Our friends over at GearBest.com have sent us the new flagship smartphone from Xiaomi called the Mi 6. It’s a $500 smartphone designed for the Chinese market that features a 5.1-inch 1080p LCD display, a Snapdragon 835 CPU with 6GB of RAM, dual 12-megapixel camera sensors, a 3350 mAh battery, and Android 7.1 Nougat running out of the box.
While I am disappointed that it will not work in the US, I’m still excited to test it out and marvel at its features. So all we have to do to get inside the box is slice off the two pieces of tape holding it together. After we slide off the top, we’ll find the Mi 6 sitting right on top. Underneath, we’ll find a relatively cheap silicone protective case included in the box (which is pretty nice to see) and it also comes packaged with a SIM card ejector tool and some basic it gets to paperwork. The other two accessories include a USB-C charging cable and a fast-charging wall wart.
If we take a look at the Mi 6 and remove the protective plastic around the device, we’ll find essentially a jet black iPhone 7. I find it quite humorous actually just how similar this phone is to the iPhone 7. It has a metal frame with a back that does not have any antenna lines. It looks and feels just like a jet black iPhone. What this means is that the back will likely scratch and pick up fingerprints pretty easily.
This phone doesn’t scream quality through its exterior shell. It’s actually the weight that makes me feel like I’m holding a powerful device. Believe me, I know that sounds a bit strange but it’s true. There’s a very nice weight to it.
The display is pretty disappointing based off first impressions. It’s an FHD IPS LCD panel that gets very bright and has good viewing angles but fails to dazzle. It’s certainly nothing like the Galaxy S8’s display. We recently reviewed the Mi Pad 3, which runs Mi UI 8 on top of Android 7.0 so it’s nice to see that this runs Mi UI 8.2 on top of Android 7.1.1 Nougat. I’m not gonna say that I’m a fan of the UI as many of the animations and skins appear unnecessary and aren’t as visually appealing as the animations and skins found in stock Android, at least in my opinion. There’s also no app drawer by default and some Nougat features are missing, such as multi-tasking and a feature that will let you cycle through your last two recently used apps with a simple double tap of the overview button. Those are two of my most used features in Nougat so it’s pretty disappointing to see them not here. I will say, as a reminder and a saving grace, you can change many of the aesthetics and functions of the device via third party applications.
Also, the performance is good. Despite the lack of true multi-tasking, the Snapdragon 835 CPU and 6GB of RAM provide plenty of power to manage social media apps and play the most graphic intensive apps on the Play Store.
The dual 12-megapixel camera sensors will let you capture portrait photos with very shallow milky depth of field, similar to the iPhone 7 Plus. Also, one of the sensors feature 2x Optical Zoom, allowing you to zoom in on the photo and retain more quality than if you were to digitally zoom in or crop a photo. I’m definitely going to have to test this camera in detail over the next couple of weeks. But overall, it seems to perform well.
The f/1.8 aperture and software features help to improve low light photography and the face detection autofocus helps me quickly focus on my subject. I will also add that there is Optical Image Stabilization, which should help take crispier photos and steadier videos.
The Mi 6 features stereo speakers in a similar configuration as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. There’s one speaker grill on the bottom of the phone and the call speaker doubles as a loudspeaker to give you a nice stereo sound that blasts music directly to your face.
Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the battery life this early in the review. But I will say that the 3350mAh battery is pretty big on paper and should be plenty enough to last a full day of moderate to heavy usage, especially when factoring in the 1080p LCD display. So while the display may not be as visually appealing as Samsung’s newest displays, the conservative resolution should help conserve some battery life.
I look forward to testing this phone in detail over the next couple of weeks. It’s a kind of a shame that it’s not available in the North American market. But many of you watching this video aren’t from this market and might actually be able to buy this device. If you cannot pick up this phone, you can still admire what it does right and what it does wrong and what it copies from other companies.
Xiaomi Mi 6 via GearBest.com: http://www.gearbest.com/cell-phones/pp_609495.html?lkid=10823478