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Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro became the top recommended budget smartphone in the start of the year 2018. The handset offered powerful performance and best-in-class features at a pocket-friendly price-point, which made it the best selling mobile phone in its respective price bracket. Some other brands tried to replicate the formula and managed to deliver some good products such as Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, Realme 2 Pro, Motorola One Power, etc.
After nine months of Redmi Note 5 Pro launch, Xiaomi has unveiled the Redmi Note 6 Pro. Not much has changed in last nine months as the new Redmi device is backed by the similar 4,000 mAh battery unit, comes in same RAM configuration and runs on the same old tried and tested Snapdragon 636 octa-core chipset. The generation updates come in the form of a bigger display boasting a notch, company's latest MIUI 10 skin and a new set of cameras at front.
That said, Redmi Note 6 Pro is the first Redmi Note with a notch display and dual-lens front-facing camera. The new smartphone has to fight Honor's latest budget offering- Honor 8X which also offers impressive specs and good overall performance. I tested the Redmi Note 6 Pro for over three days to find out what has changed in the last 9 months. This is just my first impressions of the handset and a detailed review will follow later this month.
Redmi Note 6 Pro with a new notch display
Redmi Note 6 Pro is strikingly similar to Note 5 Pro as the handset is built on the same design language. The differentiating factor here is big notch placed at the face of the smartphone. The notch houses the newly developed dual-lens camera for selfies, earpiece, light sensor, and the notification LED. Turn to the back and you will see a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and the similar vertically stacked dual-lens camera that we have tested on Note 5 Pro.
The other similar elements are the 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR blaster at the top, hybrid SIM card slot at the left and micro USB charging port and speaker grilles placed at the bottom. A good addition is the P2i coating that as per Xiaomi can offer some level of protection from water spills. Don't take this handset in the pool as it cannot withstand such level of water damage. Overall, it's the same old familiar Redmi note design which has done a good job for the brand since last few two years. For the next Redmi device, I would really like to see a shift in design language.
First-ever Redmi phone with a Notch
Redmi Note 6 Pro is the company's first phone with a notch screen. The smartphone sports a 6.26-inch IPS LCD screen that offers a resolution of 1,080 x 2,280 pixels. The resolution results in a pixel density of 403ppi, which makes text, pictures, and videos look crisp and vivid. The color reproduction is brilliant for the price-point and the IPS LCD also has good viewing angles.
Big vivid IPS LCD screen is good for multimedia consumption
The display on Redmi Note 6 Pro is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass; however, the company hasn't specified the generation of the protective glass used.
First ever dual-lens selfie camera on a Redmi phone
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro steps up the selfie game with a newly added dual-lens front-facing camera. The 20MP primary camera is paired with a 2MP depth sensing shooter. The setup captures good quality images and the company has also thrown some impressive post-processing editing tools that add value to the overall camera output. We will explain how the editing tools work in our comprehensive review. The bokeh effect is good for the price-point and the overall picture quality will not disappoint you.
Slightly improved dual-lens rear cameras
As far as rear cameras are concerned, it is the same 12MP+5MP setup that we have tested on Note 5 Pro but now uses bigger pixels, brighter lens, and improved machine learning algorithms. You also get dual pixel phase detection autofocus which is said to improve the focus speed of the camera setup. In our brief testing, we found the camera responsive and better at capturing almost everything you point the handset. The bokeh effect once again looks good and the AI-equipped camera can now detect a range of scenes to enhance the image output. Check out some camera samples for better understanding.
No upgrades in CPU- Snapdragon 636 octa-core chipset
Xiaomi hasn't upgraded the chipset and you get the same octa-core Snapdragon 636 CPU paired with enough RAM- 4GB, to smoothly handle processing and multitasking. The phone feels responsive and can also run some of the most popular gaming titles with very little performance drops. We will push the handset to its limits in our comprehensive review.
New MIUI 10 with some noteworthy features
The no change in the CPU department is compensated by offering the latest in-house MIUI 10 skin. The new Xiaomi skin is colorful and comes loaded with tones of software features. MIUI 10 also gets gesture-based navigation that allows you to control the user interface with some cool gestures instead of on-screen keys. The gestures could use some improvements as I found myself struggling to get the job done at various instances. The company has also added a new Game Speed booster mode that tweaks the phone's various settings to offer a seamless gaming experience. For the battery, Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro is backed by the familiar 4,000 mAh battery unit which has now become a signature feature of the Redmi Note series devices. A handful of software features have been added in new MIUI 10 to help keep a check on the battery consumption of the smartphone.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro is not a massive upgrade as compared to Redmi Note 5 Pro. If you own a Redmi Note 5, Redmi Note 4 or simply looking to buy a powerful and feature-rich budget smartphone, the Note 6 Pro seems like the device you should go for. We will spend some more time with the handset to better evaluate its features and performance in our comprehensive review.