Xiaomi Mi 4s review: Pushing forward

GSMArena team, 28 March, 2016.

Contacts and telephony

The dialer and the phonebook share a single app although there are two shortcuts, bringing you straight to the tab you need. The app has pleasant flat looks, and it's about the same as we remember it. It uses a tabbed interface - recent with dialer on the first and the contact list on the second.

The Phonebook - Xiaomi Mi 4s review The Phonebook - Xiaomi Mi 4s review The Phonebook - Xiaomi Mi 4s review The Phonebook - Xiaomi Mi 4s review The Phonebook - Xiaomi Mi 4s review
The Phonebook

Xiaomi Mi 4s supports voice call recording, and it can do it automatically on each call if you like. You can also assign an answer gesture, pre-define quick responses upon reject, there is even support for internet calling.

The Dialer - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Smart Dialing - Xiaomi Mi 4s review The in-call screen - Xiaomi Mi 4s review
The Dialer ē Smart Dialing ē The in-call screen

There are even more call settings if you dig deeper into the menu - flip to mute the ringer, turn on/off the proximity sensor, lock automatically once slipped in a pocket, it can even mute calls from unknown numbers.

The Xiaomi Mi 4s scored a Very Good mark on our loudspeaker tests, meaning you'll hardly miss any calls and notifications. The loudspeaker sound quality seems great, and we just wished Xiaomi had used this speaker on the Mi 5 as well.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
HTC One A9 65.0 64.9 67.2 Below Average
Sony Xperia M5 65.6 68.9 64.0 Below Average
OnePlus X 65.9 66.3 70.7 Average
Xiaomi Mi 5 66.9 67.2 74.0 Good
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 66.5 66.6 75.8 Good
Lenovo Vibe K4 Note 74.7 66.6 72.3 Good
Xiaomi Mi 4c 73.2 66.6 77.5 Good
Xiaomi Mi 4s 73.7 68.6 82.9 Very Good
OnePlus 2 75.7 73.5 80.7 Excellent

The gallery

The Xiaomi Mi 4s comes with a custom Gallery app. It defaults to your camera roll, but also supports Albums, Cloud, and People. The People sorting, once chosen, sorts all of your photos by people's faces. Everything is automatic. Here you can also create a new baby album, to put your newborn pics inside.

Gallery - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Gallery - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Gallery - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Gallery - Xiaomi Mi 4s review
Gallery

The integrated editor offers various effects, frames, tools (crop, mirror, straighten, rotate, fisheye, doodle) plus light adjustments that let you bring out the detail in the shadows or restore the highlights.

Editing an image - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Editing an image - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Editing an image - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Editing an image - Xiaomi Mi 4s review
Editing an image

Music player

The MIUI music player is a custom app with a well laid out, easy to navigate interface. It features two tabs - the first one is cloud music, similar to Google Music service, but provided by Xiaomi while the second tab has your own local music.

The player has cool effects, transitions, and transparent elements, especially on the expandable Now Playing section.

Music Player - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Music Player - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Music Player - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Music Player - Xiaomi Mi 4s review
Music Player

Xiaomi's Music app offers customizable equalizers with a few default presets already available for use. You can also try Xiaomi's MiSound enhancer, which comes into play when you use headphones, and especially, a Xiaomi-branded headset.

Audio enhancements and equalizers - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Audio enhancements and equalizers - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Audio enhancements and equalizers - Xiaomi Mi 4s review
Audio enhancements and equalizers

Video player

The video player interface is very basic, but there is rich video codec support. It managed to play everything we threw at it (including MKV and WMV files). The AC3 audio codec is surprisingly supported, too.

Video player - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Video player - Xiaomi Mi 4s review Video player - Xiaomi Mi 4s review
Video player

Subtitles and pop-up play are not supported by the MIUI's video player, though, so you might want to look at the Play Store if you need a more capable alternative.

Audio output is loud, let down by stereo quality

The Xiaomi Mi 4s went off to a great start in our audio quality test. When connected to an active external amplifier, it almost matched the performance of its high-flying Mi 5 sibling and got our hopes high. With very loud output and excellent scores top to bottom (stereo quality isnít as good as the Mi 5, but still solid), this was a great showing by the Mi 4s.

Unfortunately, stereo crosstalk skyrocketed when headphones came into play, which has a pretty damaging effect on the overall performance. Intermodulation rise was negligible if still present but with so much crosstalk, we canít give it more than a decent mark here.

Anyway, here go the results so you can make your own comparisons.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Xiaomi Mi 4s +0.01, -0.03-94.990.80.0025 0.0090-82.6
Xiaomi Mi 4s (headphones)+0.09, -0.02-94.190.50.017 0.103-34.6
Xiaomi Mi 5 +0.01, -0.03-95.395.10.0034 0.0065-95.1
Xiaomi Mi 5 (headphones)+0.01, -0.03-95.295.10.0027 0.013-71.5
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)+0.02, -0.07-94.392.20.0065 0.010-95.0
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) (headphones)+0.42, -0.01-93.487.10.029 0.254-53.0
Huawei G8+0.02, -0.08-93.490.10.0028 0.012-93.4
Huawei G8 (headphones)+0.10, -0.03-92.989.80.0048 0.071-78.2

Xiaomi Mi 4s frequency response
Xiaomi Mi 4s frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.