New Xiaomi Mi 4 smartphone takes its design cues from the iPhone

Xiaomi logoXiaomi is one of the biggest phone makers in China and is often called the "Apple of China" by the western press. The moniker is well-deserved, as the CEO has a penchant for doing product announcements wearing jeans and a black shirt and using Apple's trademark "One More Thing" surprise at the end of a show.

Today, the company announced the Xiaomi Mi 4, a new version of its flagship smartphone. The spec rundown is a 5-inch 1080p IPS LCD, 2.5Ghz Snapdragon 801 chipset, 3GB RAM, 13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, and a 3080mAh battery. The real kicker is the price, 1,999 Yuan (about $320) for 16GB of storage, or 2,499 Yuan (about $400) for the 64GB version. The specs are similar to the OnePlus One—a 5.5-inch device for $300—and while the Mi 4 is slightly more expensive, the difference is that you can actually buy the Xiaomi device if you live in China.

And sure enough, Xiaomi is still taking inspiration from its western role model, as the Mi 4 looks like a big iPhone. A segmented metal band with chamfered edges surrounds the phone, and it even uses a similar earpiece design. The rest of the outside is plastic, but for the new version Xiaomi says it has incorporated a stainless steel frame into the device.

Xiaomi Mi 4

The Mi 4 runs Android 4.4.2, but like all Xiaomi devices, it uses the MIUI skin, one of the most heavily customized versions of Android out there. MIUI has an entirely different interface from stock Android, and many areas of it seem inspired by iOS.

While the front looks like an iPhone, the back appears to have a bit of a Samsung influence. One rather unique aspect of the design is the removable back plate, and Xiaomi sells replacements with several different looks.

The 3G version is out in China on July 29, with the LTE version coming out some time in September. Both of these launch dates are for China, and while Xiaomi currently does business in Malaysia, India, and the Philippines, the company hasn't said when the device will launch in those markets. A version with international bands is on the way, too, but we'll have to wait for details on that.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: smartphones

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