Xiaomi has been the budget king in the Indian market since quite a while now, all thanks to their Redmi lineup of devices which have been dominating the sub 10K budget segment till date, and the Redmi 6 is a successor to the yester year’s Redmi 5. TL;DR – it’s a very good and promising device and here we take a deep dive into our full review of the Xiaomi Redmi 6.
The Redmi 6 is a compact device with a display size of 5.45 inches and has a resolution of HD+ or 1440 x 720, more on it later. The device has a sleek form factor and is a very thin device at just 8.7mm and the curved edges blend into our hand gives a very light feel and easy to hold in hand. At just 146 grams, the Redmi 6 has to be the lightest device we have every hold in our hands. The device has a plastic back panel which feels kinda cheap to hold in hand and is slippery at times. The front camera and sensors are present on top and the Redmi 6 has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner which was extremely fast. it has to be the fastest fingerprint scanner we have seen in this budget. The dual camera setup and the single LED flash are located to top left corner, unlike to the centre as on the predecessor, Redmi 5.
The Redmi 6 is powered by the MediaTek Helio P22 which is a 12nm processor clocked at 2.0 GHz and here’s where the cards start turning. The P22 is the first 12nm processor to feature a device in less than 10k price, well that’s great. It has a 10% better clock speed than it’s predecessor on the Redmi 5 which was 1.8 GHz. The downside is the GPU, PowerVR GE8320 which is a downgrade from the Adreno 506 found on Snapdragon 450 in the Redmi 5. Now here’s why the title says “it’s not what it looks like” when we started testing the Redmi 6, it was running on MIUI 9.5 out of the box. And seems that it was not optimized at all. First, we thought that the blame should be the Helio P22 which isn’t that powerful as even light tasks like browsing in Chrome, surfing through YouTube videos had so many frame drops and lags, and at times made the device unusable. We were utterly disappointed with the device and that’s when the MIUI 10 update dropped on the Redmi 6. So we updated it to the latest MIUI 10 and it did bring about a few changes, in the UI. There was a slight improvement in the day to day usage but the lags while scrolling through the YouTube app continued which disappointed us, Again!
Gaming, yes this is the point where the Redmi 6 seems to struggle (again) as the PowerVR GE8320 GPU even when on its toes stutters to deliver when it comes to intensive games like PUBG. It was playable. don’t get us wrong but it was not the smoothest experience on PUBG. Other games like Asphalt 9 just ran fine or at least better than PUBG and simple games like Frontline Commando 2 or even Subway Surfers ran very smooth on it. It’s just intensive games that the Redmi 6 struggles with which is we guess okay considering the price point of this device.
Coming on the battery set of things, the Redmi 6 has a 3000mAh battery which, does not seem that big as we are used to witnessing 4000mAh batteries on the Redmi lineup but this 3000mAh battery was one of the biggest plus points of this device. All thanks to the power efficient 12nm Helio P22 which has a very low ideal power drain as compared to other Mediatek processors which have had a bad reputation for being a battery hog in the past. The device easily lasted one single day of very heavy usage which included continuous usage of WhatsApp, a lot of Google Maps with an accurate compass sensor which is also present on the device. A lot of pictures being clicked and some videos, Instagram feed and some movie watching in VLC player while travelling. The output through the headphone jack was just okay and nothing extraordinary. But, yes but, again I would like to recall the title of this review, “It’s not what it looks like”, for a reason. The supplied charger with the Redmi 6 is just a 5W charger at 5V-1A which takes anywhere between 3 hours to 3 hours+15 minutes to charge from 0% to 100% which is very, very high for a 3000mAh battery. We ran through multiple charge cycles for the device, just to make sure that there is no fault from our side, but the results were the same for all the 15 days we tested the device. So we went ahead and plugged in the phone to a 5V-2A charger from the Redmi 6 Pro/Redmi Note 5 Pro but it did not seem to help that much as the device still took 2 hour+45 minutes to 3 hours to charge completely.
It’s not all meh with the Redmi 6, and the camera covers up for some of the cons of the device. The Redmi 6 has a dual camera setup to the back, the main camera is a 12MP f/2.2 lens with 1.25μm pixels with PDAF for faster focusing and the secondary camera is a 5MP f/2.2 lens with 1.12μm pixels. Pictures hot in daylight conditions are excellent with good sharpness and fine dynamic range. The HDR brings out more details from the shadows. The focusing was pretty fast too. There’s also the rear portrait mode which has good detection and adequate background blur. But there’s one thing that we doubt, we have seen how good Xiaomi’s edge detection algorithms have been even on single camera devices, so is the second camera really helping that much in portrait mode as Xiaomi themselves have not claimed that the secondary camera does anything extra except for portrait shots. Did Xiaomi just add it for the sake of adding a second camera and help in marketing? Nevertheless, the rear camera is good and the latest MIUI 10 update also brought a fully fledged Manual mode which included shutter speed and focus control, a nice addition for the camera app. The video set of things, the rear camera can shoot 1080p videos at 30fps and has EIS support. The EIS was not that effective as while panning we could see some visible shakes, but the focusing was on point and the device did not hunt for focus as on the previous generation of Xiaomi devices. The dynamic range was blown up at times, but with a few taps on the screen, the camera was able to adjust things quite well. It can also shoot Slomo videos but the resolution drops all the way down to 480p and the footage is unusable due to pixelation. And as expected, the camera struggled in low lighting conditions and even the HDR mode did not help. But in artificial lighting conditions, if the exposure was tuned down, the images turned out to be very good and sharp with an ample amount of detail which surprised us.
The front camera is a 5MP camera with support for AI beauty mode and portrait. The selfies were sharp, the dynamic range was poor but the edge detection was very good as on almost every other Xiaomi device. The front camera can shoot videos at 1080p 30fps with no signs of EIS.
The display on the device is an HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio. the display was sharp as any other 720 panels and the colours were fine. The display was also readable in direct sunlight as the device adjusts its contrast as outdoor lighting conditions as the device has the auto brightness sensor too.
Now one of the biggest cons of Xiaomi devices, MIUI or AD UI, yes Ads are present on this device too and we got many ad notifications, and ads all over the security, music apps. The device runs MIUI 10 (latest) on top of Android Oreo 8.1. As disappointed with the performance were we, we don’t know whether to blame lack of optimisation of MIUI since this is one of the rare devices that was launched with MediaTek processor in India. It is what it is right now with the device.
The storage and pricing, the device has 2 sims and a dedicated micro SD card slot with support for dual 4G standby. There’s a 3+32 variant priced at 7,999 and for 8000 INR, what you get is a plastic back, a sort of downgrade from the predecessor in terms of both build and processor but a good camera & dual 4G support. Overall, at this price, the Redmi 6 is a good deal if you strictly cannot extend your budget more than 8,000 INR. But if you already own a Redmi 5, we strictly say that you stick around with it as there’s no point in doing a single generation upgrade.
That sums up our review of the Redmi 6, do follow us on Twitter @Dhananjay_Tech where we answer all of your queries regarding anything, Adios!