Xiaomi Mi 6

ON PA­PER IT’S THE PHONE DEAL OF THE YEAR

PC & Tech Authority - - REVIEWS - Ben Man­sill

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.

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