Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime Review
Xiaomi always has bang-for-the-buck devices, especially smartphones. While its local presence is not as official as a few years back, there’s still demand for their offerings. Indeed, their flagship phones, as well as the mid-rangers, are one of the best in their class. Now in its 4th generation, the Redmi has evolved maturely and already knows what it should deliver to make itself the ideal choice for those on a budget. Here’s our full review of the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime.
Design and Construction
The Redmi 4 Prime still has a 5-inch display which is fairly pocketable by today’s standards. Our unit which has a black front is just striking and elegant to look at. There is a trio of capacitive keys for navigation which are unfortunately unlit. Above the display are the earpiece, the 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and notification light.
To the right are the power/lock button and the volume rocker. There are a couple of visible plastic strips as well for the antenna inside the phone.
On the left is just the hybrid card tray. It accepts two SIM cards at once or you can swap the second one for a microSD card for more available storage.
There are three circles up top. The first one from the left is the pinhole for the secondary microphone, the one in the middle is an IR blaster, and the biggest one is the 3.5mm headphone jack.
At the bottom is a number of symmetrical holes for the loudspeaker and the main microphone with the micro-USB port in the middle. A pair of screws is also here for maintenance.
Finally at the back are the main 13-megapixel camera with a dual-tone LED flash and the circular fingerprint scanner. A printed Xiaomi logo sits at the lower-end. The chassis of the phone is made out of cold aluminum with a small polycarbonate part above the camera for signal reception. There’s also a strip found at the bottom.
Its design cues are greatly inspired by its bigger Redmi Note 4 sibling. With a solid metal body throughout, one would appreciate the handset and be able to describe it as premium. It may not win any award for actually standing out from the crowd, but its utilitarian form is good enough.
Display and Multimedia
The 5-inch display size is a strong feat of the Redmi 4 Prime since it’s one of the few capable handsets that you can still use comfortably with one hand. It’s upgraded to a Full HD panel with a higher pixel density of 441ppi and its crispness is a big plus. By default, the panel is set to “Brilliant” mode and everything are just extremely vibrant and punchy like an AMOLED panel. You can easily set it back to standard if it’s not your cup of tea. Another strong factor of the display is its ability to push the brightness really low — perfect for night reading.
The loudspeaker of the Redmi 4 Prime is pretty good. It can get loud for it to be able to fill a small room without grave cracking and distortion. It’s ideal for hands-free calling and casual video or music playback. Keep in mind that there are no included earphones out of the box.
OS, Apps, and UI
Xiaomi’s own skin of Android, MIUI, is now in its 8th version. If you’re familiar with most Chinese skins on Android, there’s no app drawer akin to ala iOS look. The MIUI 8 is currently the cleanest and more streamlined version yet. We appreciate how Xiaomi makes their phone stand out from the sea of Android devices with its own UI. Still, we can’t help but notice that whenever we clear out running apps, we’re usually left with just around 1.3GB out of the 3GB RAM.
The version pre-loaded on our unit is identified as “Global ROM 8.2. stable” even though there’s no uploaded Global ROM yet for the Redmi 4 Prime on MIUI’s portal. We’re led to believe that the software was already modified by the seller and it does include a full suite of Google services and the Play Store. But, there are some concerns about this on forums whether it will receive updates since it was already tweaked. Nevertheless, you can always flash your own if you know how to.
Since things are already set for the Redmi 4 Prime, you can jumpstart by registering your Google account and enjoy its benefits rather than sideloading it. There are no Chinese apps on board and you have the liberty to choose which app to download for your needs. Out of the 32GB storage, you can use 25.75GB.
Camera-wise, the Redmi 4 Prime has the main 13-megapixel shooter with phase detection autofocus and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. Both have an aperture of f/2.2 which might not be able to help in low-light environments. The camera launcher of Xiaomi is straightforward with just the basic controls and switches available.
Stills taken with the rear camera looks great with a good amount of details and a bit of software sharpening. Although, it struggles in low-light scenarios with soft and noisy edges. The shots are fitting for social media posts. The front camera, on the other hand, is not an all around selfie companion. It greatly depends on the available light and it’s a hit and miss when it comes to white balance. It’s also a bit dim compared to most. Here are a few samples:
As for the video, it can do 1080p at a steady 30fps. Quality is okay but we noticed that it keeps on finding the white balance while recording and tends to give the video a warmer tone when under artificial lighting. When outdoors, it somehow can’t keep up with the bright skies for proper exposure of wide shots. Here’s a sample:
Performance and Benchmarks
The handset is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 with the Adreno 506 to handle graphics and paired with an ample 3GB of RAM. For reference, it has the same oomph of the Zenfone 3 albeit the price Asus is asking for. We haven’t encountered a hiccup with general performance and also with popular apps.
Gaming is also covered here with graphic intensive games playable at high settings. Although, bigger titles like NBA 2K17 needs to be set down a bit to achieve high framerates. Also, we didn’t face a warm device when playing. As mentioned earlier, we’re always left with 1.3GB RAM after clearing which points to the heavy memory use of MIUI. No worries as we are yet to see it choke up.
Here are the benchmarks scores:
- AnTuTu Benchmark — 62224
- PCMark — 4676 (Work 2.0), 6076 (Work 1.0), 3653 (Storage)
- Quadrant Standard — 38953
- Vellamo — 1427 (Metal), 2489 (Multicore)
- 3DMark — 465 (Slingshot Extreme)
Call Quality and Connectivity
There are no problems regarding the call quality of the handset. You can easily make calls and have a long conversation thanks to its audible earpiece and useful noise-cancelling microphones.
As for wireless connectivity, it’s got 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, dual-band Wi-Fi, and an IR blaster. The IR blaster fulfills the function of the phone as a universal remote for numerous appliances. The app is easy to use and setup is a breeze plus it really works on our TV.
Despite having just a 5-inch display, it carries a large 4100mAh battery on its back. This explains why its a bit thicker than most and the minimal increase in thickness is something you’d want to trade for a stellar battery life. Our unit easily lasts us full 24 hours before hitting the charging dock. We get at least 6 to 7 hours of screen on time with moderate use or even up to 9 hours if you’d stretch it further with the available battery saving modes.
It also scored an amazing 18 hours and 31 minutes with the PCMark battery test (Work 1.0). These numbers speak for an average of 2 days normal use of a fully charged Redmi 4 Prime.
In a nutshell, the Redmi 4 Prime could be the best phone you can have for now. It offers amazing performance, superb battery life, and quality design for a fraction of its main rivals. Although, the battle for official availability could be an issue and it’s no joke to have it repaired with no formal local support.
But if you’re in the market for a stellar device without the high price tag and the lack of legitimate warranty (one the includes parts replacement and whatnot) doesn’t worry you, the Redmi 4 Prime is the solid option. The unit we have is listed for Php8,700 at Widget City (see listing here).
Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime specs:
5-inch Full HD IPS display, 441ppi
2.0GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core CPU
Adreno 506 GPU
3GB RAM + 32GB storage
microSD up to 128GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
13MP PDAF rear camera, f/2.2 aperture, LED flash
5MP front camera, f/2.2 aperture
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2 (Prime)
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
MIUI 8 (Android Marshmallow)
141.3 x 69.6 x 8.9mm
- Solid build
- Great display
- Superb battery life
- Unofficially available in PH
- Modified software