For the first time ever last month, Xiaomi held a big product launch outside of its homeland China. Xiaomi chose India to launch the new flagship Mi 4i, an untapped market that's poised for the brand's taking. Perhaps this is also to make up for the disappointment of its previous Mi 4 flagship, that never quite saw light of day outside of its country of origin. Well, the good news is that the 'i' moniker in Mi 4i is to change all that. And from the official media invite I've received, the latest Mi device is set to reach Malaysian shores next week.
I'll be catching up with Donovan Sung, head of product for Xiaomi Global, whom I met during the Malaysian Redmi 2 preview. Also making an appearance is Steve Vickers, general manager of Southeast Asia, Xiaomi.
Compared on paper, the Mi 4i seems to be somewhat of a stripped down version of the Mi 4. Gone is the metal finish, the cracking Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip and the 3GB RAM.
In place is a polycarbonate body (available in a selection of colours), in typical Xiaomi build. On the bright side, the new unibody is 12% thinner and 13% lighter than the Mi 4 and sports the same 5-inch Full HD display, now with Sunlight Display. The new feature is claimed to boost brightness and optimises visual quality in harsh sunlight.
A second generation 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chip mated to an Adreno 405 GPU isn't a shabby deal. It also packs 2GB RAM and 16GB. A slight dealbreaker though, is the lack of a microSD slot, so if you're looking for expandability, you're out of luck. There's always OTG, or wireless storage as a workaround.
A couple of winning features, I feel, are the dual-SIM, dual-standby 4G LTE support and bigger 3,120mAh battery with Quick Charge.
A 13MP Sony/Samsung 13MP main shooter with a five-element f/2.0 lens should deliver some good imagery, while the 5MP front shooter with f/1.8 lens is sure to give you some super sharp selfies.
The Mi 4i happens to be Xiaomi's first device to run Android 5.0 Lollipop, and that is a good thing.
Selling for Rs. 12,999 (RM746) in India, we may see the device retailing for less than RM750 in Malaysia. Let's wait for next week, shall we? Till then, it does look like a compelling buy, at least on paper.