The Redmi Note 4X is a mid-range smartphone from Xiaomi that once again offers some exceptional hardware at a starting price of just $175. It is a variant of the popular Redmi Note 4 with extra LTE bands, Bluetooth 4.2, and a compass. The device is likely intended to be launched in markets where the MediaTek-powered Redmi Note 4 is already available.

Xiaomi tends to create confusion among its products by reusing names, and for someone who hasn't followed the company's launches regularly, the Redmi Note 4 series is slightly more confusing. While the company launched MediaTek-powered Redmi Note 4 smartphones in August last year, the Snapdragon versions were launched in January this year. The Redmi Note 4X has very little differences compared to the Snapdragon 625-powered Redmi Note 4, which is available in India, South Africa, Mexico, and many other markets around the world.

Although these devices do not co-exist in their launch markets, looking up information about them on the web can be a daunting task. I hope this review can help you in deciding whether the Redmi Note 4X or the similarly configured Note 4 is a good fit for you.

Specifications

Size 151 x 76 x 8.5 mm, 165g
Screen 5.5-inch IPS LCD with 1080p (1920x1080) Full HD resolution
CPU Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 clocked up to 2.0 GHz
GPU Adreno 506
RAM 3GB / 4GB LPDDR3
Storage 32GB / 64GB, expandable up to 256GB with microSD
Camera 13-Megapixel f/2.0 Rear Camera with phase detection autofocus, 1.12 µm pixel & dual-LED Flash | 5-Megapixel f/2.0 Front Camera
OS Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with MIUI 8.1
Battery 4,100 mAh
Connectivity 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, 3G: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz 4G: LTE 850/1800/2100/2600MHz TD-LTE 1900/2300/2500/2600MHz
Misc

Bluetooth 4.2

Dual SIM with Dual standby

Micro USB

Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor

IR blaster for Mi Remote

What's in the box?

There's nothing special in terms of box contents with the Redmi Note 4X, which has been the case with all Xiaomi smartphones that I have reviewed. It comes with a standard micro USB cable for charging and data transfer, a 5V 2A power adaptor, a SIM ejection pin, and documentation to get things started. The box too is a plain white one, with just the Mi logo on the edges and phone specifications on the rear, a typical minimalist Xiaomi package.

Hardware and design

The Redmi Note 4X isn't something radical or new as the Redmi Note 3 or the Redmi Pro in terms of design. It seems like an evolution of the Redmi Note 3's design language in a slightly thinner body, with gradually curved edges. The back of the device is made from aluminium, while there are plastic strips at the top and the bottom. It isn't a unibody construction, but does give an illusion of being one.

I got the grey coloured variant of the device, which looks quite good. The black version with an iPhone-esque finish could be better in the looks department, but this one looked fine to me. On the front, the smartphone is covered with black 2.5D curved glass that comes with scratch resistant coating. There is no mention of Gorilla Glass, so I would recommend using a screen protector on the device.

The button and connector placements are similar to other Redmi devices. The volume rocker and the power button are on the right edge, while the micro USB port is flanked by the speaker and mic grilles at the bottom. The 3.5mm headphone jack, the IR blaster, and a secondary microphone are present on the top.

On the back side of the Note 4X, the camera and the fingerprint sensor are placed with the dual-LED flash between them. The position of the fingerprint sensor is perfect for almost any size of hands, and can be easily located each time after using the smartphone for a couple of hours.

The device is quite big, and Xiaomi could have worked on reducing the bezels as it had already done with the Redmi Pro. For a mid-range phone, I didn't expect the almost non-existent bezels like those found on the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6, but some trimming could have helped. The gradually curved rear allows for a comfortable hold of the device, and the back isn't as slippery as the Redmi Pro or Redmi 3S Prime, so that is a bonus.

Display

Xiaomi has continued to use the same display specification as the Redmi Note 3 in the Redmi Note 4 and 4X. It is once again a 5.5-inch IPS LCD panel with Full HD (1920x1080) resolution. With 401 pixels per inch, it is still a decent display in this price range, and the colour quality and contrasts on this one in particular are very good.

The colour calibration out of the box is top notch with the right amount of vibrancy and close to natural shades in almost all situations. It is a highly readable display in all lighting conditions, and it can get very bright under sunlight. The capacitive buttons at the bottom are backlit unlike the cheaper Redmi phones, which is very helpful when using the phone at night.

Xiaomi has added a Reading Mode feature to MIUI, which is similar to Apple's Night Shift. It can be scheduled to start during the various times of the day to make the screen warmer for specific or all applications. It is a nice addition to the overall viewing experience of the smartphone.

The colours and contrast of the device can also be customized through the Display setting on the device. By default, it is set to automatically adjust according to content. Overall, the Redmi Note 4X has a very good display and should suit most purposes without any issue.

Audio & call quality

The cellular connectivity of the Redmi Note 4X is quite good, and the smartphone supports HD voice calls over LTE. I had no issues with reception or call drops during my time with the device, with the voice being clear and audible on both ends of the call.

Data connection on LTE was also quite good, which is an improvement over the Redmi 4A, with which I had a few problems in this regard. As with all devices not targeted towards the American market, LTE band support may be an issue, so it would be worth checking whether the device works on the high-speed network of your choice.

Audio output from the Note 4X's loudspeaker is decent, but bass is certainly lacking and at the highest volume it results in some shrill sounds. The headphone output is quite good and a similar problem is not observed in that case. There are many customization options for the audio output in settings for various headphones, all made by Xiaomi though.

Other MIUI options for audio such as an equalizer and Mi Enhancer are also present here, which do a fine job across all audio applications.

Camera

Xiaomi has used a 13-megapixel rear shooter made by Samsung in the Redmi Note 4X. It features a f/2.0 aperture and individual pixel size of 1.12 µm. The camera captures a lot of light and produces very good images in most conditions. The software is very fast and packed with features such as beauty mode, manual controls, hand-held twilight mode, and more, which add to the imaging experience on the device.

The rear camera supports 1080p video capture at 30 frames per second, and 720p capture at 120 frames per second. Video capture is not that good on the Note 4X, and the lack of image stabilization is very obvious. The output in daylight is much better than low-light, but neither of them can be termed as good. Macro shots in daylight are exceptionally good for a smartphone priced in the mid-range. Distant shots tend to lose some detail but the HDR mode helps to a certain degree in such situations.

The front camera is a 5-megapixel unit with f/2.0 aperture. It does not feature autofocus or wide-angle capture, which could be an issue for some buyers interested in taking selfies. I was fine with the general results of the front camera, but there definitely is pixelation and noise even in daylight images taken from this camera.

Check out the video and camera samples captured in various lighting conditions and environments below:

Software

Out of the box, the Redmi Note 4X comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and Xiaomi's MIUI 8.1 custom interface on top. The device is expected to receive Android Nougat in the near future and beta builds are already available for those interested. Since the Redmi Note 4X is available outside China, the device has a global ROM, which supports Google Play Services and all Google apps.

There was absolutely no bloat on the review device provided to me, but locally sold devices may have a few pre-loaded apps such as those on my Redmi 4A. One concerning thing about Chinese smartphones is rogue adware or malware. Although I haven't come across such things on Xiaomi phones so far, I ran a quick Kaspersky scan and got it confirmed.

MIUI is one of my favourite Android skins, but I have started to get tired of it mostly due to the lack of major UI changes. Having reviewed five Xiaomi smartphones based on MIUI 8, I am not finding anything new that can be termed as appealing. I am hoping that Xiaomi is working on something exciting for its next UI update.

This won't be an issue for those who haven't used a Xiaomi phone before or use custom launchers, and MIUI beyond the homescreen is still a pretty solid Android customization. I didn't face any app crashes while using the device, and I attribute this to the global ROM, as it includes all the required Google services for apps.

Performance

There are two versions of the Redmi Note 4X available, one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, and the other with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The one that I received for review was the former, which is priced at about $175.

Under the hood, the chipset and other specifications are same across both the versions. The Redmi Note 4X packs an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 system-on-chip built on a 14nm process. It is highly efficient, and performs very well. Coupled with the Adreno 506, the gaming performance of the system is also decent enough for almost any game available. The chipset obviously doesn't compare to the 8XX Snapdragon series from now or the past and the benchmarks suggest the same.

There is no stuttering or lag in UI animations, games or task switching on the device. App load times are quick as well. I played graphics heavy games such as Modern Combat and Need for Speed No Limits on the device and was highly impressed by the performance. Multitasking on the Note 4X is also reasonably good, except for certain situations when MIUI failed to free up the RAM and I had to manually close a few apps.

The extra GB of RAM on the higher variant can be expected to deliver better performance over the 3GB version, but the base variant also is par for the course.

Battery

A large 4100 mAh battery paired with the power efficient Snapdragon 625 gives extremely crazy uptime on the Redmi Note 4X. The phone lasts for over a day and a half on a single charge with moderate to heavy usage, and gives an impressive screen on time of over 10 hours with all background services enabled.

Even without MIUI optimizations, I didn't see a drastic drop in the device's standby time. In idle situations, the Note 4X barely loses any charge, and can easily go on for four to five days if left unused. The Snapdragon 625 chipset supports Quick Charge 3.0, but Xiaomi seems to have disabled the feature and has not shipped a fast charger with the device. This probably is the only downside of the device as it takes at least a couple of hours to fully charge.

If you are looking for a smartphone that has a big battery without being bulky and lasts long, this is it. The battery life is just too impressive here, and MIUI's app level battery saver is a bonus feature to further prioritize and block apps from draining the battery.

Conclusion

It is almost a no-brainer for anyone looking for a smartphone priced under $200 to opt for the Redmi Note 4X, but there are still some caveats. The device's availability is very limited like almost all Xiaomi smartphones. In some markets the Snapdragon 625-powered Redmi Note 4 is available already, which is almost the same device and shares all the positives of the Note 4X.

Other purchase options include online retailers based out of China that ship internationally, but the warranty and repairs can be a problem if something goes wrong. If you are lucky enough to be living in a country with proper Xiaomi presence, the Note 4 and 4X are the best smartphones in the sub-$200 category.

Sellers on Amazon US are also selling the Note 4 for $175, which could be something to check out if warranty and support isn't an issue for you. Meanwhile, GearBest is selling the device for $150 as part of a flash sale. For those who do not wish to jump through hoops to get a mid-range smartphone, the Moto G5 and G5 Plus offer similar hardware specifications, nearly stock Android, regular updates, and a smaller battery for a slightly higher price. You can check out Neowin's review of the Moto G5 to learn more about the smartphone.

The review unit was supplied by GearBest. If you would like to purchase the device, you can head there to purchase the smartphone, which currently is priced at around $175. You can check out more information about other Xiaomi products on their website.

 

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