It’s very rare for a company’s flagship to look anything short of amazing. And so it is with the mirror finish Xiaomi Mi 6, though this phone appeals for more than its basic good looks. The Mi 6 is fitted with a 5.15 inches screen, features very slim screen bezels, and is just 7.5mm thick with almost slippery smooth, rounded edges at the rear that make it feel ever so comfortable in the hand. As manufacturers look to differentiate themselves on screen size and quality, with flagships that get larger with every new release, Xiaomi is sticking to its ground. This is a relatively compact phone that will be ideal for those customers who think the market is beginning to outgrow them.
This Mi 6 has a full-HD panel with a 1920×1080- pixel resolution and a density of 428ppi – but Xiaomi is not alone. It’s funny that the company it is most often accused of copying, and one that is perhaps the biggest and best-known in the western world, also has no Quad-HD smartphone in its line-up.
Increasing screen resolutions also comes with increasing demands placed on the battery and this is a standout area for the Mi 6, fitted as it is with a 3,350mAh cell that supports Quick Charge and may even keep going two days. So the full-HD screen is a trade of we’re more than happy to make especially when that display is as bright (1 to 600 nits) and vibrant as this one, with great contrast, realistic colours and excellent viewing angles.
The Mi 6 is said to be splash proof, which is something we’ve not seen before from Xiaomi. As such it features a sealed SIM tray and lined ports. You’ll find USB-C on the bottom, as before, and the volume rocker in line with the SIM tray on the opposite side of the device. This sits just above the power button, while there’s an IR blaster (which is becoming increasingly rare) at the top. But something is missing here: the 3.5mm headphone jack. Xiaomi is the latest phone maker to drop the headphone jack.
The Mi 6 is available in black, silver or blue, plus there’s a ceramic version.
Well, what we can say about the Mi 6’s performance: it’s breathtaking. The Xiaomi features this year’s class-leading processor the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 but while its rivals pair this chip with 4GB of DDR4 RAM Xiaomi specifies 6GB. The Snapdragon 835 is a 10nm chip built in partnership between Samsung and Qualcomm, which meant no phone manufacturer, was allowed to use it until the Galaxy S8 had been unveiled. Thus the LG G6, which would normally be a rival for the latest Xiaomi, was forced to use last year’s Snapdragon 821.
The Xiaomi Mi 6, now fitted with two 12Mp cameras one with a wide-angle f/1.8 lens and the other a f/2.6 telephoto lens. Key specs include a 10x digital zoom, 2x optical zoom, four-axis OIS and PDAF. It can also shoot 4K video, offers various shooting modes including manual, beautify, Tilt-shift and group shot, plus real-time filters. After the photo is taken there are also some decent editing tools. We were impressed with the quality of our test images, which were very well exposed and offered very realistic colours. Detail was softer than we were expecting, however. The front camera has also been upgraded from 4 to 8Mp, which is plenty clear enough for video chat and selfies.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 runs MIUI 8.2, which is a custom version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow (the latest version of Android is Nougat, and Android O is expected within the next few months). The main differences you’ll notice are the lack of an app tray everything is laid out on the home screen in an iPhone fashion and you’ll find some changes in the Settings menu. Fortunately there’s a search option at the top that makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.
MIUI 8 has some cool features of its own, including Dual apps, which in essence lets you run two instances of one app, and in a similar vein you can also set up a second space on the phone it’s almost like having two phones. There’s a Child mode, too. You can individually lock any app on the phone, should you rather not lock the phone itself or you want a second layer of security, and you can tweak various things such as the theme and which side of the home button your back and multi-tasking options sit.
5.15 inches full-HD (1920×1080, 428ppi) four-sided curved glass
MIUI 8.2 (Android 6.0)
2.45GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core chip
653MHz Adreno 540 GPU
64/128GB storage (no microSD support)
Under-glass fingerprint scanner
USB-C audio (no headphone jack)
4G FDD-LTE B1/B3/B5/B7/B8
2×2 MU-MIMO dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
12Mp dual-camera, 2x optical zoom, 4-axis OIS, PDAF, f/1.8 and f/2.6 aperture
8Mp front camera
3,350mAh non-removable battery, Quick Charge