Xiaomi Mi 6 overview
Xiaomi Mi6 is the new top range smartphone by Xiaomi. Xiaomi has become accustomed to the best terminals at lower prices than the competition, with excellent performance, great hardware and very large batteries. Where they were losing positions was usually the design and the camera. We will see in this review of the Xiaomi Mi 6 if in this device they improved these aspects.
This Xiaomi Mi6 has a beautiful design, a metal body with glass backrest, very popular among some Android manufacturers in recent years. But while most other phones have aluminum body, this Xiaomi Mi 6 is equipped with a polished stainless steel structure that Xiaomi says requires a 50-step production process with over 270 operations. The glass on the back is curved on all four sides, as opposed to glass on the Mi 5 which was just curved on the sides. Xiaomi looks very proud of the “precise” construction of this Mi 6.
Xiaomi for its 2017 top-notch model decided not to point on an innovative display as made by other competitors – the screen is in fact 5.15″ with FullHD resolution – but to play the card of the best hardware on the market, obviously keeping a low price.
The hardware is at its top, having a Snapdragon 835 Octa Core 64bit CPU at 2.45GHz, 6GB Ram and 128GB internal memory (6GB + 64GB is also available at lower prices).
Speaking of the camera, we have two 12MP rear cameras and one 8MP on the front. In addition, the rear camera has an optical zoom of 2x, which can double the magnification without distortion.
Mi 6 is available in 3 colors, White, Black and Blue. In the future there will be a Silver edition with ultra reflective mirror finish and a Ceramic version.
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Xiaomi Mi 6 Review
Design, ergonomics and materials: 9.0
At the design level there have been no big shifts compared to Mi 5, except for the fact that Mi 6 has all 4 curved sides. This new model, however, emphasizes even more the curves, and the metal edges are now wider to fuse imperceptibly with the rear glass and the front 2.5D glass.
The only difference in the layout of the elements compared to Mi 5 is in the audio connector: the 3.5 mm jack is absent on Mi 6. There is a USB Type-C to jack adaptor in the box but this may not be the solution preferred by many users, that will prefer to buy a bluetooth headset. On the other hand there is an infrared transmitter on the top.
Compared to Mi 5, the central home button is now only embossed and not pushable, but continues to integrate a fingerprint reader: the release speed is high and it is precise.
Holding this Xiaomi Mi6 is really very enjoyable. The feel of the touch is great and transmits a remarkable feeling of quality. The dimensions are contained, and the curved glass back cover, white ceramic or metal, allows you to always have a comfortable and firm grip adjusting to the palm of your hand. If needed, it is also possible to reduce the interface, but we will hardly feel the need.
On the left there are the volume adjustment keys, the power button and the removable drawer to accommodate two SIMs in nano format. On the bottom there are the system speaker, main microphone and USB 2.0 Type-C port. Finally, there is the second microphone and infrared sensor that allows to use the phone as a universal remote control. The 3.5mm audio jack is missing. In the box, Xiaomi has inserted an adapter to use classic wired headphones. In the box there is also a TPU cover to protect the smartphone.
On the front, protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass glass with rounded edges that follow the device’s profile, there are brightness and proximity sensors, a white notification LED, and an 8-megapixel camera with f / 2.0 aperture. The headset acts as a second speaker while enjoying multimedia content.
In the home button, not clickable but lightly digested in the glass, the biometric sensor is integrated, always very fast and accurate in fingerprint recognition. There are also two function keys in which we can customize the extended touch and that offer a nice vibrating feed and a backlight that we can always keep active during use.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 has no certification for dust resistance and diving in water but there is no problem with rain or accidental contact with water.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 display on paper is the same 5.15-inch IPS FullHD panel already seen on Mi 5. The Chinese company has decided not to go to the QHD, but this choice in my opinion is justified by natural and brilliant colors, a great brightness and almost perfect viewing angles. Compared to Mi 5, blacks are slightly deeper, even though there is still a small gap with AMOLED displays, and overall it is a great panel though certainly not the best on the market.
Through the settings we can set the automatic contrast adjustment to the ambient light, adjust the color temperature, and activate or program a filter to less tiring the eyes.
Speaking of audio, there is a mono speaker on the bottom, but it works in synergy with the audio capsule to provide a front stereo experience. The audio capsule does not have the same input that would have a second front speaker, but overall the volume is quite high and the sound is dense.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 features two 12-megapixel sensors, a wide 27mm f / 1.8, with 4-axis optical stabilization, the other tele 52mm f / 2.6, accompanied by a dual-flash dual-LED flashlight. On the front, however, it features a simpler 8 megapixel camera, with no physical as well as no software flash.
The dual camera software implementation is similar to the one of the iPhone 7 Plus: there is a key to activate the 2x zoom, which will use the tele lens if the scene brightness is sufficient, otherwise it will simply digital zoom on the wide lens. There is then the portrait mode that allows you to get an accentuated bokeh effect by shooting with the tele lens. In manual mode, however, it is possible to force the use of the lenses even when there is little light. Unfortunately, there is not an option for the automatic HDR.
The quality of the shots is a step forward compared to what we have used in the past Xiaomi devices, but it is still not the same as the 2017 top range. Daylight details are high, well balanced colors and 2x zoom and portrait mode using the tele lens are of very good. At night, however, the Chinese company has not yet found the right algorithm, as the noise is quite high, the details fall down, and especially the light sources leave annoying spots on the image. Obviously when the light is low in portrait mode, it returns poor results with only f/2.6 aperture of the lens.
Selfies are quite good both day and night, but limited by the sensor and the absence of flash.
For videos there is the ability to record in 4K at 30 fps, with good stabilization, a fast focus and light management that convinces.
Despite the extremely good hardware, the 3350 mAh Li-Po battery gives a good autonomy to the Xiaomi Mi 6: I’ve always been able to get in the late evening without any problems without need to charge the phone. With medium use I reached 6 hours and a half of active display, while with more intense I stopped at 5 hours of display.
QuickCharge 3.0 technology is used for fast charging.
On board of the Xiaomi Mi 6 we find the now-classic MIUI 8, based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. At the moment we have tested it with the Chinese ROM on board and, in that version, MIUI 8 based on Nougat, it has problems with Google Apps which are also complicated to install properly. However, this is only a temporary problem for which the solution is to install a modified ROM or future global ROMs, but that could be a problem for less experienced users who would like to buy it right away.
There is no application drawer and preinstalled apps are many, some from the Chinese bloatware not present in the global ROM. However, there are many interesting utilities, including compass, voice recorder and infrared remote control. Of particular importance among apps is the Security Center, where you need to provide autostart permission and disable the Battery Saver App for apps from which you need to receive push notifications. About apps you can also lock up some of them through a fingerprint reader or pattern with App Lock.
There are also many ways to use the smartphone: with baby mode you can restrict the use of the smartphone to only selected apps, in non-disturbing mode, you can set timetables from notifications by scheduling them at certain times in selected days of the week, and one-handed mode lets you swipe from the home button to reduce the active screen portion to operate more easily in mobility.
There are also many functions in the system, such as a great way to manage notification modes, double touch to awaken the screen, or even a floating circle called Quick Ball with which you always have access to various shortcuts. However, the two most peculiar ones are Second Space, which allows you to have a second user completely separate from the first, and Dual Apps that allows you to use two instances of the same app – very handy to handle two distinct users in messaging apps.
The Mi6 is one of the first smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 to arrive on the market. It is a 64Gbit 2.5GHz octa core CPU with a 10nm production process, more efficient with performance and consumption, supported by 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
The GPU is an Adreno 540 that allows you to get the most out of the more demanding games both in terms of graphics and framerate.
Xiaomi Mi 6 does not fear anything about performance. Thanks to the fast processor and very fast memory, the system enjoys great fluidity and responsiveness, with minimal opening times for apps. There is never any kind of uncertainty, not even in web browsing on heavy sites, while in gaming with Real Racing 3 the details are obviously reproduced at best and the framerate is high and steady.
If it is stressed over a long time, especially when connected to a data network, it gets warm somewhat in the middle, though not particularly overwhelming.
The excellent performances of this hardware segment are also highlighted by benchmarks that reach very high scores, 179,000 on AnTuTu and 6250 in multi-core with Geekbench.
Talking about the ROM, our tests showed a sequential speed of 702.55 MB/s read and 200 MB/s in writing.
This phone has complete connectivity thanks to the Wi-Fi dual band that supports the AC protocol and has a dual MIMO antenna. Like on Galaxy S8, we also have the Bluetooth 5.0 on this Mi6 and there is also NFC. There is, however, no FM radio.
To conclude this review of Xiaomi Mi 6, this is a smart phone that offers the best that the market has to deliver in performance at an inviting price, but without wanting to innovate too much expecially for the design and display.
Performances are at the top, CPU and RAM are very fast, 6GB are enough for every kind of multitasking and for very demanding apps, with 64 or 128GB you’ll have a lot of space for apps and photos/videos.
The Mi6 is a smartphone that can be used with pleasure thanks to its compact size and performance, although I think there is still a good margin of improvement in some ways.
Xiaomi Mi 6 Features
CPU & GPU
Xiaomi Mi 6 is equipped with the brand new Snapdragon 835 Octa Core 64bit 2.45GHz CPU, and is one of the first mobile phones with this new processor, along with the Galaxy S8 and the new line of top-range Sony phones. As expected, the CPU will be paired with 6 GB of RAM and 64/128GB of internal memory, depending on the version chosen.
Snapdragon 835 is the first processor with Kryo 280 at 10 nm, integrating more than 3 billion transistors, making it 25% more efficient and less energetic. As GPU it adopts the Adreno 540 at 653MHz, 25% faster than the previous version.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 has a relatively small 5.15 inch LCD with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and 428 PPI pixel density, 94.4 percent of color gamut, with functions such as blue light reduction, reflex reflection and a specific night mode. Unlike phones as the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, which have tried to maximize the screen-to-body ratio, the Mi 6 has generously sized upstream and downward bands, and a bottom embedded fingerprints under the glass.
The Xiaomi Mi6 features 2 cameras with 12MP each, 4-axis stabilization, and an 8MP front camera. The twin-megapixel 12-megapixel camera allows the Xiaomi Mi 6 to take good quality photos at a resolution of 4032×3024 pixels and record video at 4K to a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels.
What’s not common between smartphones, this Xiaomi Mi6 has a 2X optical zoom, not digital that creates distortions.
Here you can see some examples of photos taken with Xiaomi Mi6:
The Xiaomi Mi6 has two speakers placed on opposite sides of the phone, creating an immersive stereo effect.
The battery has a capacity of 3,350 mAh and it can easily reach the end of the day. It has the Quick Charge 3.0 feature.
Another interesting feature is dual WiFi 2.2 technology, which should provide a real push in transfer speed and coverage compared to the more conventional WiFi 1 × 1. The bluetooth is 5.0.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 is quite rich in features, but one thing is missing: There is no 3.5mm headphone so you will need to buy a pair of USB Type-C or Bluetooth headphones or you will have to settle for a adapter.