An introduction to the Mi4, Xiaomi's first Windows 10 test phone

This post was originally written in April, but given the recent news we've updated it for a second look.

Xiaomi has now announced the software will be made available publicly on December 3. But if you're not familiar with it, there's also a good chance you've asked yourself: "what is this Xiaomi Mi4 anyway?"

So let's take a look at one.

Xiaomi Mi4

Xiaomi is well known for packing high-end hardware into a package that doesn't cost the earth. The Mi4 isn't the most current device, but it's still a pretty well spec'd phone. The flagship for the company when it was first launched.

  • 5-inch, 1920x1080 resolution display
  • 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 13MP rear camera
  • 8MP front facing camera
  • 16GB/64GB internal storage
  • 3080mAh battery
  • 139.2mm x 68.5mm x 8.9mm

To see a complete, detailed list of what's inside the Mi4, visit the link below.

So, it's not short on hardware, with internals to take on the best that Windows Phone has to offer, bar the new Lumia 950 phones. It's pretty nicely designed, too, with a metal frame, incredibly slim size bezels and a gently curved rear. The battery isn't removable, as such, but the back cover can be removed with some persuasion to allow you to replace them, such as we've done here with a wood back on ours.

Xiaomi Mi4

It's actually a close enough fit design wise to the Nokia Lumia 830 we know so well. Both have their own style, but the combination of a metal frame and plastic back combine to create a similar unibody feel on both devices.

The cameras are sourced from Sony and Xiaomi has a bunch of software tweaks built into its camera app such as live HDR. Both seem to take pretty good pictures from what we've seen so far. Not class leading, but the hardware is solid.

Of course, at present, it's running Android. More specifically, MIUI 6 or 7, Xiaomi's custom version of Android. But part of the reason that Xiaomi is such a good fit for the Windows 10 preview is its openness towards developers and tinkerers.

Installing beta or developer ROMs on the Mi4 is relatively simple, as is going back if anything goes wrong. We're not sure exactly how the conversion process to running Windows 10 will go, since we haven't tried it yet, but we're excited to play with it on hardware like this. There's still a lot of unanswered questions, one of which is where the future lies for any Microsoft and Xiaomi collaborations. The Mi4 has been superseded by a number of phones since its launch, and we're most definitely looking forward to whatever the future may hold for these two companies working together.

Xiaomi Mi4 and Lumia 830

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

252 Comments
  • Sec C...
  • You mean sexy?
  • He means 1/cosC
  • Good one.
  • tanC.cosecC
  • Aaarrrggghhhh....I hate MATHS ! :'(
  • Maths... British? :P
  • He just want to say that the phone is Sexy (Sec C) lol :P
  • You don't say ?
  • ...
  • I think I'm in love.
  • Wait until you hear Cortana's voice for the first time, you'll never come our of your parents basement....
  • Great phone!
  • Can't wait to get my own hands on...!
  • Seems faster
  • Wen in China?
  • When in India?
  • The phone costs around ₹12,000 (200 dollars). That's really good for this specs!
  • Correction. The Mi4 costs 14,999. The Mi4i costs 11,999. The Mi4 has SD801+3GB RAM while Mi4i has SD615+2GB RAM Still great specs for the price point..
  • When in US?
  • When in mars?
  • When in Rome...
  • Be like a Roman ;)
  • No longer roman... Italian now.
  • When in Uranus?
  • Soon hopefully.
  • Oh em gee. This comment feed is hilarious.
  • When in Brazil?
  • When in Alderaan?...Oh wait.
  • When in India?
  • When in Ghana?
  • When in Jupiter?
  • Next year!
  • Wen in Ghana indeed...no quality WP in the country at right prices
  • When in Andromeda galaxy?
  • When in my hand??
  • Wen in Sun? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • When Harry met Sally.
  • I'll have what she's having.
  • You want Billy Crystal?
  • When in Gotham??
  • Wendigo, at my door 8(
  • When in Eorzea and Vana'diel?
  • When in Algeria?
  • When in Gallifrey?
  • Nice battery!
  • Over 3000 mAh compared to 1430 on my 520. Monster.
  • Monster indeed
  • According to reviews for the android phone, the battery is pathetic, doesnt even last a day,
  • When running Android....
  • Exactly when running android...
  • ...compared with Windows
  • That could also be because it's running Android which can be a battery hog. Remember the difference between the HTC M8 running Android versus Windows?
  • Yes that is why i mentioned android, but one can never b sure with these chinese phones! And a 5in 1080p screen requires a 3000mah battery!
  • Yeah, it could be the spyware baked into the chips is causing the drain...
  • Lol the Chinese always with the software. What about the NSA buddy. Don't forget its the United States that runs the largest spy program. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • WP is not great with battery life either.. Let's not say things for the heck of it. My 1020 doesn't last day.. With all background apps turned off, it doesn't. Esp after 8.1 battery has not been good.
  • Eh, 1020 has a teeny tiny battery though.
  • My 920 agrees. Hardly get 8hrs on it
  • My HTC 8x works well last for one day.Just I dont use data connection!helps alot!
  • my nieces iphone gets charged about 16 times a day
  • My 928 last a day easy.
  • Really? My 920 can last a day (unless its on Windows 10, then it can't last for four hours, and that's without me touching it...).
  • If you bought your 920 @ launch then it is probably starting show it's age. Mine is truly showing grey hairs right now, if I use the windows central app for about 20 minutes the battery will go down from 100% to 60% sometimes even lower... Whereas before the same usage would result in a about 5 to 10% {max 25%ish}  drop (if playing the videos associated to articles).
  • Those batteries are pretty old though. Still get almost a full day on my 920
  • Battery life of my Lumia 930 used to be horrible, without lasting a day with med-high usage. But, after the Denim update, I noticed a significant improvement. Now it easily lasts a day with overnight charging. And it's well worth mentioning, I'm not a light user.
  • I easily get a day and a half out of my 930 too, great phone!!
  • My L1520 say otherwise.
  • My 1520 does quite well with 8.1 on its battery
  • The 1520 probably has the best battery life of any smartphone anywhere, tbh. 3400 mah AND windows phone? No contest. Game over.
  • Not a fan but the iPhone 6 Plus also manages 1 and half to 2 days of battery much like the 1520. The Note 3 & Note 4 with a 3200 mah batteries can barely manage a day! I'd say Android is indeed to blame. The HTC One M9 has a huge battery & 1080p screen too but can't even manage more than 4 hours of screen on time. (Granted that thirsty 810 might be to blame)
  • WP is great with battery, but it dont make miracles. It is better than android for battety life.
  • My 1020 lasts -- unless I take few burst mode pics, in which case it will die in no time flat!
  • with battery saver on I was able to get almost constant use out of my Lumia 930 for around 16 hours, which wasn't far behind my friends phones, and they hadn't constantly been using theirs all day!
  • Your phone it's so old. The battery probably is half the charge it originally had.
  • One M8 on Android gets quite similar battery life as running W8.1: 20 talk/496 standby hrs. vs. 22 talk/528 standby hrs. Not big differences considering how many orders of magnitude more capable Android is.
  • That's manufacturers figures right there and not actually usage⁉
  • Are you just comparing factory specs? I read in real use reviews that the difference is greater.
  • Then what's the point of OEMs like Xiaomi customizing Android for their devices? I thought MIUI 6 was a cleaner version of Android without much bloatware. SMH.
  • The same point that any company customizes android. There is nothing cleaner than stock android, it doesn't come with bloatware.
  • Which reviews are you talking about ? Usually get around 2 days standby with 7 Hrs SOT.
  • Well have you seen the amount of sensors onboard no wonder why it would suck. My guess is they substituted the qc pmc for something else?
  • One of those situations when bigger is better
  • Are you the only one here not chasing squirrels?
  • That tiny ass buttons though.
  • Button label size =/ actual button area though.
  • Lol.
  • Lol
  • Not bad, specs is hot!
  • But where is the kitchen sink?
  • Usually found in the kitchen tah dah
  • Very interesting....thanks Richard for the information on this.
  • Now that is a flagship!!!
    Hope Microsoft build sth like this too!
  • Which flag? Seems like a fairly "meh" device. On all fronts. Which makes it perfect as a secondary/tertiary handset to play around with.
  • Affordable flagship!