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Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro review: A notch above

Xiaomi has launched the Redmi Note 6 Pro in less than an year of its predecessor. What remains to be seen is whether this new offering will be as good as it is expected to be.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro review: A notch above

The launch of Redmi Note 3 in March 2016 worked like a magic wand for Xiaomi. The device with the stunning looks and great performance turned out to be an instant hit. And since then, there has been no turning back. Xiaomi has been aggressively expanding its footprint in the country with the launch of new smartphones every few months, expanding its presence in offline and online retail and launching more ecosystem products including air purifiers, smart TVs, security camera, accessories, and more. Will the latest Redmi Note 6 Pro prove to be another successful warrior for the company?

Xiaomi has reduced the gap between the launch of Redmi Note successors. The Note 5 Pro was launched only in February this year and the Redmi Note 6 Pro has landed a little early. The questions is - does the device has enough meat to be a worthy successor? Well, it features some minor design tweaks, a display with notch, and an improved camera.

Design:

Xiaomi has continued with its success formula of the past i.e. continuing with the best and tweaking the rest. The Note 6 Pro has a similar design as the Redmi family members - an aluminium body with brushed metal finish. It looks simple and works for most. But to some, it might feel outdated in-front of the innovative designs patterns at the rear on Honor and RealMe smartphones. Most importantly, the components and body of the Note 6 Pro comes with P2i hydrophobic nano-coating that, the company claims, makes it splash resistant. This will prevent the phone from accidental liquid damage but it isn't covered under one year warranty.

A 6.26-inch full screen display with a notch dominates the front, yet the phone doesn't feel too big to hold. There is a new arc design (slightly curved sides) at the rear that makes it ergonomic to hold. Infrared Blaster along with Mi Remote app has been retained by the company and it continued to work flawlessly with most of the appliances across different brands. Power and volume button continues to be on the right panel, SIM tray on the left, audio port along with Infrared sensor at the top, microUSB port and speaker grill at the bottom and the fingerprint sensor at the rear.

Display and Gestures:

The 6.29-inch full-screen display with the notch is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass. The rounded display with 2280x1080p resolution seems to sit on the top of the body and is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass. The display is bright with rich colour reproduction. However, one can choose the colour and contrast of the display within the settings. I preferred using the 'cool' colour setting at automatic contrast. Other options include default and warm for the colour and standard and increased setting for contrast. For those who don't like the notch display have an option to turn it off as well.

The device supports full-screen gestures that makes it intuitive to use but haven't been turned on by default. Once activated, it replaces navigation buttons (multitasking, home and back) at the bottom and swiping up from bottom of the display loads home screen, swipe up and pause shows recent apps, and swiping in from the left/right edge takes to previous screen.

Camera:

This is a camera beast housing dual camera setup at the front as well as the rear. The one at the back has a 12MP sensor with 1.4 micron pixel size and f1.9 aperture for capturing more light along with a 5MP depth sensor for bokeh images. The camera app UI is neat and intuitive to use. Various camera modes including short video, video, photo, photos, square, panorama and manual, are placed at the bottom, making it easier to switch modes while capturing an image.

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There is the new AI scene detection icon at the top that can identify up to 32 scenes and quickly detected human faces, text and more that captures great images. Although while capturing bokeh images, the camera suggested placing the objects within 2 meter range, even if the subject wasn't within the given range, it still managed to capture decent bokeh image. There are some image editing options for bokeh images too.

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This includes adjusting background blur level, adding studio lighting on faces, and adjusting background light trails. Post adjusting the light trail, I was able to save the image as a short 3 second video. The camera does a pretty impressive job of capturing natural looking colours while retaining details in normal photo mode as well as portrait mode.

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There has been a significant improvement in the front camera module. Unlike the previous generation models, where bokeh selfies were captured using AI software, this one comes with a 20MP primary sensor along with 2MP secondary sensor. The selfie camera seamlessly identifies the face and blurs the background. The beautification setting with the Portrait mode helps in capturing Instagram ready images as it smoothens the skin tone and offers additional advance settings, eliminating the need of using an image editing software.

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Performance & Battery:

The phone runs on Mi Global UI 10.0 stable built on Android version 8.1.0 and successfully managed to handle daily usage including fetching emails, gaming, and photography along with web browsing, streaming videos, social networking and calling. The phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC (same as on Redmi Note 5 Pro) and my review unit had 6GB of RAM and 64 GB onboard storage with support for expandable memory. The security app can be used to optimise the performance along with learning cache and obsolete files, analyse battery usage and boost speed. The 4000 mAh battery lasted me close to two days on a single charge.

Verdict:

Priced at Rs 15,999, the Redmi Note 6 Pro is one of the best smartphones in its price category. For those looking for a simple user interface, they should consider company's Mi A2 based on Android One.

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