Xiaomi Mi 6
ON PAPER IT’S THE PHONE DEAL OF THE YEAR
O n the face of it, this is the smartphone bargain of the moment. Available online through Gearbest in China for AUD$549, it sports properly high-end specs. At its heart is the same Snapdragon 835 found in Samsung’s new Galaxy S8, so it’s a true powerhouse and in use it was snappy and lag-free. Gearbest’s ‘international version’ (which is what we tested) has 6GB RAM and a very generous 128GB ROM. The battery has a hefty 3350mAh capacity that supports Quick Charge 3.0, and the screen is a 5.15-inch 1920 x 1080 unit which is bright and with good colours (94.4% colour gamut, which is extremely good for a smartphone).
It looks very nice in gloss black, and is almost identical to Huawei’s P10, though with a lumpy back for the larger battery. It’s water-resistant, dual-SIM, and the cameras are decent (dual 12MP rear, 8MP front) unit. It even comes with a case.
So why the low score? The bad experience started when setting it up. There’s no option to choose Australia as a region. Tiny African and Caribbean countries? Yes. Australia? No. It’s of little actual consequence, though. More importantly the Android implementation locks out or hides many important functions, like screen timeout and icon grid size and location settings. It’s an Android designed for people who use their phones stock out of the box.
But the killer is that it crashes while making phone calls. One in three calls (this is no exaggeration) I made would lock the system up during dialling, forcing a restart. This is an issue Xiaomi phones have had long before this model and it’s astounding it still happens, and in a flagship model, too. There is no fix, and it’s infuriating when it happens.
I had such high hopes for this phone, but after a week of testing I could not have been happier to remove my SIM and put it back in its box forever. If Xiaomi fix the crashing, then it’s a bargain powerhouse if you can stomach the Android quirks.