Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 Review: A Hidden Gem: Unboxing, 360° Spin, Hardware

By 01:11 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments


Unboxing the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

The retail box of the Redmi Note 4 contains the phone itself, a microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) cable and a charger. The charger is the fastest that the phone officially supports - 5V @ 2A.



The basic retail package of the Redmi Note 4

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 360° spin

Xiaomi changed the manufacturing process for the metal body since the Note 3. This resulted in a higher-quality, sturdier body, but it weighs more too - 175g vs. 164g. It nears the upper discontinue of what is acceptable for a 5.5" phone, though the iPhone 7 Plus weighs in at 188g, so the Redmi Note 4 scores some points.






Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (Left) and the Redmi Note 4 (Right)

Xiaomi shaved off 0.3mm from the thickness, but a more perceptible incompatibility is the recent shape of the sides.

Hardware

Xiaomi advertises the Redmi Note 4 as having a "full metal" body. It takes 30 steps to go from a solid aluminum ingot to the finished product, fully 10 times more steps that what it takes to create a Note 3 shell!

Sony Xperia Z series and HTC One phones have been built this way, cheaper metal phones are usually made by forming aluminum sheets. This more difficult process allows Xiaomi finer control over the structure and finish of the metal body.




Beautiful craftsmanship

Speaking of finish, Xiaomi opted to polish the metal. The smooth texture this creates takes away from the "metal feel" and makes fingerprints more visible. We're fans of a rougher finish (brushed or not).

We liked the diamond-slit lines on the side - it's a small detail, but these shiny lines draw the eye.

The antenna lines were made with nano-injection molding, which streamlines the see of the phone but more importantly optimizes the performance of the antennas. It feels like Xiaomi asked its engineers for the best design and only trecent them the taracquire price point after they were done.





The diamond-slit lines and the nano-injection antenna lines

The front glass is touted as "2.5D arc glass" but we have to say promo materials create it seem like the bevel is much bigger than it is in person. The lack of scratch-proofing credentials also raises an eyebrow.

The bezels around the classy screen seem thicker than ideal, but a search through the database for narrower phones with a 5.5" classy screen turns up mostly flagships.





The Redmi Note 4 is lovely and ergonomic

We also like the way the metal is chamfered on the sides - it provides a nice perch for our fingers, giving us a secure grip.

Ergonomics are further helped by the classic positioning of controls. Xiaomi still uses capacitive keys below the classy screen arranged App switcher, Home and Back.

The Power key and Volume rocker on the correct side are gigantic enough to find, but we think their press is a small too "heavy."





Capacitive keys • Power button and volume rocker

On the other side of the phone is the card slot. You need a SIM ejector to open it and pull out the two-card tray. You can place either two SIMs or swap (micro+nano) the nanoSIM with a microSD card. This is okay if you buy the 64GB High edition, but using two SIMs with the 16GB Standard model is going to be a tight fit.




Card slot is flexible in terms of card size and combo: micro + nano SIM or microSIM + microSD

The bottom is home to a microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) port, Xiaomi still isn't fully committed to Universal Serial Bus (USB) Type-C (the Redmi Pro has the recent port, though). Two Torx screws flank the port and two grills. The correct one holds the loudspeaker (which used to be on the back on the Note 3). Note that only one of the grilles hides a loudspeaker.

On top, you acquire the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, the secondary mic and the IR blaster.




No Type-C yet • IR blaster is on-board, though

The main 13MP capturing camera is on the back symmetrically opposite the round fingerprint reader, with a dual-LED, dual-tone flash. The fingerprint reader is recessed, making it easy to find by feel.

The other capturing camera on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is on the front - a 5MP shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. The design here is symmetrical again, the other round element is for the proximity and ambient light sensors.





13MP main capturing camera on the back • A close-up of the fingerprint reader • 5MP selfie camera

There's a notification LED, but it is fairly small and not that bright. It almost gets lost in the white glass (used on the White and Grecent color options) but should be more visible on the black glass (used on the Silver model). We miss the honking gigantic notification lights on feature phones.

We felt like we were holding something special with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. Not so much for the build quality, we've had that before - at several times the price. It's really the price that makes it special - Xiaomi has put together a sturdy, ergonomic phone at the price of far lower quality phones.


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