Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI or the Redmi Note 5 Pro was one of the best value for money smartphones especially when it comes to the lower midrange price. And because of the same reason, I did recommend the device to our followers in a number of occasions as well. Recently, Xiaomi launched the successor of the device. But how much of an upgrade has the Redmi Note 6 Pro brought on the table? And can it fill the shoes of its predecessor? Let’s find out in Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro Review.
Let’s start with the camera. The camera is the biggest highlight of the phone and the presence of quad-camera setup readily cues that. The phone comes with a dual camera setup at the back and there are other two on the front.
The rear camera is aligned vertically in an iPhone XS style with LED flash in between. The camera duo at the back comprises of 12MP and 5MP sensor and the hardware setup is similar to that on the Redmi Note 5 AI. Despite the similarities on the hardware, you can see significant improvements on the Note 6 Pro when it comes to capturing the images. The images captured from the Note 6 Pro looks vibrant and colors seem to pop out more. A photography geek would find it to be slightly oversaturated; however, it looks way better than the undersaturated images from the Note 5 AI.
Details are well-preserved and color accuracy is also slightly better on the Note 6 Pro. I didn’t notice any sort of any sort of focusing issues either. All thanks to the Dual-pixel Phase Detection Autofocus on the phone.
Dynamic range is decent and you can enhance the dynamic shots by turning on the HDR mode. The HDR mode doesn’t overprocess here, though it pulls out some details in the shadows keeping the overall sharpness of the image intact. It is not the best I have seen from a midranger, but considering the price, the job it did was respectable.
The phone also has an AI mode, which detects the object in focus and the AI is said to do some processing to make it look better. However, I did not notice any significant differences.
And when it comes to the lowlight images, the captured images tend to lose some details. And the noises and grains are also quite noticeable. However, it did a better than the Note 5 AI. It feels really good to see this sort of improvements.
Since there are two cameras, you can capture portrait images as well. The edge detection capabilities have considerably improved from the Note 5 AI. And this time, the amount of blur on the background looks more natural. So I was satisfied with the portrait images captured from the device.
Now let’s move on to the selfie part. And even for the selfies, Xiaomi has packed two cameras on the front. Well, the 20MP primary camera does most of the job here and the secondary 2MP camera just gathers depth information of the subject. So with both the cameras in action, you can capture portrait selfies as well. And portrait selfies looks remarkable with proper edge detection and the right amount of blur intensity. Normal selfies also look good in a similar fashion so there is nothing much to complain here too.
But the sad part is, the phone can only shoot videos in 1080p and 30fos at maximum. So you won’t be able to capture 4k videos. But even at the Full-HD resolution, Note 6 Pro does a great job. Colors look true to life, focusing is great, and the video contains a decent amount of details. And the good thing here is the presence of Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS). The EIS does a great job on suppressing the shakes and vibration on the videos. And I must praise the Note 6 Pro here as the videos captured from it are better than that from most of the midrangers available at a similar price.
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On the display front, the Redmi Note 6 is slightly bigger than its predecessor. Xiaomi stretched the screen from 6-inch on the Note 5 AI to 6.26-inch on the Note 6 Pro without increasing the size of the phone. So, you can already guess, it has a higher screen to body ratio.
The bezels and chin have been slashed significantly. But to increase the screen to body ratio, Xiaomi this time implemented a notch on the top. And this is one of the very noticeable differences between the Note 5 AI and Note 6 Pro. Although this created a slight bump in the screen to body ratio, the notch looks really ugly in this device and is annoying at the same time. Xiaomi could have implemented a teardrop/dew-drop style of notch like that on the Vivo V11 and the Oppo F9 but that’s not the case here. If you hate the notch on this device, you can also hide it with a black bar on the top. But since the display on this device is an IPS panel and not an AMOLED one, hiding the notch with the black bar won’t save you any battery juice.
And continuing with the display, Redmi Note 6 Pro features Full-HD+ resolution and this time with a 19:9 aspect ratio. At a pixel density of 403PPI, the contents on the screen look really sharp. And talking about color accuracy, it is decent enough considering the price. But when it comes to the color temperature of the display, I notice the display being slightly deviated to a warmer tone. The phone also has a color wheel to adjust the color temperature of the screen, however, I couldn’t exactly obtain the balanced color temperature. So, you have to live with that!
In terms of brightness, the screen glows with the maximum brightness of 480 nits, which is slightly lower than 530 nits brightness on the Redmi Note 5 AI. Nevertheless, the screen is legible even on the outdoors, which is the good part. You won’t face any issues even while viewing contents on the broad daylight. And since there is an ambient light sensor to adjust the display brightness according to the light of the surroundings, there won’t be any hassles on adjusting the display brightness every now and then. So, kudos to Xiaomi!
Redmi Note 6 Pro also has a notification LED on the top. But just like its predecessor, the LED blinks white and the color is non-adjustable. The LED is also dim when it comes to the brightness so you can’t see the blinking LED at times even when you are just a few feet away. I think Xiaomi should really give thoughts on bringing bright and colorful notification LED from next time around.
Design & Build
On the design side, you won’t see anything new and innovative here. Xiaomi implemented the same old-school design with metallic body capped with plastic material on the top and on the bottom. But this time, even the frame is plastic, which may invite reliability issue over time. Since other smartphone OEMs are incorporating premium plastic or glass back on their phone, I think, Xiaomi should also start implementing some modern design language.
Nonetheless, the device looks sturdy and feels decently premium on the hold. Although the device weighs 182 grams, the weight is evenly distributed throughout its body so it does not feel hefty especially when it’s on the hand. So I didn’t face any discomfort even while using the device.
Note 6 Pro launched nearly nine months after the launch of the Note 5 Pro. But there is barely any upgrade on the performance front. Just like its predecessor, the Note 6 pro comes with Snapdragon 636 chipset packing 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage on its sleeve. So, as you would expect, there were hardly any differences while running any app or game and multitasking between them. After nine months, we definitely expect an upgrade right? Well, you are not getting that here.
Nonetheless, the Snapdragon 636 is a decent chipset and handles most of the day to day tasks without a fuss. I played Asphalt 9 and also ran PUBG in the medium settings. And while playing the games, I did not notice any major lags and stutters. But occasionally, you will notice a slight drop in frame rates. If only Xiaomi had opted for Snapdragon 660 or the MediaTek Helio P60, there would have been fewer such issues. Well, we should probably have to wait for the Redmi 7 Pro to really get that sort of upgrade.
On the software side, the phone comes with an Android Oreo 8.1 with MIUI 9.5 out of the box. The MIUI 9.5 was heavy and cluttered. But I didn’t have to spend much time with that cluttered UI. Shortly after I got the handset for the review, the phone received MIUI 10.0.5 update. The new MIUI is much more polished and much more optimized than the 9.5. So users will surely enjoy using the device with new UI. However, ads appear here and there in the UI, which results in the bitter user experience. I turned off every setting related to the ads on the UI but still, it didn’t stop.
When people spend their hard-earned money on a new device, they expect a clean and delightful user experience. Come on Xiaomi, please don’t take that away from your users. Also, there are tons of bloatware, which I did not find myself using much. And the sad part is most of them cannot be uninstalled or disabled.
But except for the presence of bloatware and Ads issue, there is plenty of reasons to like about the new MIUI. In the new UI, what I liked the most is the gesture mode. You can replace the on-screen buttons with the finger gestures. Swiping up quickly minimizes the apps and brings the home screen, swiping up and pausing for a while shows the recent apps and swiping to the right let the user go back in the menu. Although the device is fun to use by navigating with the gestures, it took quite a while for me to get accustomed with this feature.
On the security side of things, you get a fingerprint sensor and Face Unlock feature as a biometric authentication tool. The fingerprint sensor was fast and accurate. So I was duly pleased with it. However, Face Unlock feature is not easily accessible for all the users.
The feature is limited to some specific regions only. I didn’t try and test every available location to confirm if the service is available in that region. However, I would like you to know that it wasn’t available when I set the region to Nepal but the feature popped up when I set the region to India. It was a similar case even on the Redmi Note 5 AI. So I couldn’t quite understand why Xiaomi is doing this type of discrimination to its users.
Providing bigger batteries is one of the biggest traits of Xiaomi smartphones. And this time, it is no different. It comes with a huge 4000mAh battery to inject the power juice to the phone. With the massive battery on the board, the phone is capable of providing a prolonged backup as well. The handset provided me a remarkable 8.5 hours of screen on time. On the normal use, a fully charged Note 6 Pro can last for nearly two days.
Although the battery backup on the phone fairly pleased me, the presence of the MicroUSB 2.0 port didn’t impress me at all. Also, charging the device was a pain in the neck. This time too, Xiaomi has included a 10-watt adapter, which is quite a sluggish performer, when it comes to the charging the device. When I used the stock charger, it took nearly around half an hour to charge the handset from 0 to 30%. And I had wait for around two and half hour till the device get fully charged. Although Xiaomi claims that the device supports Quick Charge 3.0, you won’t get a fast charger on the box. So if you want to accelerate the charging speed, you should have to buy a separate fast charger.
To sum it up, the Note 6 Pro is a great device and I am not denying it. Although it brought some subtle upgrades over the Note 5 AI, I don’t think the device is worth all the price it’s asking at the moment. You can get better alternatives at a similar price. ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2, Realme 2 Pro, and Honor 8x would be the quick examples.
Even in Nepal, just by adding a couple of thousands, you can get the Huawei Y9 2019 and the Xiaomi MI A2, which are a great performer on both camera and gaming front. And if you can push the budget further, you can also buy the Pocophone F1. The Pocophone packs a flagship-grade processor, better battery backup, and even the cameras are great than the Note 6 Pro. So as of now, the Redmi Note 6 Pro is no go from my side.