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Xiaomi Mi4C Review – A Flagship Smartphone for the Frugal

by Linus 28

Xiaomi is a manufacturer from China that needs no further introduction. They have released a lot of phones which are selling like hot cakes in China and also internationally. The Mi4C is one of their latest devices and in this review we are going to find out if it is worth your attention.

We wanted to say thanks to Giztop for providing us with a Xiaomi Mi4C review unit.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: VIDEO

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: UNBOXING

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The phone comes in a typical for Xiaomi plain and simple box and the contents include USB brick, instruction manuals and the USB Type-C cable.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: DESIGN

When it comes to the design of the Xiaomi Mi4C, we are looking at a very compact and lightweight device. In fact, it looks identical to the previously released Mi4i model and I will leave a link in the description below this video for a full review.
On the top we have a 5MP camera, usual set of sensors, earpiece and a highly customisable LED light.
On the bottom there are 3 capacitive keys with a nice backlight.
The back is made of plastic, which is soft to the touch and doesn’t feel cheap by any means.
On the top there is a 13MP camera along with the dual tone LED flash and a secondary mic. On the bottom there is a speaker grill.
On the right there is a volume rocker and power key. They have a great tactile response but they are made of plastic and thus feel cheap.
On the left we have a dual micro SIM card slots and both of them have the 4G support.
On the top there is a headset jack and the IR blaster to control various devices and on the bottom there is the USB Type-C port and the main mic.
Overall, I am very pleased with the build quality of the Xiaomi Mi4c. Yes, it’s made of plastic and these plasticky buttons don’t add any premium look to the phone but the device doesn’t feel cheap at all.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: DISPLAY

The phone comes with a 5” display, which is a pleasure to look at despite a bit oversaturated colours. It is sharp and vivid, it has great viewing angles and contrast.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: UI

The Xiaomi Mi4C runs on MIUI 7, which is based on Android 5.1. For those who are familiar with this implementation of Android, this phone comes with no surprise.
All the apps sit on the home screens and the MIUI has one of the most customisable UI you can find on Android. There are tons of themes, wallpapers and other things to choose from.
Also, you can customise the notification LED, capacitive buttons and so on.
One of the new features is the Edge Control, which basically allows you to tap the side of the phone and it works either as a back button or a shutter button in the camera app. I believe this is just an early stage of this feature and we may see the expanded functionality. Still, the current features work absolutely fine and it is really useful once you get used to it.
Overall, the MIUI is fast and smooth despite having plenty of features. It is not the fastest UI I’ve seen as there is a bit of stutter from time to time but I see a visible upgrade in terms of performance over the MIUI 6.


The Xiaomi Mi4C is quite a powerful phone. It has a Snapdragon 808 chip and the lower-end review unit I have has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of non-expandable storage.
The gaming performance is like on a high-end phone. The graphics look stunning, there is no lag and overall I am more than happy about it.
Also, I didn’t feel any overheating. Yes, the phone gets just a bit warm but there is nothing to be worried about.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: MULTIMEDIA

Enjoying multimedia is just a blast. Movies look great on a good looking screen and the loudspeaker quality is also good for both videos and music.
The sound via earphones may not be the class-leading but it is more than enough to please your ears.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: CAMERA

The phone comes with a MIUI camera app, which has quite a few shooting modes and some settings to play with. The shutter speed is really fast and it may be even on par with most of the flagships.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: IMAGE QUALITY

The 13MP camera on the back can produce some really good looking daylight images as they look sharp, have plenty of details, contrast, colours and even dynamic range are usually handled well.
Good Indoor shots are still possible but in the lower lit situations we can see a soft focus on the corners, less details and more noise.
The night shots are a bit disappointing. Yes, the camera illuminates the scene quite well but it struggles with focusing and the amount of details is disappointing. Also, noise levels are quite high. Honestly, I expected a little bit more as the night images looked decent on the phone’s screen.
A 5MP selfie snapper does a great job for social media needs but you have to have good lighting conditions.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: VIDEO

See a video review for a sample.
The 1080P is a maximum resolution this phone can shoot despite near flagship grade specs.
The quality of footage is kind of disappointing. It’s not the worst I’ve seen but it could definitely look sharper and have more details. A good thing is that the camcorder has CAF (continuous auto-focus) feature, which is still missing on a lot of Chinese phones. A bad thing that it is very slow.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: CONNECTIVITY

The call quality is good and other connectivity options work absolutely fine.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: BATTERY LIFE

The 3080mAh non-removable battery is okay but there is nothing to be impressed about but I presume this is due to an early software build of this device. I could get just up to 4 of screen-on time and the phone could easily get me through the day when using 2 SIM card slots at once, having a Wifi and 4G always on, checking social media and so on. Still, I believe there is a room for improvement and we may see that in the future software upgrades.

Xiaomi Mi4C Review: CONCLUSIONS

So there you have it, Xiaomi Mi4C, the device that has a midrange phone’s price but near flagship grade specs.
I like the design and the form factor, and the fact that the device is very compact due to its 5” display, which is brilliant to look at, by the way.
The phone is usually fast and fluid and the stutter kicked in just a few times. However, one annoying feature is that some notifications from Gmail or Facebook came in later than they were supposed to come.
I was happy with a graphically demanding performance, multimedia experience and daylight picture quality but I believe there is a room for improvement in a low-light camera performance, a battery life and while the UI experience is usually good, it still needs just little bit of polishing to make it great.
All in all, this phone, the same as other phones, is not perfect but it is definitely good. For the price of under $250 you are getting a really powerful package that it is packed in a nicely designed and compact body, and the Xiaomi Mi4C is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a great bang for your buck.

We wanted to say thanks to Giztop for providing us with a Xiaomi Mi4C review unit.

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  • tiktaktik

    One of the first english review for this phone.. Great review btw 🙂

  • Victor Ksl

    Hi Linus, does both SIM slots supports 3G as well ? Thanks.

    • Hi. Yes.

      • dazed1

        Hi, should we start to beg you/and other reviewers in order to accept our requests of including Androbench tests in the reviews or what?

        • why is it so important to you? Having tested hundreds of phones already I can say that benchmark results don’t say much, that’s why I spend days and days reviewing the phone and giving a real life usage report.

          • dazed1

            Cause Androbench/nand tests, are ALWAYS tide to performance, no matter the software optimizations and such.

          • dazed1

            So i guess you cant update the review with the benchmark? can you just do it and post ss here?

  • Josh

    I think the camera quality of the good old Mi4 is better (+ also the material of the device itself). But I could get the Mi4 just with 16GB ROM. 🙁
    So I guess I have to wait for Mi5 even it will be more expensive.

  • Muhammad Yasir

    even 200$+ phones have bad nigh cameras 🙁

    Linus , which phones has KILLER night cameras ? please tell !

    • Galaxy S6 😀 Also, Huawei P8 (i’ve tested it like 3 months ago but didn’t have time to make a review). Also, I would mention the vivo Xshot but the images have quite a lot of noise too. In general, good night cameras are on the very high-end phones only and don’t expect to see something stellar in a sub-200 usd phone.

      • Muhammad Yasir

        k den 🙁

  • cuesta

    even the frugal wants 5.7″ screen size and 4K.. oh please…

  • Likhon Amin

    Hello Linus, wonderful review as always. A question, how do the camera quality and the battery life of mi4c fare against those of Letv Le 1?

    • hi. Thanks. I haven’t put these phones side by side (I have sold Le 1, unfortunately). Still, remembering how le 1 performed, the daylight images are pretty comparable but I would say Xiaomi is a little better. As far as the night shots, le 1 had less noise in the pics.

  • Josep Ali

    Great review Linus ! Are this phone running Global Stable ROM ? And could we install playstore easily ?

    • Hi. thanks. Yes, it is a global stable ROM although the OTA updates had some issues for some time but it came back on track. Playstore installation is very easy.

      • Josep Ali

        Thanks…Gizmochina website become better because of you !

        • thank you very much! That means a lot!

      • Nac

        Hi Linus and tnx for great review. Do you have any suggestions for playstore installation?

  • bojan radovanovic

    Battery life won’t get any better…it is Xiaomi, they just can’t optimize their own phones. So, you can see SGS 3 with 30% less capacity battery running MIUI, to have better battery life then any Xiaomi’s “flagship” device.
    SD808 is good choice and Mi4c is now what Mi4i should be in a first place….true “flagship”, let’s just hope i doesn’t get any hotter then SD615, because ths one is real stove.
    Anyway, for 250$, this is one of best buy devices…. If only there is no f*** MIUI.
    I hope XDA will soon make some custom ROM’s, CM support…

    • Rick Van de Bovenkamp

      CM12.1 has already been released for it only the flashlight and charging when it’s off is bugged, so should be fully working soon :).

      They did optimize MIUI in the latest updates though as I’ve heard most get 5-6 hours SOT with new developer roms.

      • Xdadevet

        Thanks, I didn’t even know it had an AOSP port already!

  • vizslahal

    Could you compare the camera of the 2gb and the 3gb memory version? Is it true the bigger gets the sony sensor and the smaller the samsung one?

    • sorry, I don’t have the 3GB model.

  • Keelium

    How long did it take to fully charge at 100% with quickcharge 2.0 ?

  • Šaras000

    O, geras kininiečiai arčiau nei maniau, jei kininietiško telefono peržiūra vyksta Vilniuje. O kaip dėl 4G nes neturi 20 kanalo (800Mhz). 4G tikriausiai veikia tik miesto ribose ir tik netoli bazinių stočių kurios naudoja 1800Mhz ir 2600Mhz poros kilometrų atstumu.