The Redmi 6 series offers considerable upgrades in key areas.
To call Xiaomi dominant in India would be an understatement. Four out of five best-selling phones in India are Redmi phones, and it's clear that Xiaomi is the brand to beat in the entry-level segment.
Xiaomi is now looking to consolidate its position with the introduction of the Redmi 6 series. There are three models in the series — the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, and the Redmi 6 Pro — with Xiaomi touting significant improvements in performance as well as imaging. Notably, all three phones in the series feature upgraded cameras at the back, and offer face unlock as well as AI-assisted portrait mode.
Also standard across all three models is Dual VoLTE, a dedicated MicroSD slot in addition to two SIM card slots, and EIS for video recording. The additions go a long way in making the new Redmi 6 phones a great option if you're in the market for an entry-level phone.
Xiaomi sets the bar for aggressive pricing, and things aren't any different with the Redmi 6 series. The Redmi 6A starts off at just ₹5,999, the Redmi 6 will be available for ₹7,999, and the Redmi 6 Pro costs ₹10,999.
Here's what you need to know about the Redmi 6 series.
Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro: Familiar hardware with a new design
The Redmi 6 Pro is one of the most affordable devices yet to feature a notch. The device comes with a 5.84-inch FHD+ (2280 x 1080) panel, and is powered by the Snapdragon 625. The chipset is getting a bit long in the tooth, but it is still a decent option in this segment. Also, Xiaomi has released dozens of phones over the last two years powered by the chipset, so optimizing it for MIUI shouldn't be an issue.
The dual cameras at the back are the same as that on the Redmi Note 5 Pro — there's a primary 12MP IMX486 module backed by a 5MP secondary sensor. The Redmi 6 Pro will come with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
There's also a 5MP shooter up front, and a 4000mAh battery. Essentially, the Redmi 6 Pro is the Redmi Note 5 with upgraded cameras and a cutout at the top of the display.
Xiaomi Redmi 6: Octa-core chipset backed by dual cameras
With the Redmi 6, the highlight is the dual cameras at the back. The 12MP + 5MP camera configuration at the back is a major step up in this category, and should make the Redmi 6 an enticing option if camera quality is a priority for you.
The phone is powered by a 12nm MediaTek Helio P22 chipset with eight Cortex A53 cores that go up to 2.0GHz. The Redmi 6 is available with either 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Xiaomi will sell the device in black, gold, blue, and rose gold color options.
Elsewhere, there's a 5.45-inch 18:9 HD+ (1440 x 720) display, 5MP camera up front with face unlock, and a fingerprint sensor at the back.
Xiaomi Redmi 6A: Powerful 12nm chipset, 39% uptick in performance
The key change in the Redmi 6A from a design standpoint is the 5.45-inch 18:9 HD+ (1440 x 720) panel. Under the hood, the 28nm Snapdragon 425 has made way for a 12nm MediaTek Helio A22 chipset, resulting in significantly better performance as well as improved efficiency.
Xiaomi is touting a massive 39% uptick in performance from the 2.0GHz Cortex A53 cores, and an even more significant 48% increase in efficiency from the node shrink to 12nm FinFET. The phone is available in two variants: a base model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, and a version with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
Other specs include a 13MP camera at the back, a 5MP front shooter with face unlock, Dual VoLTE, and a 3000mAh battery.
Going on sale starting September 10
It's interesting to see Xiaomi opting to go with MediaTek for its entry-level phones instead of Qualcomm. There were rumors at the start of the year that Xiaomi would leverage its in-house Surge SoC in entry-level phones, but that hasn't turned out to be the case. Thus far, we've only seen the Surge S1 in China-exclusive devices, like the Mi 5c.
I haven't had a chance to use either the Redmi 6 or the Redmi 6A yet, but there should be a significant uptick in performance thanks to the 2.0GHz Cortex A53 cores. Furthermore, with mobile gaming gaining momentum in recent months, it'll be interesting to find out if Imagination Technologies' PowerVR GPU is up to the task.
All three phones come with MIUI 9.6 based on Android 8.1 Oreo, with an upgrade to MIUI 10 planned for later this year. It's strange that the phones aren't launching with MIUI 10 out of the box, considering the latest version of Xiaomi's ROM released several months ago.
Redmi 6A will be available from Setember 19, with the Redmi 6 set to hit store shelves starting Setember 10. The Redmi 6 Pro, meanwhile, will go up for sale from Setember 11. Here's the breakdown of pricing for all the models in the Redmi 6 series:
Redmi 6A (2GB/16GB) - ₹5,999
Redmi 6A (2GB/32GB) - ₹6,999
Redmi 6 (3GB/32GB) - ₹7,999
Redmi 6 (3GB/64GB) - ₹9,499
Redmi 6 Pro (3GB/32GB) - ₹10,999
Redmi 6 Pro (4GB/64GB) - ₹12,999
Interestingly, Xiaomi mentions that this is an introductory price that will be in place for the first two months, following which the prices will increase. We'll have to wait to find out by how much, but for now, what are your thoughts on the Redmi 6 series?