Is the Redmi 4 a good choice

Review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Price-performance miracle with top equipment and LTE deficiency


October 2016: Xiaomi is one of the largest Chinese smartphone manufacturers - and rightly so. The group comes up with mobile devices that are at a technically high level. Coupled with great software and robust workmanship, you only pay a fraction of what most other industry sizes charge. We were particularly interested in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, as it has high-end hardware from a price of less than 170 euros. Among other things, the deca-core chipset MediaTek Helio X20, a 5.5-inch full HD display and LTE CAT6 attract. Unfortunately, like most China smartphones, the 4G frequency around 800 megahertz is missing, but more on that later. You can read how the smartphone fares overall in the following review.



The first impression and workmanship

The cell phone is not officially available in Germany - which unfortunately has so far been the case for all cell phones from this manufacturer. An import is therefore inevitable. We have summarized what you need to consider in this report. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 comes in a compact white box. The top shows the smartphone in the three available colors dark gray, silver and gold. The most important specifications are listed at the back, some of them in Chinese script. The box has a soft surface, which means that the lower half can be pulled out easily. We liked that, because every now and then it takes a while to open most of the outer packaging with a firm grip and fingernail insert.



The scope of delivery itself hardly offers any surprises. Due to the Asian script, you can hardly do anything with the instructions, but this is of little consequence, since the operation of a smartphone is relatively self-explanatory nowadays. A micro-USB cable, a card slot opening tool and a power supply unit are also included. The latter - as is the case with many Chinese cell phones - comes to the customer in the US standard (NEMA).



With our model, however, a Euro plug adapter was included in the scope of delivery! This enables problem-free charging at the home socket. Unfortunately, headphones are not a bonus. Anyone who thinks that such a cheap smartphone has to be made of cheap plastic is wrong. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 has a unibody aluminum case. This looks very classy, ​​both haptically and visually. The volume rocker and the on / off switch (both on the right) are also made of metal. The two drilled speaker grilles on the underside are a nice eye-catcher, but there is only a box under one of the recesses.





Furthermore, you can still catch the micro-USB port below, the top finally houses the headphone connection and an infrared transmitter for use as a universal remote control. A fingerprint sensor located at the rear is another convenience function of the Redmi Note 4. The main camera with 13 megapixels and dual LED flash was installed above it. The white front of our gold-colored test sample is dominated by the 5.5-inch screen, underneath are sensor buttons for operating the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system.

Technology and mobile communications in the check

The chipset of this phablet contains a full ten cores (!). That sounds like a lot, but only one dual-core cluster is equipped with the advanced Cortex-A72 architecture. This unit clocks at up to 2.1 gigahertz. If things get more leisurely, the quad-core cluster with up to 1.85 gigahertz (Cortex-A53) is used. A quartet of Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4 gigahertz finally manages standby mode. This is joined by 3 GB of RAM, which was implemented in the LPDDR3 process, which is no longer up to date. The graphics unit Maili T-880 is integrated in the quad-core version. The Galaxy S7 offers the same GPU, but with twelve cores.

The MediaTek modem of the Helio X20 can support LTE-Advanced up to category 6 (maximum 300 Mbit / s), provided the LTE tariff allows it. WLAN-ac in the dual-band process (5.0 and 2.4 gigahertz), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and infrared round off the wireless interfaces. The local radio standard NFC is missing. The rear camera has 13 megapixels, 5 megapixels are available for selfies. Our test copy is the model with the largest memory configuration (64 GB). A microSD card can still be used.

We were simply delighted with the screen of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. In terms of colors and contrasts, the IPS panel even does a little better than the LG G5. The maximum brightness can be described as excellent, the content can still be read easily even in direct sunlight, as the following picture should show.



In particular, the pure white and the black value, which is pleasantly deep for an LCD screen, ensure an authentic and vivid representation. The screen doesn't make a mistake in terms of reaction or viewing angles either.

Despite the low cost factor, the Redmi Note 4 can come up with useful extras. On the one hand there is a fingerprint sensor, on the other hand there is Quick Charge 2.0 and the MIUI 8.0 user interface, which enhances the Android 6.0 operating system.

Mobility properties

You can tell directly from the supported LTE bands that this smartphone was not originally intended for Europe. Band 20 (800 megahertz), which is often used in this country, is missing (see disadvantages of China smartphones). As a result, the Redmi Note 4 is partially restricted when using 4G in Germany. In cities where LTE1800 and LTE2600 dominate, most of them should not fear any restrictions. Therefore, especially in rural areas, only 3G reception can often be expected. More on the subject here. That's a shame because VoLTE is even supported. We checked the signal strength of the modem using the "App Network Signal Info" in the LTE network of Telekom (Leipzig) at one and the same point and received the following values:

  • Average reception performance: 63 percent
  • Average dBm: -93 percent

Comparative values ​​of the LG G5
  • Average reception performance: 79 percent
  • Average dBm: -82 percent

This means that the reception performance of the integrated modem is quite good, but is around 10-20 percent below that of a top smartphone like the LG G5. In practice, however, such differences are hardly noticeable in everyday life, at most in poor reception situations.

With the WLAN wireless network, the offer looks more positive. Our cable connection delivers a downstream of a maximum of 50 Mbit / s in the Vodafone network. We were always able to achieve this peak value with the WiFi modem of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. There were no reception problems. Compared to the G5, we were able to measure almost the same level in the office at a distance of around 7 meters.

The built-in GPS module of the Helio X20 is in no way inferior to its counterpart in Qualcomm's competing products. The location determination via Google Maps worked immediately, the navigation is extremely accurate and without interruptions.

The infrared universal remote control is implemented intuitively and did its job perfectly in a short test. Telephony is another strength of the Redmi Note 4. We were always well understood by the other person and also heard our conversation partners without background noise and with clear acoustics.

Battery in check

4,100 mAh is a real announcement, currently the average is around 3,000 mAh. So we had great expectations for the endurance of the Xiaomi. With a display brightness of 90 percent, we achieved a standby time of 51 hours and 25 minutes. During the test phase, the screen was active for 2 hours and 42 minutes. There was no skimpy with multitasking, video streaming via YouTube or surfing the mobile Internet. 3D games, phone calls and the use of the camera also contributed to the stress test. The endurance is indeed good, but not as impressive as the HTC 10. This smartphone has 1,000 mAh less under the hood, but it still lasts longer.

Performance check: what do the benchmarks say?

The Helio X20 is the current flagship chipset from MediaTek. However, this SoC does not come close to the upper-class competition products from Qualcomm, such as the Snapdragon 820. Rather, the octa-core Snapdragon 652 is to be seen as a rival of the ten core. We recently examined this platform with the Alcatel Idol 4S. With 81,000 points in AnTuTu, the Redmi Note 4 ranks just below the Alcatel (84,000 points). In the GeekBench multi-core test, the Snapdragon 652 is overtaken by the Helio X20 - which is no wonder given the higher number of cores.

BenchmarkXiaomi Redmi Note 4Honor 8HTC 10LG G5LG G3
Smartbench----7217 | 3475
Geek Bench Multi1557 | 45291714 | 53851696 | 33612285 | 5331-
Quadrant standard3111045256-24130
AnTuTu8137812029113533640046

Very few users need more raw power than the chipset of this China cell phone. We were always satisfied with the performance in everyday life, there was no jerking to be found at any time. Multi-tasking, video streaming in high resolution and visiting large websites with a dozen open tabs don't make the Redmi Note 4 sweat.

Test of the camera on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 - what does the practical picture test say?

An aperture of f / 2.0 is no longer too impressive with today's smartphone snaps, but only 13 megapixels have to share the light incident on the sensor. Thanks to MIUI 8.0, the camera app is quite flexible and allows the photographer to adjust settings such as contrast, saturation, sharpness, exposure metering as well as ISO and white balance in manual mode. The exposure time, however, cannot be influenced.



The image quality of photos taken by the Note 4 does not come close to that of higher-priced smartphones in terms of details and brightness, but the results are definitely presentable. We have to criticize the autofocus, which takes a lot of time even in good light. The resolution is homogeneous over the entire image area, but not particularly high, which is why there is a little lack of general sharpness.

Test scenario LG G5:


Test scenario grade 4:



First of all, the slightly richer colors of the G5 are noticeable. When enlarging the roof areas, there is also a small deficit of sharpness in the grade 4, as the following picture shows (G5 above).



However, this is complaining at a high level, because the LG costs a lot more, of course. Selfie fans will probably only have limited fun with the Redmi Note 4. There is face recognition, but no autofocus. The resolution is only 5 megapixels and you will look in vain for a front LED flash.

Android and apps

With the MIUI 8.0 interface, the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system has been given many useful extras. A screenshot preview, a search in the notification bar, a complex battery manager and a sophisticated energy-saving system are all mentioned here. The "Do not disturb" tab allows communication to be restricted or completely deactivated at specified times. Overall, the functionality is great, but you won't be overwhelmed by it. The home screens are reminiscent of the Apple iPhone, there is no app drawer, all applications can be found directly on the screen.


The localization into German is also first class - there are almost no translation errors. Many Chinese smartphones are left behind here and like to mix German with Chinese and English. The unlock screen can be configured directly, you don't have to fight your way through the system here. However, there is one shortcoming - apart from the Play Store, there are no Google apps on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. So if you want Gmail, YouTube and more, you have to download these programs manually.

Suitable tariff and reduced device price

Since this cell phone is unfortunately not officially sold in Germany, it is not offered through a contractual partner. The Redmi Note 4 can only be done via an import or a China shop such as "Trading Shenzen"can be obtained. You can choose between 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of internal memory. Before doing this, you should find out whether a Euro plug is included.

Reasons for and against the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Per:
  • IPhone-grade processing;
  • Great display without weaknesses;
  • Infrared sensor, fingerprint sensor and sophisticated user interface;
  • Battery performance good;
  • High working speed;
  • The main camera is very good considering the price;

Cons:
  • LTE band 20 (800 megahertz) is missing;
  • No Euro plug in the standard scope of delivery;
  • Front camera disappointed;
  • Play only, otherwise no Google apps preinstalled;
  • No headphones included;

Our test result for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

For the most part, we were very enthusiastic about this cell phone. The display is brilliant, so is the feel and the main camera exceeds our expectations. We enjoyed the MIUI 8.0 user interface; Google could take an example from many of the functions. We didn't have much to complain about in terms of performance either, but all the more so in terms of connectivity and the front camera. Buyers look for NFC just as in vain as the LTE band 20 and self-portraits are usually blurred even in good light.


If you live in a region where the 800 MHz frequency is not that important for the LTE, the Redmi Note 4 could well be worth a look. The versions with 32 GB or 64 GB are particularly exciting, as no separate memory card is required and the dual SIM function can be used. Apart from the weak points mentioned, we can definitely recommend this smartphone.

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