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Xiaomi Mi 4c Review: Playing Favorites?

Xiaomi Mi 4c 05

We review Xiaomi’s Mi 4c

Xiaomi touted their Mi 4i as their first, truly global flagship made for international markets. It managed to create interest, but not enough to truly satisfy power-hungry users lusting for more. Since then, Xiaomi has developed a beefed up version of the Mi 4i dubbed simply the Mi 4c for their market – which begs the question: will they ever release it outside their home turf?

Before we start our review, you’ll need to check our previous Mi 4i review here.Β 

Xiaomi Mi 4c specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor
  • Adreno 418 GPU
  • 2GB/3GB of RAM
  • 5-inch full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB/32GB of storage
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, phase detection AF
  • 5-megapixel wide-angle camera
  • Dual-SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB Type C, IR blaster
  • Android 5.1 with MUI
  • 3080mAh battery

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Minor change in design

Aside from the hardware change, the Mi 4c is identical to the Mi 4i in almost every aspect: it still uses a grease-resistant polycarbonate battery cover along with a non-removable battery, a simple design and the typical button layout (3.5mm jack on top, power/volume keys on the right, USB port on the bottom). The only change to the body of the Mi 4c is the USB Type-C port on the bottom, which makes the Mi 4c Xiaomi’s first ever smartphone to sport the reversible plug.

Xiaomi Mi 4c 11

Since the design of the Mi 4c is almost identical to the Mi 4i, the same problems exist in the former, primarily muffled sounds when the phone is lying on its back and a slightly lackluster design. Unfortunately, the new Type-C port is a bit of a problem when it comes to testing USB OTG capability – we did not have any compatible USB OTG cables to try it out, so we’re not exactly sure if it works or not.

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We compared the display resolution between Mi4c and Mi4i, it’s pretty much the same which again, means that Xiaomi changed little in the externals of the new phone. Most of the new hardware is located under the hood.

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Cooler and faster than the Mi 4i

When we reviewed the Mi 4i, we ran into worrying thermal issues while using it under full load. The heat got so bad that some users complained that it grounded the display of the phone and distorted the SIM tray. The Mi 4c tries to get around that problem by using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor. The new processor is more powerful than the 615 and has a better GPU, but does it run cooler?

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We’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. First, let’s check out the performance: the 2GB RAM version of the Mi 4c manages to achieve a score of 49,148 points using performance mode in AnTuTu, which is good news. It’s definitely higher than the Mi 4i, though the 3GB version of the Mi 4c achieved a lower score of 42,156 because we couldn’t get AnTuTu to run in performance mode for some reason.

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Okay, so it runs well, but does it overheat? It’s a little bit better in our tests – the Mi 4i, for example, ran 44.5 Celcius under full throttle, while the Mi 4c runs at 41 celcius. It’s not a drastic drop in thermal performance, but the Mi 4c definitely feels better in the hands in comparison. With normal use, the Mi 4c managed to run at a comfortable 34.5 degrees.

The unit that we purchased ran well on both Globe and Smart’s LTE network.

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Shot outdoors
Xiaomi Mi 4c 01
Shot indoors
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Shot outdoors
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Shot indoors

Great Camera

The Mi 4c’s rear camera performs quite well, just like the one in the Mi 4i. New to the Mi 4c is the ability to take selfies and photos by simply tapping on the side of the phone.

Sample shot of the selfie cam
Sample shot of the selfie cam

Photos turn out great, with good detail on the photos in both indoors and outdoors.

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Good Battery Life

The 3080mAh battery on the Mi 4c managed to get an AnTuTu battery rating of 5359, and lasted around 21 hours of use during our test.

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Verdict: A better phone, but will it ever come outside China?

Xiaomi has managed to improve on the Mi 4i in every way with the Mi 4c. A better, faster performing processor, better thermal performance, and even a higher storage option are all standard on the new phone. Many of the Mi 4i’s issues have been addressed by the Mi 4c, though the question remains, will it ever be available outside their home country? Certainly the timing of the release of the new phone won’t endear them to fans who had to opt for the Mi 4i, though in reality it would be difficult to find the Mi 4c outside of China if you don’t know where to look for it.

Overall the Mi 4c is a phone that’s worthy of the Xiaomi name, and if you do manage to find one outside of China, it’s a good option for people who want a good phone with excellent performance.

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