First impression of the Xiaomi Mi6
Design, workmanship and scope of delivery
The Xiaomi Mi6 does a lot visually. The front is completely black, which makes the smartphone appear simple at first glance. The completely rounded and alloyed aluminum frame, which seamlessly merges into the glass back, which is also rounded on the sides, gives a noble feeling. A disadvantage of the strongly shimmering glass back is the susceptibility to fingerprints. As with the Xiaomi Mi Mix, the smartphone was already literally littered with fingerprints after unpacking. No wonder Xiaomi also adds a protective cover to this smartphone.
Starting with the front, below the 5.15-inch display is the home button embedded in the glass front, which also houses the fingerprint scanner. To the left and right of it are two capacitive and white illuminated control buttons. Above the display is the optically barely perceptible auricle, which also acts as a second loudspeaker. Again next to it is the 8 megapixel front camera. There is also a proximity sensor that is invisible to the naked eye and a white notification LED.
The housing frame includes the power button on the right and the volume rocker above. Both keys have a good pressure point and sit firmly in the case. On the opposite side is the SIM slot, which can be equipped with two nano SIM cards. The USB-C socket is located in the middle of the lower edge of the housing frame, the microphone to the left and the speaker to the right. The Xiaomi Mi6 does not have a 3.5mm jack connection, which is why there is only an infrared transmitter on the upper part of the housing frame.
Finally, we take a look at the back of the 145.17 x 70.49 x 7.45 mm and 168g heavy smartphone. As already mentioned, this is made of glass, which makes the smartphone a bit slippery in the hand. The silicone protective cover included in the scope of delivery provides a remedy. On the back is the dual main camera with a dual-tone LED flash on the top left. To round off the design, the main camera and the LED flash are embedded in the housing without a transition.
The scope of delivery for the Xiaomi Mi6 is a bit more generous than was the case with the predecessors. In addition to the typical quick charger with NEMA-1 plug, the USB-C cable and the operating instructions including SIM needle, it also includes a silicone protective cover and a USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter.
The Xiaomi Mi6 convinces with a noble design and excellent workmanship. A disadvantage of the glass back is the somewhat slippery feel and the susceptibility to fingerprints.
The built-in display is of the IPS type and has a diagonal of 5.15 inches with 1920 x 1080 pixels. The device thus achieves a razor-sharp point density of a full 428 PPI, which is why individual pixels are not visible to the naked eye. Thanks to the in-cell technology used, which means that a significantly thinner panel can be manufactured, the display achieves a rich black level and particularly strong colors. If you don't like the color display, you can readjust it yourself within the display settings. The viewing angle stability is convincing. Regardless of the angle from which you look at the display, the color reproduction is retained and fonts remain recognizable.
Thanks to the phenomenal luminance of 600 nit, the display is easy to read even in strong sunshine. To protect the eyes, a reading mode can be activated that filters blue light. It is also interesting that the display brightness can be reduced significantly more than is possible with other smartphones. The automatic brightness adjustment worked perfectly in the test.
The touchscreen supports 10 finger multi-touch. Inputs are precisely recognized on the display, which is (presumably) protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Even after several weeks of daily use without a screen protector, no scratches were noticeable.
The display impresses with an accurate and crisp presentation, a high luminance and a precise touch screen.
With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, the Xiaomi Mi6 has installed the latest high-end mobile processor from Qualcomm. The 64-bit processor is manufactured in the 10nm process and consists of a total of 8 Kryo 280 processor cores, which in turn are divided into a performance and energy-saving cluster according to the big.LITTLE architecture. The performance cluster includes 4 cores that clock at up to 2.45 GHz. The energy-saving cluster also has 4 cores, which, however, have a clock rate reduced to 1.9 GHz. The processor graphic is an Adreno 540 GPU that promises high-end gaming performance.
The memory equipment of our Xiaomi Mi6 test copy amounts to a 6GB LPDDR4 memory and a 64GB UFS2.1 flash memory. The smartphone is also optionally available with a 128GB flash memory. It is not possible to expand the memory using a micro SD memory card!
The Xiaomi Mi6 proves to be extremely powerful in practice. Apps are installed in a flash and open quickly. Even with intensive multitasking, there are no noticeable changes in performance. However, the comparatively slow LPDDR4 memory is surprising. In the benchmark only RAM copy rates of 7000 MB / s were achieved. Other smartphones, such as the Xiaomi Mi5S, which is also equipped with LPDDR4 RAM, achieve values of fast 17000 MB / s. Also, the UFS2.1 memory delivers in the benchmark from no brilliant performance and is below the possible. In everyday life, however, the slow RAM and UFS2.1 memory have not proved to be a disadvantage.
A1 SD Bench
The Xiaomi Mi6 is an excellent choice for those who cannot do without mobile games. The Adreno 540 GPU copes well with all demanding mobile games. The heat development is low even with intensive use. After an hour of intensive benchmarking, the temperature measured on the back reached maximum values of just 40 ° C.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 System-on-Chip is currently Qualcomm's most powerful system and is distinguished by its outstanding performance. Multitasking, mobile gaming and other tasks are no problem for the Xiaomi Mi6.
MIUI 8.2 based on Android 7.1.1 is used as the operating system. Depending on where you order the Xiaomi Mi6, a so-called shop ROM can be preinstalled, which usually cannot be updated and also carries the risk of bloatware. If you get a Mi6 with a shop ROM, you should either flash the official global ROM, or alternatively you flash the Xiaomi.EU ROM. Flashing the smartphone to the original China ROM is not recommended because, on the one hand, the language selection is limited to a few languages and, on the other hand, many apps intended for the Chinese market are preinstalled.
MIUI itself is far away from an Android stick. The user interface looks playful, but offers quite interesting features, such as themes, widgets and extensive settings options. An app drawer is missing from MIUI. Instead, apps are stored directly on the home screen.
Update 12. August 2017
It was announced a few weeks ago and has been available since yesterday. Xiaomi has released the long-awaited MIUI 9 version upgrade in a first public beta. In addition to the recently published Xiaomi Mi5X, which has already installed MIUI9 at the factory, the ROM upgrade was also delivered for the Xiaomi Mi6 and Redmi Note 4 or Note 4X. Anyone who already owns the Mi6 and has installed the latest Global Beta ROM will receive the update directly via OTA. All those who are on a different ROM can use the MIUI 9 Public Beta over this one Link download and flash via fastboot method. The bootloader must be unlocked for this!
MIUI 9 promises an even faster user experience. MIUI has been completely redesigned for this purpose and offers not only design changes but also deeper changes that increase the performance of the user interface. Who dares to use MIUI 9 in an early version as a daily driver, the ROM should definitely flash!
The dual main camera of the Xiaomi Mi6 is located on the back. This consists of a 12 megapixel Sony IMX368 image sensor and a further 12 megapixel fringing S5K3M3. The Sony sensor uses an f / 1.8 aperture and is also equipped with an optical 4-axis image stabilization (OIS). The Samsung sensor with an f / 2.6 aperture enables a 2x telephoto zoom. The front camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels.
Practical test of the main camera
Especially in terms of camera quality, Xiaomi lagged significantly behind other flagship smartphones. Only with the Xiaomi Mi5S was a clear increase in quality to recognize, although still potential was awarded here. With the dual camera used here, however, Xiaomi is well on the way to compete with flagship smartphones.
The main camera impresses with an accurate bokeh effect (foreground sharp - background blurred), which cleanly extracts even the smallest details. The color representation of the pictures is convincing in both good and bad lighting conditions. At the same time, the image noise remains within an acceptable range in poor lighting conditions. If it gets too dark, the very bright dual-tone LED flash can be switched on.
The main camera also collects plus points thanks to the fast and precise autofocus, as well as the short shutter release time. Thanks to the double optical zoom, you can zoom in without loss at the touch of a button without losing any details.
The main camera of the Xiaomi Mi6 also has a lot to offer for all video enthusiasts, although this function deserves more criticism than the image capture function. The 4-axis image stabilization ensures largely shake-free recordings, even at high-resolution 4K. Xiaomi has completely dispensed with electronic image stabilization. Videos are recorded in a maximum of 4K and at 30 frames per second. Unfortunately, it also records at 1080p with a maximum of 30 frames per second. The sound recording quality has already improved significantly compared to other Xiaomi models. Nevertheless, the recorded sound sounds slightly tinny and is not yet comparable to other flagship smartphones - even if they are significantly more expensive.
Practical test of the front camera
The front camera resolves with 8 megapixels. Also regarding the front camera the Xiaomi Mi6 convinces with a good and detailed recording quality. Videos records the camera in full HD. Due to the wide angle used, it is also possible to bring several people into the picture. In addition, an adjustable beauty filter can be activated, which artificially softens recordings or processes them on-the-fly.
The dual main camera of the Xiaomi Mi6 convinces with a well functioning bokeh effect, a natural color recording and a lossless, 2-fold telephoto zoom. Video recordings are recorded through the 4 OIS axes without wobbling. The front camera is suitable for all sorts of selfies due to its good recording quality.
The Xiaomi Mi6 cuts a fine figure in the mobile network. Although LTE Band 20 is not supported, which means that LTE can only be used to a limited extent in Germany, I personally don't find the limited LTE reception to be a major disadvantage. In the test, the Xiaomi Mi6 had mostly H + reception, which is great for surfing. Making calls is also fun with the device. The transmission quality is not objectionable in either direction. Speech is transmitted in a clearly understandable manner and the noise-suppressing microphone filters out interfering noises very well.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
The Xiaomi Mi6 is quickly connected to WiFi using the supported WiFi protocols 802.11a / b / g / n / ac. The smartphone is also MU-MIMO compatible. In the test, the smartphone impressed with its long connection range with simultaneous connection stability and high data throughput. With Bluetooth 5.0, the latest Bluetooth standard is currently supported. Unfortunately, there are still very few Bluetooth 5.0 devices, which is why only a Bluetooth 4.2 speaker was used in the test. Here, too, there were no dropouts in connection and transmission.
GPS and sensors
A GPS fix was found within a few seconds. There were no disconnections while navigating. The signal was kept constant and there was no interference even between canyons. The Xiaomi Mi6 also proved to have a strong reception inside buildings and was able to determine the position down to a few meters.
The sensor equipment consists of an ambient light sensor, an acceleration sensor, a proximity sensor, a Hall sensor, an e-compass, a barometer and a gyroscope. In addition, the smartphone is equipped with an infrared transmitter, which can be used to control televisions and other devices with the Mi Remote app. The fingerprint scanner is characterized by a high recognition rate and a short unlocking time.
Anyone who can do without LTE Band 20 will receive my very well connected smartphone with good voice quality. Connections to WLAN and Bluetooth are characterized by a high reception range, signal strength and data throughput rate. Precise navigation is also no problem thanks to the well-functioning GPS.
The Xiaomi Mi6 is the manufacturer's first smartphone that does not have a 3.5mm audio jack. You could now think that Xiaomi decided not to turn the Mi6 into a waterproof smartphone, but the device itself is hardly protected from splashing water. Due to the unprotected USB-C socket, even the smallest splash of water can lead to a direct defect.
Headphones with a 3.5mm connection can only be connected via a USB-C adapter, which is included in the scope of delivery. Alternatively, there are also USB-C headphones, such as the ones released shortly after the Xiaomi Mi6 Xiaomi ANC in-ear, These headphones were for the test, so the sound quality could be tested with direct connection via the USB-C socket. Sonically, the Mi6 cuts a fine figure with both the adapter and the direct USB-C connection. The maximum playback volume is convincing, the sound is clear, as well as rich in detail and no noise.
The Xiaomi Mi6 generates stereo sound via a loudspeaker on the lower housing frame, as well as via the auricle, which also acts as a loudspeaker. In contrast to many other smartphones with single speakers, the Mi6 generates a spatial sound that reaches a pleasant maximum volume and does not appear distorted.
The sound quality via USB-C and the stereo speakers of the Xiaomi Mi6 is not objectionable. The maximum volume is sufficient, as well as the media playback is clear and not distorted.
The smartphone is equipped with a non-replaceable 3350 mAh battery. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 proved to be extremely economical in the test, which means that first-class runtimes were achieved both in standby and under constant use. In the PCMark battery benchmark, the device achieved a runtime of around 10 hours with medium display brightness. With normal use, which included occasional phone calls, WhatsApp, surfing and YouTube, an average runtime of 1 ½ days was possible with one battery charge. The screen-on-time was between 8 and 11 hours, depending on how the smartphone was used.
The integrated quick charge function is unfortunately not yet Quick Charge 4, although the processor would be able to do so. Instead, the Mi6 uses "Quick Charge 3.0". This means that the battery is fully charged after just 1 ½ hours. The first 50% battery charge is reached after just 35 minutes. The prerequisite is, of course, that you charge the smartphone on a corresponding Quick Charge charger. If you rely on the supplied charger, you can't avoid using an EU adapter.