Xiaomi remains true to itself and offers a smartphone with amazingly convincing hardware for an unbelievably fair price. The equipment sounds heavenly: with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Xiaomi Mi6 houses the fastest mobile processor ever. The design with the double-glazed display with ultra slim bezel gives a classic as well as classy impression. On the rear you find a dual-camera that kicks iPhone 7’s ass with double optical zoom and bokeh effect for an affordable price. Additionally all versions have a whole 6GB core.
We used Xiaomi Mi6 for one week and you can find all results about the new Mi flagship in this article. Does the Xiaomi Mi6 really shine as bright as suspected or will there be any flaws at a closer look? The following review will show!
Versions and order
Our Xiaomi Mi6 test device was kindly provided by Honorbuy.com. We got the standard version in black with 6/64GB storage. This version’s availability is best at the moment, but you can also order the 128GB version already. Depending on the shop you can even (pre-)order the ceramic version, the chrome special edition and the blue version.
Design and build quality
Xiaomi Mi6 is doubtlessly one of the most beautiful phones on the market. With the curved glass on the front that melts into the rear the phone seems as it was made out of one piece. In comparison to its predecessor, Mi6 feels firmer and also looks much better. With 171g it weighs a little more but this only underlines the premium impression. Never before was there a phone that convinced us this much both in terms of look and of feel. It is balanced well in your hand and it is very compact with a size of 145x71x7.5mm.
However, there are as usually the dangers that await a smartphone made of glass. The device is slippery and easily gets grease and finger marks. Due to the double-glazing, cracks in the glass become twice as likely when falling.
The buttons on the right-hand side are made of metal and are firmly attached to the casing. The scope of delivery comprises a silicone cover, which is not as cool as the leather cover of Mi Mix, but at least they deliver a casing. Additionally there is a Quick-charge adapter (chinese power plug), a USB-type-C cable and a USB-type-C audio adapter.
The bezel is rather slim with 2mm on both sides. The dual camera is perfectly worked into the rear and even the dual-LED flash is located under the glass rear. The home button is not physical and works as fingerprint scanner at the same time. It is sunk-in a little so you can easily find it with your finger. It unlocks the device immediately when touching it with your finger. Both additional Android sensor keys are marked with an illuminated dot each. The notification LED is located on the top right of the display, but it can only shine in white.
Xiaomi Mi6 has an excellent build quality and looks impeccable with its classy black design. In comparison to Mi5S, the build quality got even better and the splash-proof quality is an additional plus.
The FHD Display of recently presented Mi6C in fact impressed me a lot and so does the Mi6. Xiaomi chose an excellent panel with a 1920×1080 pixels resolution. With a size of 5.15 inches the smartphone offers 428 pixels per inch. Single pixels cannot be detected with the bare eye and a 2K resolution would have simply been unnecessary.
The display has nice viewing angles and it is razor sharp. For an IPS display the contrasts are good and color representation seems accurate. In the settings you can choose between cold, warm and default. As usual, Xiaomi’s special features are nice goodies that even improve the experience. This way contrast is automatically adjusted depending on the surrounding light and provides you with good readability even outside. Of course, the high brightness of 600cd/m² is an advantage, but you can also reduce brightness to 1cd/m² to make use in dark surroundings more comfortable. Additionally there is the reading mode that gives your eyes a little rest with a reduced blue-light proportion, which you can even set on a certain time and it then starts automatically.
The smooth surface of the 10-point touchscreen provides an excellent operation. Here, too, we have nothing to complain about. Smart-wake features like double-tap to wake the display from stand-by you can set in the settings. As usual, Xiaomi does not mention any Corning Gorilla glass, but the display is just the same scratch resistant.
Xiaomi Mi6 houses a Sony IMX 386 Sensor with optical image stabilization as well as a Samsung S5k3m3 Sensor with permanent double zoom. The double optical zoom is not available in video mode. Instead the Sony-sensor’s 4-axis image stabilizer is priority, which of course makes sense. Anyways it would be great if it were possible to choose the Samsung Sensor, too. Maybe this will come with an update. You will easily feel comfortable with the Xiaomi camera app. The two additional dual-camera functions can be selected directly on the app’s home screen with a “head” and “1X” and can be used easily by beginners.
The double-zoom images of the Samsung Sensor as well as the bokeh shots turn out pretty well with the Mi6. The blurred background is mostly perfectly isolated from the sharp objects. Xiaomi Mi6 does a great job here and is totally equal to iPhone 7 Plus. Also the double-zoom shots give you sharp and accurate images.
In normal light the main camera’s pictures are sharp, nice in terms of colour and full of detail. The image quality is on a great level. As soon as there is less light, the Mi6 starts to increase the ISO value which results in image noise. The video quality suffers here, too. Anyways Mi6 still does a fine job here. Both rear cameras take shots with 12 megapixels, the front camera produces great selfies with 8mp. Even videos seem good. 4K and 1080P shots are possible with 30FPS each. Even the front camera can record videos in full-HD. Optical image stabilization guarantees a vibration reduction, however it is not supported by an electronic image stabilizer which results in a slight jerking at rough moves.
Even if the camera can’t get away without any points of criticism, especially concerning video takes, Xiaomi managed to present the best camera setup, yet! The dual-camera functions can be used in a reasonable way and they are fun to use. The image quality is great in good light conditions and can keep up with every flagship on the market – even the more expensive ones. Soon you can find a direct comparison to Samsung Galaxy S8’s camera here.
Xiaomi Mi6 vs. Mi5s – camera comparison
The predecessor Xiaomi Mi5s takes sharper and more detailed images in direct comparison. The Mi6 is slightly less sharp, however it has a better colour representation, depending on the scenes. Bokeh shots and double-zoom shots are additional plus factors as well. Even in terms of video takes the Mi6 is clearly superior due to the image stabilizer. For those who don’t need these additional features the Xiaomi Mi5s is fully sufficient in terms of camera quality!
The Xiaomi Mi6 houses the Snapdragon 835, which is currently the fastest mobile processor in the world. Its performance is therefore higher than the one of the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S8. This can also be seen in the benchmarks. In the Antutu benchmark, the Mi6 scores more than 180,000 points and is on the top position together with the iPhone 7 Plus. When turning the phone on for the first time, you instantly notice that the device is a real performance monster. It is started and ready for use in less than 20 seconds. Unfortunately, the RAM (6GB) does not have a top speed with 7GB/s. The internal storage of 64GB (52GB are available) on the other hand is really fast with a reading/writing speed of 460/200MB/s. In the other benchmarks, the Mi6, as expected, gets top results although benchmarks are often only half the truth. Heat development is okay, but noticeable if no protective cover is used. However, the phone does never get warmer than 38°C. After 5 Antutu benchmarks in succession the value decreases, but it is never below 150,000 points. This is because of the processor, which lowers the clock frequency in order to control heat development. The performance in the system or during games is not affected noticeably.
Apps are installed really fast on the Mi6, so that you almost have no delays between downloading and starting the app. So far, no other tested phone has been that fast. Any load time is minimal and all 3D games available in the Playstore can be played without any problems on the Mi6. Sometimes, for example when playing Asphalt 8, there are some micro-lags. I know I am complaining on a high level, but it was not what I expected. Xiaomi should get rid of the problem with a software update. Now we’re getting to the most problematic part of this review: the MIUI V8 ROM based on Android 7.
Currently, the Xiaomi Mi6 runs with MIUI V8.2 based on Android 7.1. Some weeks could go by until there will be an official Global ROM. We recommend using the official China Stable ROM. With this ROM, you have a Playstore and you will get regular updates. However, we have to say that it has never been so difficult to set up a MIUI ROM with Playstore, and even after having installed the ROM, there are still some problems. For instance, you are not able to load a backup for WhatsApp from the Google account, G-Mail does not work and contacts are not synchronized.
Those planning to buy the Xiaomi Mi6 should apply for a unlock, in order to directly get the Global ROM after the publication. The Xiaomi.EU ROM is a good alternative for the China-Stable.
Communication and connectivity
You can use 2 Nano-SIM cards in the dual-SIM smartphone. The Mi6 convinces with a great reception, which is almost as good as the one of the LeEco Le Pro 3 (best reception). In places, in which I normally got only Edge, I could get 4G or 3G. Voice quality is excellent as well. The voice is transmitted clearly and loud and the caller can be understood with high volume.
The dual-band Wi-Fi module supports the latest ac-standard and can also use 400mBit cables. Range and throughput are excellent. The up-to-date Bluetooth 5.0 module promises a lot of power, but in the practical test with headphones, Bluetooth loudspeaker or in the car you barely notice anything special. The connection is constant and stable as any other Bluetooth 4 device.
The Mi6 is the first Xiaomi smartphone to have stereo speakers, which do a nice job. The earpiece is used as second speaker and therefore, the sound seems to be quite spatial. Even at highest volume, there were no distortions or overemphasized treble. Of course, the sound is still merely concentrated on middle and heights, and the bass comes up short – how could it be otherwise, it’s a smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi6 convinces with a clear and loud stereo sound, but in terms of volume, it cannot keep up with the LeEco Le Pro 3.
The thing that bothers most people is the missing audio jack. In order to use normal headphones, you have to use the provided adapter, which however can convince with a good sound quality. With the Xiaomi HD Pro headphones, you get an extremely clear and differentiated sound. Those who want to use the phone to listen to music without the adapter currently have 2 possibilities. Either you use Bluetooth headphones or you have a look at LeEco’s CDLA headphones, which can be connected to the Mi6’s USB Type-C port.
Finally, the strong GPS reception perfectly completes the Mi6’s reception qualities. The signal is strong enough also inside a building, and the position is determined up to 2-3meters precise outside. Car as well as pedestrian navigation worked perfectly without any problems. Besides the 3 standard sensors (brightness, acceleration, proximity sensors), the device also provides a compass, a gyroscope, a pressure and an echo sensor. The echo sensor is for the smart operation with folded covers. In addition, you can find an infrared sensor at the top.
Xiaomi chose a 3350mAh battery for Mi6. Due to the compact display size and the “low” resolution the battery life is just perfect for a flagship phone. With intensive use I managed to use the phone for 1.5 – 2 days with a display-on-time of 6-7 hours. In the PC-Mark battery test Xiaomi Mi6 made it through great 9 hours and 15 minutes (with the display brightness set on medium). To run Mi6’s battery down in one day you have to try really hard! Therefore power users will be very satisfied!
Charging times of the delivered charging adapter are not quite impressive, as it took the Mi6 2 hours and 15 minutes to full charge. This is different when using a default Quick-charge 3.0 adapter. Here you get 18-20% battery within 10 minutes (from 10-90%). It is fully charged after 1 hour and 10 minutes. The China adapter should not be used non-stop anyway. I can recommend the Quick-charge adapter to you!
* Incl. VAT and, if applicable, delivery costs – subject to interim changes.