Redmi Note 6 Pro review: Most notable upgrade is the quad camera system
The notch houses two front cameras, earpiece and an LED notification light.
Rs 15,999 (6/64GB)
Specifications: Snapdragon 636 octa core, 4/6GB DDR4X RAM, 64GB storage (expandable up to 256GB, hybrid SIM slot), 6.26-inch IPS LCD (2.5D, 500nits, 19:9 aspect ratio, 2280 x 1080 pixels FHD+), 12 + 5MP dual rear camera, 20 + 2MP dual front camera, WiFi ac, BT5.0, 4,000mAh battery, 182 grams.
Pros: Familiar but attractive & durable design, includes DDR4X RAM, QC3.0 charging, IR blaster, good performance for most tasks, quad camera with excellent performance & unique portrait lighting effects.
Cons: Snapdragon 636 showing age, only one 64GB storage option, hybrid SIM tray (no dedicated micro SD slot), no QC3.0 charger in box.
The Redmi Note series is no stranger to success. It’s responsible for Xiaomi’s meteoric rise to the top, which they have maintained for 5 successive quarters now (data from IDC’s quarterly mobile phone tracker). The Redmi 5 series, which first launched in February 2018, sold more than 5 million units within four months of launch (and the Redmi Note 5 Pro continues to be on sale at the time of writing, till stocks run out).
The Redmi Note 6 Pro (RN6 Pro for brevity) takes the formula of the Note 5 Pro and tweaks it to better suit the flavour of the season. You get a quad camera setup (2 front + 2 rear), P2i water repellent nano coating (not as good as proper water resistance but helps prevent corrosion in high humidity areas), slightly updated design and a new, larger display in the same form factor.
Unfortunately for some, this means taking the 18:9 aspect ratio screen and stretching it to fill the top corners — resulting in the infamous notch. Increasingly, the notch is falling out of favour and it doesn’t help that the RN6 Pro notch is quite large and obtrusive. The notch is wide for a reason though: it houses the two front cameras, earpiece, LED notification light, ambient light sensor and proximity sensor.
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That said, it is possible to hide the notch while still using the space to display notification icons — that’s the correct way to do it! Notch aside, there are some other nice upgrades. For example, the device can work as a WiFi repeater. Some hotel and airport WiFi networks will give you access for one device only. But with the RN6 Pro, you can further share the network with five additional devices.
The camera app has nifty editing features like erase (to remove unwanted parts of an image) and extended portrait effects (different lighting, light trails, bokeh effects) which we found quite entertaining. In our opinion, the best upgrade on the RN6 Pro has to be the camera. The rear camera has a wider aperture (f1.9 vs f2.2 previously), larger pixels (increased from 1.25 to 1.4 microns; same as many flagships), dual pixel autofocus (much faster focusing) and a larger sensor overall. Apart from that, there are new AI features that can recognize 32 categories of subjects (including some India-specific ones like cows — yes, cows).
The front camera has a slightly narrower f2.0 aperture but includes the 2MP depth sensor for portraits and all the same portrait effects. The many improvements to the camera result in visibly better photos, even in low light. If you buy this phone for one reason alone, let it be for the great camera — the best in this price segment. At a price of Rs 13,999, the RN6 Pro has some stiff competition (primarily the Realme 2 Pro).
Realme, for the same price, gives you a device with a small dewdrop notch and a more powerful Snapdragon 660 processor. If you can increase your budget a bit, there’s the Moto One Power (Rs 16k for 4/64GB) with a massive 5,000mAh battery. If you dislike screen notches, Rs 16k also gets you Xiaomi’s own MiA2, which offers stock Android and Snapdragon 660.
For Rs 15k, you can also get the 4/64GB version of Honor 8x, which has a smaller notch, larger screen and a more beautiful glass design. All this doesn’t mean the RN6 Pro is bad — far from it actually. It’s still a great option in the Rs 14-16k range and a super upgrade from anything in the sub Rs 10k range. It’s just not the ‘no-brainer purchase’ that the RN5 Pro was.