Xiaomi Mi4i Review – A Flagship or Not?

by Linus 10

Xiaomi is probably the best known Chinese manufacturer and each smartphone the company releases sells out in minutes. Xiaomi says that the Mi4i model is their latest flagship smartphone. Does it live up to the flagship grade expectations? Is it really worth the “Sold out in a few minutes… again” moniker? Please check out both video and written reviews of the Xiaomi Mi4i.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: VIDEO

All you need to know in the video review!

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: SPECIFICATIONS

Display 5″ 1080p, 441PPI
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (64-bit, octa-core, 1.7GHz)
Camera 5MP Front/13MP Back
Connectivity Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+,
Battery 3.120 mAh Li-Ion (non-removable)
Dimensions 138.1 x 69.6 x 7.8 mm / 5.44 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches / 130g
OS MIUI 6.5.5, Android 5.0 Lolipop
Storage 16GB (non-expandable)

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: UNBOXING

A plain box with all the contents put neatly but no premium presentation


Xiaomi Mi4i Review: DESIGN


The Mi4i does not have premium materials in its design, but it comes in a high quality unibody plastic shell, which does not feel cheap at all.


On the top you can find a MI logo, notification LED, proximity sensor, earpiece and 5MP front facing shooter.


On the bottom of the device there are 3 nicely backlit capacitive keys. The backlight is not that bright, but it is visible even outdoors.
The top left corner is the place where Xiaomi implemented the 13MP camera along with dual tone dual LED flash and the noise cancelling mic.

On the bottom there is a loudspeaker and you will hear a sound test. Please check out a video review to hear a sound test.

Xiaomi decided not to implement the metal chassis, but stick with plastic on the sides of the device.
The left side is where you can find dual micro SIM tray. However, there is no MicroSD card slot. Sometimes I just can’t understand the reasons behind the lack of storage expansion option.
The right side is where you can find a plastic made volume rocker along with a power on/off switch. The buttons have a great tactile response and I have no complaints here.
On the top you can find a conveniently placed headphone jack.
Finally, on the bottom there is a micro USB charging port along with the main microphone.
Overall, the device feels like a premium piece of hardware despite its plastic build. It feels great in the hand, the button placement seems right and 5” display can be easily reached with with your thumb. Also, it is a nice compact phone that would not protrude out of your pocket.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: DISPLAY

a flagship-worthy display

One of the first things you are going to notice once you turn on the device is the display, which I believe is one of the highlights of the Xiaomi Mi4i. The 5” 1080 LCD panel is sharp, vivid, very bright and has a super sunlight visibility. I believe that it is one of the best panels I’ve seen in a while.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: UI

the miui 6.5.5 is sleek and runs very fast on top of android 5.0 lollipop. Also, google services are pre-installed out of the box

The Xiaomi Mi4i runs the MIUI 6.5.5, which is a highly customised version of Android 5.0 Lollipop. As usual for the Chinese manufacturers, there is no app drawer as all the apps sit on the home screens.

The UI performance is great. Everything is running smoothly, all the apps are opening fast and the transitions are almost flawless.

The device has tons of setting to play with and more importantly, there are many customisation options. Xiaomi is famous for offering literally hundreds of different themes, so you would find at least a few to suit your taste.

It is worth mentioning that the device comes with the Google Services pre-installed out of the box, so you don’t need to worry about that as it is an issue with some of the Chinese devices.
Overall, although the MIUI may look a bit unusual at the first glance, it is definitely a nice and responsive interface worth trying out.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: PERFORMANCE

a great performer, which handles even the most graphically intensive tasks. but heats up in return.


The Xiaomi Mi4i has the 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 chip inside along with 2 GB of RAM and just 16GB of non-expandable storage. The overall package fits the upper mid-range class, but the lack of the MicroSD card slot may be a deal breaker for some.

The synthetic benchmarks are actually not that great as the device is definitely not on par with current flagship smartphones.

The Antutu score is 33997. 

On the other hand, graphically intensive games are handled without a sweat as I didn’t notice any difference between the Xiaomi Mi4i and devices powered by Snapdragon 801 chips.

However, the smartphone heats up very quickly and just after 3-4 minutes of use it becomes quite hot that it feels a bit uncomfortable in the hand. I know that Xiaomi has already addressed this issue and it is working on the software updates, but this is the thing you have to live with for now.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: MULTIMEDIA

multimedia consumption is great

The MIUI gallery app is just a pleasure to navigate through. It is easy to use and very responsive. In addition, the stock video player app can play a variety of different formats and scrolling through the footage is smooth.
The 5” display may be not be the biggest to enjoy the video, but the great sunlight visibility compensates that when watching a movie outdoors.
The music player app has a nice flat design, it is responsive and all the features can be accessed quickly.
The sound quality of the loudspeaker is not the best, but pretty good. Also, it is loud enough to listen to music or even hear it in noisy environments. Please check out the video review to hear a sound test.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: CAMERA

a good 13mp shooter, but the video recording quality could be better

The MIUI design language continues in the pre-installed camera app. It is fast and responsive, the shutter speed is very fast. In addition, there are tons of different settings and shooting modes if you feel like getting the picture the way you want.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: IMAGE QUALITY

awesome looking daylight images with a great amount of detail

The 13MP shooter turns out to be nearly excellent performer in the daylight. The pictures are sharp, have a lot of detail. Also, the colours look natural most of the time, but sometimes software makes it look more punchy.
The dynamic range is usually good, but if it struggles in difficult scenarios, the HDR mode does a great job helping out.
Once you take the camera indoors with good lighting, you can produce some nice and sharp looking images. However, the lower lit objects have the increased amount of noise, but it is still acceptable.

The low-light camera performance is a hit or miss. Sometimes you can get some great looking photos, which can be even on par with real flagship devices, but other times the images turn out to be blurry and have a lot of noise. Still, you can achieve some good looking results and the low light camera performance is one of the best I’ve seen in this price category.


Xiaomi Mi4i Review: VIDEO QUALITY

the video quality is good but does not capture a lot of detail as flagship smartphones

The device is capable of shooting videos at maximum resolution of 1080p. The footage comes out quite good, colours look natural, auto-exposure works well. However, the video could be a bit sharper and the sensor could capture some more details. Still, I like what I’m seeing overall.

Please check out the video review to see the video sample.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: CONNECTIVITY

all the connectivity options work just fine

All the connectivity options including GPS, Wifi and Bluetooth work just fine. In addition, call quality is great. I could easily hear clear voices via earpiece and same can be said about people on the other end.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: BATTERY LIFE

a huge 3120mah battery performs well in real life scenarios

The huge battery delivers in real life as you can be sure that the juice pack will get you through the day even if you are a heavy user. Also, the screen on and stanby times are great as you can watch the HD video for around 10 hours, which is quite impressive. Overall, the battery life is very good.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review: CONCLUSIONS

A great device overall despite a few shortcomings

Screenshot 2015-06-18 16.29.22

Is the Xiaomi Mi4i a flagship device as the company declares? Well, no it is not. Considering the specs sheet and synthetic benchmark results it is more like an upper-midrange device.

On the other hand, the real life scenarios suggest that the device can deliver almost flagship-grade performance. To begin with, it is very fast and even the most graphically intensive tasks are handled pretty well.  However, the more processing power you require, the more it heats up. Actually, the chip inside can overheat easily and may even make the device uncomfortable to hold it in your hand. I know that this is widely known issue, but I hope that Xiaomi will fix it as soon as possible. For example, I’ve reviewed ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini with the same processor, but I did not have these issues at all.


Still, there are plenty of things that work well on this device. I love the UI, which works fine most of the time. In addition, the camera is really great despite a few minor shortcomings.
Finally, the all the connectivity options work great and the battery life is amazing.
Overall, the Xiaomi Mi4i is a great upper mid-range device from a well-known Chinese manufacturer. Despite a few shortcomings, which can be fixed via software updates, I believe it is a great smartphone worth your attention.