Obsessed with technology?
Subscribe to the latest tech news as well as exciting promotions from us and our partners!
By subscribing, you indicate that you have read & understood the SPH's Privacy Policy and PDPA Statement.

Shootout: The best smartphones under S$350

By James Lu - 26 Jun 2015

Xiaomi Mi 4i

Xiaomi Mi 4i – S$279

The Xiaomi Mi 4i was launched earlier this year in India (the ‘i’ stands for India) as a cheaper alternative to Xiaomi’s Mi 4. Compared to the Mi 4, the Mi 4i uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 processor instead of the Snapdragon 801 and it only has 2GB RAM instead of 3. For a more in-depth review of the Mi 4i, click here.

The Mi 4i has a minimalist rectangular body with rounded edges and a smooth soft-touch matte finish. Constructed from a single piece of polycarbonate, the Mi 4i feels light and well-made, and somewhat similar to Microsoft’s Lumia range. The polycarbonate has an interesting stain-free finish, you can actually write on it with a marker pen and it will rub right out. At 7.8mm thin, the phone is fairly slim, and its rounded edges let the Mi 4i sit comfortably in hand. Interestingly, compared to the more 'premium' Mi 4, the Mi 4i is slightly thinner and also 19g lighter.

As with most of Xiaomi's phones, the Mi 4i supports dual micro-SIM cards, and the SIM tray can be found on the left of the phone. The headphone jack is found at the top of the phone, while the micro-USB port sits at the bottom of the device. The sides of the Mi 4i are relatively uncluttered with both the volume rocker and power button on the right side.

The Mi 4i sports a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution (441ppi). Clarity is top notch and both text and pictures look crisp and clean. Color reproduction is also excellent, with the Mi 4i’s display capable of reproducing up to 95 percent of colors found in the NTSC palette, which puts it on par with a flagship device. The display is protected by Corning Concore glass, which is custom made for Xiaomi. It has roughly the same toughness as Gorilla Glass 3.

The Mi 4i’s display is also equipped with useful new technology called Sunlight Display, which uses hardware-level algorithms to increase visibility under bright sunlight by automatically boosting contrast and midtones.

Flip the phone around and you'll find a 13-megapixel camera with a 1/3.06-inch Sony Exmor RS IMX214 CMOS sensor, five-element lens construction, f/2.0 aperture, and a Philips dual-LED warm/cold flash. The front of the phone has a 5-megapixel camera.

Image quality from the Mi4i was relatively good, but a little soft overall.

The Mi 4i is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor. But while the Mi 4i, Phicomm P660 and ZTE Blade S6 all use the same processor, Xiaomi’s is actually clocked slightly higher than the other two. The phone runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with Xiaomi’s custom MIUI 6 UI on top of it. The main difference between MIUI and stock Android is the removal of the apps drawer. Instead, all apps are displayed on the homepage screens similar in style to iOS. Like the ZenFone 2, the Mi 4i supports Quick Charging. It's not the fastest we've seen, but it can go from flat to full in about three hours.

Something worth noting about the Mi 4i is that it’s the only phone in our shootout without expandable storage, so you’ll have to make do with its small 16GB internal storage.