Xiaomi's Mi4 brings a touch of Apple to the open world of Android

A body milled from steel, a Sharp Full HD screen, great Sony cameras and leading processing innards

Imagine for a moment Apple decided to make a smartphone running Android. Picture the attention to detail the company would place on the software’s overlay. The smartphone itself would likely continue Apple’s tradition of being made from steel.

Odds are such a fantasy would never reach fruition, but there is an emerging brand working hard to produce smartphones with the same rich software experience, premium craftsmanship and level of innovation. That brand is Xiaomi.

Overnight the Chinese smartphone manufacturer launched its hero Mi4, an Android smartphone milled from steel and dressed in the company’s overhauled MiUI software. Many call Xiaomi the “Apple of China” on the basis of its design in software and hardware.

The Mi4’s design is reminiscent of Apple’s iPhone 5S. The stainless steel frame has chamfered edging bordering its outline. Corners are rounded for a softer look and more comfortable fit. Similarities can also be seen in the design of the smartphone’s SIM tray, side buttons and speaker grilles.

Xiaomi then mix it up a bit. The Mi4 has a larger screen compliments of Apple supplier Sharp. The 5in display has a 1920x1080 resolution for a resulting 441 pixels-per-inch. The larger profile is a key differentiator as the iPhone’s small size is key to its identity.

Spec numbers put the Mi4 at the leading end of the smartphone market. Inside is a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU from Qualcomm, 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 64GB of internal storage and a 3080 milliamp-hour battery. Memory cannot be expanded and a 4G capable model is listed as “to be announced” on its website.

Xiaomi has turned again to Sony for its camera credentials. The Mi4 has a 13 megapixel, UHD-capable camera on its rear, and one of the highest resolution cameras at 8 megapixels on its front. An f/1.8 aperture on both cameras indicates commendable low-light performance, while the front camera benefits from a wide 80 degree lens.

The Mi4 runs Android 4.4 KitKat, but Xiaomi’s overhauled MiUI interface sets it apart from the masses. Xiaomi’s Mi3 benefitted from weekly software updates that, over time, has resulted in a uniquely comprehensive software experience. The Mi4 will launch with the yet-to-be-released MiUI 6.

Xiaomi’s Mi4 (3G, 16GB) will go on sale next week on 29 July in China for 1,999 RMB (approximately $US320). A 4G version is expected to reach the market in September.

Read more: MiPad: Xiaomi's first tablet reviewed

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Tony Ibrahim
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?