Xiaomi’s long-awaited Mi 6 smartphone is here. A stunning, curvy body houses the most desirable processor out there at the moment: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, currently only found in the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Sony’s forthcoming Xperia XZ Premium. It’s cheaper than both these phones too, at around $365; but the same old Xiaomi problem still exists: You will have to import one to get it.
It’s a compact phone with a 5.15-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution screen. This is underneath a piece of curved glass, which extends round the back of the phone, and is matched to a stainless steel chassis. The design is an obvious evolution of the Xiaomi Mi 5, and retains the physical home button and fingerprint sensor below the display on the front. On the back there are now two camera lenses, elevating the Mi 6 to the same level as competing phones from Huawei, Honor, and LG.
The dual lenses both have 12-megapixels and operate in the same way as Apple and Huawei’s setup, allowing a 2x optical zoom and replicating the desirable bokeh blurred background effect. Xiaomi previously introduced dual-camera lenses on the Redmi Pro and the Mi 5s Plus, but neither work in exactly the same manner as the Mi 6. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs next to the Huawei P10, which has the feature down almost to perfection. Xiaomi’s rear camera also has four-axis optical image stabilization, and brings the beautification mode seen on the 8-megapixel selfie cam to the rear cam too.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor powers the Mi 6, and it’s the first phone to offer the chip in China. It’s paired with 6GB of RAM and a choice of 64GB or128GB of internal storage space. A 3,350mAh battery provides the energy, plus there’s NFC, an under-glass fingerprint sensor, stereo speakers, highly capable 2×2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, USB Type-C, and basic splash resistance. Android will be installed with Xiaomi’s MIUI software over the top. What’s missing? A 3.5mm headphone jack, and if we’re being difficult about things, a bezel-less display.
Xiaomi will make the Mi 6 in black, white, blue or a beautiful silver, plus a special ceramic edition with 18-karat gold camera trim, just like the limited edition Mi Mix. The ceramic Mi 6 will be the most expensive at the equivalent of $435 at today’s exchange rate, while the 128GB model in any other color will be around $420, and the 64GB Mi 6 will cost about $365. All will be available in China from April 28.
Updated on 04-19-2017 by Andy Boxall: Rewritten with all the official details on the Mi 6.