Seven years ago, if someone asked you about Xiaomi, you probably wouldn’t have even acknowledged the brand, let alone recommend it. Since then, however, the maverick brand from China has gone from an absolute rookie to a front-runner in the realm of smartphones. With back to back hits in terms of smartphone launches, Xiaomi seems to be enjoying their time on cloud nine, and they can only hope that their newest offering, the Mi 6 keeps them there for a while longer. With a name synonymous with James Bond’s workplace, the Mi 6 packs in quite simply, a stunning piece of hardware, with everything in its arsenal to give it the flagship tag. But with the market moving at a feverish pace, no phone is good enough these days, and it only takes one bad management call for the device to go from hero to zero. What then, is the fate of the Xiaomi Mi 6?
Lets find out –
The Mi 6 is Xiaomi’s latest offering, featuring :
- 5.15″ IPS LCD display with a 1080p resolution ( Full HD )
- 3D Glass body with a steel frame
- Android OS v7.1.1 Nougat running MIUI 8.2
- Snapdragon 835 chipset: featuring an octa-core Kryo 280 CPU (4 cores at 2.46GHz +4 cores at 1.9GHz);
- Adreno 540 GPU
- 6 GB RAM
- Dual 12MP Sony IMX386 camera on the rear
- 8MP front-facing camera
- 64GB/128GB of built-in storage
- 3,230mAh non-removable battery with QuickCharge 3.0 support
At first glance, the Mi 6 seems to be checking all boxes when it comes to flagship specifications, but Xiaomi have indeed cut a few corners in this device, which we will discuss later on in the review. But, without further ado, lets get started –
DESIGN and DISPLAY –
Xiaomi has come a long way in terms of their product designs. While the first devices that came out of the Xiaomi lineup were not exactly awe-inspiring, the company pulled up their socks, and gave superhits like the Redmi Note series and then the more premium Mi series ( Mi 5 is one of my personal favorites ). The Mi 6 has the same Xiaomi feel but feels a lot more sturdy compared to the Mi 5. The build quality is stellar, keeping in tune with Xiaomi’s latest trend of producing robust devices. The company has given the headphone jack a miss this time around, and while I am personally against this trend, its a change that is taking over and we better be prepared. You do get an adapter bundled into the box that will help you dock your regulation headphones into the device, but the devices these days just don’t feel the same without the familiar jack.
Coming to the overall chassis, we have gorilla glass 5 panels on the front and back. The 2.5D structure definitely gives the device a neat feel in the hand, and the 5.15 screen size is just right for people who don’t like the hassle of big displays. Xiaomi has also opted for the glossy stainless steel frame which plays really well with the rest of the chassis, irrespective of the finish you choose ( glass or ceramic ). The downside to this however, is that your device will be a fingerprint magnet, but that definitely takes nothing away from the absolute exquisite treatment meted out to the Mi 6 by its creators.
Coming to the display, the Xiaomi Mi 6 features a 5.15 inch IPS LCD Panel with a display resolution of 1080p. Now, there may be a lot of users who will feel that a QHD panel was something Xiaomi could have gone for , but personally,I feel that the Full HD panel is still very much relevant in the market, and choosing that over the QHD panel at this point of time is not really a mistake. We have a super 428 ppi pixel density which gives you crisp text, punchy colours and accurate renders anywhere. The minimum brightness level of 1.2 nits ensures that you have an absolutely brilliant night reading experience.
You have three preset modes available to use whenever you desire, including the Night reading mode, similar to the iPhone, which can be configured to even run for specific apps.
All in all, Xiaomi has got the game going on a high with an absolutely exquisite device. Yes, the omission of the headphone jack will raise a few eyebrows, but its a change which is coming, and we might as well get used to it.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, which is basically an octa-core Kryo 280 processor (4×2.46GHz and 4×1.9GHz), Adreno 540 GPU, and 6 gigs of RAM. While this is a masterstroke of a package, the inclusion of the 1080p panel instead of the QHD alternative will ensure that the graphics tests will produce stellar results. Personally, I am not a believer in benchmark tests, but they give us a starting point for consideration, so here goes. In terms of single core performance, the Mi 6 comes second only to the iPhone 7. What this means is that the Mi 6 is the best single core performer among the entire slew of Android devices.
Coming to the graphics performance, the Adreno 540 is by far the best GPU in the Android lineup, which again means that the Mi 6 came in second to the iPhone 7 and as a result, is the best among the Android players in the race. As mentioned earlier, the 1080p panel does the trick and there were cases where the Mi 6 bested even the competitor from Cupertino by a fair margin.
We also ran the AnTuTu benchmark tests and found that the Mi 6 topped the charts coming above even the mighty iPhone 7. While all these are just numbers and statistics, the true potential of any device can be determined by individual use. Every user has his/her own style of operating their device, and that decides how well the device actually performs in reality.
All in all, on paper ,Xiaomi have brought out the big gun and what we have on hand is indeed a cost effective flagship killer. It has the innards to put any competitor out of its misery, and coupled with its custom MiUI, the Mi 6 is ready to rule.
Xiaomi has received mixed reviews about their cameras, with some devices churning out less than basic level photographs. While experimentation is key for any company to get the formula right, no one has done it as many times as Xiaomi has. For example, we got the 16 MP 4 axis OIS Sensor in the Mi 5, but then the Mi 5s dropped stabilization for bigger pixels across 12 MP. Further, the Mi 5s plus introduced an altogether new dual 13 MP camera setup. The Mi 6 retains the dual camera setup, but with a slight change. It has replaced the monochrome sensor with a telephoto replacement.
Basically, what we have is a 12MP Sony IMX386 sensor with 27mm f/1.8 lens and 1.25µm big pixels. Xiaomi has brought back the 4 axis OIS , which gives this camera setup more punch.
The telephoto lens has not been fully unveiled but we have the specifications as follows – 1.00µm pixels and 56mm f/2.6 lens. The photo quality has been drastically improved. The colour accuracy is great, white balance has been overhauled and we get amazing foliage presentation.
On the front, we have an 8MP selfie snapper. This component is a rather no-nonsense one giving you the decent amount of detail, colour accuracy and dynamic range.
Video mode gives you a choice of 2160p@30fps and 1080p@30fps for simple shooting with a 720p@120fps option if you want some slow-motion effects. Whats missing is the 1080p@60fps mode. No telephoto videos either.
Video quality is average to say the least, and is by no means, competitive. Its good enough for personal recording, but if you are someone who likes to do serious videography, this may not be the device for you.
Overall, Xiaomi has gone for a pretty standard camera setup. Yes, the dual camera gimmick looks enticing, but then again, the company has some work to do in the department.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 features a non-removable 3350 mAh battery, with Quick charge 3.0 support. This means that along side giving the user a days worth of comfortable usage, the charger will also give you 55% juice in just 30 minutes. Here however, the real time performance of the smartphone really depends on the individual usage, and quoting numbers here will not do full justice.
Overall, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is quite definitely the best of the Mi lineup, and has all the credentials to take on the best in the business and get stellar results. Yes, Xiaomi has made some courageous decisions this time around, but they are decisions that don’t really impede usage. So if you are looking for a flagship that doesn’t cost as much and still delivers a bang for the buck, the Mi 6 is your answer.
XIAOMI MI 6 DELIVERS A STUNNER OF A DEVICE AT A RESONABLE PRICE TAG
WE RECOMMEND A MUST BUY DEVICE