Admittedly, from afar, the black Mi 4's front side and frame do remind us of the iPhone 5 or 5s, but you have to give credit to Xiaomi and its partners -- Foxconn and HiP -- for the extra work gone into crafting the metal parts. The shiny chamfer alone takes more than six hours to finish, apparently, and they've also added a nano-coating to the sides to deter fingerprints and liquids. The result is a 67.5mm-wide body -- beating the Smartisan T1's 67.74mm -- that sits comfortably in your hand, and the phone only weighs 149g.
The Mi 4 will be available for pre-ordering in China as early as July 29th, and you'll also be able to pick up one of the many back covers to suit your taste -- be it bamboo, wood, leather, cloth or even stone textures. On top of that, you can add CN¥99 or about $16 for an annual insurance for broken screen plus accidental liquid damage. Sadly, Xiaomi reps told me that there's no info regarding the phone's global availability just yet, so stay tuned.
The boost in Xiaomi's sales figure is helped by the company's expansion into other parts of Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and, very recently, India. You can thank ex-Googler Hugo Barra for that, who has been very hands-on with this project. On a related note, there are now 65 million activated MIUI users, who will be able to upgrade to version 6 as of August 16th. After 26.11 million phones -- which translates to 33 billion yuan or about $5.32 billion -- so far this year, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun expects to sell a grand total of 60 million phones in 2014, which would be more than twice of that from 2013. With that price point and Lei's promise to keep a tighter grip on the supply chain, this will no doubt be a walk in the park for Xiaomi.
Update: Xiaomi's also launched a $13 fitness band alongside the Mi 4. We have a feeling that it's going to sell very well.