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Test: Xiaomi Mi6 smartphone

Xiaomi Mi6 The Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi does not only make smartphones, it manufacturers all kinds of electronic devices: such as home automation devices, WiFi routers, connected bracelets, and even vacuum cleaners. This Chinese electronics manufacturer, which released its first telephone in 2011, has perfected its manufacturing and product tracking processes. It is also worth mentioning that Xiaomi subcontracts the manufacturing of its smartphones to Foxconn, which is the same Chinese assembler used by Apple.

On paper, the Mi6 has almost the same performance characteristics as the Galaxy S8 and its camera sensor is comparable to the dual sensor used by the iPhone 7 Plus. What’s more, the Mi6 retails for half as much as either of these two top of the line smartphones. Xiaomi’s “Mi” smartphones are high-end mobile products with technical characteristics that would make even its most expensive competitors blush.

While the Mi6 is not equipped with an audio jack, a USB Type-C to Jack adapter is provided in the product packaging. This smartphone also comes with a protective shell – a nice accessory that should help protect your phone against scratching and save you the cost of having to buy your own protector.

Xiaomi Mi6

The Xiaomi Mi 6 smartphone’s design

Many people are unable to tell the Mi6 apart from an iPhone. Not because it has an apple logo, but rather because its sober appearance is very similar to that of an iOS Apple smartphone. The Mi6 is very comfortable to hold – with or without its protective cover. Of course, it is less slippery with its silicon cover installed – in addition to being better protected against the micro-scratching to which smartphones are particularly susceptible.

This smartphone has a very lean design and a lot of attention has been paid to its finishing touches: there is no gap between the display and the protective shell, its ports work very well, it has a SIM card slot like the one found on Apple products…

Xiaomi Mi6

MIUI overlay

Xiaomi’s smartphones all use an Android operating system. The MIUI overlay is very lightweight and will not bother Android users who are used to Samsung or Sony products or any other product based on Google’s OS.

iOS users are sure to notice that there is no App drawer like the one found on other Android builds; a minor shortcoming that can be overcome by storing useless apps in a specific folder like on the iPhone. If you are still troubled by this lack of an App drawer, you can always install a launcher such as Nova, Apex or Google Now’s.

Xiaomi Mi6

User experience

This smartphone’s camera is very comprehensive and easy to use. Its numerous shooting modes can be activated via two simple gestures (by pressing Options + the desired mode) and can be deactivated with a single click. Among these modes can be found a panorama mode, a timer mode (from 3 to 10 seconds), a mode that will allow you to add audio commentary, a mode that will help you straighten your images (useful for landscape shots of the horizon), a group selfie mode (which takes several shots and combines the best ones together to create a photo in which everyone is smiling), as well as a manual mode which will allow you to have control over the camera’s white balance, focus, exposure, ISO value, and type of lens (tele / wide).

In terms of battery autonomy, the Mi6 can run for two days on a single charge; in standby mode, this smartphone uses slightly more energy than competing devices – even in airplane mode. In airplane mode, it will use up less than 10% of its battery charge over the course of a single night. Nevertheless, it still has a noticeably higher power consumption than its high-end competitors. A full charge cycle takes around 2 hours using the supplied charger. During benchmark testing – which involves mixed usage (SmartViser) – the Xiaomi Mi 6 outperformed the Samsung Galaxy S7, Huawei P10, and Sony Xperia XZ, lasting for about 15 hours before totally running out of battery charge.

While the Mi6’s speaker is able to work at high volume without distortion, it does lack bass. On the other hand, its headphone jack (via USB Type-C) provides very good audio quality.

Positive aspects

The Mi6 is full of good surprises. It has many strong points, not least of which are its unbeatable quality to price ratio, the high quality of its photos, its easy to use options, its comfortable display, and its efficient light sensor.

The Mi6 also excels in terms of performance. Its Snapdragon 835 CPU, Adreno 540 GPU, and 6 GB of RAM ensure a high level of performance. Furthermore, with so much RAM, you will not need to close applications in order to regain fluidity of operation. This smartphone has no trouble playing games or media files – regardless of the codec required.

Negative aspects

While its dual sensor is a real asset, it lacks an indicator for shooting in HDR mode. Since this mode requires more time to process an image than the standard mode, you may ruin your shots if you do not hold the camera steady for long enough – an important point to remember so as not to ruin your first photos taken with this high-contrast and highly detailed capture mode.

Since this is a Chinese smartphone, it is geared towards the frequencies used in Asia. While it is lacking the 700 and 800 MHz frequency bands, it is able to establish a 4G / SOSH connection to Orange’s network (for example) without any problem.

Conclusions about the Xiaomi Mi6

After having tested it for several weeks, we fully recommend Xiaomi’s Mi6 smartphone which provides high-end performance at a reasonable price.

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