Xiaomi Mi 4c Review
Earlier this year, the company launched an “affordable flagship” in India – the Xiaomi Mi 4i – which, as always, packed some pretty respectable hardware for its asking price. Later, in September, Xiaomi launched the Mi 4c in China – very similar in appearance to the 4i, and still bearing a bargain price-tag, but with a more powerful processor inside. That managed to peak the interest of Android smartphone fans who follow the more exotic handsets closely.
You can't buy the Mi 4c directly from Xiaomi, but there are a lot of 3rd party websites that sell it worldwide. The base model comes with a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, 2 GB of RAM, a 13 MP / 5 MP camera combo, and a 3,080 mAh battery, all for the price of around $240, minus shipping and taxes. The offer sounds quite enticing, and we were quite anxious to see whether it is as good as it sounds. Here's what we found.
In the box:
- Xiaomi Mi 4c
- Quick start guide (in Chinese)
- SIM ejector tool
- Wall charger
- USB Type-C data cable
Being a $240 handset, we can't fault the Mi 4c for not being made out of shiny materials. The phone's body pretty much consists of a glass front and a plastic back panel, which wraps around to its sides. It's a solid build that doesn't creek, crack, or move around when pressured. It does, however, strike us with an elegant and ergonomic design. The back is slightly arched, making it comfortable to hold, while its corners are stark, giving it a very sleek look, but without being sharp to the touch. The plastic is of the matte variety; it has a soft feel when held, but it does attract quite a bit of fingerprint smudges.
On the front, we have the small-ish earpiece grille, which manages to complement the handset's elegant looks. To the right of it, there's the selfie cam and a notification LED. Below the display, we have a trio of capacitive navigational keys, which are invisible when the backlighting is off.
The phone's hardware controls are situated on its right side – a power button sits just north from the phone's center, and the volume rocker is placed above it. The power key is decently clicky, but the rocker feels a tad shallow. It doesn't help that the latter is quite wobbly, too, generally causing us to feel uncomfortable while using it.
On the top of the device, we have the 3.5 mm headphone jack and an IR blaster. On the bottom, there is the USB Type-C charging and data port. The speaker grille is a wide strip, situated in the bottom center of the handset's back. The camera is in the top-left corner, accompanied by a dual-tone LED.
In terms of handling, the phone is pretty easy to operate, with its ergonomic design and average-sized display. It also fits well in pockets and is light enough to not cause any issues.
Colors that pop
The Xiaomi Mi 4c is equipped with a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution. Its pixel-per-inch density lands at 441, which makes the screen pretty sharp. Color temperature measures at 7,844 K, which is quite off from the reference value of 6,500 K. As a result, the display has a bluish — at times leaning towards purple — tint. For the night readers who worry about the blue colors – there is a "reading mode" in the settings, which allows the user to choose how much they wish to warm up the screen via a slider; it goes from regular cold-ish picture to full-on red. Color reproduction is also far from perfect, as the Mi 4c's display manages to miss almost all of the targets on the sRGB scale, and most of the colors are often over-saturated.
All that being said, we didn't find the display to be bad. Yes, some colors do blow up, but we didn't feel them to be as aggressive to our sight as the measurements might suggest. The images look vivid and alive, and we appreciated that. The purple tint of the display was most evident in dark environments, where we did find it kind of annoying.
The display's maximum brightness measures at 456 nits and we found it pretty usable out in broad daylight. The lowest it would go is 1 nit, which is excellent for night-time usage.
We do wish that Xiaomi had gotten the colors a bit more spot-on with the Mi 4c's panel. However, for its class, we really can't fault it too much. The resolution is super-crisp, colors jump out vividly from behind the glass, and the screen is usable in any type of environment – there's not much more one could ask from a midrange-priced phone.