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Interface and reliability
- Cluttered interface
- Some handy features but many annoyances
- Runs Android 8.1 overlaid with MIUI
One of the well-known pitfalls of buying a device from Chinese manufacturers is the typically heavy presence of their unique software ‘skins’. More often than not, these borrow heavily from iOS in their operation, while also adding a host of features and additions - some useful and some not.
MIUI, present on the Redmi Note 6 Pro, is one of the most well-known and egregious examples of these - trying to solve a great many problems that most users may never have known they even had.
There are many little thoughtful touches, such as when the ‘flashlight’ is activated, a double press of the power button will turn it off. For each of these however, a dozen weird problems are presented, with notifications in particular being an annoyance.
When locked, the Redmi Note 6 Pro often refused to display notifications on the lock screen, and when it did it was then impossible to interact with those notifications, making it necessary to go into the corresponding app each time.
The browser app, indeed all the system apps, also make a game of changing default app choices. This may not seem like a big deal, but for someone who has their autofill data saved into Chrome, automatically being switched to Xiaomi’s own alternative browser at important moments will only ever be an annoyance.
Coming back to layout, this is the home screen as first imagined by Apple. Apps, when they are installed, fill up the main screen before spilling right and into infinity with no semblance of order.
This can be changed in the settings (along with a great many other things, provided one survives the vast expanse of confusing options) or by installing a launcher, but for those who are used to leaving things untouched out of the box it may prove to be annoying.
At the very least, we ran into few slowdowns while using the device - though the interface can be cluttered it is nippy. For those who wish to use it, Xiaomi’s implementation of full screen gestures is very Apple-like too, and as such is very good and intuitive.
Multi-tasking too proved to be useful, abandoning the ‘card’ layout imposed by Google and instead taking a ‘tiled’ approach which makes it easier to switch active apps.
Movies, music and gaming
- Screen is great for movies
- Tinny speaker
- Games are generally handled well
With a screen stretching over 6 inches, the Redmi Note 6 Pro has ample real estate for those who enjoy consuming content on the fly, be that reading, gaming, listening or watching.
Movies look good, especially when the original color cast has been corrected to something a little warmer. With such a large battery we were also able to achieve epic screen-on-times at several points.
This too was the case with reading, so this is definitely a phone to consider if you travel frequently and need something you can use for an extended period between charges.
With a 3.5mm headphone port (unfortunately now a feature instead of a standard addition) in tow, music lovers are well catered for. Although the internal DAC doesn’t produce enough volume to power high impedance cans, for the average consumer both the volume and the sound reproduction will be pleasing.
The equalizer in MIUI also allows frequencies to be changed to your liking, and the device offers several presets for different types of headphones.
Less pleasant things can be said about the single bottom firing speaker, which gets decently loud but becomes quite tinny and thin in the process.
Having up to 4GB of RAM and a relatively powerful chipset, the Redmi Note 6 Pro also fares well when it comes to gaming.
Most games were handled with ease, though those who enjoy the likes of PUBG will need to crank the graphics settings down to medium. Again, with a large battery this is an excellent device for the commute.
Xiaomi does have its own media apps, which will attempt to sell content once opened - these can be safely ignored.
Performance and benchmarks
- Solid benchmark results
- Good performance for the price
With a Snapdragon 636 and up to 4GB of RAM, the Redmi Note 6 Pro isn’t quite as well equipped as some of its nearest competitors (which do tend to be a little more expensive) coming with the likes of the Snapdragon 660.
Nonetheless, with a single-core score of 1331 in Geekbench 4, it manages to rival devices with a Snapdragon 820 from years past, and with a multi-core score of 4873 it even exceeds them on many counts.
For the price, this kind of performance is difficult to beat - and it should also be said that the Redmi Note 6 Pro does a good job of running cool under pressure without throttling. Wi-Fi performance and general signal performance too seemed to be strong, even in areas with typically poor reception.
As before, when gaming, swiping through the interface, or any other daily activity, there is hardly a stutter to be seen.
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Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.