Despite my inability to pronounce Xiaomi I was extremely surprised when this phone landed on my review desk. For starters, I thought they’d forgotten to put the phone in the box. As I removed the understated cardboard box from its packaging it felt so incredibly light. In fact, when I realised the phone was actually in there I presumed there was a battery missing. Not the case. The Xiaomi Redmi 4A weights a whole 131.5g so it is extremely light and almost weightless in hand. It feels like a play play phone if I’m completely honest.
But it definitely doesn’t look like a toy
Out the box you’d be mistaken for thinking you just purchased a matte metal phone. It has an incredible body and my unit was in a gorgeous rose gold. The finish is almost identical to my iPhone 6s in the same colour. I was extremely surprised by the design but on some googling found out that the phone is actually not metal. Most budget smartphones are plastic. They look it. They feel it. This is a plastic phone that hides its true nature in a sophisticated finish. If you put this phone down on the table during after work drinks it is going to hold its own against its more expensive counterparts. In fact I thought it was a far sexier device than the more expensive Huawei Nova I tested earlier in the month.
But at R1999 is it worth it
Yup, the Xiaomi Redmi 4A costs a total of R1999. You’re able to pick a range of colours including Gold and Rose Gold. The premium feel allows the design to punch way above its weight. But how does it feature when in day to day use? For starters the thin small design appeals to me. Light in hand and small it isn’t going to get dropped all that often. I do find with bigger smartphones I tend to drop them on the floor more often than not while attempting to open my car and hold my Latte. The phone sits comfortably in hand.
There is a 5.0″ display with a 1280 x 720px resolution. What does this mean? You have a nice bright scene with decent display graphics. It isn’t going to blow you away with immersive visuals but it isn’t going to look like a cheap downgrade either. The display is sufficient and I was happy with it.
The phone runs on Android with an MIUI8 OS skin. Personal bugbear but I really don’t like it when manufacturers add their skins to the stock standard Android. I didn’t enjoy the Xiaomi skin all that much and don’t think it was necessary. The phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor actually operated really well. It lags a bit when opening Facebook and Instagram but for the most part I didn’t find it annoying. The phone does heat up a bit with lots of use so be warned. Sweaty hands incoming!
There are a few specs that will impress you
The first is the dual sim option. The bonus here is the ability to jump between sims and ultimately service providers to ensure cheapest data and cheapest call rates. There is also 16GB storage included. That is the same as my iPhone. You’ll ultimately have to store stuff off the phone in time (which is possible by adding a Micro SD Card) but that is still a decent amount of memories.
Can I take a selfie?
There is a 13MP camera and a 5MP selfie camera. The camera isn’t going to blow your socks off but it is sufficient for a few social media snaps if the light is good. A 13MP camera on a phone this cheap though is rather impressive. It does the job.
The one down fall
I’m now nitpicking. Before I tell you my one “not so rad” point I do need to highlight that the phone worked comfortably for half a day with me on the road BUT the battery isn’t going to last much longer than that. It isn’t the greatest. However, at that price spend some extra dosh on a powerbank easy.
The Xiaomi Redmi 4A is really a super little phone and the best budget smartphone I’ve tested out in months. Xiaomi could definitely cement itself in the lower end market with offerings like these and knock some of the other Chinese manufacturers out of the budget phone market. Colour me impressed.
Disclosure: I was sent the Xiaomi Redmi 4A for review. The unit goes back now.