Hands-on preview: Xiaomi Mi 4 – the promised land?

We’ve got our hands on the Xiaomi Mi 4 – is this South Africa’s best choice in the smartphone market?

We’d be lying if we said we weren’t greatly looking forward to this; we’ve got our hands on Xiaomi’s Mi 4 following its recent launch in South Africa, and its almost time for an in-depth review.
Before we publish our review, it’s best to collect our initial thoughts on the unit out of the box: could this be the fabled promised land in the smartphone realm we’ve been aching to find?
Read: Xiaomi Mi 4 contract prices unveiled
Retailing at roughly R4000 ZAR, this is an important moment not only in the South African smartphone market, but as the first step Xiaomi has taken to building a local legacy in the country.
Out of the box, the Xiaomi Mi 4 is a unique proposition. It neither bears the largest screen, thinnest width, or classiest feel, but manages to beckon your fingers to turn it on.
There’s always been something uniquely different about Xiaomi’s Mi UI, it’s Android skin, and out of the box one would be forgiven for thinking that the speed and grace with which the heavily skinned operating system functions that the operating system was nearly proprietary.
xiaomi mi 4
The closest reminder one has that this is an Android phone is that omnipresent Google search bar (which is unremovable or movable under vanilla Mi UI) and a close familiarity to rival Huawei’s Android skin.
Actions are quick and intuitive, and the Mi 4’s camera springs to life, eager to please; early shots in good light are well rounded and crisp, and bring vibrant colours without over saturating as some similar Samsung models might be prone to do.
An early worry is the degree of heat the unit generates while accessing web functions or charging, and it’s one that we’ll continue to monitor into our in-depth review.
Could this be the smartphone the South African market have been craving? Early indications say yes. Stay tuned for a full review in the weeks to come!