the camera samples below.

Overall, the Redmi Note 4 has an average camera. The camera sensor and other hardware are good, but processing, especially under low light is a problem. I have already got one update via OTA to fix the camera, but it only did it marginally. I am sure Xiaomi will push in more optimization to give a better camera on the Note 4. I will also update this article, if we get any further updates to improve camera.

Battery

Here is where the Redmi Note 4 rises as a clear winner. You must buy this mobile if battery is a concern for you. I to have been using this mobile as my primary device for the past few weeks. I consistently get a screen on time of about 7 to 8 hours. Wifi and 4G is always on and alternating. I play a lot of games and am an avid browser. For my usage, I get about 2 days of battery life and still it has about 20% of juice left. It also have battery saving mode to kick in after a set limit of battery percentage. It takes more than 3 hours to charge fully. It does not have fast charging capability and I wish it had. But once charged, the mobile can go on and on for ever.

Verdict

ProCons
Slim and Flat designAverage joe design
Vivid DisplayPoor camera under low light conditions
Smooth Gaming ExperienceNo Fast Charging
Fast Fingerprint sensor No toughened glass protection.
Everlasting battery

The pricing of the Redmi Note 4 starts at Rs 9999 and the recommended top end variant is priced at Rs 12999. At this price range, we have the newly launched Coolpad Cool 1 and the Honor 6x. The Honor 6x has a better camera and the Cool 1 has a better design. But overall, the Redmi Note 4 rises to be an all-rounder. If not king of all trades, it is definitely an all round jack. Gadgetdetail highly recommend it and it is featured in our recommendation list.

Links to Buy

Flipkart – http://fkrt.it/O1lBL!NNNN

Mi.com – http://www.mi.com/in/note4/

Tempered Glass – http://amzn.to/2ji4Smt

SD Card – http://amzn.to/2kfeLkf

Redmi Note 4

Design - 6.5
Performance - 7
Camera - 6
User Interface - 8.5
Battery - 9
Value for Money - 9
Display - 8

7.7

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About Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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