Xiaomi Mi 4 Review

Call quality

The Xiaomi Mi 4 is equipped with a noise-canceling duo of microphones – one nestled within the loudspeaker on the bottom, and another at the back, above the camera lens. The combo does a decent job isolating your voice from the background when on a call, but overall quality is only slightly above average. Indeed, while tonal information is preserved fairly well and the other side will hear you well enough at maximum volume, there will still be some distortion to your voice.

As for the speaker, we found ourselves wishing that it delivered just a slightly higher volume – other metrics proved to be above average.

Battery life

If you happen to have a suction cup lying around, you'll be able to lift off the seemingly non-removable back cover of the Mi 4, under which you'll find the device's battery. The 3080 mAh unit is quite generous, and our tests show that it is quite the performer, too. We already talked about Balanced and Performance modes earlier, so bear in mind that the test was carried out in the default (Balanced) mode the device comes in.

Anyway, the Xiaomi Mi 4 clocked the excellent 8 hours 32 minutes on our custom battery life benchmark, which puts it alongside some of the all-time highest-scoring devices we've tested. It's still behind heavyweights such as the Sony Xperia Z3 and the Motorola DROID Turbo, but ahead of the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8, the Apple iPhone 6, and the LG G3.

The juicer is also fairly quick when it comes to regaining its charge – it needed 126 minutes to go from zero to 100% when using the wall charger provided in the box.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 8h 32 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy S5 7h 38 min (Average)
HTC One (M8) 7h 12 min (Average)
Meizu MX4 7h 25 min (Average)
Sony Xperia Z3 9h 29 min (Good)
Apple iPhone 6 5h 22 min (Poor)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Xiaomi Mi 4 126
Samsung Galaxy S5 122
HTC One (M8) 207
Meizu MX4 159
Sony Xperia Z3 235
Apple iPhone 6 147


Originality might not be Xiaomi's strongest suite, but execution sure is. This much has been made perfectly clear through the Mi 4 – a device that doesn't score perfect on each and every test, but nevertheless has ensured itself enough leeway through its affordable price tag. Indeed, the fact that the Mi 4 costs the equivalent of just $320 for the 16GB versions means that, even through scalpers, you can get the handset for less than $400, which is far less than you'll have to whip out for a flagship from a mainstream brand.

Does this mean that the Mi 4's only saving grace is its pricing? Absolutely not, though it certainly helps. And why shouldn't it when you can literally get two of those for you and the missus for the price of a Samsung Galaxy Note Edge? In fact, if it weren't for the Mi 4's Achilles' heel, the rear camera and its lack of LTE, we'd have a hard time justifying anything less than a chart-topping score for the Mi 4 – it's superbly-crafted, has an attractive, speedy and feature-filled interface, and can last you for two days straight.

In the end, the Mi 4 is, at worst, good enough for just about anyone on the planet, and that ought to give Xiaomi the confidence that it can come up with its own original designs and not borrow as heavily from Apple and others. Once it figures that and irons out a few details, the West will be ripe for the taking, granted that it sticks to the same formula.

Software versions:
Android version: 4.4.4 KTU84P
MIUI version: MIUI-V6.1.2.0.KXDCNBJ (Stable)
Baseband version: MPSS.DI.3.0-7bea055
Kernel version: 3.4.0-g64e9dd0-01123-g5ab8247

UPDATE: You can now read our Xiaomi Mi 4c Review!


  • Very cheap for what it brings to the table, even through scalpers
  • Exceptional construction
  • Bright and vivid screen
  • One of the most attractive and speedy custom Android skins available
  • One of the great all-around camcorders in terms of quality and capabilities
  • Infrared blaster for remote control over electronics


  • Vignetting and blurring towards the edges of still photos
  • Sound recording during video capture needs an immediate fix
  • No support for LTE with the Mi4W model
  • No microSD card slot

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