“The Redmi 6A and Redmi 6 are the latest budget phones from Xiaomi, and score high on VFM as usual”
The ripples created by Xiaomi’s new sub brand and the latter’s very first smartphone offering, the POCO F1 (review) are yet to die down, but the company already has a bunch of new phones in India. With the new Redmi 6 series, Xiaomi is back in its comfort zone, doing what it does best – offer VFM phones that are hard to beat. While the Redmi 6 Pro (review) is the most loaded of the lot and is the first Redmi series smartphone with a display notch, the Redmi 6A and the Redmi 6 (first impressions) are budget devices, with all variants priced south of Rs 10k. The Redmi 6A and Redmi 6 also share the design language, and few core specs. Here’s a closer look.
When placed side by side, the Redmi 6 and 6A seem identical from the front, and they are. Both phones use exactly the same design and the same polycarbonate bodies, with identical 5.45-inch, 18:9 displays. The HD+ resolution is also the same, and so are the 5MP front snappers.
Related read: Xiaomi Redmi 6A vs Redmi 6 vs Redmi 6 Pro
Flip to the rear, and the first difference you’d notice is the fact that the Redmi 6 comes with a fingerprint scanner, a feature which is missing on the 6A. And while the rear camera modules look similar at first glance, a closer look will reveal that the Redmi 6 comes with dual shooters, while the Redmi 6A just has a single snapper.
The placement of ports and controls is the same too, with the micro-USB port placed at the bottom, next to the speaker, and the 3.5mm headset socket on top. The volume rocker and power key are on the right, while the left spine is home to two ejectable trays – one that can accommodate a nano SIM and a microSD card, and a separate one for the second nano SIM. This means that both the Redmi 6 and the 6A don’t need you to forsake dual-SIM capabilities if you want to add more storage. Also worth noting is the fact that both phones support dual VoLTE, which is important given that most telecom operators in India have started making use of VoLTE networks. Jio has a VoLTE-only network to begin with.
The two siblings also offer the same battery capacity, i.e. 3,000mAh. And lastly, the software platform is the same as well – MIUI 9.6 with Android Oreo as base. Xiaomi has promised that the phones will get the MIUI 10 update eventually, though there’s no indication of when that’s likely to happen. While the 6 is the only one out of the two to come with a fingerprint scanner, both siblings also offer an AI-based face unlock feature. All the other, usual MIUI features are all there of course. If you’ve used a Xiaomi phone running MIUI lately, you’d know exactly what to expect.
Related read: Xiaomi Redmi 6 vs Realme 2
Performance and camera capabilities are the two areas where the Redmi 6 and 6A differ quite a bit. While the Redmi 6A offers a single 13MP rear snapper, handling photography duties on the Redmi 6 are dual 12MP + 5MP cameras. A MediaTek Helio A22 SoC, which has a 12nm quad-core processor, handles the number crunching on the Redmi 6A, mated to 2GB of RAM and either 16 or 32GB of native storage depending upon the variant. On the other hand, the Redmi 6 is powered by a 12nm MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor, which works in tandem with 3 gigs of RAM, offering either 32GB or 64GB storage as per the variant chosen. Notably, the pair are the first set of phones from Xiaomi in India to come powered by MediaTek SoCs after Xiaomi’s patent infringement case with Ericsson ended.
With prices starting at Rs 5,999 for the base variant of the Redmi 6A, going all the way up to Rs 9,499 for the higher variant of the Redmi 6, the siblings look set to create a buzz in the budget segment and offer strong competition to rivals, which include phones like the Realme 2 (review), Honor 7S (first impressions) etc. Xiaomi was quick to point out that these prices are inaugural ones, and could be revised after two months due to the depreciating rupee. We’ll see what those are, if and when the prices do get revised upwards… but for now, if there’s one thing that the new Redmi siblings offer apart from everything they bring to the table, it has to be value for money. And that’s one term that has become synonymous with brand Xiaomi over the years.