It’s hard to get away from the term ‘flagship killer’ these days in the smartphone space. Alongside the top-model lines from Apple, Samsung, LG and others is a band of half-price, similarly specified handsets with a few minor adjustments skirting on thin margins to offer similar experiences. The OnePlus range has been part of this movement, along with others such as the ASUS Zenfone 2. Next steps up Xiaomi, with the Mi 4c featuring a 6-core Snapdragon 808, a 5-inch 1080p IPS display, USB Type-C and dual-SIM for only 1299-1499 RMB ($200-$235).

Mi 4
Mi 4i
Mi 4c
Snapdragon 801
4x Krait 400
at 2.45 GHz
Snapdragon 615
4 x A53 at 1.7 GHz
4 x A53 at 1.0 GHz
Snapdragon 808
2 x A57 at 1.82 GHz
4 x A53 at 1.44 GHz
16/64GB NAND
16/32 GB NAND
2 GB + 16GB
3 GB + 32GB
Display 5" 1080p IPS 5" 1080p IPS 5" 1080p IPS
Network Category 4 LTE
150/50 Mbps
Category 4 LTE
150/50 Mbps
Category 4 LTE
50/50 Mbps
Dimensions 139.2 x 67.5 x 8.9mm,
149 grams
138.1 x 69.6 x 7.8mm,
130 grams
138.1 x 69.6 x 7.8mm,
132 grams
Camera 13MP rear camera,
1.12 µm pixels,
1/3.06" CMOS size
Sony IMX 214 F/1.8.
8MP F/1.8 FFC 1/4"
  13MP rear camera,
Sony IMX 238 or
Samsung SSK3M2
(depends on SKU)
Battery 3080 mAh
(11.704 Whr)
3120 mAh 3080 mAh
Android v4.4.3
Android v5.0.2
Android v5.1.1
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
BT 4.0
BT 4.0
BT 4.0
SIM Size MicroSIM Dual MicroSIM Dual MicroSIM

(This table is incomplete and may be missing information)

The Mi 4c follows on from the Mi 4 and Mi 4i and sits atop of that small stack, sharing a lot of features with the Mi 4i. At this point, the Mi 4c seems to be China-only, though with something like this that might change. Clearly we’re dealing with at least a plastic chassis compared to the glass or aluminium composites normally seen on the $600-$800 flagship models, but the specifications on paper check out as in interesting element for the ecosystem, especially at that $200-$235 price point and a push towards USB Type-C.

In an interesting twist, Xiaomi actually announced this smartphone via Twitter, rather than an official press release. As a result a lot of the value-adds from Xiaomi are only described through images, such as Edge Tap, a function that allows a double tap to return from the camera to the previous application, and a variable refresh rate in the display allowing for 10% more efficiency depending on the content being viewed. VRR becomes useful as there is no need to drive a display at 60 Hz when it is idle, saving power, or if it is able to reduce down to the frame rate of the video being viewed. There’s no information here as to the rates at which this display will go, whether it is a continuous spectrum (20-60Hz?) or discrete periods (24/48/60Hz?).

Another feature is infrared support, allowing the smartphone to be used as a remote control, and the use of phase detection autofocus on the 13MP rear camera using a Sony IMX238 or Samsung SSK3M2 ISOCELL sensor (depending on exact SKU). The camera is backed up by a two-tone flash, a 5MP front camera, and Xiaomi’s ‘Beautify’ feature to enhance skin tones. Quick Charge 2.0 is also in play.

For the price and specifications, the Mi 4c is hard to ignore. Although in the short-term it might be difficult to source outside of China, depending on Xiaomi’s plans for the device.

Source: Xiaomi

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  • mjcutri - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    Xiaomi needs to bring this to the US. This has everything that I have been looking for in a phone...especially the USB Type-C
  • Shadow7037932 - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    They aren't going to come to the US any time soon esp. because of patent issues. Hence why Xiaomi has started to gather a "war chest" of patents.
  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    They won't sell directly in the USA anytime soon for fear of IP infringement and other reasons, but there is nothing other than band support stopping them from dominating the (small) enthusiast budget market here from afar. Dont they make weekly MIUI builds available? I'd buy several of these for family members (32GB) if they fully supported AT&T bands.
  • WorldWithoutMadness - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    Nope, they won't go to US/EU anytime soon as they are infringing the GPLv2 where they can be sued. They are free right now because their market is the 'free' Asian countries.
  • TheMysteryMan11 - Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - link

    Lot of people here have outdated info on Xiaomi. For older devices maybe, but over last year or so, they have been releasing source of the device released internationally. Mi 4i, Mi4, Mi Note and basically all other phones available outside china and most available inside China today are complying with GPL.
  • WorldWithoutMadness - Thursday, September 24, 2015 - link

    Yeah, including you. Please don't misguide people with your incomplete info.

    Even the newer devices, they are delaying the kernel source code release. Just go to Mi forum and you'll see people still complaining about this. Albeit the Redmi 2 series for example. I haven't even touched the kernel source completeness and only for specific region upon release.

    Are they improving? Yes, but still infriging, that's the line.
    If they are complying with GPL, they'll release their products officially to EU/US but they're not right now.
  • Flunk - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    There are plenty of Chinese importers you can pick Xiaomi phones up from, generally for under retail price. I can't see how this model will be different from the others.
  • jjj - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    No microSD for someone claiming to care about it's customers is not only unethical but bad marketing.
    SD620 would have been nicer and likely doable in the price. 808 is still clocked too high while maybe 620 isn't but even if it is, CPU perf would have been better and all else acceptable.

    It is a bit of an odd product since it doesn't fit well in their lineup at this time. They harm sales for the newly launched Redmi Note 2, as well as Mi4 sales. Plus they anger everybody in India that payed the same price for the terrible 4i (lesser specs while the "thermally managed" SD615 leads to a poor experience). Guess they might be in a bit of a panic, they changed strategy and went with poor prices this year so their sales growth slowed down.Now they are reverting back to good value but in a slightly chaotic way.
    The design is pretty good , maybe the best at this time with the material, they manage to make it look less cheap.
    The edge gesture is a big plus but only if they stick to it and push forward to enable a transition from buttons bellow the screen to a more comfortable navigation. Granted, this would be more useful on bigger phones since on this one the old school buttons are manageable.
    IR is ok but they need to work on their app and it is a bit late since now it's time to move the functionality to our wrists.
  • Shadow7037932 - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    Really? Not putting a SD card is "unethical"? I can think of dozens of other things I'd call unethical before calling the lack of SD card unethical.
  • BMNify - Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - link

    Almost all the prospective buyers will be satisfied with $235 Mi4c which comes with 3Gb ram + 32 GB storage, others can spend $50 more and get Mi 4 if they need 64GB storage.

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