Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime vs. Redmi 3s Prime: Primed up!

GSMArena team, 28 December 2016.

Two 13MP snappers, one prize

Xiaomi Redmi 3 Prime features a 13MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and a single-LED flash. The Redmi 4 Prime is equipped with another 13MP main camera with f/2.2 aperture and a dual-tone dual-LED flash. Both setups also come with a hybrid autofocus system utilizing phase-detection for faster and more accurate focus.

Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime vs Redmi 4 Prime review

The camera interface is identical across both devices and fairly simple. It features toggles for the HDR mode, the flash and the video camera. The available advanced modes are Panorama, Beautify, Scenes, Timer, and Manual as well as the camera settings. Seventeen live filters are at your disposal, too.

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Camera UI

The Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime performs very well regarding image quality. It takes photos very quickly, resolves more than enough detail even in the foliage, and the noise levels are kept reasonably low. The white balance is accurate, and we like the lively color rendition though sometimes it tends to go for colder tones. On a positive note, the images come out sharper than those by the Redmi 4.

The Redmi 4 Prime also captures enough detail, though a bit lower than the Redmi 3s Prime's snapper. There is a prominent corner softness that was just a minor issue with the 3s Prime. The color rendering goes in the opposite direction towards the warmer hues. The noise levels are also low, but due to the smaller aperture forcing a slightly higher ISO, they are a notch higher here than on the Redmi 3s Prime.

The dynamic range turned out above average on both devices, and sometimes they managed to surprise us by capturing a lot of detail in the shadows without turning the HDR mode on.

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Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime camera samples

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Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime camera samples

The HDR mode works fine on both phones, though sometimes the Redmi 3s Prime produces oversharpened images.

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Redmi 3s HDR off Redmi 3s HDR on Redmi 3 HDR off Redmi 4 HDR on

The panoramic images is the one place where the Redmi 4 did better. It offers a higher resolution pano shots with about 2000px height, while the image quality stays very good across both samples.

Redmi 3s Prime panorama - Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime vs Redmi 4 Prime review
Redmi 4 Prime panorama - Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime vs Redmi 4 Prime review
Redmi 3s Prime panorama Redmi 4 Prime panorama

Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime vs. Redmi 4 Prime vs. Redmi 3s in our Photo quality comparison tool

The Redmi 3s Prime comes with a 5MP selfie camera with f/2.2 aperture. It produces pleasant photos with enough detail to serve their purpose. There is noise, but not that much to ruin the picture, and the colors are close to the real ones.

The Redmi 4 Prime also comes with a 5MP selfie snapper but with a f/2.4 aperture. It resolves a whisker less detail and the noise levels are higher. The colors are colder than what our eyes saw.

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Redmi 3s Prime selfie Redmi 3s Prime selfie Redmi 4 Prime selfie Redmi 4 Prime selfie

The photos will surely do the job, of course, but the Redmi 3s Prime selfies are better.

Winner: Redmi 3s Prime. Its primary and selfie cameras do better than the ones on the Redmi 4 Prime with more detail, less noise, and the samples came out sharper and without noticeable corner softness. The difference is marginal though and you won't go wrong with the Redmi 4.

Video capturing

Both Redmis record 1080p videos at 30 fps. The video bitrate is similar at 20Mbps as is the audio one at 96Kbps. The sound is stereo on both samples.

The two samples we captured came out rich in detail. You can spot some noise here and there, but it's by no means distracting. Colors are true to life, but maybe there could have been a little more punch. Audio recording is disappointing, though. We wish the Redmi 4 offered 4K video recording as the chipset surely supports it.

You can download the untouched samples if you like: Redmi 3s Prime (10s, 19MB) and Redmi 4 Prime (10s, 23MB).

Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime vs. Redmi 4 Prime vs. Redmi 3s in our Video quality comparison tool

Winner: Tie.

Conclusion

If you thought the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime would be an easy pick over the Redmi 3s Prime, things are not that simple. Sure, the Redmi 4 Prime is an obvious upgrade over its predecessor with a better screen, chipset, and a refreshed design, but there are a few setbacks that could turn the odds into Redmi 3s Prime's favor.

Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime vs Redmi 4 Prime review

For starters, the Redmi 3s Prime is able to catch up with the Redmi 4 Prime performance-wise in graphic intensive tasks even though it lacks the raw CPU power. Games might even run better due to the lower resolution.

Then there is the camera quality. Oddly, the Redmi 3s Prime camera is superior and it did better in still images and selfies. The video recording turned out on par, though.

Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime

On the other hand, the Redmi 4 Prime is the better looker of the two even though it feels slightly heavier and its design looks a tier premium over the 3s. Its battery life turned out better, and its screen is really sharp thanks to the higher resolution.

Well, none of those two is perfect and there is no real winner in this fight. Both Redmi 3s Prime and Redmi 4 Prime are worthy of your hard-earned cash, so it all depends on what you need them for. If you are after the smarter looks and the battery life is crucial to you, the Redmi 4 Prime is a better fit. But if it's about gaming and/or snapping photos - then the Redmi 3s Prime will serve you better.

Special thanks to HonorBuy.com for providing the review unit.