“The face unlock feature on the Redmi 6 is fairly reliable and quick to function as well”
Xiaomi’s Redmi series has taken the affordable smartphone segment in India market by storm in the last couple of years, as the brand continues to push out handsets that offer the best value for money in their respective price segments. For a really long time, there was no real competition to the phones offered by the Redmi series, but this comfortable lead has recently been threatened by some other brands like Realme and ASUS. In this competitive environment, does the brand’s latest entry, the Xiaomi Redmi 6, have what it takes to retain the top spot? Read our detailed review to get the answer.
Design and display
Even as almost every other brand is now trying to incorporate glass sandwich designs on their smartphones, Xiaomi wants to stick to the basics. The Redmi 6 comes with the same design language as most other handsets in the affordable price segment by the company. A majority of the handset’s body has been made out of plastic and unfortunately, the phone does not feel premium in the hand or from a distance. On the positive side, the dual camera setup at the back does not protrude much from the phone’s body and is placed on the top left side. The fingerprint sensor is placed slightly below the camera module, towards the centre. We can assure you that you will face no discomfort in reaching the fingerprint sensor with your index finger, even when using the phone with a single hand.
The speaker grille is located below the ‘Mi’ logo towards the lower side at the back, which proves to be an issue at times when you are watching videos or listening to music as you cannot put the phone on its back. Similar to many other phones, you get the volume rocker and the power button on the right spine of the phone, and the SIM card slot on the left side along with dedicated microSD card slot. The micro-USB charging port occupies the bottom side of the phone, whereas the 3.5mm audio jack is placed on the top of the handset. Here’s a closer look.
In terms of ergonomics, the Redmi 6 is easy to hold in one hand and does not feel heavy. The volume rocker and power buttons are tactile and easily accessible too.
Adopting the 18:9 display standard, the Redmi 6 ships with a 5.45-inch HD+ (1,440 x 720 pixels) IPS LCD panel. Having said that, the bezels on the top and bottom of the display cannot be described as slim by any means. The top bezel notably comes with an LED notification light on the left side. As far as the display quality is concerned, the panel looks vibrant and sharp for the most part. The peak brightness level ensures that the handset remains usable in outdoor conditions but is not extremely impressive. The viewing angles are good and you will not face any issues in this department. If you are the sort of person who watches a lot of multimedia content on the phone, the Redmi 6’s display is among the best in the affordable price range.
As mentioned earlier, the Redmi 6 comes with a rear-facing dual camera setup that consists of a primary 12MP sensor and a 5MP secondary sensor, assisted by an LED flash module. In our time with the smartphone, we found that the Redmi 6 managed to take decent shots, though the phone was largely dependent on lighting conditions to produce good results.
The default camera app offers various modes, including Portrait, Square, Panorama, and Manual. The manual mode essentially allows users to adjust the white balance and ISO levels to help them click pictures as per their liking.
The Portrait mode, as you might have guessed, allows the handset to click pictures with a focus on the subject and blur the background to achieve a bokeh effect. Notably, this feature is available with both the front and rear camera setups. In our testing, the portrait mode did not produce particularly impressive results but someone who is looking for this feature at a pocket-friendly price, this is a welcome addition. You can also click pictures in HDR mode, with the option provided right up front in the camera app. At the front, you get a 5MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture lens and 1.12um pixels size. The pictures taken by the front camera were not particularly impressive in indoor conditions but the phone manages to take decent images outdoors.
As you can see in the samples shared above, the images clicked by the Redmi 6 in low-light conditions had considerable noise and grain. Keeping in mind that we are talking about an affordable segment phone, we can give this particular aspect a pass.
Software and performance
Xiaomi Redmi 6 runs Android 8.1 Oreo-based MIUI 9.6 out of the box. If you are familiar with the company’s mobile software interface, you would find yourself just at home with the new handset. There are utility tools and some pre-installed apps but the platform comes across fairly clutter-free and without much bloatware.
For security, apart from the fingerprint sensor, the handset provides a face unlock feature. We found this feature to be really quick to function. Additionally, the face unlock is also reliable as it does not unlock the handset if your eyes are closed. There are some other features like Full screen display and Second Space, which allow you to make use of gestures for associated functionalities and provide separate space for privacy, respectively.
The smartphone is powered by a Helio P22 SoC, coupled with 3GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage. We did not face any issues with the performance offered by the Redmi 6 and there were no lags or hiccups navigating through the platform. Light apps and games were handled well by the smartphone but demanding games like PUBG and Injustice 2 posed difficulties for the Redmi 6, even at the lowest graphics settings.
We are usually impressed by the battery backup offered by the Xiaomi smartphones in general and the Redmi 6 continues this positive trend. Despite packing a not-so-massive 3,000mAh battery, the handset managed to last around 16 hours in our HD video loop test. However, it took us around three hours to charge the phone from zero to 100 percent.
For those who are constantly on the go and fear running out of charge, the Redmi 6 can prove to be a worthy companion. In our daily use, we managed to go through a full day on a single charge with medium usage, but heavy users might have to find the charger before the end of the day.
The Xiaomi Redmi 6 brings along some interesting features like a dual camera setup, an 18:9 HD+ display, and an impressive battery backup for a starting price of Rs 7,999. If we compare the handset with its direct rival, the Realme 2 (review), which is price Rs 1,000 higher, you get a better design and battery backup with the latter. Considering that the Realme 2 comes with a notch design, which is increasingly finding favour among prospective buyers, and thin bezels around the display, it might win over some users from Xiaomi. It would be interesting to see if Xiaomi brings a radical design shift to its handsets in the coming months as this is the only aspect where it seems to be losing ground to the new entrants.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Good display quality
- Impressive battery backup
- Fast and reliable face unlock feature
- Design is boring
- Low-light performance is average
Photos by Raj Rout