Xiaomi Redmi 4A (32Gb model)

I have a Samsung S3 mini, which was, frankily, irritating and pissing me off most of the time.

My two other devices is both Huawei devices, one a 7" and the other a 10" tab. But they’re such a pain in the butt when you just want to phone somebody, or need to go assist a couple of lusers.

Recently I’ve won a R2000 gift voucher on the one forum, and decided to have a shufty at a new phone, as I don’t want to open a new contract.

I could choose between a Xiaomi Redmi 4A (32Gb), Wileyfox Spark Plus (16Gb) and a Huawei Y6 (8Gb) all in the same price class.

After some googling, the wileyfox got dropped as :

  1. Cyanogenmod (was one of the strongest points, but things are a bit of a mess)
  2. Phone’s software is a bit buggy

I decided to drop the Huawei since I already got two Huawei devices. Which left the Xiaomi.

(There were also a couple of other phones in the same price class ~ Doogee, Cubot etc), but I did not want to buy an unknown device and be stuck with a crappy device).

My choice was to choose the grey case as in my experience any other coating (gold etc) tend to flake off after a couple of months (or two years of hard use), and then it looks ugly.

I placed the order on Tuesday morning, and the phone was delivered on Wednesday morning, together with a screen protector (also ordered at the same time). Now I need to go to the flea market and get a case with a cover, but that can wait till after payday.

Already I’m impressed with the phone - feels just right, not slippery, and is nice to hold. Surprisingly, it is very light for its size (my S3 mini is heavier).

The only downside to all this was that they did not deem to include instructions on how to open the SIM tray - you have to Insert Ye Specialle Toole and Push Very Hard… I got the dual-sim model, have opted to get a decent-sized microSD card at a later stage. Still undecided about this feature at this stage, will make a decision going forward.

Performance is great, there is no lag, even with animations enabled. I disabled animations anyway, have no use for them (although it is part of the user experience).

One definite plus is that there is allowance made for you to install your own bootloader and ROM (accessible from developer options), whereas with other devices you’ll have to jump through hoops to get it unlocked. Great stuff.

The screen is nice to look at, and is great for viewing movies or play games.

And it have a customizable notification light. At present you can choose between different lights for calls, messages and notifications.

There is a couple of other new stuff, such as “Quick Ball” which I’m like wtf, and will investigate that.

Dual-app capability is present, which means you can run two instances of the same app at the same time. Which makes me wonder if it is possible to have two SIM’s and have two whatsapps running, one for each SIM. Will experiment with this later.

Will report back on this thread regarding further experiences (such as battery life etc).

And the camera. Never seen anything like that.

Will be taking some picshers of the new ooklet and family…

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Follow-up : With an SOT (screen on time) of 3 hours I can go for a day without charging it, which is good.

I have set up a desktop version of Telegram and the web version of Whatsapp on a linux PC at work, which I use to interact with others. This leaves my phone on my desk (connected to company wifi) all the time, so I don’t need to open it frequently in order to respond to IM’s coming in.

Unlike the Huawei Mediapad which I’ve used previously it does not aggressively switch off the wifi and 3G after a certain timeout - but there’s other options like enabling a battery saver after hours which I can use. I will be looking more into this kind of feature (disabling 3G completely after a certain period of time, and waking it up when the phone is unlocked) as 3G/LTE is a major power chomper. Besides, you don’t need whatsapps pinging in at 0300 the morning.

I decided to forgo a second SIM and use the space for an 8Gb SD card. The phone then asked whether you want to save your camera pictures to the new storage space, which is a good thing. If the phone ever crashes, you can simply pull the SD card and recover your pictures.

The only thing that may be a bother for people is that the phone will (with your permission, of course) backup all your photos, contacts and other personal data to the MIUI servers. Of course, when signing in with a Google account, the same happens (also with your permission). So you now have two sets of backups (which, for some of us) may be a good thing, but for others it may not be, especially if they use metered internet connections, and need to guard their bandwidth allocation jealously.