• Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 UK price and availability
• Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 design and build
• Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 core hardware and performance
• Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 connectivity and other
• Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 cameras
• Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 software
The Redmi Note 4 doesn’t support NFC, but all other connectivity bases are covered with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and GLONASS, USB OTG and a fingerprint scanner at the rear. We also like the fact this is a 4G dual-SIM dual-standby phone, but you must choose between microSD support and a second SIM since they share the same slot. And as we noted earlier, the Redmi Note 4 does not supprt the 800MHz 4G band used by O2 in the UK, so O2 (and Giffgaff) customers will need to make do with 3G or look elsewhere. For more advice read our separate article on how to tell whether a phone is supported by your network.
In common with its predecessor the Redmi Note 4 has a 13Mp, f/2.0 camera with dual-tone flash at the rear and a 5Mp selfie camera at the front. (A Snapdragon version of the Redmi Note 3 has a 16Mp camera, but we tested the MediaTek version.)
When viewed at full-size our test images were soft on detail and show a fair amount of blurring, but the colours are realistic and HDR mode improves things no end. You can see a couple of our test shots in Auto and HDR mode below.
We like the camera app in MIUI 8.0, which is very simple and easy to use. It’s easy to apply real-time filters and select modes including HDR, Panorama, Manual and Beautify. Also see: Best camera phone 2016.
Our Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 ran MIUI 7.0 out of the box but with an upgrade to MIUI 8.0.9 available (based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow - you can read our full Android Marshmallow review here). We recommend you install this, since it adds the ability to password- or fingerprint-protect notes, a new energy saving mode, enhanced video-editing tools plus some photo features that allow you to add doodles and stickers and quickly share your snaps, the new and supposedly easier-on-the-eyes Mi Lanting font, updated QR scanner and calculator apps, an enhanced multi-tasking menu, brighter colours and new lock screen wallpapers.
MIUI 8.0 is a great take on the standard Android operating system, but it won’t be familiar to those who haven’t used a Xiaomi phone before. Settings are found under different sections to standard Android, there’s no app tray which results in an iOS-esque experience, the drop-down notification bar has also been tweaked and, more importantly, there are no Google apps. Also see: Best Chinese phones 2016
Xiaomi has its own app alternatives for many of the standard Google apps you’d expect to find on an Android phone, but some of these are Chinese (they can be uninstalled or tucked away in a folder), and if you’ve ever used an Android phone before you’ll probably prefer to use Google apps to seamlessly sync your data.
It’s easy enough to install the Play Store, and you simply create a Mi account and search for Google Play in the Mi App Store. Everything here is Chinese, but if you tap on the first option with the Google Play icon it will download the Play Store and any associated services that are required to run it.
Having done so you may find it takes half an hour or so for the Google account to register on the phone, so you may not be able to immediately download apps from Google Play. In our impatience we found it easier to sideload the apps we use for benchmarking, but to do so you’ll first need to enable the installation of apps from unknown sources in the privacy settings.
One thing we highly recommend for UK users is to download the Google Keyboard, since the Chinese characters on the standard keyboard can be confusing and much of the time you’ll be relying on guess work to find they button you want.
A software feature that’s particularly useful given the size of the screen is One-handed mode. This lets you perform a simple gesture to shrink down the display to 4.5-, 4.0- or 3.5in. A Quick Ball can also be put anywhere you like onscreen that when tapped gives options to return to the home screen, open the recent apps menu, lock the screen, take a screenshot or go back.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: Specs
- 2.1GHz Helio X20 deca-core processor
- Mali T880 GPU
- 3GB RAM (2GB model available)
- 64GB storage (16GB model available)
- microSD support up to 128GB
- MIUI 8
- 5.5in full-HD (1920x1080, 401ppi) 2.5D display
- 4G FDD-LTE 850/900/1800/2100/2600MHz
- dual-SIM dual-standby
- fingerprint scanner
- dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.2
- USB OTG
- 13Mp camera with dual-tone flash
- 5Mp front camera
- 4100mAh battery