FIRST IMPRESSIONS: XIAOMI REDMI 6 PRO
Having just blown away the competition in the sub-Rs 25,000 segments with the launch of its newest flagship, the POCO F1, Xiaomi is certainly not done with its share of smartphone launches just yet. In fact, if you thought Xiaomi already had enough budget smartphones (under Rs 10,000) then they just made choosing your pick all the more difficult with the launch of the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6 and the Redmi 6 Pro.
Unveiled globally alongside the Mi A2 as the Mi A2 Lite, the Redmi 6 Pro does seem like a great smartphone on paper that will ensure that any competition from the likes of brands like InFocus and Infinix, and even direct rivals Realme, are staved off.
Compared to the Redmi 6A and the Redmi 6, the Pro is an addition in the ranks and the most notable difference here is that it features a notch. While that makes the Redmi 6 Pro the cheapest Xiaomi smartphone that features a notch, its also features a few neat upgrades over the other two phones to justify its starting price of Rs 10,999.
Build and Design
Apart from the notch on the front, design-wise, we see the same boring look of the Redmi Note 5 series, with the vertical camera alignment on the back. The phone does look a smaller version of the Redmi Y2 and the Redmi Note 5 but Xiaomi has opted for a mix of plastic and metal making it feel a lot more durable.
The large battery inside does not make it the slimmest budget phone you’ll see but it still feels grippy and ergonomic.
The Redmi 6 Pro maintains a chassis which is almost of the same size as the Redmi 6, but it packs a much sharper 5.84-inch display at a 19:9 aspect ratio.
On top, we have a layer of 2.5D curved glass which curves ever so slightly into the lipping which holds it together. The phone packs an impressive 2280 x 1080 resolution with a pixel density of 432 PPI and a screen-to-body ratio of 79.6 percent.
With my limited time on the device, the display looked great with great sharpness and adequately punchy colours. Certainly making it one of the major additions to the phone, given the price.
Chipset, RAM and Storage
Unlike the Redmi 6 and the Redmi 6A which get MediaTek chipsets, the Redmi 6 Pro gets an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC clocked at 2.0 GHz. We’ve seen Xiaomi introduce a Snapdragon 600 series chipset powered device under Rs 10,000 earlier with the Redmi Y2 and the Redmi 6 Pro falls straight in line.
The Snapdragon 625 is made on a larger 14 nm process while the P22 is built on a 12 nm, which should, in theory, result in better battery life on the Redmi 6.
The phone is available in a choice of two RAM variants — 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage or a 4 GB RAM with 64 GB storage configuration. Storage can be further expanded using a microSD card and the best part is that you don’t have to sacrifice your second SIM card for it. Of the 64 GB of onboard storage, you do get roughly 52.5 GB of available storage. Though there are a few apps which can be considered bloatware (Netflix, PhonePe, Amazon, Microsoft Word and Excel) and can be uninstalled for a bit more storage.
OS and Software
Having announced MIUI 10 back at the end of May, we are yet to see Xiaomi launch a device in India with its latest UI out of the box. Much like the POCO F1 and the Mi A2, the Redmi 6 Pro also comes with MIUI 9.6 built on top of Android Oreo 8.1.
The security patch is not the latest one and is dated July 2018. The software feels smooth otherwise and I have not come across any lag or choppy animations so far. Something Xiaomi generally takes care of with its optimisations. The phone also gets a software-based face unlock feature which sets up in no time and is also quite fast.
I do have to put the phone through a lot more load to arrive at a conclusion for which you do have to wait for the in-depth review. So far though, everything seems buttery smooth on the 6 Pro.
Dual-cameras have been a feature on most Xiaomi smartphones launched this year and the Redmi 6 Pro seems to be no different. The hardware here though is marginally inferior to that on the similarly-priced Redmi Y2.
The Redmi 6 Pro gets a 12 MP f/2.2 primary sensor and a 5 MP f/2.2 secondary sensor which collects depth-related data. There’s also PDAF and a single LED flash in between for photos in the dark. Xiaomi claims that the dual-camera setup here too uses AI chops to enhance photographs, though the UI does not include a toggle for it. Video shooting capabilities are capped at 1080p 30 fps. You do get EIS though, which should help a great deal getting better footage.
On the front, the phone features a 5 MP f/2.0 lens which is capable of shooting video at a resolution of 1080p at 30 fps.
The Camera UI is basic and features five modes — portrait, short video, video and standard photo.
Battery and Connectivity
The battery is another area where you do get an upgrade if you’re considering the Redmi 6. While the Redmi 6 gets a 3,000 mAh battery, the 6 Pro features a 4,000 mAh battery. The chipset isn’t the best when it comes to efficiency but MIUI does generally handle battery well and the phone should comfortably get you through a day.
As for connectivity, buyers get Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 and support for 4G LTE with dual standby support. There’s also GPS, an IR blaster, a micro USB charging port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack, along with the standard array of sensors.
Xiaomi may be late to the notch party, but it is a design feature which screams 2018 and the Redmi 6 Pro gives you that without compromising on the resolution. As far as design is concerned, I am thoroughly bored. Rivals like Realme have shown what’s possible in a limited budget. Thankfully, there’s certainly no compromise when it comes to build quality.
The Redmi 6 Pro is basically the smartphone which does what Xiaomi does best, provide the maximum possible features and performance at a price that makes it difficult to argue against. That said, we do have to put the Redmi 6 Pro through a lot more to conclude whether it is the best smartphone you can buy at this price. The reason I say this is because at Rs 10,999 for the base variant, Xiaomi has a lot of competition to take care of including its own. This list includes the Redmi Y2, the Redmi Note 5, the Honor 9N, the Realme 2 and also the Moto G6.