Xiaomi Redmi 4A Review: The new Benchmark for Budget Smartphones

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Xiaomi entered smartphone market in India almost three years back in August 2014 by launching the entry-level smartphone Redmi 1S at a price of Rs. 5,999. After almost three years, they have announced another entry-level smartphone Redmi 4A at the same price i.e. Rs. 5,999 in India, which is also a “Make in India” device. We reviewed this new Redmi 4A smartphone (Gold Color) by using it as our primary device for two weeks and this review is based on our experience with the phone during those days.

Xiaomi Redmi 4A - Xiaomi Redmi 4A Review: The new Benchmark for Budget Smartphones

Xiaomi Redmi 4A specifications

  • Display : 5-inch 720p HD IPS display
  • CPU : 1.4 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 425 processor
  • GPU : Adreno 308 GPU
  • RAM : 2 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB internal, expandable up to 128GB with microSD
  • OS : MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
  • Misc : Hybrid Dual SIM, Infrared sensor
  • Camera : 13 MP main rear camera with PDAF, LED Flash, f/2.2 aperture, 1080p video recording + 5 MP front-facing camera, f/2.2 aperture
  • Dimensions: 139.5×70.4×8.5mm
  • Weight: 131.5g
  • Connectivity : 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS + GLONASS
  • Battery : 3120 mAh

Design and Build Quality

Xiaomi Redmi 4A comes with a decent design in spite of being a budget phone. It looks similar to Redmi 3S with Xiaomi branding and speaker grills at the back, though there is no fingerprint sensor at the back. Even though the back panel is made of plastic / polycarbonate, yet it feels like metal. The phone feels great to hold with curved edges and matte finish at back. The phone is compact and suitable for one hand use, thanks to the 5 inch display. The Volume rocker and power buttons are on one side while the SIM card slot with Hybrid SIM is on the other side. The front of the phone is white while the back is gold, though if you check out the grey color option then the front too is grey.

The phone feels to light to use and hold, thanks to the weight of just 131.5 grams. The microUSB port for charging is at the bottom while the audio jack along with IR blaster is at the top side.  The physical navigation menu buttons are not backlit, which may be needed in dark conditions.

Display and Performance

Xiaomi Redmi 4A sports a 5-inch 720p HD IPS display having a pixel density of 296 ppi, powered by 1.4 GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 425 processor along with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB internal storage. The CPU and RAM combination is yet to be imitated by other brands for any device priced below Rs. 6,000. Even though Redmi 3 offers a better CPU and bigger battery, yet at the current price point Redmi 4A beats every other budget phone. The HD display on the phone looks good and comes with decent color reproduction. If you look at other budget phones priced in the same range, you will find Redmi 4A to have the best display among the budget smartphones. Even under direct sunlight, we could use the phone without much hassle, though you should not compare it with mid range smartphones display. It includes a Reading mode and Color temperature adjustment.

Under normal day-to-day performance, Redmi 4A performs good without any lag or crashes. We didn’t feel that the phone is slow in spite of being a budget smartphone. You can watch Videos, browse web with your data connection or play games at will. The phone never disappoints you. Obviously, the phone is not as good as the expensive ones, yet you can play graphics intensive games such as Asphalt 8, Nova 3 on the phone. Average user won’t feel it to be slow even with games such as Asphalt 8, but yes if you observe closely you can feel it’s not as fast as some of the mid range smartphones. There is negligible heating while playing the intensive games for long time.

It includes sensors such as Infrared, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor and Ambient light sensor. The phone doesn’t come with earphones. The call quality is good including that on VOLTE calls. The output from speakers are decent, but not too loud.

It scored 35,000+ in Antutu Benchmarks which is a good score for a smartphone priced at Rs.5,999 and it reflects in usual day-to-day usage. Antutu benchmark scores in this range are usually scored by smartphones priced around 8k-10k range.

Camera

Redmi 4A comes with 13 MP main rear camera with PDAF, LED Flash, f/2.2 aperture, 1080p video recording and another 5 MP front-facing camera, f/2.2 aperture for selfies. We expected an average camera with Redmi 4A considering the budget price, but we were left impressed after we looked at the pictures shot by the phone. The phone was able to capture some good shots with good color reproduction and details when shot in good daylight conditions. The phone was able to focus fast and accurately, even while taking macro shots. It can capture 1080p videos with decent quality. But yes, the shots taken with low light are not good enough, but that’s on expected lines and nothing to worry about. The front camera produced some decent selfies that you can use for social media.

Camera samples

Checkout the images below taken under different light conditions and different modes. Click on the images to enlarge to original full size image. Click for full resolution images on Flickr.

Battery Life

Redmi 4A is backed up by 3120 mAh battery which is big battery if you consider the 5 inch HD display and the price. The battery life on Redmi 4A impressed us beyond our expectations. Under normal usage, the phone last 2 days easily with 4G data connection always ON with dual SIMs. Even if you are a heavy or moderate user, the phone lasts easily for full day without charging. We managed to use it as WiFi hotspot for full working day(almost 5-7 hours) yet the battery was not dead at the end of the day. Even with that heavy usage, we were usually left with 15-20% battery at the end of our working day.

Operating System, GUI

Redmi 4A runs on the latest operating system from Xiaomi i.e. MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). MIUI comes with loads of additional features that are not available in stock Android and offers much more customisation than any other custom UI from competing brands.  Some of these unique features are support for Dual Apps, using which you can use two separate instances of supported apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and almost every other app on your phone. This is the maximum number of “Dual Apps” support that we have ever seen in any smartphone.  It also offers a Second Space which is like having two separate phones on the same phone. But while activating the Second Space, the phone performance got degraded.  It seems that it needs higher processing power if you want to use this feature.

MIUI also comes with a feature which can lock individual apps using a password without using a separate app which is a great feature. IT comes with support for themes and got good themes pre-installed. You can even download more themes for free if you want more colors or designs. You can even launch camera by pressing the Volume Down button twice or just swiping the lock screen to right side. Similarly, you can customise the left swipe action from lock screen to open any other app, like your dialer or any other app that you often use. Similarly you can edit the various toggles available on the notification screen, customise the battery icon to show percentage and much more. There is a lite mode available, but needs reboot. The dialer app also comes with an option to record calls which is a great feature. It includes options such as “Flip to silence ringer”, “Quiet ringer when lifted” and “Flash when ringing”.

But, Redmi 4A also comes with some preloaded bloatware such as Amazon Kindle, WPS Office, Makemytrip, and Flipkart pre-installed. It also includes some Mi apps such as Security,Mi Community, Mi Picks and browser. The Security apps includes a cleaner feature which is good sometimes when you are out of space. The MIUI browser eve though is good, yet it is infamous for pushing ads.

Conclusion

Redmi 4A offers good camera, excellent battery life, great UI experience and performance. Honestly, we were unable to find drawbacks that we could report here except a small one that we mentioned in the review above i.e. some bloatware and the MIUI browser pushing ads. With Xiaomi Redmi 4A you have a winner in your hand. For a phone that is priced just Rs. 5,999 Redmi 4A offers much more than you expect from a budget smartphone. Xiaomi Redmi 4A will be the new benchmark for the budget smartphones and every other budget smartphone will be compared with this, till we find a new benchmark for budget smartphones.

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Founder- Editor at Androidpure : A Mechanical Design Engineer by profession, but passionate about Computers, Smartphones, Gadgets, software and anything that helps to learn something new or different. Love to do things which i don't know and dive into unknown territories.

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