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Xiaomi Mi4 First Impressions

Before diving in to a full review, we'll be taking a look and giving our first impressions about the Xiaomi Mi-4!
August 23, 2014

Xiaomi may be a popular device manufacturer in its home market, but the Chinese company has been pushing for a more global presence, spurred on by their high-profile hiring of Hugo Barra away from Google. Xiaomi has found some success in emerging markets in Asia with their previous flagship, the Mi-3, and are hoping to continue this growth with its latest smartphone offering. Before we dive into a comprehensive review, today, we’ll be taking a look and giving our first impressions about the Xiaomi Mi-4!

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Unboxing the Xiaomi Mi-4 is a standard affair, with the box itself very utilitarian in its look, with just the Mi logo at the top corner. Opening the box, you’ll find the phone front and centre, with an AC wall charger, a microUSB cable, a tool to open the SIM slot, and some documentation found below it. Taking the phone out, you will notice the metal frame around the device that looks really good, with a white plastic back housing just the camera, an LED flash, and the Mi logo. The front is dominated by the 5-inch display with thin bezels around the sides, along with a capacitive button layout below the screen.

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Handling the device is very easy because of its flat sides, and an overall size that makes the phone easy to grip with one hand. The button layout along the side is a little different from what you might expect, with the power button placed below the volume rocker, making it simpler to get to.

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Something that has to be mentioned as far as network connectivity is concerned is that the Mi-4 isn’t compatible with 4G LTE bands of AT&T, and that may hold true for other network carriers in the US as well, so that is definitely something to consider before picking up this phone. I do get 3G connectivity, and that should be more than enough to get through any tasks that I will perform.

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When it comes to the software, you get the MIUI ROM, which some of you may be familiar with, as you may have this custom ROM installed on your phone, but is the official operating system for Xiaomi devices. As you may know, the MIUI ROM does not come with an app drawer, which may be a turn off for anyone looking for a more traditional software experience. That said, it does have a very clean look to it, with app icons that are boxy with rounded corners, the font, and the wallpaper contributing to a very good looking interface. It can get quite cluttered though if you do install a lot of apps, but you always have the option of sorting your applications into folders.

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I found no problems with the construction of the phone and it feels solid and really nice to hold. With a 5-inch display, it is also easy to use with one-hand, and relatively compact compared to a lot of other larger Chinese smartphones we’ve got our hands on. Comparisons with the iPhone are natural, in part due to the metal frame of the Xiaomi Mi-4, but the similarities are less obvious when you go past a single glance.

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The Xiaomi Mi-4 does pack a punch under the hood, with specifications that are no different from any other flagship Android smartphone out there. Boasting a 5-inch 1080p display with a pixel density of 441 ppi, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, backed by the Adreno 330 GPU, 3 GB of RAM, and other good specs, the Xiaomi Mi-4 should offer a great experience.

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So there you have it – our first impressions on the Xiaomi Mi-4! Stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you more on the Xiaomi Mi-4, including an in-depth review, as well as a few comparisons to see how this device fares against the current crop of Android flagships out there.