Last week Xiaomi unveiled its next line of budget smartphones: the Redmi 4 family. Three variants include the Redmi 4A, Redmi 4 and Redmi 4 Pro. Here we outline what to expect from the Redmi 4 and how to buy the Redmi 4 in the UK.

You might also like: Redmi 3 review | Redmi Note 3 review | Redmi 3S review | Redmi Note 4 review | Redmi Pro review

Redmi 4 specifications: Redmi 4A vs Redmi 4 vs Redmi 4 Pro

As the cheapest sibling the Redmi 4A has much the same specification as the Redmi 4 but with a smaller 3,120mAh battery (vs 4,100mAh) and a lower Snapdragon 425 processor (vs Snapdragon 430). It lacks the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and has a rear-facing speaker. Both Redmi 4A and Redmi 4 feature a 5in HD (720p) screen, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Also see: Best Chinese phones

It's interesting to note that the standard Redmi 4 has exactly the same specification as the Redmi 3S, which houses the same 5in HD screen, Snapdragon 430, Adreno 505 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.

The difference comes in the design, with the front now fitted with 2.5D curved glass and the chamfered sides CNC-milled. The speaker has moved from the rear to the bottom, and the 13Mp PDAF primary camera (now with dual- rather than single-LED flash) has moved to a more central position above the fingerprint scanner on the rear.

Other than these design changes the only difference we can find is that the Redmi 3S has MIUI 7 (upgradable to MIUI 8) rather than MIUI 8 out of the box.

Performance should therefore be much the same, and in our benchmarks we found the Redmi 3S capable of 2848 points in Geekbench 3, 36,155 in AnTuTu, 24fps in GFXBench T-Rex and 13fps in Manhattan, and a score of 21 in JetStream.

The top of the line Redmi 4 Pro should be faster, and is the only one in the new Redmi family to mix up the spec a little. The Redmi 4 Pro has a 5in full-HD (1920x1080) display, a 2GHz Snapdragon 625 processor, Adreno 506 GPU, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Also see: Best dual-SIM phones

  Redmi 4A Redmi 4 Redmi 4 Pro
Screen 5in HD 5in HD 5in full-HD
Processor Snapdragon 425 Snapdragon 430 Snapdragon 625
RAM 2GB 2GB 3GB
Storage 16GB 16GB 32GB
Battery 3,120mAh 4,100mAh 4,100mAh
Colours Gold, Rose Gold Gold, Silver, Dark Grey Gold, Silver, Dark Grey

Other specifications include a 5Mp front camera, dual-SIM, dual-standby operation, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, GPS, A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.1 and support for microSD up to 128GB.

According to the GearBest listing (see below) the Redmi 4 Pro supports all three UK 4G bands, though we suspect this may be a mistake. With the Global variant of the new Mi Note 2 being the sole exception, Xiaomi phones do not support 800MHz 4G, which is the only 4G band used by O2 and GiffGaff in the UK.

Xiaomi Redmi 4

Xiaomi Redmi 4 UK release date: How to buy Xiaomi Redmi 4 in the UK 

As with all Xiaomi phones, the Redmi 4 is not officially available in the UK and to buy one you will have to go through a grey-market importer such as GearBest. Note that you may be asked to pay import duty on goods shipped to the UK from China - for more see our advice on buying grey-market tech

In China the Redmi 4 and Redmi 4 will be available from 7 November (today), and the Redmi 4A from 11 November. Recommended retail prices are ¥499 (£59.45) for the Redmi 4A, ¥699 (£83.24) for the Redmi 4, and ¥899 (£107.10) for the Redmi 4 Pro. You will pay more than that when shipping the phones to the UK, however.

For example, GearBest is currently listing the Redmi 4 Pro on its site for £409.35/$521.25. That's an awful lot of money for this budget phone, but it is marked as out of stock and we've often found prices drop drastically once they are actually in stock. Prices can fluctuate daily on grey-market sites in any case. Our contact at GearBest hopes that the Redmi 4 Pro will be in stock by tomorrow.

Read next: Best new phones 2017

Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter