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Xiaomi Mi 6 Review – The Best Xiaomi’s Phone Yet

by Linus 25

Each year we all wait for one of the most powerful budget flagships and it is finally here. Meet the Xiaomi Mi 6, the phone that has killer specs, awesome looks, and a compelling dual-camera setup. Stay tuned to find out if the best of Xiaomi is worth your attention in the full Xiaomi Mi 6 review.

Thanks to Giztop for providing the Xiaomi Mi 6 review unit.

VIDEO REVIEW

UNBOXING

The Xiaomi Mi 6 ships with all the usual stuff and some extras include a soft TPU case to protect your phone.

Also, you get a USB-C to the headset jack adapter since the phone lacks the 3.5mm port. Finally, the Mi 6 ships with the fast charger.

DESIGN and DISPLAY

Once you first pick the Xiaomi Mi 6 up, the first impressions are that the phone looks just gorgeous. Also, it has excellent build quality and it is fairly compact since it sports a 5.15” IPS LCD display, which is sharp, vibrant and definitely one of the best 1080p panels you can find.

We have an 8MP shooter and LED notification light, which, however, is not customizable like on previous Xiaomi phones.

At least we have nicely backlit capacitive keys and the fingerprint sensor that is one of the fastest and most accurate scanners that you can find on any smartphone. It unlocks the phone 10/10 times, straight from the standby mode.

I love that the phone sits nicely in the hand. The stainless-steel frame is almost seamless with a curved glass back panel, which actually does a decent job with all the fingerprints and smudges. In comparison, the phone does not attract fingerprints so quickly like the Galaxy S8. Also, the buttons are easy to reach and they have a great tactile feedback.

It’s worth mentioning that the Xiaomi Mi 6 is now splash-proof even though the official certification number is not yet confirmed. Keep in mind that splash-proof phones are not the same as water resistant smartphones. In other words, you cannot submerge the Xiaomi Mi 6 under water, don’t mess your new phone up.

One of the key selling points of the Mi 6 is the dual camera setup that consists of a 12MP shooter with a wide-angle lens and another 12MP sensor with the telephoto lens that gives 2 times zoom and the ability to take beautiful portrait photos with bokeh effect. The main camera has a bright f/1.8 aperture lens, 4-axis OIS, and dual tone dual-LED flash.

It is great that we have the IR blaster that allows you to control devices like TVs.

I love the loudspeaker quality. The sound is balanced and rich, and there is even a decent amount of bass.

What I don’t like is that there is no headset jack on this phone. I know that Xiaomi wants to follow a trend but if you look at the latest flagships from Samsung or LG, Xiaomi should be more careful with this decision and I think they should have kept the headset jack. Anyway, the sound quality via the USB-C port using a supplied adapter is great. No distortions, great volume output, and rich sound.

Xiaomi Mi 6 in pictures:

HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

As far as hardware goes, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is one of the most powerful smartphones the money can buy.

It ships with the latest and greatest Snapdragon 835 chip, 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, which is, however, not expandable.

The gaming performance is almost perfect. All the 3D games run fine on the very highest graphics settings and the phone does not have any overheating issues. However, I noticed that there were a few skipped frames on the Asphalt 8. I believe that this is due to an early software build and you don’t really need to worry about that since Xiaomi releases software updates very often.

BENCHMARKS

USER INTERFACE

The Mi 6 ships with the MIUI 8, which is built on top of Android 7.1. My device has the MIUI Global ROM 8.2 that has Google Services pre-installed and all the Chinese bloatware removed.

I love how fast the phone is on the daily basis even after installing quite a few apps. So far, the phone has been working fine and I didn’t have any lag.

As usual, there are plenty of customization options Xiaomi phones have been famous for. Just to name a few, you can adjust display settings, choose from a variety of themes or wallpapers, customize the capacitive buttons, use some gesture controls and so on. If you want to customize the phone even further, there are a lot more other features to play with.

CAMERAS

Check out our camera review video:

We have a familiar Xiaomi camera app that allows you to take pictures very fast. You can also play with some basic shooting modes and settings. E.g. you can adjust some image properties using the manual mode or shoot slow-motion videos at 720p.

There is also 2x lossless zoom mode that allows you to utilize that secondary camera sensor and this feature comes really handy. The results are pretty good, definitely a lot better than using digital zoom.

The portrait mode takes good-looking pictures with bokeh effect but sometimes you may get a picture with a bit unnatural looking blurred background.

When it comes to the image quality using auto-mode, the Mi 6 can take great pictures in good lighting. There is plenty of detail, the colors look nice and noise reduction is pretty good. However, I found that the dynamic range adjustment is a bit worse than on the top tier phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8.

The indoor and macro shots are great too. Again, there is lots of detail and you get that nice bokeh effect thanks to the bright lens.

The low-light camera performance is decent but it is far from the top-shelf flagship-grade quality. If we compare the pictures with the Samsung Galaxy S8, you will see that there are much less detail and much more noise.

The 4k video quality is great. The footage is detailed and the continuous auto-focus feature works well. The colours look nice too but they seem to be slightly oversaturated. Also, there are some video artifacts going but in general, this is probably the best video quality from any Xiaomi phone.

The 1080p video looks good too. Obviously, there is less detail but the OIS seems to do a better job than in 4k video mode.

The selfies look great as there is a lot of detail and the colors are accurate. However, the quality decreases quite dramatically in lower-lit situations.

The 1080p selfie video looks quite good. There is a good amount of detail but the footage is not as good as the one shot with the Galaxy S8. Finally, the sound recording quality is decent but still, not quite the mainstream flagship quality.

Download full-resolution camera samples

CONNECTIVITY

When it comes to connectivity, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is flawless. The call quality and signal reception have been excellent, the Wifi range and speed are good, the Bluetooth works fine and finally, the GPS is very accurate, thanks to a reliable Snapdragon processor.

BATTERY LIFE

The Xiaomi Mi 6 ships with a 3350 mAh battery that performs great. I used my phone very intensively for taking a lot of pictures and shooting 4k video, running benchmarks, installing a lot of apps and so on and I still managed to get over 5 hours of screen-on time. If you use the device just for the basic stuff, you should be able to get 6 or even 7 hours of SOT.

Finally, the Mi 6 ships with the fast charger. It takes about 1:30 h to fully charge the phone, thanks to the Quick Charge 3.0.

CONCLUSIONS

So, there you have it, the Xiaomi Mi 6, the latest and greatest from the Chinese tech giant.

I have to say that this is one solid smartphone and it brings a lot of flagship-grade qualities for a much lower price than the mainstream flagships.

Xiaomi nailed the design and build quality, the display is nice and sharp, and the overall performance is great. You also get a great battery life with the fast charger and all connectivity options work flawlessly.

The dual-cameras can take some very nice pictures but the quality is still not on par with the top tier phones like the Galaxy S8, especially if you compare the low-light photos.

You should also know that the Mi 6 lacks the headset jack and there is no microSD card slot.

At the end of the day, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is the best Xiaomi’s phone yet. Even though it has a few cons to consider, you can definitely call it a flagship phone even if it does not carry a mainstream flagship price tag.

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4.7

Xiaomi Mi 6 is the best Xiaomi’s phone yet. Even though it has a few cons to consider, you can definitely call it a flagship phone even if it does not carry a mainstream flagship price tag.

Design and Build
Display
Hardware
User Interface
Camera
Connectivity
Battery Life
Overall Performance
Value for Money
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  • balcobomber25

    Another beast of a phone from Xiaomi, all the power of a Galaxy phone for half the price.

    • NextHype

      minus camera perf

      • balcobomber25

        The newest Galaxy S8’s camera isn’t that great, especially compared to the outgoing model.

        • NextHype

          Yep but it’s still way better than xiaomi’s ^^
          And I’m truely not fond of the sammy way of processing photos (way too unrealistic for me : enhanced colors and contrast, etc…)

          Last year, Xiaomi didn’t succeed on integrating dual cam (Mi5 took better pics than Mi5s) and camera sample from Mi6 I seen weren’t above Mi5 quality, so…

          I think xiaomi dont wanna spend too much on camera R&D to keep their prices low, and avoid eating their beneficial margin. With that kind of politic they’ll never be able to compete with Sammy, LG, HTC, Sony, Oppo, Vivo, etc… when it comes to camera perf.

          • balcobomber25

            There’s only so much you can spend when you have a flagship that costs hundreds less than Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony, OPPO and Vivo. None of those companies have a flagship that costs $360. But I would argue that Xiaomi has a better camera than several of those brands already. Xiaomi won’t match Samsung or LG for low light performance, but in daytime shots, they are very close. And for the $400 price difference it is an excellent choice for most people.

          • NextHype

            That’s true if you’re only considering to buy the current flagship full-priced.
            But if you compare a 2015-2016 flagship from an expensive brand (now available for $400) and a current Xiaomi flagship ($400), I can’t see no reason to buy a Xiaomi product as the extra calculation power is useless, and you better have the best camera, SD slot and B20 for the same price.

            This wasn’t true one year ago but I think we reached a turning point as QC is overkilling it with their badass SoC… and App dev lacking of imagination to get the best from this calculation power.

          • balcobomber25

            You could say the same thing about a previous flagship and the current flagships from Samsung and LG. The Galaxy S8 has marginal upgrades to the Galaxy S7, the camera (specifically what you are talking about) isn’t really an upgrade at all. The only real upgrade is the SD835 which isn’t that big of an upgrade over the 820/821 and slightly larger display.

          • Francis

            Hi Balco, hope all is well. Banggood is right now selling the MI5S in Grey color at 238€. Should I get the MI5S or go for the Redmi Note 4 Global Edition? Your sincere advice is welcome.

          • goodwill

            I personally, prefer the G6 over the S8. I think S8 has too much gimmicky features that people won’t really use like the Iris scanner, It’s slow, Fingerprint is still the better/faster way to unlock without having to align your eyes just to unlock. Not forgetting the awkward high fp scanner placement and the toned down to FHD in settings by default on a QHD to save battery life. Doesn’t seat well with me if I’m paying that much. LG G6 is still the better deal eventho it’s still rocking a 821, It’s still powerful with more useful features and it’s cheaper than the S8.

        • goodwill

          Yea, and having equipped with a QHD display but the setting is set on FHD instead doesn’t set right in my book. You paid for a QHD display just to have them toned down by default to save battery life.

  • Rick

    I sharpen my teeth for the silver one, but they will be very hard to get…

    • Get it for $449 on giztop, 64GB and 128GB both are in stock.

      • $50 more for the blue one though. VOPMart has it for $459, $10 more but it is the same price for all 3 colours. TO2C is asking $493 but colours other than black are extra. I have only bought one phone from TO2C but one thing I like about their site is that they give you a choice of ROMs – in this case it is the original ROM vs the Global one. Sometimes they offer a third choice – a modified global ROM but with no OTA updates. But the big attraction for me is that, if you want a global ROM, it is spelled out right on the product page whether it is available for the phone you want.

    • balcobomber25

      You can get it for the same price as below on Aliexpress. Google, kimovil, and you can check prices daily to see when it goes down in price.

  • Gousgounis

    Does SD835 heat up after intense gaming?

    • goodwill

      Non that I know of, so far. Games are running fine on mine.

  • Christopher

    Good Review but your phone is no update

  • lordsbm

    How’s the camera compared with Mi5? I’d read the China mi community feels Mi6 camera is worst than Mi5. Thx

    • goodwill

      It’s definitely better. I’ve owned both the Mi5 and now the Mi6. There are better flagship cameras out there of course but for the price, It’s good. OP3/ OP3T still take better pictures but there are pros and cons. Some where Mi6 excels and some where OP3/OP3T do.

  • NextHype

    no jack, no SD, no B20, average camera perf
    still not the year for me to buy a xiaomi flagship

  • loller

    To heavy and large bezels, no reason to upgrade from mi5 64gb(mi history: mi2s-mi4-mi5)
    A73 core(inside sd835 as kryo 280) is a total fail, wil wait for mi7.

  • Raoni França

    I was wondering, which sensor camera are inside this phone.? Sony One.?

    • goodwill

      1 of the back camera is sony while other is from samsung. and the front is sony if I’m not mistaken.

  • goodwill

    Linus, I just got my Mi6 too. Our MIUI version is the same, which is the Global 8.2 stable NCAMIEC. Any idea if that’s the pre-released Global ROM or just a vendor’s ROM? Cause as far as I know, only the Chinese ROM is released, publicly.

  • Jam

    Hi, tell me, the sounds is better than Axon 7 ? thks

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