Just after ten months of Redmi Note 5 Pro's launch in India, Xiaomi brought its successor the Redmi Note 6 Pro to the sub-continent. The Redmi Note 6 Pro is an iterative upgrade over the Redmi Note 5 Pro because it packs the same chipset, identical design, same battery capacity and more. It's not a bad thing, but the Redmi Note series has always been known for offering the best hardware in the mid-range segment, which is something missing on the Redmi Note 6 Pro. But Xiaomi has made up for the slightly older hardware with its pricing. At a starting price of Rs 13,999, the Redmi Note 6 Pro packs everything you need in a budget smartphone. Admittedly, it lacks the Snapdragon 660 SoC we get on the Realme 2 Pro, however, Xiaomi is providing way superior cameras.
Speaking about the changes when compared to the Note 5 Pro, the Redmi Note 6 Pro is slightly thinner at 8.1mm, has a notched display which houses two selfie cameras, rocks upgraded dual rear cameras and comes with MIUI 10 out of the box. Xiaomi also tweaked the design of the smartphone and the phone feels more like the Redmi 6 Pro than the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Read on to know how the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro performed during my initial usage.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro: Design and Display
Xiaomi has overhauled the design of the Note 6 Pro slightly and it doesn't feel like the Note 5 Pro anymore. The overall footprint of the phone remains similar despite the Note 6 Pro sporting a larger 6.26-inch display and the credit here goes to the notch. The back of the phone also feels a bit different. The fingerprint scanner now blends into the metal back same as the Redmi 6 Pro. The phone comes in four colour options- Black, Blue, Red and Rose Gold with the Red one being the best-looking phone amongst all. The smooth metal back feels a bit slippery, but you can make use of the case inside the retail box to make up for that.
Display wise, the Note 6 Pro rocks a 6.26-inch Full HD+ panel and it carries a resolution of 1080x2280 pixels. Unlike the Note 5 Pro, the Note 6 Pro has a notch on the front which houses two cameras. Xiaomi has pushed the brightness levels to 500 nits on the Note 6 Pro, despite using the same panel. So the sunlight legibility on the phone will be better than its predecessor. For those who care, Xiaomi is using an unspecified version of Corning Gorilla Glass as a protective layer.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro: Hardware, Software and Battery
With the Redmi Note 6 Pro, it's business as usual for Xiaomi. The phone comes powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset, clubbed with 4GB/6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. There's a hybrid microSD card slot for storage expansion up to 256GB. This might disappoint many as Redmi Note series always introduced something special in their price range. But this time around, Xiaomi is using the same Snapdragon 636 chipset as we saw on the Redmi Note 5 Pro.
The Snapdragon 636 SoC is not a bad chipset at all and it's one of the powerful ones you get on a mid-range smartphone today. But it gets overshadowed by the Snapdragon 660 SoC found on the Realme 2 Pro. The Redmi Note 6 Pro comes with MIUI 10 out of the box and it's optimised very well. In fact, I compared the Redmi Note 5 Pro running MIUI 10 and Redmi Note 6 Pro side-by-side and the app-loading times are slightly faster on the latter. Even Xiaomi touted this optimisation a lot during the launch event.
Battery wise, it's the same 4000mAh unit, but this time around, Xiaomi has thrown in support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, so you'll get faster-charging speeds. Sadly, Xiaomi is not bundling the QC 3.0 compatible charger inside the retail box, but you can purchase it via Mi.com. During the last four days, I charged the device just twice and the phone delivered over eight hours of Screen-on-time in both the scenarios.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro: Cameras
Cameras are the biggest upgrade of the Note 6 Pro over its predecessor. The Note 6 Pro rocks dual cameras on the front and rear, and it's first Xiaomi phone to launch with Quad cameras in India. Specifications wise, the phone rocks a primary 12MP shooter on the back with f/1.9 aperture, 1/2.55-inch sensor, 1.4um and dual pixel PDAF. There's a secondary 5MP depth sensor. To recall, the Redmi Note 5 Pro also featured similar setup of 12MP+5MP, but it arrived with f/2.2 aperture and 1.25µm. Going by the on-paper specifications, the Note 6 Pro will offer better low-light images than the Note 5 Pro.
Moving onto the front, we now have two cameras of 20MP+2MP. It's basically the same setup as the Redmi Note 5 Pro with an added 2MP depth sensor for better bokeh effect in Portrait shots.
Xiaomi has brought its AI camera to the Redmi Note 6 Pro and it offers various scene recognition features along with a slew of new modes such as Light Trails, Studio Lighting and Adjustable bokeh features. These features make up for an excellent camera experience. Initial impressions are the camera captures images with excellent detail levels, but we'll give a final verdict on the camera in our full review.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro: Pricing Makes it a Winner
A lot of people including me was disappointed when Xiaomi said that they're launching the Note 6 Pro with the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chipset. Surely, Xiaomi has brought in some noticeable upgrades especially to the cameras, but the core hardware remains the same when compared to the best-selling dual camera smartphone this year- the Note 5 Pro.
But Xiaomi nailed it with the pricing this time around. I was a little disappointed with the company's pricing strategy of late (except for the Poco F1), but the Redmi Note 6 Pro's pricing is better than their any other recent launches. The 4GB+64GB variant of the Note 6 Pro is priced at Rs 13,999, while the 6GB+64GB variant can be purchased for Rs 15,999.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro faces a major threat from the Realme 2 Pro, but it outshines the latter in the camera and user experience departments. I would MIUI any day instead of the Color OS. Stay tuned for my full review of the Note 6 Pro coming early next week.