Xiaomi Mi 4i, the latest offering from the Chinese brand, has brought it right back into the reckoning in India, even as Asus launched its Zenfone 2 series that offer an equally compelling choice for those in search of a powerful, mid-range phone.
The Mi4i, though not as revolutionary a device as the Mi3 was, is India’s cheapest full-HD LTE-enabled device. Close on its heels is the Zenfone 2 with Intel Z3560 processor, priced at Rs 14,999 and also launched today.
These will compete with the existing Huawei Honor 6, priced at Rs 17,990, and the OnePlus One, priced at Rs 18,998.
These comparisons give an idea of how much value the Xiaomi Mi 4i and Zenfone 2 offer.
Still, on the other side, Xiaomi’s latest pricing also reveals that the company has no magic wand to ensure low prices. For example, the Lenovo A7000 has got a comparable, or even better processor – Mediatek MT6752m – compared to the Snapdragon 615 chipset found Mi 4i. The Snapdragon 615 octa-core is decidedly mid-market, and is also found in the Rs 8,999 Yu Yureka.
The other new entry, Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551, also comes with a full HD display and a much more powerful Intel Atom Z3560 processor and 2 GB of RAM. It is priced at Rs 14,999.
For those on the lookout for a powerful phone, it might be worth shelling out the extra Rs 2,000 and buying the Asus phone instead of the Xiaomi model.
The Zenphone 2 ZE551 is actually as powerful as some of the top phones in India right now – such as the Galaxy S5 and OnePlus One, priced in the Rs 20,000-30,000 range.
For those on a tight budget, the Yu Yureka and Lenovo A7000 are identical to the Mi 4i except for the displays.
However, the visual difference between a 720p display and a 1080p display is enormous — and should help Mi 4i and Zenfone retain their appeal over Lenovo and Micromax models in the short term.
The biggest risk for Xiaomi would be that Lenovo could bring out a full HD competitor in the Rs 11,000 price range soon, and so could Yu, in the form of Yuphoria. When they are out, the 4i would again face competition just like the Mi4 did.
Still, right now, as the cheapest full-HD LTE phones in India, the Xiaomi and Asus models offer tremendous value to phone users in India. While power users can opt for the Asus model, those in search of style and whose use-case is that of the normal user can opt for the Xiaomi model.