Hands on: Xiaomi Redmi 6A review

A lot for a little

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi 6A is a budget phone that may not offer a lot of paper, but considering its low price you may find this a great affordable phone.

For

  • Nice design
  • OK rear camera

Against

  • Uses microUSB
  • 720p display

Xiaomi may make phones with in-display fingerprint scanners now, but it also has super cheap phones, too. 

The latest of the them is the Xiaomi Redmi 6A which has a lack of thrilling features, but that doesn't really matter considering how much it costs.

We've had time to try out the Xiaomi Redmi 6A at the London launch of the brand, and you'll find our first impressions of the phone below.

Xiaomi Redmi 6A price and release date

You're able to buy the Xiaomi Redmi 6A in the UK from November 9 and the phone is exclusive to Three's network. Or you can buy it from some third-party retailers for £99.

You can buy the Xiaomi Redmi 6A in India too with the price starting at Rs 5,999. You've actually been able to buy it in India since it launched in June 2018, though there's no clear plan for Xiaomi to bring the phone to the US or Australia.

Design and display

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The Xiaomi Redmi 6A is an affordable phone, and you'll instantly recognize that as soon as you pick it up in your hand.

Considering its price, we found the Xiaomi Redmi 6A to feel quite premium in hand, with a metal effect on the rear of the device that's brushed to make it feel that bit more authentic.

It's a good looking device considering that price, and along the bottom you'll find the microUSB port for charging while the top edge features a 3.5mm headphone jack. The power button and volume rocker are easy to reach on the right hand side.

We've seen the black edition in our short time with the phone, but the device also comes in light blue, pink and gold colors as well.

The display is where things aren't as premium, but that's to be expected at this price. The Redmi 6A comes with a HD+ resolution display that's 5.45-inches.

That means you'll get 295 pixels per inch, and while that may not sound great on paper, there are many phones on the market that cost more than this but offer the same or slightly worst screen quality.

We found the display to be bright in our quick test, and it's a great size for those who don't want a gargantuan phone. The bezels are thick around the top and bottom of the phone, but it features an 18:9 aspect ratio that makes it feel a little different to some other budget devices too.

Battery life and camera

While we can't offer a verdict on the battery life on the Redmi 6A, we can say we'd expect it to last a full day as it has a 3000mAh battery inside. Considering there's not much to power on this phone, we'd expect it to do well in day-to-day usage.

We'll be sure to test that properly when it comes time for our full review.

There's a 13MP rear camera on this phone with an aperture of f/2.2, and while it won't take the best shot for your Instagram it's quite respectable when compared to other phones around this price.

We took a few photos in our testing time and time-to-focus proved a little slower than we would have hoped, but it's unlikely to be enough to really frustrate you.

For selfies, you've got a basic 5MP front-facing camera with the same aperture as the rear. Again, this won't blow you away but it's also not the worst we've seen at this end of the market.

Performance and interface

When you're spending this much on a phone, you shouldn't expect the performance you'd likely get from a Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro.

It's sporting a MediaTek Helio A22 chipset, and we've yet to use that properly in another device so we can't offer much insight on its overall performance, but it's toward the low end of the power spectrum.

Impressively, you can get it paired with 3GB of RAM in one edition of the Redmi 6A, and while it won't be able to run all of your mobile games at top spec it's sure to be able to run most of your apps. It may just take a little longer than you'd hope for them to load.

There's a 2GB RAM version of the phone too that comes with 16GB of storage, while the 3GB sports 32GB. We'd advise not to go for a 16GB phone at all, as that's unlikely to be enough space for all of your apps and anything else you want to upload.

It's currently not clear what version of the phone Xiaomi will be bringing to the UK.

In terms of interface, the Redmi 6A comes with Android 8.1 software installed, so it's relatively new, and it has Xiaomi's own interface over the top of it.

It looks good, but it's a different appearance to a lot of other phones on the market right now, so it may take you some time to get properly used to it when you first boot up the device.

Early verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi 6A isn't going to floor you with its performance or features, but everything here seems to work well.

Considering the price, you'll likely be happy with what the Redmia 6A can do and it keeps pace with other budget alternatives.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.