The Xiaomi Mi 6, the Chinese company's latest flagship smartphone, was unveiled last month at an event in Beijing. The new flagship smartphone and its ceramic variant are initially exclusive to the China market, similar to their predecessors, the Xiaomi Mi 5 and Xiaomi Mi 4. The company hasn't yet announced India launch plans for the new Mi flagship, but it offered Gadgets 360 a chance to spend some time with the Xiaomi Mi 6 and Mi 6 Ceramic, and here are our first impressions.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 is very similar to the Mi 5 in terms of shape and size. The new flagship, however, looks more refined and premium with four-sided curved glass on four sides, and a frame made of stainless steel. Unlike the Xiaomi Mi 5, the Mi 6 has a fingerprint sensor under the front glass, which adds to the overall aesthetics. The new fingerprint sensor implementation by Xiaomi is in line with what other companies including Samsung are reportedly trying to achieve.
At the China launch, Xiaomi claimed that the stainless-steel enclosure is resistant to wear and tear. Additionally, the Mi 6 has a splash-resistant body, with the SIM tray also sealed against liquid damage. We expect that we will be able to get a better idea of the durability of this phone when it is more widely available.
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Xiaomi also touted the curved glass design of the Mi 6 and its high-gloss outline. In our opinion, the device does have a premium appeal. However, you will need to clean it from time to time as it clearly attracts smudges.
At 7.5mm, the Mi 6 is marginally thicker than its predecessor which measured 7.3mm. Also, the weight of 168 grams makes this phone quite a bit heavier than the Mi 5 which weighed 129 grams. It's is comfortable to use with just one hand, though we found that the glass finish was quite slippery. The Mi 6 was launched in black, white and blue, and we got a black unit version to try out.
The ceramic version is even heavier than the regular version, but looks more premium. Another highlight of the Ceramic version is its 18K gold-plated camera rims. Apart from design, there is no difference between the regular Mi 6 and the Ceramic version.
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The smartphone features a 5.15-inch full-HD (1080x1920 pixels) display. It looks bright and crisp, with good viewing angles. However, this might turn out to be the phone's biggest weakness considering that it will be compared to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6, both of which have bigger screens with higher resolutions. It's worth pointing it out that the Mi 6 costs roughly half as much as those smartphones.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 is the company's first smartphone with no 3.5mm headphones socket, and this means that users can expect a USB-Type C to 3.5mm adaptor shipping in the retail box. The speakers are located on either side of the USB Type-C port on the bottom. The power and volume buttons are on the right, while the SIM card tray is on the left.
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One of the biggest highlights of the Mi 6 is its dual rear 12-megapixel cameras, a setup similar to that of the iPhone 7 Plus. One has a wide-angle lens and the other has a telephoto lens for lossless 2x zoom. The company claims that its binocular stereoscopic vision imaging and depth learning algorithms make edge recognition more accurate in photos. The rear cameras also feature phase-detection autofocus, and four-axis anti-shake functionality for blur reduction. The mi 6 also packs an 8-megapixel front camera with 1080p video recording capability.
In the limited time we had with the phone, we found that the Mi 6's rear cameras were quick at focusing. The dual mode is not turned on by default when you launch the camera app, but it only takes one tap. When the portrait mode (or dual mode) is selected, the phone can capture shots with the background blurred. However, the app clearly notes that the main subject shouldn't be further than 2m from the camera.
In our limited tests, some of the samples we took in portrait mode came out looking good, with the subject clear and the background blurred, without any extra effort. The samples had accurate colours and details. The low-light performance of the Mi 6's rear camera was impressive as well. The front camera was also decent, and managed to take good selfies in low light. The camera app also has a beautify feature for enhancing selfies. Stay tuned for our detailed review when we really get a chance to test the cameras under varied conditions.
The Mi 6 runs MIUI 8 based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The interface looked cleaner than before, and there were several Nougat features such as split-screen multitasking. The Mi 6 ships with a Smart Assistant feature that is customisable. The Smart Assistant lets users call up frequently visited places and preferences, after which it can show traffic route suggestions.
As you would expect from a flagship smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi 6 packs the latest octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor clocked at 2.4GHz, coupled with 6GB of RAM. This is only the second smartphone powered by the new Qualcomm SoC apart from the Samsung Galaxy S8. We found the phone to be responsive to our touch inputs and quick during multitasking in the limited time we spent with it. We found that there were roughly 3.8GB of RAM free when the phone was idle.
The Mi 6 has been launched in 64GB and 128GB storage options. Storage isn't expandable. The dual-SIM phone supports VoLTE, and both SIMs support LTE. The Mi 6 is also only the second smartphone after the Galaxy S8 to feature Bluetooth 5.0. We will reserve our verdict on the Mi 6's performance till we get the chance to put it through our detailed review process.
Xiaomi is yet to announce India launch plans for the Mi 6, though a representative told Gadgets 360 that there's no truth to rumours claiming that the phone won't launch here at all. We can expect the Mi 6 to be priced at around the same aggressive level as it is priced in China, in order to take on the popular OnePlus 3T.
If Xiaomi brings the Mi 6 here soon, it could be the first one with a Snapdragon 835 processor to launch in India. We will have to wait for the company's confirmation of any such plans.
The Xiaomi Mi 6 has been priced starting at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 23,500) in China for the version wotj 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. The 128GB/6GB version has been priced at CNY 2,899 (roughly Rs. 27,000). The Ceramic version has been priced at CNY 2,999 (roughly Rs. 28,000) and it has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.