The Redmi 4A is a blockbuster budget smartphone from Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi. Across its ranges, the company’s modus operandi is to release devices with specs at each level (high-end and mid-range) with surprisingly small price tags.

Xiaomi is really putting [our] money where its mouth is, as encapsulated in its recent catchphrase: “The best technology is no longer for the few.”

The company’s Redmi series of devices is its midrange offering, but the 4A includes solid specs and some thoughtful inclusions — and it comes with the nearly dinky price tag of R1,999. I can’t stop talking about price when I write about this brand, but in a crowded market it’s a solid differentiator.

The 4A has a 5-inch HD display and looks reasonably high-end, with a matte metal body available in gold and rose gold. Inside is a large 3,120mAh battery that — if you use your phone as much as I do — will get you through a day with time to spare.

One of the great “extras” on this phone is dual-SIM capability. It’s perfect for network hoppers and frequent fliers — or you can use one of the SIM slots to boost the 16GB storage offered on the device itself.

Processing-wise, there’s a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chip and 2GB RAM. Though this is not market leading, the combo does mean that you can expect the phone to handle games, videos and Office apps without breaking a sweat.

It runs Android 6.0 with a MIUI 8 overlay (Xiaomi’s proprietary operating system). I quite like its simple and clear interface, but some critics say it’s too basic for their tastes. The rear camera is 13MP and works well in bright light but tends towards softness or graininess in low light. But now I’m nit-picking. This phone is a serious contender for the value-for-money title.

Xiaomi Redmi 4A 
Cool factor: ***
Usability: *****
Value for money: *****

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