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Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Review

Xiaomi’s latest mid-range offering is a smartphone that’s destined to give consumers balanced specs and pricing. We take it for a full spin to see how it fares as an everyday premium phone. This is our full review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.

Design and Construction

The Redmi Note 4 flaunts a 5.5-inch display which is overlaid with a Full HD resolution panel. It has fairly thin bezels and employs three capacitive buttons namely: Recent Apps, Home, and Back. You’d be glad to know that these are backlit so you wouldn’t have to guess where to press when you’re in the dark. Up top is the speaker for calls which is flanked by the sensor and the front 5-megapixel camera.

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Turn it around and you’ll get acquainted with its metal unibody that feels smooth on the hands and exudes a visually elegant presence. You’ll notice that the back panel is segmented by two antenna bands which allow for better signal reception. On the lower half is where you’ll see Xiaomi’s branding. Aligned with the fingerprint scanner are the main 13-megapixel shooter and dual LED lights. The fingerprint scanner has a shiny outline that positively accentuates the area.

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On the right side are the only physical buttons you’ll see on the Redmi Note 4. Here we have the volume rocker above the power/lock button. From this angle, we also see the chamfered edge this handset sports.

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Meanwhile, the opposite side houses the SIM card slots with a hybrid setup. You may choose to use two SIM cards or sacrifice the second slot for additional storage via microSD.

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Up top, we have three circles that look like they’re lined up according to size. The biggest one is the 3.5mm audio jack, the middle is an IR blaster for controlling appliances, and the smallest is the pinhole for the microphone.

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The Redmi Note 4 still rocks a micro-USB port situated under it. There are holes on both sides that appear to be speaker grilles, but it’s only the right side that throws sound.

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On the hand, the handset feels sharp due to its tapered edges but it feels very premium. The whole back panel is made of aluminum, unlike its predecessor. It’s also a bit hefty when using for a long period. Overall, Xiaomi did a good job with the build quality of the Redmi Note 4.

Display and Multimedia

The phone is equipped with a 5.5-inch IPS display. It’s got a Full HD resolution at 1920 x 1080 pixels or roughly 401ppi of pixel density. By today’s standards, it’s a respectable resolution, especially in its range. In terms of quality, there’s not much to complain here as the panel is vibrant, punchy, and can be viewed properly even at extreme angles. It can get pretty bright or really dim based on your desired setting.

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One would notice that the tone of the display leans on the cold side as a full white image tends to show a bluish tint. It doesn’t greatly affect the overall quality and performance of the screen but it’s worth noting.

For the loudspeakers, you get a mono driver at the bottom. As already mentioned, the symmetrical holes hide a microphone on the left rather than another speaker to qualify as stereo. Anyhow, the loudness is good but lacks bass. If you have the proper earphones, you can also take advantage of Hi-Fi audio processor on the phone.

OS, Apps, and UI

This is the first phone from Xiaomi that runs its latest MIUI 8 on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. There are no unnecessary Chinese apps loaded to the handset as it’s running the Global ROM version out of the box. That’s a major plus point since there’s no need to flash in Google services and hide the bloatware. You’ll have to install the Google apps you need though as the phone comes in clean.

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The MIUI 8 is a polished version of the 7. Its design is a combination of the features of Android and the simplicity of iOS. It offers a lot of functionality to get your tasks done. We’re a fan Xiaomi’s skin since it doesn’t slow down the system despite the heavy customization. With the 64GB storage onboard, you get 55.72GB free for use.

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If you’re not familiar with the MIUI, you won’t have a hard time adjusting to it. Everything is well laid out and smooth transitions are a joy to see on the display. A little pet peeve though is the rounded square icons that are very similar to iOS makes the pretty icons of some apps get stuck in a rounded frame. Apart from that, the MIUI 8 is the best UI from Xiaomi so far.

Camera

The imaging department of the Redmi Note 4 is modest with its 13MP phase-detection autofocus rear and 5MP front-facing cameras. Both have an aperture of f/2.0 which could be helpful in low-light scenarios. A dual-tone LED flash also accompanies the rear shooter. The camera UI is as straight-forward as it gets but digging into the settings panel will show additional tweaks.

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The rear camera performs great in bright environments. Colors and details are good but there’s a bit of strong sharpening. For social media posting and everyday shots, this is fine. In soft indoor and dim lighting, the camera struggles to get decent shots. It makes us question the purpose of the bright aperture. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, is okay for vanity shots but it has narrower lens compared to the competition. Here are the samples:

As for the video, it can do 1080p. There’s a video stabilization feature that doesn’t seem to be working fine. Instead, it makes the clip look choppy. Here’s the Full HD sample:

Performance and Benchmarks

What’s powering the Redmi Note 4 is the Helio X20 chipset from MediaTek. It’s one of the impressive chipsets from the silicon maker and it’s been on several mid to high-end devices lately. It’s got a total of 10 cores divided into three clusters to meet certain demands with a max clock speed of 2.1GHz while a Mali-T880 MP4 GPU handles the graphics department. Our model comes with 3GB of RAM.

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With these specs, you’re guaranteed to have a well-functioning smartphone. You get a fluid UI, smooth transitions, and responsive performance. So far, we’re yet to see it choke with multiple apps open. The 3GB of RAM is not exactly the biggest around but it’s more than adequate for today’s needs. Gaming is also a check here as the phone was able to run intensive graphics game like Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2 without much stutter. Toning the settings by a bit will help a lot. NBA 2K16 is not supported here but there’s the 2K17 available for another purchase.

We have our usual benchmark scores here:

  • AnTuTu Benchmark — 73718
  • Quadrant Standard — 30468
  • PCMark — 5137 (Work), 2660 (Storage)
  • Vellamo — 2335 (Browser), 3068 (Multicore), 2653 (Metal)
  • 3DMark — 921 (Sling Shot ES 3.1), 1196 (Sling Shot ES 3.0)

Call Quality and Connectivity

The earpiece on the handset has a loud output making calls on the phone possible even in noisy environments. Noise cancellation also helps in the process.

Like any higher mid-range phones in the market, the Redmi Note 4 is well-equipped with multiple radios including 4G LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, and an IR blaster. You can use the phone to remotely control supported appliances like a boss.

Battery Life

A large 4,100mAh battery provides juice for the device. It’s a pretty large cell so you’d expect it to last and it does. We’re able to use it for a full day with a moderate number of activities like calling, gaming, messaging, and music streaming. If you’d use its battery saver features, it’ll easily go for 2 days or even more if you use sparingly. Charging time takes about an hour and 40 minutes using the included 5V 2A brick.

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As with our traditional test with a 1080p loop video in airplane mode with 50% brightness and volume through standard earphones, it was able to do 11 hours and 16 minutes. While the more definite PCMark battery test gave it a score of 11 hours and 6 minutes, about the same as the video loop. It’s definitely a phone to consider for a full day use.

Conclusion

As an everyday driver, the Redmi Note 4 will not disappoint. It’s all you’ll need for a smartphone that’ll function well and will last for a whole day of use on a single charge. Its build is also attractive and solid on hand. What will hinder the phone’s winning streak of balanced features and price is its availability. It’s only available through local online gadget stores with very limited warranty.

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Still, for Php9,500 (2GB/16GB) or even at Php10,800 (3GB/64GB) the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is a value smartphone for those who needs an upgrade from their previous budget device.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is available at Widget City. See listing here.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 specs:
5.5-inch Full HD display @ 1920 x 1080 resolution
2.5D curved glass on a metal unibody
2.1GHz MediaTek Helio X20 deca-core processor
2GB / 3GB RAM
16GB / 64GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 256GB (uses SIM 2)
13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, dual-LED flash
5MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture
Dual SIM
4G LTE
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS w/ A-GPS
Infrared
Fingerprint scanner
4100mAh battery with fast-charging
Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ MIUI 8
151 x 76 x 8.4 mm
175 g

Pros:

  • Fantastic build
  • Good display
  • Great performance
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Not officially available
  • Questionable low-light camera performance


This article was contributed by Daniel Morial, a film school graduate and technology enthusiast. He's the geeky encyclopedia and salesman among his friends for anything tech.

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37 Responses

  1. Marcos says:

    kung ganyan ba lagi kaguwapo nagrereview

  2. Angelo says:

    Does both sim slots allow LTE without swapping?

  3. hmmm says:

    not bad for a sub11k price.. nice one xiaomi! offline kiosks nationwide please!!!!! :D

  4. hmmm says:

    kumusta yung fingerprint scanner niya sir dan? is it fast and accurate? TIA!

  5. isfunkee says:

    Wala ba syang problem sa smart lte

  6. Ecko says:

    Which is better for you sir,redmi note 3 pro or redmi note 4..TIA

  7. Lefzu says:

    Note 3 pro for me.. but if u need more storage go for note 4..

  8. Protector of Light says:

    L na L talaga ako kay Daniel nato…. masakit na puson ko… leche…

  9. Cherie says:

    Waiting for your Redmi note 3 pro & redmi note 4 comparison review.
    Thanks

  10. Clay Peña says:

    Meron ba tong miravision for clearmotion?

  11. Ralph says:

    Di ba supported ang 700MHz LTE band?

  12. definitelynotryze says:

    planning to get the FP2, should i wait and get this instead or just go for the FP2?

  13. loi says:

    Hi is Google play store already installed or do we have to install it another way? Thanks

  14. RCB says:

    which is better sir, Zenphone 3 Laser or this Xiaomi Redmi Note 4?

    Hope i could get a reply. I am planning to buy one this coming last week of November at Widget City

  15. Jay says:

    Go for Redmi note 3 pro (SD650) 3GB/32GB..I’ve been using mine for almost 6 months now.. It’ll never disappoint you in performance and battery (I could almost forget to charge) but of course you can’t expect the best camera for this price range.. I bought mine thru AliExpress which cost me 7-8000php. Shipping would depend on what you want if DHL fast delivery (pay high tax about 900php) if Philpost (it’ll only cost 112php but it’ll take 30days to arrive.) Snapdragon is way better than Mediatek. Also a much better option would be the Redmi 4 (SD625 version) 5″ which is one hand friendly. Also Xiaomi phones has global roms that has Google playstore..

  16. Daniel_Morial_Is_Bae says:

    Magtigil kayo! Sakin si papa dan!

  17. Gerry says:

    Recently bought this fone and it works fine! Sir have you tried using a 64 gb micro sd card? I have been reading acrticles saying it only supports up to 32gb while it says on gsm arena that it can support up to 256gb…

  18. Larry says:

    Sir, Is that true na Hindi pwedeng i adjust ang Screen Timeout nyang note 4? At when it comes to connection/signal here in the Philippines, wala naman po bang problema? Thanks po.

    • Gerry says:

      Sir supported ang 4g particularly sa smart. Thing is pag 3g lang ang capability ng simcard, hindi nag aactivate yung “deep sleep” ng phone (low power consumption when not in use). Nagswitch ako from sun to smart 4g sim caerd and ok na deep sleep niya…. According to forums, bug daw to ng helio x20..

  19. macoy says:

    san po pwede makabili ng redmi note 4 na black? at meron po ba netong 3gb ram 32gb rom?

  20. Max says:

    Nice review, bossing!
    Do all Xiaomi phones bought directly from China automatically accept Philippine SIM Cards? Like wala bang unlock na kailangan? (planning to buy the upcoming Redmi Note 4X directly from a shop there but still wondering if it could accept foreign SIM cards)

  21. Chrono says:

    Sa mga planong bumili ng Redmi Note 4, dalawa na binili ko sa Lazada para sa kapatid ko, wala nmn nging problema. Don’t worry sa signal, kayang kaya 4G (both sim slots). Sa Redmi Note 3 Pro ko nmn kapag naiset ng 4G sim 2 ko automatic 3G yung isa, vice versa. Nakakasagap din phone ko ng 4G+ sa Globe. Panget lng camera ng RN3 sA low light pero nagimprove nmn s RN4. Maganda finger print scanner ok nmn response nya, walang sablay. Downside tlga hybrid sim

  22. Chrono says:

    As mentioned may infrared blaster yung Redmi Note 4 para magamit yung Mi Remote App. May phone ka na may Universal Remote ka pa ng TV, Projector, Satellite Box, DVD, Fan, etc.

  23. Chrono says:

    RN3pro gamit ko s I write. Sa MIUI 8 meron tong DUAL APP, idu duplicate nya yung isang app. So kung dlwa COC o Clash Royale account mo, ilogin mo yung first account mo sa isa at yung second account mo sa duplicated app.

  24. renzoparas says:

    Chrono bumili ka ng xiaomi sa lazada dba? Panu ung warranty nila?….tnx po

    • Chrono says:

      Actually hindi ko na inisip warranty. Sorry wala ako maishare. Wala nmn problem ung phone nung dumating sa akin. Nagkaproblem lang nung nagupdate to marshmallow RN3 ko. Waiting nlng kung masolve ng magiging latest update ung mga bugs sa MIUI 8.1.1.0.

  25. John_Iloilo says:

    San mas mganda pag dating sa battery life? YUng Redmi note 4 ba na mediatek helio x20 or yung redmi note 4x na Snapdragon 625? thanks

  26. nobnobz says:

    Sir ask ko lang. Kamusta naman po ang temps pag dire diretso for gaming?

  27. mark says:

    i can’t help but notice na sa dasma ung pictures hahaha

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