After our review of OnePlus 3 and 3T, and a little disappointment in the VR department, we decided to look for a phone with that can mix a good price with a better screen. After discussing with several vendors and their retail / e-tail outfits, we came across a few good ones. If the price point is set around $500, we came to conclusion that in that price bracket, there are just two really good phones with high quality displays. First one is ZTE Axon 7, and the third one, the topic of this first look is Xiaomi Mi6.
Although this phone has not been released yet (wait for Mobile World Congress, to be held in Barcelona February 27th to March 2nd), we know its price and specifications. And after seeing that we just couldn’t keep it to ourselves. Xiaomi already filled retailers with all the information and the only thing everyone is waiting for is the end of traditional Chinese New Year holidays, which vary from company to company – from 2 weeks to a whole month. If you’re an European dealing with China, annual cycle is a maximum of 45 weeks where you can work together (write off February and August, plus the Christmas – New Year week).
First thing first; the display. Regardless of your size preference, the quality of display always has to be the first thing in matter of importance, since that’s what every user sees in a phone. The Mi6 is expected to have 5.2-inches with 2560 x 1440 resolution. This display will give you amazing experience for sure. From the point of VR this phone should be a better choice than the OnePlus with its FHD display.
Processor and Memory
Speed is a really important factor while looking for a phone. Xiaomi made a decision to power their new Mi6 with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, world’s first volume processor created using Samsung’s 10nm FinFET manufacturing process. This is an Octa-Core processor rocking at 2.5GHz. While the processor cores are not the fastest one ever, the new process enabled Qualcomm to beef up the graphics department, which is strongest yet. Beside that beast of the processor, you will also get 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal memory.
All the amazing features at one place will have users wanting to use them at their fullest and you require a good battery. Mi6 gives you exactly that with an 4000 mAh, non-removable battery that can easily last for a whole day if users want to use Mi6 phones extensively. Still not confirmed at this point is a wireless charging option with fast charging (Qi).
Price and Release Date
The price of this phone set less than $500, making it one of most affordable Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 powered phones on the market. Fast growing Chinese e-tailer Gearbest announced that the price of Xiaomi Mi6 is set at $478.11, plus local relevant taxes and shipping. In terms of release date, we still do not know when this phone will be available. However, if you are interested you can submit an request for arrival notice here.
If all the information turns out to be correct, this phone well as might be the next big thing. We still do not know is this phone is going to feature fingerprint reader or a retina scan, and there’s a lot of rumors lately. This is somewhat a typical Chinese smartphone manufacturer strategy, where a product is “pre-released”, receives an official seal of approval to be listed at various retail and e-tail stores, but the final specifications are held until the launch. Which of course, does not happen until everyone has stock in place. This way, these lower-cost, highest performing phones can compete on pricing levels to the more famous brands such as Apple or Samsung.
The same thing is about their System. We know it will be based on Google’s Android 7, i.e. Nougat. The final GUI i.e. user interface could be different. There are sites proclaiming Mi6 will feature next-generation MIUI 9 but by looking at the pictures, we can clearly see that it uses MIUI 8. Flashing the phone to original Android Nougat might be difficult, so it’s not irrelevant which version of the UI the phone will use. Knowing the price of the phone, it is mostly intended for users that want to have all the latest and greatest on every year base, compared to higher priced devices which require longer (psychological) recovery / ROI time. However, a lot of things can change until this phone is released. For now, at the price, and with that display, I do not believe you can find a better VR ready phone for the price. It should be fully Daydream compatible, meaning you can either use it in Google’s Daydream View or in-house developed VR.