They say “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” but does that scenario play well for Xiaomi which relies on its budget userbase? For under Rs 16k, Xiaomi is now competing against Realme which offers a relatively fine-tuned device in the Realme 2 Pro. Has the Note 6 Pro got what it takes to be the best mid-ranger in town?
Xiaomi just launched the Redmi Note 6 Pro in India today. The device replaces the Redmi Note 5 Pro which went on to be a bestseller during the initial part of the year. The Redmi Note 6 Pro comes in two variants - 4GB/64GB and 6GB/64GB for asking prices of Rs 13,999 and Rs 15,999 respectively and will be available for sale on Flipkart and Mi.com starting November 23 at 12 PM. The device will also go on sale offline through Mi Home and Mi Preferred stores shortly.
For around the same price, the recently independent Realme brand sells its Realme 2 Pro tuned relatively as a mid-range competitor to the Redmi Note 6 Pro. It’s now left for us to decide which of these two smartphones will you want to choose as your daily driver while we also try to answer if buying mid-range smartphones every year more suitable than getting a flagship device once in two or three years.
On the first glimpse, the Redmi Note 6 Pro looks a lot like any Xiaomi phone released in the past year. The design is about as mainstream as the Redmi Note 5 Pro with a unibody metallic back with plastic antenna strips at the top and bottom. The camera setup is positioned in one corner of the rear end and is aligned vertically like how it looked on its predecessor or the Mi A2 or the Redmi 6 Pro. There’s still the same white coloured bezels on the front on a non-black model which beats the display’s purpose wholly. The Xiaomi phones downside comes mostly from its metallic exterior which at this time of 2018 looks outlandish and outdated.
The Realme 2 Pro, unlike its predecessors, takes a step away from diamond-like patterns and has made a move more toward solid yet fancy colours with the Ice Lake and Blue Ocean version that stand apart from the crowd. Realme has taken a more premium route with a glossy glass panel at the back of the Realme 2 Pro. The camera is horizontally aligned which we’ve come to so see less of but there’s a slight bump, not as thick as the one on the Redmi 6 Pro.
Winner: Realme 2 Pro gets the style points.
The Realme 2 Pro features a 6.3-inch Full HD+ display with a screen resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels and 19:9 aspect ratio. Realme has opted for a waterdrop notch at the front which offers a premium look that has its fair share of resemblance with Oppo F9. The notch houses front-facing camera and just above that is the earpiece. The water-drop notch has once again proved to be less intrusive than large notches like the one on Realme 2, offering an STB ratio of 84 percent. Additionally, the Realme 2 Pro comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection in case of accidental drops.
In an age where notches are either disappearing for an all-screen experience or for smaller notches, the Redmi Note 6 Pro features a larger screen cutout at the top of its 6.26-inch 19:9 FHD+ display. The display has a resolution of 1080 x 2280 pixels, an aspect ratio of 19:9 and a screen-to-body ratio of 81.1 percent, much lower than that of the Realme device, which owes a lot to the large bezels at the bottom and filthily thicker notch at the top. Even though the brightness of the screen is higher than its predecessor, the output is warmer than normal and is nothing extraordinary.
Winner: Realme 2 Pro for larger screen real estate.
The Redmi Note 6 Pro is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor along with Adreno 509 GPU, 4/6GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage which can be further expanded using microSD card. Day-to-day functions are managed smoothly but its no different on paper to its predecessor and it makes no sense to upgrade to the Note 6 Pro if you own Note 5 Pro unless you’re a fan of the notch.
The Realme 2 Pro offers a better value on price since the best you want on a budget package is always the performance of a smartphone. The Realme device runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor along with Adreno 512 GPU and comes in 4GB/64GB, 6GB/64GB and 8GB/128GB configurations. The device is providing a relatively good processor in this price range where Xiaomi like any other manufacturer crams in the much cheaper Snapdragon 636 chip on their device. Moreover, the Realme 2 Pro is also available in an additional 8GB RAM and 128GB storage version.
Winner: Realme 2 Pro
If you have used a Chinese branded smartphone in the past, by now you might have gotten used to a ton of customisation which weighs down the system several folds than an Android One device would. Both phones thus feature heavy skins over Android and differentiating between the two comes down to personal choices on what these skins provide additionally.
The Realme device runs on a similarly customised ColorOS 5.2, based on Android 8.1 Oreo. All Google services are pre-installed with a launched which boasts of n AI engine with real-time translation, fast Face Unlock, split-screen and navigation gestures. The AI engine uses behaviour models for faster app launches and displays relevant information like quick shortcuts, weather, package tracking, flight info and appointments; all by swiping right from the homescreen.
The Note 6 Pro runs the not-so-latest Android 8.1 Oreo with Xiaomi’s MIUI 10 on top. The interface comes loaded with full-screen hand gestures and improved recent menu option. The recent apps are now shown in card-like format, which the company claims make it easier for the user to switch between different apps. The device uses AI to decrease app load and analyses a user’s behaviour to optimise the UI accordingly.
Winner: None, comes down to personal choices.
In terms of optics, the Redmi Note 6 Pro features a 12-megapixel primary lens with f/2.2 aperture and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor. It supports AI scene detection ( 32 modes), bokeh ( portrait mode) and night scene. It comes loaded with EIS and HDR which can take a 1080p, 720p, and 4800p videos at 30fps. Aside from that, it is also capable of recording 720p slow-mo at 120fps. For selfies, the device provides a 20MP + 2MP dual front camera setup for decent picture quality and controlled bokeh effect. In our testing, the device clicked goof pictures with the only complaint being lack of focus in certain conditions.
Realme 2 Pro features a dual-camera setup at the back, which comes with a combination of 16-megapixel primary sensor with ½.8-inch Sony IMX398 sensor with f/1.7 aperture and 1.12-micron pixel size, while the second sensor is used to create a bokeh effect. For the front, the company has employed 16-megapixel shooter for selfies and video calling. Photos from the Realme 2 Pro came out as nicely sharp with plenty of resolved detail, excellent contrast, and accurate colours with the best-in-class performance on a smartphone camera when considering low-light photography.
Winner: Realme 2 Pro for primary imaging, Redmi Note 6 Pro for selfies
The Realme 2 Pro is backed by a 3500mAh battery with no fast charging support. This is where the Redmi Note 6 Pro edges past with a total of 4,000mAh power unit fuelling itself. Moreover, the Xiaomi device is compatible with a Qualcomm 3.0 charger for faster charging which isn’t supplied out of the box.
Winner: Redmi Note 6 Pro
The Redmi Note 6 Pro is a modified copy of the Redmi Note 5 Pro if you called adding a notch above the screen a modification. But it’s not a step toward development since it features the same things a year old Note 5 Pro provides but now at a lower price. It’s got the same camera, the same design points and the same old Snapdragon 636 chipset which is good but nothing that hits out of the park. They say “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” but that kind of a scenario would only work for Apple and not Xiaomi which deeply relies on its budget smartphone user base. The Redmi Note 5 Pro might have been the bestseller in India but a lot has changed since it first showed up the on market and the Note 6 Pro isn’t an answer to what users want best for their value.
|Redmi Note 6 Pro||Realme 2 Pro|
|Processor||Snapdragon 636||Snapdragon 660|
|Display||6.26-inch FHD+, 1080 x 2280 pixels||6.3-inch Full HD+, 2340 x 1080 pixels|
|Memory||4GB/6GB RAM, 64GB storage||4/6/8GB RAM, 64/128GB storage|
|Camera||Rear: 12MP (f/1.9, 1/2.55", 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF) + 5MP (f/2.2, 1.12µm); Front: 20MP (f/2.0, 0.9µm) + 2MP (f/2.2, 1.75µm)||Rear: 16MP (f/1.7, 1/2.8", 1.12µm, PDAF) + 2MP, Front: 16MP (f/2.0)|
|OS||Android 8.1 Oreo, MIUI 10||Android 8.1 (Oreo), Color OS 5.2|
|Price||Rs 13,999, Rs 15,999||Rs 13,990, Rs 15,990, Rs 17,990|
This is where Realme 2 Pro comes in and hits the homer. Not only does the Snapdragon 660 offer a relatively smoother performance, but the Realme 2 Pro is also functionally and physically a more attractive package through its premium design, a smaller distraction-less notch and overall a larger screen real estate.
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