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Xiaomi launches Mi 4i smartphone in India

The affordable mid-ranger packs Qualcomm's Snapdragon 615 SoC and a 5-inch Full HD IPS display but lacks a microSD slot.

After regaining the right to sell its smartphones in India, Xiaomi returned to rapid expansion of its presence on the country's market. Featured-packed, competitively priced and sold through India's most popular online retailer Flipkart, Xiaomi's smartphones quickly won over the Indian customers despite their initial distrust in the Chinese manufacturer's quality. Today the company announced yet another attractive smartphone, the Mi 4i. Priced at Rs. 13000 ($205), it will mostly compete with phones such as Motorola's Moto G2, but offers considerably better components.

The Mi 4i is based on the increasingly popular octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 64-bit SoC with its Adreno 405 graphics and features 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. The 5-inch IPS display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD, 441 ppi) and is equipped with dynamic contrast technology dubbed Sunlight Display which aims to improve readability outdoors. It claims to cover 95% of NTSC color gamut and is protected by Corning OGS glass.

The main 13 MP camera is the same as in Xiaomi's Mi Note phablet, featuring a 5-element lens, two-tone flash, f/2.0 aperture and HDR support. Video recording is possible in 1080p. The front camera also offers a 5-element lens (80° wide angle), but the maximum resolution is 5 MP and the aperture is f/1.8. Xiaomi's Hugo Barra demonstrated the Beautify feature supported by the camera: it is enabled for selfies by default and automatically alters the photo to make the owner appear younger and more attractive.

Connectivity features are very comprehensive for such an inexpensive smartphone and include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi Direct and Miracast. NFC, however, is not available: Xiaomi dropped it from most of its new devices recently, claiming that its surveys showed that only about 1% of the owners actually use the function. Navigation is supported with GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou. LTE is supported as well, though only two FDD-LTE bands are covered (3 and 7). TDD-LTE, which is more widespread in Asia, is better supported with 4 bands (38, 39, 40 and 41) and should be compatible with the existing Indian LTE networks. Xiaomi does not mention the exact LTE category in the phone's specs sheet but it should be Cat.4 (150/50 Mbps) as that is the maximum supported by the Snapdragon 615 chipset.

Two micro-SIM slots are present, allowing the owners to reap the benefits of two different voice and data plans simultaneously. Both slots are LTE-enabled. A microSD slot, however, is missing: users will be limited by 16 GB of onboard storage. No variants with larger storage are offered. However, USB OTG should be supported, making it possible to connect external storage in the form of USB pen drives.

The smartphone measures 138 x 69.6 x 7.8 mm and weighs 130 g. The polycarbonate case will be available in five colors: white, black, light blue, yellow and pink. The lithium-ion polymer battery is non-removable but offers a relatively large capacity of 3120 mAh (4.4 V, 13.7 Wh). Xiaomi's MIUI 6 operating system is installed - it's based on Android 5.0 and offers a comparable feature set.

Those interested in buying the new smartphone must register on Flipkart before the smartphone goes on sale in April 30. As with the previous sales of Xiaomi's new phones, the initial quantity will be limited and will be most likely sold out within a few minutes. Non-Indian customers will have to wait, but it looks like the Mi 4i should make it to Xiaomi's other usual markets as well.


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Andrey Konstantinov, 2015-04-23 (Update: 2015-04-23)