1. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X – from $215
If you can increase your budget a little bit, opt for the Redmi Note 4X instead.
Compared to the Redmi 4A, it has a larger 5.5″ screen with Full HD resolution. It is also enclosed in aluminium, which makes the phone feel really premium. The Note 4X ships with 3GB of RAM and runs on MIUI 8 on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. These specs are about as good as you can get for the price. Storage space is a generous 32GB and you can expand it with microSD.
I have one of these phones myself which I bought for my reservist in-camp training. So far, it has held up very well. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, which makes it slower than its predecessor, the Redmi Note 3, which shipped with a Snapdragon 650 instead. However, for day-to-day usage, any sluggishness was imperceptible. Compared to my main phone, a Galaxy S7 edge, performance felt rather similar.
As a trade-off for its ‘poorer’ performance, the Redmi Note 4X shines in its battery life. Even with rather intense use, I was able to get about 1.5 to 2 days of battery life out of its humongous, 4,100mAh battery. People have reported screen-on times of between 9 to 11 hours, which is really amazing. As it turns out, the Snapdragon 625 is built on a new 14nm process and runs cool and efficiently. It runs circles around my previous Xiaomi phone, a Mi 4i, which had really mediocre performance and only average battery life.
The catch? The Redmi Note 4X is currently not officially available in Singapore. Not to worry, though, as you can easily get them from other sources.
Where to buy?
I bought my Redmi Note 4X from Smartcell Mobile on the Shopee website. At just $215 currently (I bought it for $299 just last week!), it is about as cheap as you can get. Store collection is at their shop in Toa Payoh.
The units are flashed to a custom “global” ROM which adds Play Store support. As there is no official global ROM at present, this custom ROM is probably a modified China ROM. I suggest flashing it over to the official Taiwan ROM using Fastboot, which possesses Play Store support out of the box. If you need help flashing, feel free to leave a comment below and I can guide you accordingly.
The NEWSTAR Electronic shop on Qoo10 is currently selling the Redmi 4X for just $218 (U.P. $299). As mentioned, these are imported sets that have no official Xiaomi warranty. The handsets sold by NEWSTAR are apparently also flashed to a custom ROM so you get Google Play Store support.
Click here to buy from Qoo10.