XIAOMI MI 6 Review

Contrary to OnePlus and Huawei, Xiaomi has yet to become a household name out of its native China.  But although Xiaomi’s device might not be so readily available in Europe and America, a number of them are definitely worth hunting down.

What’s the XIAOMI MI 6?                                      

The Xiaomi Mi 6 is one such device; a streamlined Android phone offering lots of power and a beautiful screen that undercuts even the OnePlus 5 for value.

XIAOMI MI 6: DESIGN

The Xiaomi Mi 6 is an iteration of the design first seen with the business’s Mi 5 phone this past year and considering that handset has been a joy to use and hold, this is a problem.  In actuality, the Mi 6 is one of the only Android flagships — besides the Huawei P10 — to stick with a rather small 5-inch screen and keep the phone manageable in size.

The combination of the small screen, heavily curved sides on the trunk and the slightly curved display mean that if you’re looking for a phone that is comfortable to use one-handed then this is it.

It looks great too and considering the cost is well built from the main.  While there is no plastic to be seen, except for a few mushy volume keys, some corner-cutting has apparently taken place.  

The largest omission on the Xiaomi is the lack of a headphone jack.  The company says this is the consequence of a space issue, and so as to fit in a larger battery and splash-proof evaluation, something had to go.  I find that an odd response — there are plenty of phones in the marketplace which has complete IP evaluations and yet manage to keep the headset jack.  In my view, a headphone jack remains a requisite on a phone and it’ll continue to be till quality Bluetooth headphones come down in cost.  You do get a flimsy 3.5millimeter dongle in the box you will likely lose immediately, but no USB-C headphones.

Tucked under the glass on the front is a ceramic fingerprint sensor that is exceptionally quick and reliable.

XIAOMI MI 6: SCREEN

Xiaomi is one the few brands which have not yet made the switch from 1080p into quad-HD on some of its phones, but in most ways, that is a fantastic thing.  The 5.15-inch LCD panel here is among the best I have seen and is more appealing than the Huawei P10 as a result of much richer colors and a more brightness.

Most smartphones manage very good peak brightness, 1080p seems the ideal selection for a screen of this size and pixels are impossible to see.  You also benefit from this lower-res display, which requires less power with the knock-on impact of battery life — yet another area where the Mi 6 actually succeeds.

LCD panels do not quite attain the deep color saturation, nor the deepest blacks, found on AMOLED panels in the likes of Samsung, but this screen is so impressive that this is not much of a problem.  What IPS LCDs do have over their AMOLED counterparts is significantly better viewing angles, however.

Interestingly, the display does not feature a polarizing filter on it, so if you are wearing certain kinds of sunglasses then you won’t have the ability to see the display outside.

XIAOMI MI 6: PERFORMANCE

The Xiaomi Mi 6 was among the first phones declared to be operating Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC, and the remainder of the device’s internals are high-end.  There is 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage accessible — but, annoyingly, no microSD support.

Like the iPhone 7 and HTC 10, the Xiaomi Mi 6 manages to pump out adequate sound by mixing one speaker on the base of the device, besides the USB-C port, and another next to the earpiece over the display.  It seems great, much better than the Samsung Galaxy S8, but not like the HTC U11.  But, it will not really get very loud.  In addition, it lacks a pinch of bass, meaning it is fine for YouTube videos but not so much for sound.

Synthetic benchmarks are becoming more and more redundant and I don’t find them a trusted source of determining the rate of a phone.

XIAOMI MI 6: SOFTWARE

There is a lot to like about Xiaomi’s most current flagship, but the program still stands out as being one of the weaker points.  Like most skins from Chinese producers, MIUI changes a lot of Android 7.1.1, to the point where it does not really feel or behave like Google’s OS.

XIAOMI MI 6: CAMERA

Last year’s Xiaomi Mi 5 was great, but it lacked an impressive camera.  With Xiaomi aiming to launch the Mi 5 in this low cost, there was always going to compromise — and the optics were just that.

This time around, there is a good deal more to like.  And prior to the OnePlus 5 came along, this was the only Android phone to use its dual-sensor setup to provide 2x zoom through a telephoto lens.

Dual cameras on phones are nothing new, but frequently they each go in very different directions with how they use that secondary detector.  The Huawei P10 provides a dedicated monochrome sensor for appropriate black and white photographs, while the LG G6 includes a wide-angle lens that is fantastic for landscape shots.  The 2x telephoto detector on the Xiaomi Mi 6 is comparable to the iPhone 7 Plus and allows you to zoom in without losing any quality in the photograph.

Both the detectors on the Xiaomi Mi 6 are 12 megapixels, although only the major one packs in optical image stabilization.  There is also a difference in the apertures on the lenses, with the main having a f/1.8 along with the telephoto with a thinner f/2.6.  Both of these large differences imply that the zoom feature is not very good unless there is good light.

XIAOMI MI 6: BATTERY LIFE

Xiaomi claims that one reason for ditching the headphone jack was to allow for the larger battery, and the 3,350mAh mobile tucked inside the glass body is big for a 1080p phone of this size.

Whether the excess battery life is a legitimate trade-off for the lack of headphone jack is your decision, but I have been completely impressed by the battery life available here.  Getting through the day isn’t an issue in any way, and on numerous occasions, I have forgotten to charge the device immediately and it was able to get to lunch the next day.  The lower-res display — when compared to other flagships — also means it consumes less power when gaming and streaming.  An hour Netflix ate through 8 percent, which is impressive.

Quick Charge 3.0 is supported and using my own charger the phone took about 90 minutes to fully charge.

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