Xiaomi rarely stands still when it comes to the product range: the Xiaomi Redmi 5 is less than six months old, and they already present a new model! Xiaomi’s Redmi smartphones dominate the low-budget and mid-range sectors. Much power and a large display are available in the “Redmi Note” series and the somewhat more handy but also less powerful devices are available in the “Redmi” series. The recently released new edition of the Redmi series consists of the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6 and Redmi 6 Pro. Only the Redmi 5 Plus and the Redmi S2, both of which have a special position in the product range, step a little out of line. So Xiaomi’s product names are not really understandable, nevertheless, we consider the Redmi 6 to be the successor of the popular Redmi 5. We also tested the Redmi 6a as the successor to Redmi 5a.
The heart of the Redmi 6 is a brand new Mediatek Helio P22 processor (MT6762), supported by either 3/32 or 4/64GB memory. A triple slot for micro-SD and Dual SIM, a dual camera with 12 + 5 megapixels, a compact 5.45-inch HD display and a 3000 mAh battery are supposed to secure Xiaomi the top position in the low-budget sector. If this goal is successfully achieved, you’ll find out in the review!
Design and build quality
The Xiaomi Redmi 6 is completely made of plastic and lacks any form of premium feeling. On the other hand, plastic smartphones also have their advantages. So the Redmi 6 is very light with a weight of 146g and the reception is also very strong. In terms of durability and stability, the Redmi 6 is also convincing, the build quality is almost impeccable. Everything sits tight and the transitions on the casing are hardly noticeable. Xiaomi now provides a silicone protective cover for almost all devices, but unfortunately, you have to do without it in the case of the Redmi 6 Global. Holding the phone in your hand you don’t get a premium feeling, but due to the plastic uni-body, the low-budget device still feels high quality.
The dimensions of the device are reduced to 147.5mm x 71.5mm x 8.4mm compared to the Redmi 5 ( 152 x 73 x 8mm). With its 18:9 display, the Redmi 6 is now the most compact representative of the Redmi series. The bezels are quite large with 4mm, as you would expect for a low-budget device. Above and below the display are black bars with 11mm. The Redmi 6 is operated with on-screen keys, alternatively you can of course also use Xiaomi’s full-screen gestures, where you can only control the smartphone with swipe gestures. A notification LED is located in the upper left corner of the display, but it is not particularly bright and only shines in white. The dual rear camera protrudes minimally from the housing and is flanked by an LED flash. The fingerprint sensor performs well and unlocks the device accurately and within a second directly from standby.
At the bottom there is only one microphone next to the micro-USB connector for charging, the speaker moves to the rear of the Redmi 6. For a low-budget device, the quality of the speaker is convincing. High frequencies and mid-ranges do hardly oversteer, even at the highest volume, but you have to do without bass altogether. The high volume is also positive. On the right outside, power button and volume control are firmly integrated in the housing, and the feedback of the keys is also good. On the top you find the obligatory jack connection and another, noise-cancelling microphone. In addition to the hybrid slot, there is an extra nano SIM slot, so memory expansion (up to 400GB) with simultaneous dual SIM use is also possible here without any problems.
The Redmi 6 has an affordable price, which you clearly see in the design and build quality. Almost everything is made of plastic, but the build quality is nevertheless very good and the Redmi 6 lies ideally in the hand with its rounded rear.
The Redmi 6’s 5.45-inch display has an 18:9 format and a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels. This results in a pixel density of 295 pixels per inch and contents are still pleasantly sharp. The contrast is moderate to good, yet black looks more like grey. Unfortunately, the brightness of the display is disappointing, as you have clear problems to read the display outdoors on sunny days. Xiaomi’s automatic contrast and functional brightness have some problems to keep the display legible outside. As usual, the colour temperature can be adjusted as you like and a terminable reading mode (blue light filter) is also available.
The touch screen processes up to 10 points of contact simultaneously and typing at normal speed is possible without any problems. Nevertheless, if you’re typing fast, the difference to a Redmi 6 Pro (aka Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite) is noticeable. It happened to me more than once that the wrong letter was transmitted. However, there is no delay in the input. In the options menu, the popular Double-Tap-to-Wake-Up function is available as usual. This function is very practical to use face-unlock; unlocking the phone with the face works quickly and well with sufficient light. However, the feature is not secure! To unlock the face-unlock you have to switch the “region” on your smartphone to India.
System and performance
The Redmi 6 is powered by a Mediatek Helio P22 Octa Core processor. The MT6762 is brand new and is manufactured in the modern 12nm process. In addition to mid-range performance, the processor also offers solid energy efficiency. The 8 cores clock in a power cluster with a maximum of 2 GHz and are supported by a PowerVR GE8320 GPU with 650 MHz clock rate for graphics performance. So the Redmi 6 has enough power to play simple 3D games, but demanding games like PubG are not fun because of long lasting lags. The navigation in the MIUI 9.6 system works as smoothly and quickly as possible, but you can still feel the difference to a Redmi 6 Pro. The Redmi 6 needs some more time especially during multitasking. In terms of memory, there are 2 versions available, one with 3/32GB and one with 4/64GB. The normal memory can be expanded via micro-SD.
With 3GB RAM, the smartphone offers basically good possibilities for multitasking, you just have to wait from time to time. The speed of the RAM is on average with 3.5GB/s, but not that good either. The internal memory has a good reading/writing speed of 280/114 MB/s.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
The energy management of the Helio P22 is convincing and the Redmi 6 never gets unpleasantly warm. The system is well optimized and most loading times are reasonable. But the full-screen gestures jerk a little during execution, which is not usual with Xiaomi’s Snapdragon devices. In Antutu 7, the Redmi 5 scored 96,800 points and the Redmi 6 beat its predecessor with 76,000. The other benchmarks are also rather positive.
Redmi 6 with MIUI 9.6
Everyone is waiting for MIUI 10, but Xiaomi takes their time as usual and first fixes the BUGs. If you like to use MIUI 10, you can simply apply for a UNLOCK and install e.g. the Xiaomi.EU ROM. It is based on the China DEV and already provides MIUI 10 and weekly updates. The Global Version of course runs ex works with the official Xiaomi Global ROM and is supplied with OTA updates directly on the smartphone. The Playstore is pre-installed as well as some Google Apps like Gmail, Maps and YouTube. You can’t get rid of the apps either, but you don’t have to use them. If you miss the theme store and face-unlock, they are no longer activated in western regions. To get both back, you simply have to change the region to India in the settings under “Further settings”. Voila, the theme app and face-unlock are back on track. Apart from that, MIUI is still very strongly adapted and you have to get used to it. Navigation through the system runs smoothly and except for the full-screen gestures. It should be clear that the Redmi 6 is a low-budget device and the performance is not really comparable to a 230$-device – compared to other China phones of course. The speed, especially in the system, is on the same level as that of the Redmi 5 with an SD450.
With a Sony IMX486 as the main sensor, Xiaomi uses a very strong sensor in the low-budget sector. The dual camera setup is complemented by a 5 megapixel Samsung s5k5e8 sensor. The aperture of the main camera is f/2.2 and therefore low-light shots are unfortunately not that good, but they hardly have to be in this price range. The front camera takes nice 5-megapixel selfies.
The dual camera function is limited to Bokeh shots and works just about fine. With 2-3 attempts it is possible to create a proper separation from foreground to background and for such a cheap device this is always okay. The selfie camera occasionally overexposes the images and has problems with the smallest movements. With a steady hand you can produce detailed and colour-coordinated selfies that are more than appropriate for the price range. A Bokeh selfie mode is also available and provides for the more beautiful selfies. The function works well.
The main camera cuts a very good figure, at least as long as enough light is available. As soon as you take pictures indoors or in the evening, the pictures very quickly get coarse-grained and washed-out. In good light conditions, the sensor produces detailed and sharp images, with colours that are partly almost too bright. You can also view the pictures on a large PC screen and get nice souvenir photos here. The shutter release time is minimal and the focus works satisfactorily when taking pictures.
Recording videos is possible in FHD resolution with 30 FPS and an EIS is also included. However, the recordings are very noisy and the EIS causes an unpleasant distortion of the video content. Without EIS the picture is unfortunately clearly shaky, so the Redmi 6 is rather not suitable for video lovers.
Good selfies and photos in good lighting conditions keep Xiaomi at the top of the best cameras in the low budget range. Of course, you have to back down here a bit, which refers in particular to low-light recordings and videos. If you want to see a direct comparison to Redmi 5 or any other device, just leave a comment.
Connectivity and communication
We already know the good reception because of a plastic housing from the Redmi 5a. The Remdi 6 is also completely convincing here. The network reception is really good and the WiFi range and data throughput are also strong, although WiFi only works in the 2.4GHz network with n standard. Instead, Bluetooth 4.2 is available and works perfectly. The following frequencies are supported:
- GSM (B2/3/5/8)
- WCDMA (B1/2/5/8)
- TDD-LTE (B38/40)
- FDD-LTE (B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20)
The call quality is at a high level and is well supported by the noise-cancelling microphone. The speakerphone can also be used without hesitation. VoLTE works after activation with the code: *#*#86583##*#* without problems with my SIM card.
GPS reception is also at a high level and a compass is available to assist. Navigation was always without problems and was at most limited by short waiting times when starting by the processor. The phone offers the 3 standard sensors: brightness, proximity and acceleration sensors. Unfortunately, Xiaomi did without a gyroscope.
BatteryBattery lifetime Result Unit: hours
The 3000 mAh of the Redmi 5 battery had caused some indignation. Xiaomi normally spoils us with 4000 mAh batteries, but the big parts are now reserved for the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi 6 Pro (Mi A2 Lite). The Redmi 6 does without any form of quick charge and it takes 2.5 hours until the device is fully charged. The run time is good, but not quite at Redmi 5-level. This can already be seen in the run time in the PCMark battery test, where the Redmi 6 (6.5 hours) just reaches half the run time of the Redmi 5. In daily use, however, you don’t notice it much. Even with more intensive tasks I always got though 2 days with 5-6 hours DOT (time with display switched on). So even power users, who are still in the wrong price range here, should make it over a day without any problems. If you are looking for significantly more battery power, you have to invest a few dollars more for the Mi A2 Lite.
Conclusion and alternative
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*Prices include shipping and toll. Intermediate changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs possible. Prices last updated on 20.11.2018