Introduction

The Xiaomi Mi 3, one of the most popular smartphones in China, is up against its own successor, the Mi 4. Two generations ready to clash: boxes opened, benchmarks loaded, audio on, cameras rolling, batteries charged.

The Xiaomi Mi 4 has more RAM and a third-gen Snapdragon 801 chipset, along with LTE connectivity - all that in a slimmer, more compact shell. The upgraded specs go with an entirely new look with a handful of exchangeable rear covers to choose from.

Xiaomi Mi 4
Xiaomi Mi 4
Xiaomi Mi 4
Xiaomi Mi 4

Xiaomi Mi 4 official pictures

The Mi 3 on the other hand is powered by the previous version of that same chipset and is still a perfectly good package for the price. The big things missing are 4G data and 4K videos - both easily rendered irrelevant if a) there's no LTE network where you live or b) you go for the 16GB version. With things like Gorilla Glass 3 and NFC surprisingly missing, is the Mi4 worth the upgrade?

Xiaomi Mi 3
Xiaomi Mi 3
Xiaomi Mi 3
Xiaomi Mi 3

Xiaomi Mi 3 official pictures

In a matter of hours we'll be reminded again of the difference between one particular _phone_ and all others. Six full editions thereof and a couple of in-betweens - blessed and cursed, loved and hated, admired and imitated. Made in China, to the very last one.

The reminder we need though is that the difference between Chinese (as in "Can't pronounce the brand name") and the "Made in China" stamp on the back of an iPhone isn't what it used to be. A vast market with soaring smartphone demand, the growth of 3G and 4G networks, combined with improved skill and expertise, have seen a number of Chinese makers emerge from the pack with self-awareness and confidence.

Xiaomi has a prominent spot on that shortlist and plenty of reasons to be called "Apple of the East", both right and wrong. Still one foot in the copycat phase, but a couple of generations of flagships too that can compete with the best of them. Now, they'll compete against each other for a change.

Xiaomi Mi 4 over Mi 3

  • Higher CPU clock speed - 2.5GHz vs. 2.3GHz
  • 3GB RAM vs 2GB RAM
  • Improved camera sensor with wider aperture
  • 2160p video recording
  • 8MP front-facing camera vs 2MP
  • LTE connectivity
  • IR blaster
  • TV-out via MHL-enabled microUSB port
  • Rich set of exchangeable rear covers

Xiaomi Mi 3 vs Mi 4

  • Polycarbonate premium unibody vs cheap plastic with metal frame
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • Dual LED flash vs single-LED
  • NFC connectivity

So, Xiaomi has two smartphone generations in less than a year, impressively equipped and competitively priced. They're officially meant for the Asian Pacific region, the domestic market probably the main target, but the build quality and features for the price will get enough attention elsewhere.

Both devices are available as we speak at less than $400 for the Mi 3 and $500 for the Mi 4 - that's the price of the 64GB version. The upgrade comes in at a little over $100 - more than a reasonable premium if you can make the best of the LTE and the 2160p video. That makes the Mi 3 the budget option but the obvious underdog has enough going for it.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3 • Xiaomi Mi 4

As usual, we'll try to look beyond the dry specs and put things in perspective. Our side-by-side hardware comparison follows right after the break.

We would like to thank XiaomiShop.com for providing these review units.

Design and handling

The Xiaomi Mi 3 bets on a polycarbonate unibody, more than just a nod to the Nokia N9. The successor Xiaomi Mi 4 is a clear attempt at refinement, with a dash of metal in the mix, and manages to noticeably reduce the overall footprint.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3 next to Xiaomi Mi 4

Even though the Xiaomi Mi 4 has the same 5" display as the Mi 3, it's more compact, with visibly slimmer screen bezels. The Xiaomi Mi 4 measures 139.2 x 68.5 x 8.9mm - half a centimeter shorter and narrower than the Mi 3. The Xiaomi Mi 4 has gained some weight compared to the Mi 3 (to a total of 149 grams). It's only 4 grams worth of a difference, hardly anything you'd notice, but the solid feel is there.

The Xiaomi Mi 3 is more subtle in its interpretation of the original and looks and feels like the flagship device it is. One you will easily pick up in whatever lineup of devices you are asked to choose from. It is well-made and likeable, thoughtfully designed with usability and style in mind. Its rear finish is smudge-proof unlike the Mi 4's glossy back. The pitch black front contributes to the premium feel. You can barely see where the IPS display ends and the frame begins.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3

Xiaomi took a U-turn with the Mi 4 design, dropping the polycarbonate unibody in favor of a metal frame with flat sides a la iPhone 5s, complete with a rear cover that's hard but not impossible to remove. There are as many as 17 clips holding it tightly in place and you would need a small suction cup to pull it open.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 4

Depending on where you reside, you might have an option to purchase some extra rear covers for the Mi 4, which have the texture of wood, marble, bamboo, textile or leather. Those will definitely made your Mi 4 look unique compared to whatever smartphone you place it next to. Unfortunately, details are sketchy on the markets where those will be available.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

The additional rear covers Xiaomi is offering (click to enlarge)

Xiaomi sticks to the old-school capacitive control deck below the display thus not sacrificing screen real estate. Both phones have the older arrangement with Menu, Home and Back keys.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 capacitive controls

The Xiaomi Mi 3 features a 2MP front-facing camera, enough for HD video chatting. The Xiaomi Mi 4 makes a splash with an 8MP wide f/1.8 front facer with much higher image quality.

The left side of the Mi 3 is bare, while the Mi 4 has the microSIM slot there requiring a SIM ejector pin to open.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

What's on the left: Mi 3 is completely bare, Mi 4 has the microSIM slot

The Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 have identical right sides - there we find the volume rocker and the power/lock key.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

The volume rocker and the power/lock key are on the right

At the top, the Xiaomi Mi 3 has a 3.5mm audio jack, a secondary microphone and a miniSIM tray. Moving on to the bottom, we spot the microUSB port right next to a huge grille hiding the loudspeaker and the primary microphone.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

A peek at the top and bottom of the Xiaomi Mi 3

The Mi 4 also has the 3.5mm audio jack up top but only an IR blaster next to it which can, with the right app, turn your Xiaomi Mi 4 into a universal remote. The bottom is where the microUSB port, the primary mic and the loudspeaker grille are.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

A peek at the top and bottom of the Xiaomi Mi 4

Around back, the Xiaomi Mi 3 has a 13MP camera lens and dual LED flash. The Xiaomi Mi 4 offers a 13MP camera as well but with a F/1.8 aperture (as opposed to F/2.2)and a single-LED flash.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

The 13MP cameras on the back of the Mi 3 and Mi 4

Both batteries are non-removable. The Xiaomi Mi 3 has a unibody shell and you have no access to the battery whatsoever. On the Mi 4 you can eventually undo the rear cover and see the battery, but it turned out glued in place and we didn't dare pry it away to see whether it's soldered or not.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Removing Xiaomi Mi 4's rear cover

Winner: Xiaomi Mi 3. Never mind is slightly larger footprint, we just like it better. The Mi 3 is way more subtle in its impersonation, while the Mi 4 is trying too hard to be iPhone-like. The exchangeable rear covers are a point in favor and a replaceable battery would've tipped the scales the other way for sure. At the end of the day though, the Xiaomi Mi 3 is the better looking device, with smudge-proof finish and Gorilla Glass 3.

Displays

Both the Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 use 5" IPS displays of identical 1080p resolution and a standard RGB matrix.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Although identical in specs and pixel arrangement, the screens posted different image quality and sunlight legibility results.

The display on the Xiaomi Mi 3 is bright enough at 100% with good contrast and colors. Unfortunately, dropping the brightness reduces the contrast and the screen becomes quite dim, which may as well mean the brightness scrubber isn't precise enough.

To make it worse, the screen brightness is quite uneven, with the backlight source pretty visible at the top. When you have a white page opened on screen you can easily notice the gradual brightness falloff from top to bottom. On the positive side, that's only visible with a full-on white or gray screen - in any other case it's barely visible.

The display on the Xiaomi Mi 4 has a higher maximum brightness level in comparison, while retaining the same good contrast and colors. The Mi 4's screen backlighting is much more consistent, too.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Xiaomi Mi 3 0.18 142 809 0.61 557 907
Xiaomi Mi 4 0.17 164 940 0.73 679 929
Samsung Galaxy S5 274 529
Samsung Galaxy S4 201 404
LG G2 0.1 149 1522 0.45 667 1495
LG G3 0.14 109 763 0.72 570 789
Sony Xperia Z2 - - - 0.41 488 1195
Sony Xperia Z1 - - - 0.38 580 1513
Apple iPhone 5s 0.14 163 1145 0.49 596 1219
HTC One (M8) 0.2 245 1219 0.46 577 1256
HTC One (E8) 0.2 250 1268 0.51 615 1208


The sunlight legibility of the Xiaomi Mi 3's display isn't great, but the _phone_ is reasonably usable outdoors. The sunlight legibility has been notably improved on the Mi 4 and the display performs admirably outdoors.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Winner: Xiaomi Mi 4. While its size and resolution are the same as on the Mi 3, the image quality and performance in varying conditions is clearly superior.

Connectivity

Both phones are powered by Qualcomm chipsets and enjoy the rich connectivity benefits that come with it. There's quad-band 3G each with 42.2Mbps of download and 5.76Mbps of upload speed courtesy of HSPA. The Mi 3 omits LTE, while the Xiaomi Mi enjoys the fastest mobile data around with Cat. 4 LTE (up to 150Mbps down and 50Mbps up).

Local connections are blazing fast as well thanks to dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac (a/b/g/n are supported too). Bluetooth 4.0 is available for connecting with accessories including low-power devices like wearables.

NFC is available only on the Xiaomi Mi 3. Xiaomi research found less than 1% of its users actually use NFC, explaining its absence on the latest Mi 4.

On the other hand, the Xiaomi Mi 4 comes with an IR blaster. With the right application you can turn your Xiaomi Mi 4 into a universal remote control for many household appliances.

Wired connectivity is where the two flagships differ even more. While both support USB OTG, the Xiaomi Mi 4 has an MHL-enabled microUSB 2.0 port, which means it can, with the right adapter, output HD video.

Both the Mi 3 and Mi 4 feature an FM radio.

Winner: Xiaomi Mi 4. We can forgive the lack of NFC - Xiaomi did make up for it with blazing fast LTE connectivity, an MHL-enabled USB port and an IR blaster. The Mi 3 looks like the right chioce in regions with no 4G network but you should consider the absence of a wired TV-out option.

Battery life

The Xiaomi Mi 4 goes in this round with a tiniest of advantages - it's powered by a 3,080mAh battery, compared to the 3,050mAh unit in the Xiaomi Mi 3. Both phones will last just shy of three full days on a single battery charge, based on our custom test. The Xiaomi Mi 4 managed 2 hours more in terms of overall rating - the slim margin shouldn't be surprising, with both phones running KitKat.

Where the Xiaomi Mi 4 turned out clearly superior is 3G talk times. The latest flagship scored a little over 18 hours, almost 5 hours more than its predecessor.

Talk time

  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    28:34h
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    26:53h
  • LG G3
    25:54h
  • Samsung P6800 Galaxy Tab 7.7
    25:45h
  • LG G Pro 2
    25:37h
  • LG G Flex
    25:19h
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    25:16h
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    25:12h
  • Alcatel Hero
    25:02h
  • Oppo N1
    25:01h
  • LG G2
    25:01h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    24:52h
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    24:23h
  • Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    22:42h
  • Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
    22:16h
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    22:13h
  • HTC One Max
    22:13h
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    22:13h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core LTE
    22:13h
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    22:13h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    21:20h
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    21:18h
  • LG Optimus G Pro E985
    20:45h
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    20:42h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    20:24h
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    20:07h
  • Oppo Find 7
    20:03h
  • HTC One (M8)
    20:01h
  • BlackBerry Q10
    20:00h
  • OnePlus One
    19:56h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    19:55h
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
    19:54h
  • Sony Xperia SP
    19:49h
  • Sony Xperia T3
    19:48h
  • HTC Butterfly S
    19:14h
  • Oppo R819
    19:03h
  • Asus PadFone X
    18:45h
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    18:15h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    18:12h
  • LG G2 mini
    18:11h
  • Oppo Find 7a
    18:11h
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    18:03h
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    17:48h
  • HTC One (E8)
    17:47h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    16:57h
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    16:56h
  • Samsung Ativ Odyssey I930
    16:41h
  • Sony Xperia M2
    16:40h
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    16:40h
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    16:40h
  • LG Nexus 5
    16:40h
  • Motorola Moto E Dual SIM
    16:38h
  • Motorola Moto E
    16:38h
  • Sony Xperia Z
    16:03h
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    16:01h
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    15:32h
  • LG Optimus G E975
    15:30h
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    15:22h
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    15:17h
  • HTC Desire 816
    14:46h
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    14:46h
  • BlackBerry Q5
    14:31h
  • Pantech Discover
    14:17h
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    14:17h
  • Oppo Find 5
    14:17h
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    14:17h
  • LG Nexus 4 E960
    14:17h
  • Nokia Lumia Icon
    14:15h
  • Motorola Moto G
    13:41h
  • HTC One
    13:38h
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    13:36h
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    13:33h
  • HTC One X+
    13:31h
  • Sony Xperia C
    13:29h
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    13:28h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    13:20h
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    13:20h
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    13:10h
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    13:00h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand I9082
    12:45h
  • LG Optimus GJ E975W
    12:39h
  • HTC First
    12:31h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR M
    12:31h
  • Sony Xperia M
    12:31h
  • Sony Xperia L
    12:30h
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    12:30h
  • Nokia Lumia 928
    12:27h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    12:18h
  • HTC Butterfly
    12:18h
  • Samsung Galaxy S III I747
    12:18h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note N7000
    12:14h
  • HTC One mini
    12:04h
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    11:58h
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    11:58h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core I8260
    11:52h
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    11:32h
  • HTC Desire 500
    11:31h
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier I9260
    11:30h
  • HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE
    11:25h
  • Asus PadFone 2
    11:20h
  • Nokia X
    11:13h
  • HTC DROID DNA
    11:07h
  • Samsung S8600 Wave 3
    11:07h
  • LG Optimus L9 P760
    11:07h
  • HTC One SV
    11:07h
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    11:07h
  • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
    11:06h
  • HTC Desire X
    11:03h
  • Meizu MX3
    11:02h
  • Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4
    11:01h
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    10:46h
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    10:18h
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    10:15h
  • Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover 2
    10:03h
  • Samsung Galaxy Express I8730
    10:00h
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    10:00h
  • HTC One V
    10:00h
  • HTC One mini 2
    09:58h
  • HTC One X
    9:57h
  • HTC One S
    9:42h
  • HTC One S C2
    9:42h
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    9:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    9:32h
  • HTC Sensation XL
    9:30h
  • Sony Xperia J
    9:14h
  • Nokia Lumia 810
    9:05h
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    9:05h
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    9:05h
  • Motorola ATRIX HD MB886
    9:04h
  • HTC Vivid
    9:02h
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    8:56h
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    8:51h
  • HTC Rhyme
    8:48h
  • Apple iPhone 5
    8:42h
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    8:42h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    8:41h
  • Meizu MX
    8:39h
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    8:35h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos S7562
    8:28h
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    8:25h
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250
    8:23h
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    8:22h
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame S6810
    8:21h
  • BlackBerry Z10
    8:20h
  • Samsung i927 Captivate Glide
    8:20h
  • Sony Xperia T
    8:15h
  • HTC Rezound
    8:10h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note I717
    8:02h
  • LG Optimus Vu F100S
    7:57h
  • Apple iPhone 4s
    7:41h
  • LG Optimus 4X HD P880
    7:41h
  • Samsung Focus S I937
    7:25h
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    7:21h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G T769
    7:14h
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    7:09h
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    7:09h
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    7:09h
  • Nokia N9
    6:57h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia pro
    6:57h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos S6802
    6:53h
  • HTC Radar
    6:53h
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    6:52h
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    6:42h
  • Sony Xperia E
    6:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500
    6:28h
  • Samsung I8190 Galaxy S III mini
    6:22h
  • Sony Xperia P
    5:58h
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket S5300
    5:54h
  • Nokia Lumia 900 AT&T
    5:53h
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    5:52h
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    5:16h
  • LG Nitro HD
    5:16h
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    5:00h
  • Pantech Burst
    4:46h

The Mi 4 did better at web browsing too, outlasting the Mi 3 by an hour and a half. With 9 and a half hours, the Xiaomi Mi 4 ranks among the best smartphones we've tested to date.

Web browsing

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    13:14h
  • Sony Xperia C
    12:45h
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    12:40h
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    12:37h
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    12:30h
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    12:17h
  • HTC Desire 816
    11:48h
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    11:32h
  • LG G2
    11:22h
  • HTC One Max
    11:20h
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    11:20h
  • HTC Butterfly S
    11:07h
  • Asus PadFone X
    11:07h
  • LG G2 mini
    11:02h
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    10:58h
  • BlackBerry Q5
    10:04h
  • HTC One (E8)
    10:02h
  • HTC One
    9:58h
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    9:58h
  • Apple iPhone 5
    9:56h
  • Samsung Ativ Odyssey I930
    9:54h
  • Sony Xperia M2
    9:48h
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    9:47h
  • OnePlus One
    9:46h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    9:43h
  • Alcatel Hero
    9:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core LTE
    9:37h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    9:36h
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    9:31h
  • LG G Pro 2
    9:31h
  • LG G Flex
    9:31h
  • Sony Xperia T3
    9:23h
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE
    9:16h
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    9:12h
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    9:10h
  • HTC One (M8)
    9:06h
  • Oppo N1
    9:05h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    9:05h
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    9:05h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    9:04h
  • Motorola Moto G
    9:04h
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    8:51h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    8:48h
  • BlackBerry Q10
    8:42h
  • Motorola Moto E Dual SIM
    8:42h
  • Motorola Moto E
    8:42h
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    8:25h
  • Asus PadFone 2
    8:20h
  • Nokia Lumia 810
    8:20h
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    8:17h
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
    8:17h
  • HTC One mini
    8:12h
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    8:04h
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    8:01h
  • HTC One X+
    7:56h
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    7:54h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    7:43h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR M
    7:42h
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    7:42h
  • Samsung I8190 Galaxy S III mini
    7:38h
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    7:37h
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    7:35h
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    7:24h
  • Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
    7:23h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    7:23h
  • HTC Radar
    7:17h
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    7:15h
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    7:13h
  • LG Optimus GJ E975W
    7:11h
  • Oppo Find 7a
    7:09h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand I9082
    7:09h
  • Sony Xperia M
    7:09h
  • Meizu MX3
    7:09h
  • Samsung Galaxy Express I8730
    7:09h
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    7:06h
  • Sony Xperia J
    7:06h
  • Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4
    6:58h
  • Apple iPhone 4s
    6:56h
  • Samsung P6800 Galaxy Tab 7.7
    6:54h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core I8260
    6:54h
  • HTC One V
    6:49h
  • LG G3
    6:40h
  • LG Optimus G Pro E985
    6:40h
  • Sony Xperia L
    6:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier I9260
    6:40h
  • HTC DROID DNA
    6:40h
  • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
    6:40h
  • Motorola ATRIX HD MB886
    6:40h
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    6:40h
  • Sony Xperia E
    6:40h
  • HTC First
    6:39h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    6:38h
  • Sony Xperia Z
    6:37h
  • Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover 2
    6:35h
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    6:34h
  • HTC One mini 2
    06:33h
  • HTC Desire 500
    6:31h
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    6:30h
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    6:27h
  • BlackBerry Z10
    6:27h
  • HTC Butterfly
    6:24h
  • Sony Xperia SP
    6:18h
  • Samsung Galaxy S III I747
    6:16h
  • HTC One SV
    6:15h
  • Samsung Focus S I937
    6:15h
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    6:13h
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    6:04h
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500
    6:03h
  • Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    6:02h
  • Oppo R819
    6:01h
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    6:01h
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    5:59h
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    5:56h
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame S6810
    5:55h
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    5:53h
  • Pantech Burst
    5:51h
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    5:50h
  • HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE
    5:48h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G T769
    5:45h
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    5:40h
  • Nokia Lumia 928
    5:36h
  • Samsung S8600 Wave 3
    5:34h
  • Pantech Discover
    5:33h
  • Oppo Find 5
    5:33h
  • Samsung i927 Captivate Glide
    5:33h
  • Sony Xperia T
    5:33h
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    5:28h
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    5:25h
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    5:24h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note I717
    5:24h
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    5:23h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos S7562
    5:23h
  • HTC Sensation XL
    5:20h
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5:19h
  • Nokia Lumia Icon
    5:17h
  • HTC Desire X
    5:16h
  • HTC Rezound
    5:16h
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    5:16h
  • LG Optimus G E975
    5:15h
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    5:10h
  • HTC Rhyme
    5:08h
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    5:07h
  • Oppo Find 7
    5:02h
  • LG Optimus L9 P760
    5:02h
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    4:57h
  • Nokia X
    4:55h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia pro
    4:50h
  • LG Optimus Vu F100S
    4:49h
  • LG Nexus 5
    4:46h
  • HTC Vivid
    4:46h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos S6802
    4:45h
  • Meizu MX
    4:35h
  • LG Nexus 4 E960
    4:34h
  • Nokia N9
    4:33h
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    4:32h
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    4:24h
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    4:24h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    4:20h
  • HTC One X
    4:18h
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4:14h
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    4:10h
  • Nokia Lumia 900 AT&T
    4:10h
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    4:07h
  • HTC One S
    4:03h
  • HTC One S C2
    4:03h
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    4:02h
  • LG Nitro HD
    4:00h
  • LG Optimus 4X HD P880
    3:59h
  • Sony Xperia P
    3:59h
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    3:51h
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    3:50h
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket S5300
    3:47h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note N7000
    3:35h
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    3:23h
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250
    3:01h

Finally, the Xiaomi Mi 3 had its chance to shine in our video playback test. It did nearly 9 and a half hours before its battery went down to the critical 10%. The Xiaomi Mi 4 managed just 7 hours.

Video playback

  • LG G Flex
    19:57h
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    16:35h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    14:17h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    13:32h
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    13:12h
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    13:12h
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    13:12h
  • HTC One Max
    13:11h
  • Sony Xperia C
    12:53h
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier I9260
    12:51h
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    12:31h
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    12:30h
  • BlackBerry Q5
    12:28h
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    12:18h
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    12:16h
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE
    12:10h
  • LG G2
    11:51h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    11:38h
  • Samsung P6800 Galaxy Tab 7.7
    11:37h
  • Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4
    11:29h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    11:27h
  • OnePlus One
    11:23h
  • HTC One (E8)
    11:16h
  • Oppo N1
    11:15h
  • BlackBerry Q10
    11:15h
  • HTC One (M8)
    11:14h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    11:05h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    11:02h
  • Asus PadFone X
    11:01h
  • HTC Desire 816
    10:34h
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    10:31h
  • LG G2 mini
    10:23h
  • Apple iPhone 5
    10:12h
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    10:08h
  • Sony Xperia M2
    10:04h
  • HTC First
    10:03h
  • HTC One
    10:02h
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    10:01h
  • Samsung Galaxy Express I8730
    10:00h
  • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
    10:00h
  • LG G3
    9:57h
  • Sony Xperia T3
    9:56h
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    9:53h
  • Alcatel Hero
    9:49h
  • Sony Xperia M
    9:49h
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    9:42h
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    9:34h
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    9:30h
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    9:28h
  • HTC One S
    9:28h
  • HTC One S C2
    9:28h
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    9:27h
  • Apple iPhone 4s
    9:24h
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500
    9:22h
  • Oppo Find 7a
    9:19h
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    9:17h
  • HTC Butterfly S
    9:03h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR M
    9:00h
  • Sony Xperia E
    9:00h
  • Samsung Ativ Odyssey I930
    8:59h
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    8:45h
  • BlackBerry Z10
    8:44h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    8:41h
  • LG Optimus G Pro E985
    8:40h
  • Nokia N9
    8:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
    8:34h
  • HTC Butterfly
    8:28h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note N7000
    8:25h
  • LG Optimus GJ E975W
    8:15h
  • Samsung Galaxy S III I747
    8:14h
  • HTC One X+
    8:11h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand I9082
    8:11h
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    8:11h
  • Sony Xperia J
    8:11h
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    8:10h
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    8:05h
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    8:00h
  • Samsung Focus S I937
    7:55h
  • Samsung S8600 Wave 3
    7:52h
  • HTC Desire 500
    7:50h
  • Samsung I8190 Galaxy S III mini
    7:46h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    7:45h
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    7:41h
  • Asus PadFone 2
    7:38h
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    7:38h
  • Nokia Lumia Icon
    7:34h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G T769
    7:33h
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    7:30h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core I8260
    7:30h
  • HTC DROID DNA
    7:30h
  • Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover 2
    7:30h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note I717
    7:30h
  • Sony Xperia SP
    7:27h
  • HTC One mini
    7:23h
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    7:23h
  • LG Optimus G E975
    7:16h
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    7:06h
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    7:03h
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    7:00h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    6:55h
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    6:55h
  • HTC One SV
    6:55h
  • Pantech Discover
    6:55h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    6:54h
  • Nokia Lumia 928
    6:54h
  • HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE
    6:51h
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    6:49h
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    6:43h
  • Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
    6:40h
  • Motorola Moto G
    6:37h
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    6:37h
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    6:33h
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    6:32h
  • Motorola Moto E Dual SIM
    6:31h
  • Motorola Moto E
    6:31h
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    6:27h
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    6:27h
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    6:26h
  • Nokia Lumia 810
    6:26h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos S6802
    6:25h
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    6:25h
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    6:23h
  • LG Optimus Vu F100S
    6:23h
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    6:21h
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    6:19h
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    6:12h
  • HTC Sensation XL
    6:12h
  • Nokia X
    6:10h
  • LG Nexus 5
    6:06h
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket S5300
    6:06h
  • HTC One mini 2
    06:05h
  • Samsung i927 Captivate Glide
    6:04h
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    6:03h
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    6:02h
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250
    6:02h
  • Motorola ATRIX HD MB886
    6:01h
  • Sony Xperia T
    6:01h
  • HTC Vivid
    6:00h
  • Oppo Find 7
    5:58h
  • HTC Radar
    5:54h
  • Oppo R819
    5:54h
  • LG Optimus L9 P760
    5:53h
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    5:52h
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    5:50h
  • LG G Pro 2
    5:49h
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    5:48h
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    5:47h
  • HTC One X
    5:45h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia pro
    5:44h
  • Sony Xperia Z
    5:39h
  • Meizu MX3
    5:38h
  • Pantech Burst
    5:38h
  • HTC Desire X
    5:38h
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    5:38h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core LTE
    5:34h
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    5:28h
  • Meizu MX
    5:27h
  • HTC Rhyme
    5:23h
  • HTC One V
    5:20h
  • Oppo Find 5
    5:18h
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    5:18h
  • Nokia Lumia 900 AT&T
    5:18h
  • Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    5:16h
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    5:15h
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    5:09h
  • HTC Rezound
    5:03h
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame S6810
    5:02h
  • LG Nexus 4 E960
    4:55h
  • Sony Xperia L
    4:44h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos S7562
    4:30h
  • Sony Xperia P
    4:30h
  • LG Nitro HD
    4:17h
  • LG Optimus 4X HD P880
    4:14h
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    3:28h
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    3:27h

It was pretty much a tied game in terms of standby, the Xiaomi Mi 4 getting a couple of hours' worth of an edge.

Overall, both phones got an overall battery rating that's just a few hours short of three days in our custom test case involving an hour each of 3G calls, web browsing and video playback a day.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Winner: Xiaomi Mi 4, but just. The difference in overall rating may as well be disregarded but the Mi 4 bagged wins in three out of the four individual tests.

User interface

Both the Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 run Android 4.4 KitKat with absolutely identical MIUI v5 launchers. The MIUI ROMs have been around for quite a while and are fairly popular among the Android community. Xiaomi's customizations run very deep, as far as getting rid of the app drawer and placing all available apps on the homescreen.

On top of that, Google's apps and services are replaced by their Chinese equivalents (more likely if you get a Mi 4, the Mi 3 is already available with a familiar software setup). Either way, the Play Store is no big deal to install, so you'll get your phone in shape in no time.

Xiaomi has already announced the new MIUI v.6. It brings a complete UI overhaul with flat looks, and updated system apps. It should become available on the Xiaomi Mi lineup later this year.

Here come our traditional UI walkthroughs to get you warmed up.

As we said there are no differences in both phones in terms of software packages. The Google Services are not available on the Xiaomi Mi phones that sell in China but those can be installed. Xiaomi has a different policy about preinstalling the Google services for the different markets so future regional versions will probably come with Google services preinstalled. Right now the Mi 4 is only sold in China so we had to install those manually on our review unit.

The lockscreen looks very familiar and we've already seen similar in Huawei's Emotion UI. There is centered circle with shortcuts in the four cardinal directions: a simple unlock to the South, start the camera to the North, messaging is to the East and the dialer/call log is to the West.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

The MIUI v5 lockscreen

Beyond the lockscreen is the Android homescreen with four customizable shortcuts docked at the bottom, but you can dock up to five items. You can have any app there or even folders with multiple items.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

The MIUI homescreens • there is no app drawer

There is no app drawer - anything you install pops up on your unlimited number of homescreens. There're no shortcuts and the usual routine of removing icons (dragging them up to a recycle bin at the top of the screen) will uninstall the corresponding app. The thing is fool-proof and you can't accidentally uninstall essential apps like the gallery or email client.

Homescreen widgets are available, too - tap and hold on the homescreen, then choose Widgets. Of course, you can get third party widgets from the Play Store. By the way, Xiaomi's proprietary Search widget does a similar job as iOS's Spotlight system-wide search.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

MIUI's Search widget

Homescreen effects are available from the customization menu. You can change themes, too. A theme will change your homescreen wallpaper, lockscreen style, system icons, system font and the sound profile.

The notification area has two tabs - the first one holds all notifications, while the second is a 4x4 grid of toggles. You can add, remove and rearrange toggles. The Quick Settings tab is the one that opens by default unless you have unread notifications. Nice touch though we saw some people get confused by this fact.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Toggles • Notifications • Expandable notifications

As far as the smart assistants are concerned - you can either opt for the familiar Google Now (you can install Google Search if it is no available by default) or you can launch Xiaomi's proprietary Voice Assistant. The latter looks a lot like Siri in both user interface and functionality, but unfortunately works only in Chinese and we couldn't test it as our Chinese is a bit... well, rusty.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi's Assist

Winner: Tie. The software builds are absolutely identical.

Performance

Performance

The Xiaomi Mi 4 is powered by the latest version of the Snapdragon 801 chipset (MSM8974AC) with a quad-core 2.5GHz Krait 400 processor, overclocked Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. The Mi 3 also has a Snapdragon 801 chipset (MSM8274AB), but its CPU clock is down to 2.3GHz, the Adreno 330 GPU clock is a bit lower too, and there's 2GB of RAM.

First, we ran the AnTuTu compound test, which in addition to the CPU calculations, throws in GPU and RAM routines, too. The Xiaomi Mi 4 gets an excellent mark here, just a tad better than the Mi 3.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • HTC One (M8)
    37009
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    36018
  • LG G2
    35444
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    35298
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    34972
  • Oppo Find 7a
    33344
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    33182

We tried out the anti-cheat version of the popular Basemark OS II benchmark and we found both devices don't use any tricks to climb up the score table. The overall ratings in this benchmark are the best we've seen to date, though the Mi 4 has again a small lead over the Mi 3.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    1324
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    1289
  • Oppo Find 7
    1212
  • HTC One (M8)
    1126
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    1082
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1080

The Xiaomi Mi 4 posted better results in both single and multi-core performance, probably because of the higher CPU clock.

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo Find 7
    2606
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2573
  • HTC One (M8)
    2428
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    2415
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2400
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    2253

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo Find 7
    10391
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    10063
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    10044
  • HTC One (M8)
    9860
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    9508
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    9007

The Adreno 330 is a popular GPU, available in both the Snapdragon 800 and Snapdragon 801 chipsets. It runs on a slightly higher frequency (28 MHz more) in the Xiaomi Mi 4, so we expected slightly better results than the Xiaomi Mi 3. The Mi 4 however turned out absolutely on par with its predecessor, as well as some of the S801-powered flagships out there such as the Galaxy S5, Xperia Z2, Find 7.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC One (M8)
    28.4
  • Oppo Find 7
    28
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    27.8
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    27.6
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    27.4
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    27.2

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC One (M8)
    30.1
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    28.7
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    28.2
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    28.2
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    28.1
  • Oppo Find 7
    19.9

The Open GL ES3.0 Manhattan test puts the Xiaomi Mi 4 among the best devices we've tested so far and it is once again on par with the Xiaomi Mi 3.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (801)
    11.8
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    11.7
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    11.6
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    11.6
  • HTC One (M8)
    11.1
  • Oppo Find 7
    11.1

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z2
    12.2
  • HTC One (M8)
    11.9
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    11.7
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    11.5
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    11.3
  • Oppo Find 7
    6.7

The BrowserMark 2.1 tests HTML 5 performance, while Mozilla's Kraken 1.1 is JavaScript-centric. The Xiaomi Mi 4 did slightly better on both.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (801)
    6043
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    6137
  • Oppo Find 7
    6363
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    6586
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    7041
  • HTC One (M8)
    10296

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Oppo Find 7
    1452
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    1398
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1224
  • HTC One (M8)
    1069
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    744
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    706

Winner: Tie. Going solely by benchmark numbers the Xiaomi Mi 4 narrowly won most tests, but the differences are too slim to notice in daily use.

Multimedia

We already mentioned the Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 use the same software builds, so their multimedia features are on par, too.

Both come with a custom Gallery app. It defaults to your camera roll with two shortcuts at the bottom that will take you to album view of your local images and album view of your cloud pictures. You can't change this view, nor can you customize the default folders.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Gallery

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

The MIUI music player is a custom app with a well-laid out, easy to navigate interface. It has a huge visualization screen doubling as a Now Playing windows. Below you get four non-customizable tabs - All Songs, Artists, Playlists and Online.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Music Player

The Online tab is where you pay for the Baidu Music service, which allows you to listen to their huge online track collection. Here you can also find various internet radio stations you can listen for free.

The player has cool 3D effects, transitions and transparent elements, especially on the expandable Now Playing section.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Now Playing screen • Equalizers

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 set.

Both phones have an FM receiver and supports radio recording. There is a sleep timer as well.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

FM radio app

Xiaomi's video player has very basic interface but rich video decoder support. Regardless of the device used, it managed to play everything we threw at it save for WMV files. The AC3 audio codec is supported too. Interestingly, the player won't list MKV files, but it can still play them hassle-free, if you access them from the file manager.

The video player, just like the music player, offers access to a paid video streaming services for movies and TV shows.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Video player

Winner: Tie.

Loudspeaker

The loudspeakers of both Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 are quiet, though the Mi 4's performance is even worse than the Mi 3. Both score Below Average marks on our test, though clearly the Xiaomi Mi 3 is louder than Mi 4.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Xiaomi Mi 4 62 62.1 66.6 Below Average
Xiaomi Mi 3 64.9 64.8 66.6 Below Average
Sony Xperia Z2 66.7 64.6 75.7 Average
Samsung Galaxy S5 66.9 66.6 75.7 Good
Oppo Find 7 69.8 70.3 75.8 Good
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 73.5 67.7 78.7 Very Good
OnePlus One 74.8 73.5 80.2 Excellent


Winner: Tie. 2 dB difference is really not enough for you to notice in real life usage.

Audio quality

Neither of the Xiaomi flagships did particularly well in our audio quality test. They both started struggling right from the first part where we tested them with an active external amplifier, showing below par volume levels and a few less than stellar scores.

Plugging in a pair of headphones lead to further degradation in the Mi 3 and Mi 4 and we ended up with less than great results. Still the Xiaomi Mi 4 managed to just edge this one with slightly better scores and a little higher volume. It's hardly a victory worth celebrating too long, though.

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Xiaomi Mi 4 +0.26, -0.77 -92.1 89.7 0.0020 0.054 -67.3
Xiaomi Mi 4 (headphones attached) +0.01, -0.52 -91.6 89.4 0.158 0.145 -49.7
Xiaomi Mi 3 +0.11, -1.52 -91.5 89.5 0.0037 0.359 -68.9
Xiaomi Mi 3 (headphones attached) +0.63, -1.01 -91.5 89.6 0.0092 0.365 -44.2

Xiaomi Mi 4 frequency response

Xiaomi Mi 4 frequency response

Xiaomi Mi 3 frequency response

Xiaomi Mi 3 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Winner: Tie.

Photo quality

Xiaomi Mi 3 and Xiaomi Mi 4 rely on Sony-made sensors with identical field of view. The only difference between the two cameras is the aperture size - Mi 3 is set at f/2.2, while the Mi 4 is wider at f/1.8. Theoretically this will help Mi 4 produce better quality pictures in shot in low-light conditions.

The flash of the Mi 4 has also been altered - instead of the dual-LED the Mi 3 features, the Mi 4 comes with a single-LED flash, but bigger in size.

Xiaomi Mi 3's camera resolves plenty of detail. The colors are somewhat oversaturated and the white balance sometimes is off, but overall, the Mi 3 image quality is great. The noise levels are a bit higher than we would have liked though.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3 camera samples

Just like the Mi 3, the Xiaomi Mi 4's camera resolves plenty of detail, color reproduction is accurate and the white balance is right most of the time. We noticed little oversharpening here and there (the street lamps), but not enough to ruin the great impressions. The noise levels are above what we'd call standard, higher than Mi 3's even at ISO 100, and that's especially noticeable in the shadows or in the sky.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 4 camera samples

Despite the higher noise levels, we would rate both the Xiaomi Mi 3 and Xiaomi Mi 4 cameras as excellent in daylight. We would pick the Mi 4's camera before the Mi 3 because of its more natural white balance, the Mi 3 prefers colder settings.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

We snapped a sample in low-light conditions and this is where the Xiaomi Mi 4 and its wider aperture really makes a difference. Both shooters use the same shutter speed, but Mi 4 ISO is lower because of the wider aperture and thus the quality of its sample is better. We should mention though that the Mi 4 autofocus in low-light scenes is often off, while the Mi 3 camera gets it right.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Low-light: Xiaomi Mi 3 • Xiaomi Mi 4

The HDR on both phones is conservative and rescues both the highlights and shadows without making the contrast too low.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3 HDR off • Xiaomi Mi 3 HDR on • Xiaomi Mi 4 HDR off • Xiaomi Mi 4 HDR on

Also, check out our Photo comparison tool that pits the two phones against each other.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 in our photo compare tool

Winner: Xiaomi Mi 4. The Mi 4 camera has an edge over the Mi 3 with the wider aperture and better white balance.

Video quality

This should be an easy match, unlike the still image quality. The Xiaomi Mi 4 supports 2160p and 1080p video capturing at 30 fps, plus it enable HDR mode in both resolotions. The 4K clips have a bitrate of around 40 Mbps, audio is captured at 96 Kbps with 2 channels (read stereo). The Full HD samples bitrate drops down to 15 Mbps, while keeping the audio quality the same.

The Xiaomi Mi 3 is limited to 1080p video recording only. The clips have a bitrate of around 15 Mbps, audio is captured at 96 Kbps with a sampling rate of 48 kHz with 2 channels (read stereo).

The detail levels in the Xiaomi Mi 3 videos are high, while colors are pretty good and the framerate very consistent at 29fps. Contrast and white balance are great too for some impressive footage overall.

The 4K videos taken with the Xiaomi Mi 4, even though recorded with such high bitrate, look somewhat soft and not as contrasty or clear as the 1080p videos. The colors look good but the white balance sometimes is off and you may need to tweak it manually.

On the other hand the detail levels in the 1080p videos are very high, colors and contrast are great too, while the framerate is very consistent at 30fps.

Xiaomi Mi 4 supports HDR videos in both 4K and 1080p recording modes, which is a first for a smartphone. Even though it rescues fine detail in the shadows and in the highlights, the HDR effect looks rather unnatural and we suggest you use it only in exceptional cases.

Check these HDR videos on YouTube:

The Xiaomi Mi 4 and Mi 3 are available it our video comparison too. There are plenty of 2160p and 1080p camcorders you can compare them with. The Mi 4 might perform average on 2160p mode, but it has proven to be among the best with great detail, colors, and contrast in the 1080p range, beating the Xiaomi Mi 3.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Xiaomi Mi 4 1080p and Xiaomi Mi 3 1080p in our Video quality comparison tool

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Xiaomi Mi 4 2160p in our Video quality comparison tool

These are some untouched samples of the Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4

Xiaomi Mi 3 1080p @ 30 fps video sample

1080p @ 30 fps video sample

2160p @ 30 fps video sample

Winner: Xiaomi Mi 4. It offers better video quality, HDR option and higher resolution 4K option.

Other apps and services

The Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 come with the feature-rich MIUI Browser. It does a great job browsing, supports downloads, there is a night mode, too. It is as fast as Chrome, but does not support Find on Page or copy text (only links). On the positive side, it has a built-in Reading mode, which lacks in Chrome. It enlarges the text font and strips away unneeded elements, leaving only the article you are reading in focus.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Mi Browser

Unfortunately, the MIUI Browser turned less capable of handling pressure - it couldn't handle our battery-test browsing script for more than three minutes without crashing.

That's why we suggest you install Chrome, at least as a backup, just in case you need to avoid crashes or you need to find something on a page. Plus it can sync with your Google account easily.

The MIUI v5 offers a great file managing app called Explorer, but there is no document viewer/editor pre-installed. There are plenty of free options in the Play Store (even ones made by Google), so this shouldn't pose a problem.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Explorer

Xiaomi provides its own app repository and cloud service for content syncing between devices. While the Mi Market somewhat mirrors the Play Store functionality, Mi Cloud is a different story.

Each Mi Cloud account is granted with 5GB of free storage. You can use it to backup contacts, messages, your entire gallery, call log, notes, settings, voice recordings, Browser content (history, tabs, webapp data) and your music library. Sounds familiar? Yes, indeed! Xiaomi's sync and backup service shares lots of similarities with the Apple iCloud. There is even a free Cloud Messaging option that allows Xiaomi users to exchange messages over the internet connection instead of being billed for SMS.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Configuring Mi Cloud and Cloud Messaging

Finally, if you signed in with your Mi Cloud account, you can opt for the Find device function - a handy feature in case you misplace your Xiaomi Mi or someone steals it.

Winner: Tie

Conclusion

For the record, these two phones are, officially, only available in China and the Asia Pacific. They can be purchased online and shipped to Europe hassle-free though and we think the build and features for the price will get enough people interested.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Priced below $400 and $500 (a few freebies thrown in the bundle as well, including a flip case and a car charger), these are viable alternatives to current flagships - most of which will fetch the same price in euro. That's the 64GB versions, mind you - the models with 16GB of inbuilt storage are well cheaper.

OK, you'll need to do your own math. Neither has a microSD slot, nor can they match the high-end features of rival flagships such as advanced sensors, waterproofing, QHD screens and such. Shipping costs will add $20 to $50 to the bill and getting your device serviced could be a hassle.

If it still comes in cheaper or you're in it for the novelty, Xiaomi will not disappoint. You can count on flagship-grade build quality, good looks and top-notch hardware, including capable cameras. There are downsides as well that some will even consider deal-breakers. For the sake of this comparison though we should note that the major disadvantages are shared, such as the lack of a microSD card slot and non-exchangeable batteries. The loudspeakers are generally quiet and the audio quality is good, but not great. We experienced some overheating too, the Xiaomi Mi 4 seemingly more affected.

Which one should you choose then? Strange though it may sound, if you only have enough for the 16GB version, the Mi 3 looks like the better option. With this much storage, the last thing you need is heavy video files of ridiculously high resolution. If there's no 4G network where you live, it's a no brainer. Not least, the Mi 3 has the more sensible (and equally premium) design and is no worse performer - you're welcome to give those benchmarks another look.

Xiaomi Mi 3

Xiaomi Mi 3

The Mi 4 on the other hand has enough to offer upgraders - especially if you have a use for LTE connectivity and 4K videos. If the 64GB version is within reach and you can tap into a 4G network, the Mi 4 is making a lot of sense. Plus, a heavy multitasker will at the very least find extra reassurance in those 3GB of RAM. The exchangeable rear covers are a nice little touch, along with the IR blaster and the high-res selfie camera.

Xiaomi Mi 4

Xiaomi Mi 4

We'll say it again, with the Mi 4 so keen to emulate the iPhone, you risk having your reasons questioned. Maybe it's pure luck that the Mi 3 is simply following a less popular example. Anyway, the bottom line is you'll be getting value for your money whichever you choose. And although the price is always an important factor, it's by far not the biggest virtue here. Xiaomi did well two generations in a row - a Chinese maker to definitely keep an eye on.

Design and handling

The Xiaomi Mi 3 bets on a polycarbonate unibody, more than just a nod to the Nokia N9. The successor Xiaomi Mi 4 is a clear attempt at refinement, with a dash of metal in the mix, and manages to noticeably reduce the overall footprint.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3 next to Xiaomi Mi 4

Even though the Xiaomi Mi 4 has the same 5" display as the Mi 3, it's more compact, with visibly slimmer screen bezels. The Xiaomi Mi 4 measures 139.2 x 68.5 x 8.9mm - half a centimeter shorter and narrower than the Mi 3. The Xiaomi Mi 4 has gained some weight compared to the Mi 3 (to a total of 149 grams). It's only 4 grams worth of a difference, hardly anything you'd notice, but the solid feel is there.

The Xiaomi Mi 3 is more subtle in its interpretation of the original and looks and feels like the flagship device it is. One you will easily pick up in whatever lineup of devices you are asked to choose from. It is well-made and likeable, thoughtfully designed with usability and style in mind. Its rear finish is smudge-proof unlike the Mi 4's glossy back. The pitch black front contributes to the premium feel. You can barely see where the IPS display ends and the frame begins.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3

Xiaomi took a U-turn with the Mi 4 design, dropping the polycarbonate unibody in favor of a metal frame with flat sides a la iPhone 5s, complete with a rear cover that's hard but not impossible to remove. There are as many as 17 clips holding it tightly in place and you would need a small suction cup to pull it open.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 4

Depending on where you reside, you might have an option to purchase some extra rear covers for the Mi 4, which have the texture of wood, marble, bamboo, textile or leather. Those will definitely made your Mi 4 look unique compared to whatever smartphone you place it next to. Unfortunately, details are sketchy on the markets where those will be available.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

The additional rear covers Xiaomi is offering (click to enlarge)

Xiaomi sticks to the old-school capacitive control deck below the display thus not sacrificing screen real estate. Both phones have the older arrangement with Menu, Home and Back keys.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 capacitive controls

The Xiaomi Mi 3 features a 2MP front-facing camera, enough for HD video chatting. The Xiaomi Mi 4 makes a splash with an 8MP wide f/1.8 front facer with much higher image quality.

The left side of the Mi 3 is bare, while the Mi 4 has the microSIM slot there requiring a SIM ejector pin to open.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

What's on the left: Mi 3 is completely bare, Mi 4 has the microSIM slot

The Xiaomi Mi 3 and Mi 4 have identical right sides - there we find the volume rocker and the power/lock key.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

The volume rocker and the power/lock key are on the right

At the top, the Xiaomi Mi 3 has a 3.5mm audio jack, a secondary microphone and a miniSIM tray. Moving on to the bottom, we spot the microUSB port right next to a huge grille hiding the loudspeaker and the primary microphone.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

A peek at the top and bottom of the Xiaomi Mi 3

The Mi 4 also has the 3.5mm audio jack up top but only an IR blaster next to it which can, with the right app, turn your Xiaomi Mi 4 into a universal remote. The bottom is where the microUSB port, the primary mic and the loudspeaker grille are.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

A peek at the top and bottom of the Xiaomi Mi 4

Around back, the Xiaomi Mi 3 has a 13MP camera lens and dual LED flash. The Xiaomi Mi 4 offers a 13MP camera as well but with a F/1.8 aperture (as opposed to F/2.2)and a single-LED flash.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4
Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

The 13MP cameras on the back of the Mi 3 and Mi 4

Both batteries are non-removable. The Xiaomi Mi 3 has a unibody shell and you have no access to the battery whatsoever. On the Mi 4 you can eventually undo the rear cover and see the battery, but it turned out glued in place and we didn't dare pry it away to see whether it's soldered or not.

Xiaomi Mi3 vs. Mi4

Removing Xiaomi Mi 4's rear cover

Winner: Xiaomi Mi 3. Never mind is slightly larger footprint, we just like it better. The Mi 3 is way more subtle in its impersonation, while the Mi 4 is trying too hard to be iPhone-like. The exchangeable rear covers are a point in favor and a replaceable battery would've tipped the scales the other way for sure. At the end of the day though, the Xiaomi Mi 3 is the better looking device, with smudge-proof finish and Gorilla Glass 3.