Xiaomi Mi 6 Review

Xiaomi Mi 6

Posted: , by Kaloyan C. Kaloyan C.



Interface and performance

MIUI is a tough pill to swallow if you’re not into iOS’ aesthetics

Xiaomi Mi 6 Review

Like many other Chinese brands, Xiaomi’s in-house MIUI Android skin is an unashamed iOS copycat in almost every way. Still, it’s chock full of useful features, such as a built-in theming engine, a screen recorder, a one-handed mode (with a slightly ridiculous activation gesture), and more. There is, however, one glaring feature omission: split-screen multitasking isn’t included, despite there being no hardware limitations that would worsen its performance.

But the most impressive aspect of using the Xiaomi Mi 6 is its performance: it can handle whatever task you throw at it. There were almost no occasions where our review unit would so much as stutter, which is impressive considering some other, considerably more expensive recent flagships are having trouble running their own home screens (looking at you, Samsung).

This is in large part thanks to the inclusion of the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, which, combined with a slightly overkill 6 GB of RAM, results in a silky smooth user experience. Animations are fluid and responsive, and app switching is near-instantaneous. So major props to Xiaomi for delivering on what is probably the most important aspect of a smartphone.

There’s two storage options for customers: a 64 GB one and a slightly more expensive 128 GB one. This is important due to the fact that the Mi 6 lacks an SD card slot, meaning you get only the storage you pay for, no backsies.


Where have we seen this before?

Xiaomi Mi 6 Review
Xiaomi Mi 6 Review
Xiaomi Mi 6 Review
Xiaomi Mi 6 Review

But as a reminder that Xiaomi really wants to be like Apple, the Mi 6 features a 12 MP rear-facing dual camera with one normal and one 2x zoom lens, the same configuration as the one in the iPhone 7 Plus. But even when not using the second camera (actually, precisely when not using it), the Mi 6 can take some quite stunning shots.

The camera app is quite good, offering all the basics such as HDR (which often gave the best results), panorama, timers, tilt-shift, and a Pro mode, as well as a creepy doll beautification filter and an image straightening mode. Taking photos is quite fast, but only in regular mode, as the rest (HDR and Portrait mode seem to be the worst offenders) tend to slow things down considerably.

The overall experience of using the camera wasn’t great, though, as it (not just the app, but the camera itself) had a tendency to crash while we were using it, requiring a full phone restart in order to work again. This could have been both an overheating or a software issue — we’re not entirely sure, but we’ve informed Xiaomi of the issue and will update you if we hear back from them.

Image Quality

The dual sensors do little to justify their existence, but image quality is pretty good nonetheless

The Mi 6 can take some quite good photos, though 100% crops reveal that sharpness isn’t this camera’s strong suit. This is a bit more obvious in pictures taken using the 2x zoom camera, where shakiness becomes much more of a factor (the camera has optical stabilization on the regular camera only, though even there it’s barely doing anything).

An unfortunate effect can be noticed when taking pictures of perfectly straight objects: a distortion around the center of photo taken with both of the rear cameras that makes objects appear wonky. Many devices suffer from similar problems — the Sony Xperia XZ Premium comes to mind — and it isn’t a thing you’ll notice 99% of the time, but it’s still good to keep it in mind.

The 8 MP front shooter is quite good as well, but you need to make sure to keep the built-in beautification filter off at all times, as it both makes your skin unnaturally soft, and also automatically judges your age based on your facial characteristics, which can be quite distracting (but can be turned off, thankfully).

The portrait mode — of course there’s one — can at best be described as “okay.” It works fine, but it takes a bit for the effect to kick in, and sometimes ghosting lines can be seen around the person or object in focus, making it less than ideal for that perfect artsy shot.

Videos, however, are a particular low point: even at the default 1080p quality (which can be increased up to 4k), the image is way too noisy and the stabilization is next to nonexistent. Also, the video camera seems to have some trouble focusing, as well as keeping a steady white balance.


As far as consuming media goes, the Mi 6 is sort of a mixed bag: first and foremost, there's no headphone jack present, which forces you to either use your existing wired pair via the adapter included in the box (which means not listening to music while charging), or having to use a Bluetooth-equipped pair instead. And as for the stereo speakers — while we'd prefer it if the second speaker was placed at the top of the device, their addition is still far more than many other current flagships can offer.

The visual side is pretty good, too: while the display is, as previously mentioned, fairly inaccurate in its default settings, it's actually quite bright, which makes watching a video in a well-lit environment feel natural, rather than a chore.


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Xiaomi Mi 6

Xiaomi Mi 6

OS: Android 7.1
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (428 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera12 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2457 MHz, Kryo 280 processor
6 GB
Size5.72 x 2.78 x 0.29 inches
(145.17 x 70.49 x 7.45 mm)
5.93 oz  (168 g)

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