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Without further ado, let’s find out what the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro brings to a market segment it already dominates.
Related: The best Xiaomi phones in 2023
The first batch of Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro units in India is out of stock, although the second sale will be live at 3 PM today.
6 Lakh units of #RedmiNote6Pro! 🎉
— Manu Kumar Jain (@manukumarjain) November 23, 2023
6.26-inch 19:9 FHD+ LCD display with a notch
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor
64GB expandable storage
Dual 12MP + 5MP main camera
Dual 20MP + 2MP selfie camera
Android 8.1 Oreo
Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack, rear-mounted FPS, AI face unlock, IR port, etc.
Related: Android 9 Pie update device list
As pointed out, Xiaomi’s Redmi series is very popular – and so is the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the Note 6 Pro’s predecessor. The latter borrows the best stuff from the former and spices them up by throwing in things like a dual-lens selfie camera, a bigger notched display screen and a newer Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box with a guaranteed updated to Android 9 Pie. As for the rest, you are getting mostly the same device as the outgoing model, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering how good the Note 5 Pro is compared to the competition.
What perhaps let down the Note 5 Pro and Xiaomi hasn’t taken care of it in the Redmi Note 6 Pro is the connectivity, where you still get to deal with the aging microUSB port, although this also means you keep enjoying the services of the 3.5mm audio jack.
The camera setup on the back of the Redmi Note 6 Pro is identical to the Note 5 Pro, but of course, the lenses used or rather the primary 12MP lens used on the former is more superior than the latter. The front 20MP lens is also the same as the one used on the outgoing model, but the second 2MP lens helps capture the depth of field effects. On the Note 5 Pro, this effect is achieved through software tweaks.
While we didn’t expect the Redmi Note 6 Pro to debut with Android 9 Pie preinstalled, we expected MIUI 10 to be on top of Android 8.1 Oreo, especially now that the Note 5 Pro that has the same chipset as its successor has already been upgraded to this version. Unfortunately, you still get MIUI 9.6, at least if what those who have already purchased the device in Thailand are saying is anything to go by. On the brighter side, it shouldn’t take long before we see an OTA update that installs the stable MIUI 10 on this device.
Although not mentioned, the 4000mAh battery unit on board should be quick to juice thanks to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0, the same fast charging technology used in the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Of course, we’ll verify this when we get full details.
Related: Xiaomi Android 9 Pie update news and device list
Price and availability
Xiaomi Thailand took to its official Facebook page on the last day of September 2023 to announce the Redmi Note 6 Pro in the Asian country. The phone is already available for purchase via the local Lazada retailer priced at 6900 Thai Baht, which translates to about $215 or INR 15,800. The phone launched in India on November 22 and opened beginning at INR 12,999 for the base model, although this is a discounted price that can change anytime.
At launch, the Redmi Note 5 Pro came in valued at INR 13,999 for the 4/64GB variant, which makes the current pricing in India even more affordable. If the base model isn’t your medicine, there is a high-end 6/64GB variant that costs INR 14,999 instead of the RRP of INR 17,999.
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Now that you’ve already got the device- the reason you’re here, let’s talk about some of the best Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro accessories that can further amp up your experience to the next level. Read on.
The case that comes inside the box with the phone provides very little to no protection when it comes to accidental slips or drops. Therefore, buying a good case is a must, especially for a phone having a glass back.
The corners have the right amount of padding while the front gets a raised lip for protection of the display. Plus, the back is thick enough to accommodate the camera bump, thereby preventing the lenses from scratches. Alternatively, you can also check out Kapaver Rugged and Ringke Fusion-X.
Check out here
The GeekCases MicroUSB to USB type-C adapter costs just Rs. 249 and is built with 56K Ohm pull up resistors to meet all USB C technical standards for use with laptops, mobile phones, power banks, and other accessories. The device is made of aluminum alloy and gets a one year warranty, with a highly positive rating on Amazon.
Check out here
In addition to sharing files, you can also use it as an adapter to charge other phones through yours and vice versa. It comes with a compact metal construction and can be fitted easily inside your pocket. Plus, there’s a one year warranty on offer. Overall, it’s an excellent buy for a price tag of just Rs. 249. Anyway, you can also have a look at the AmazonBasics USB Type-C to USB 3.1 Adapter for faster transfers.
Check out here
Packed in a really sleek and compact design, the Mi 2i 10000mAh power bank can charge the Note 8 Pro for almost 1.5 times on a single charge. Interestingly, it supports 18W fast charge, meaning your phone will top-up much quicker than other typical power banks.
Moving further, it boasts of dual ports to charge two devices simultaneously and supports two-way fast charging. The same is accompanied by the pass-through charging feature and a dedicated low-power mode to juice up your wearables and other accessories. There’s also a 20,000mAh variant just in case you want more endurance.
Check out here
The Note 8 Pro for sure gets a 3.5mm audio jack. But then again, wireless earphones are simply much more convenient to use. And that’s where you should check out the lately launched Mi Neckband Bluetooth earphones.
As the name suggests, they come with a neckband design that loops around your ears, making them an all-day companion. It’s quite comfortable, has a great battery life, and propounds good sound quality for starters.
This is surely an accessory every Redmi Note user would love to use with their device. Anyways, those who want a funkier look and faster charging with enhanced bass can have a look at the realme buds wireless (review).
So these were some of the best Redmi Note 8 Pro accessories that you can buy right now in the market. Alongside this, you can also get some good screen protectors and skins for better protection and look enhancement of your device.
Also, read Best Air Purifiers You Can Buy Under Rs 10,000.
A big screen and a low price are paired with decent battery life, usable performance and an enhanced dual-camera in the Redmi Note 5. There are some drawbacks, such as the old Micro-USB port, lack of Quick Charge support and partly plastic build, but in other respects budget phones don’t come much better than this.
If you’re looking for a sub-£200 Android phone with a decent-size screen, good battery life and usable all-round performance and features, this could be it. Very similar to the Mi Max 3, but with a smaller 5.99in display, the Redmi Note 5 is a worthy upgrade over the Note 4 with improved performance, photography and design.
Since we originally wrote this review Xiaomi has entered the UK smartphone market, making it much easier to obtain its smartphones here. The Redmi Note 5 is now available from the likes of Amazon for £229.
A special Cyber Monday deal knocks a further £69 off the price, with the Redmi Note 5 available for just £159.99. ( See more Cyber Monday deals.)
Previously we’ve had to import review samples from China, and this Redmi Note 5 was supplied by GearBest, where current pricing is £182.39. When there’s no Cyber Monday sale on at Amazon this makes it the cheaper deal, but know that when importing from China to the UK you are liable for import duty, charged at 20 percent of the value printed on the shipping paperwork.
This is the Global version of the Redmi Note 5, which comes with all Google services preinstalled along with MIUI 9. It supports all 4G LTE bands used in the UK, too, which can be a problem with some Chinese handsets.
Also see: Best Xiaomi Deals
Also see: Best budget phones and Best budget Chinese phonesWhen is a Redmi Note 5 not a Redmi Note 5?
Xiaomi’s phone naming scheme can be incredibly confusing if you’re not familiar with it, but we think more so with the Redmi Note 5 than any other. That’s because the Redmi Note 5 that launched in China and is sold globally is not the same phone as the Redmi Note 5 that launched in India.
The Redmi Note 5 available in India has a single-lens camera at the rear and some lower-spec hardware, including the Snapdragon 625 processor. It has the new 18:9 5.99in display, but in other respects is not a huge departure from the Redmi Note 4. And that explains why some reviews of the Redmi Note 5 are less complimentary than others.
Also available in India is the Redmi Note 5 Pro, and that’s (almost) the phone you see here rebranded as the Redmi Note 5. It has a dual-lens camera at the rear and runs the Snapdragon 636.
But in India the Pro also has a 20Mp selfie camera and up to 6GB of RAM, while this Global version’s front camera is rated at 13Mp and has either 3- or 4GB of memory.
If you’re worried about purchasing the wrong version of the phone then fear not – we couldn’t even find the Indian models for sale in the UK. But we’d recommend double-checking the spec before you buy. Better yet,What’s new in Redmi Note 5?
There are some key design changes in the Redmi Note 5 over its predecessor, but also a return to the Redmi Note 3’s part plastic build – the antenna lines at the rear of the Note 4 have been replaced with plastic end caps – and 4000mAh battery, which is still pretty generous, but 100mAh down on Redmi Note 4.
More impressive is the new 5.99in Full-HD+ IPS display, not only larger than the 5.5in previous example but also taller, adopting the 18:9 aspect ratio that has become fashionable in today’s market. It helps the phone look more on-trend, and also allows for a larger screen without infringing on usability – the Note 5 is only 7mm taller than its predecessor, and fractionally narrower and slimmer.
The phone’s chin has also been reduced, with navigational buttons now appearing onscreen. And an update to MIUI 10 is available, which gives you the option to use swipe gestures to go home or back, removing these buttons from the display.
Also see: Best Xiaomi phones
There are some tweaks found along the edges, too. While the Redmi Note 5 still features a mono speaker, it no longer attempts to hide this fact with a set of drilled holes lying either side of its Micro-USB port. Instead you’ll find just one, and on the other side the headphone jack has moved down from its previous position at the top of the device.
The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor has not moved, but where the single-lens camera previously sat above it Xiaomi has now added a second lens and moved this to a new position at top-left. It did lie flush; now it juts out a tad.
And naturally there have been hardware changes, which result in a boost to performance. Gone is the deca-core Helio X20 chip with Mali T880 graphics, and in comes the Snapdragon 636 with Adreno 509. There’s a new 4GB RAM, 64GB storage model, too (that’s what we’re reviewing here).Redmi Note 5 Design & Build
Despite the aforementioned sprinkling of plastic parts, Redmi Note 5 is a very good-looking phone at this price. Moreover, it feels sturdy, and very well-made.
It’s an IPS panel, which bodes well for quality, with realistic colours and good viewing angles. We can’t find any official reference to the Note 5 using Gorilla Glass protection, but thanks to a metal rear it is only the one side of this smartphone you need to keep safe. You’ll also find a silicone case in the box, which is handy.
We measured the maximum screen brightness at 427cd/m2, which is very good for a sub-£200 phone. Being able to ramp up the brightness so high also makes the screen easier to see outdoors.
The display has a full-HD+ resolution of 2160×1080, which results in a pixel density of 403ppi. It’s sufficiently clear, and also no higher in resolution than even Xiaomi’s flagship phones.
We’re disappointed to see an old Micro-USB port at the bottom, especially given that it won’t charge any faster than at 10W. There is a charger supplied in the box, but it has a two-pin EU plug, so if you’re purchasing this phone in the UK you’ll need to supply your own adaptor.
Naturally at this price there’s no support for wireless charging, which has so far been seen only on the Mi Mix 2S.
On the up side, Xiaomi has retained the IR blaster on the Note 5’s top edge. It’s incredibly rare to find such a feature in phones these days.
There’s also the fingerprint scanner at the rear, which works well – but if you’re interested in mobile payments be aware there’s no support for NFC.
Connectivity is otherwise pretty good, with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS and GLONASS, and a hybrid SIM slot that can either accept a single SIM and a microSD card for storage expansion or two SIMs that work in dual-standby mode.Redmi Note 5 Hardware & Performance
Powering the show here is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chip clocked at 1.8GHz, with integrated Adreno 509 graphics. It’s paired with 4GB of memory.
That’s the same setup as in the Mi Max 3, and as you’ll see in our chart below performance is on par.
As we said for that phone, the Redmi Note 5 is not a speed demon. However, it offers usable performance for most users for daily tasks, and we didn’t spot any sign of lag when navigating the interface and launching apps.
You can play casual games and watch movies, provided you don’t throw anything too intensive at it.
Battery life is very good, and you’ll easily get at least a full day’s life from the 4000mAh cell – maybe more, depending on your usage.
In Geekbench 4’s battery test it scored 5390 points, and kept churning through its task list for 8 hours 59 minutes.Redmi Note 5 Cameras & Photography
It might sound like a similar setup as found on the Mi Max 3, but the Redmi Note 5’s camera is inferior with no AI mode. It also maxes out at 1080p video recording.
Still, it’s an improvement on the Redmi Note 4’s 13Mp rear camera and 5Mp selfie camera. This new model has a 12Mp + 5Mp dual-lens camera at the rear, with dual phase-detection dual-focus and 1.4um pixels. At the front is a 13Mp selfie camera.
Aside from the missing AI button at the top, the camera app looks the same as on any other Xiaomi phone, with options to turn on/off/auto the flash and HDR mode, and to select real-time filters. At the bottom you swipe between video (and short video), photo, portrait, square, panorama and manual shooting modes.
Portrait mode is what’s used to create those funky blurred background shots that help your subject to stand out, aided by the second camera lens.
Overall we were very impressed with the quality of our test shots (below in Auto and HDR modes). Those pictured below appear a little dark, though it was an overcast day when they were shot. They show plenty of detail but are perhaps a little over-sharpened.
In low-light the Redmi Note 5 did a fantastic job. There is some noise but overall blacks are well rendered, text is largely fuzz-free, and the scene is adequately lit without requiring aid from the flash.Redmi Note 5 Software
The Redmi Note 5 runs MIUI 9 out of the box but an upgrade is available to MIUI 10. This is still based on Android Oreo rather than the more recent Android Pie (which will be coming in time), but includes some nice new features such as full-display gesture support, a redesigned quick access panel and volume controls, plus the addition of Picture in Picture and Autofill.
It won’t be immediately recognisable as Android if you’ve not picked up a Xiaomi phone before, and the lack of an app tray means the shortcuts all spill out over the home screens (but can be tidied into folders). The Settings menu also looks completely different, and there are some Xiaomi-specific apps here too.
Because this is the Global ROM version of the Redmi Note 5 it is preinstalled with Google services; were you to buy the Chinese ROM version you would need to install these yourself from the Mi App Store. That’s because Google services are not used in China.
Other things we like about MIUI include the aforementioned One-handed mode, plus Second Space and Dual Apps.Redmi Note 5 Verdict
It’s not infallible, but the Redmi Note 5 is a great all-rounder and will be hard to beat under £200. It benefits from a very good and well-sized screen, and has a decent camera and usable performance.Specs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5: Specs
5.99in Full-HD+ (2160×1080) 18:9 display
MIUI 9 (Android Oreo)
1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 octa-core procesor
4G LTE (all UK bands)
dual-SIM dual-standby (hybrid SIM slot accepts second SIM or microSD up to 128GB)
dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
GPS, AGPS, GLONASS
rear fingerprint scanner
3.5mm headphone jack
12Mp + 5Mp dual-lens camera, 1.4um pixels, dual phase-detection dual-focus, 1080p video
13Mp selfie camera
3.5mm headphone jackCons
MediaTek chip sacrifices performance & battery life
Camera focus can be softOur Verdict
An excellent budget phone, but unless money is very tight the Redmi Note 9S offers better value still.
Joining Redmi Note 9S in Xiaomi’s 2023 budget phone range in the UK is this Redmi Note 9 and a higher-spec Note 9 Pro. For those on tight budgets the 9 is very slightly cheaper than the 9S, but sacrifices some screen estate, the Snapdragon 720G and a few additional features.
Promising the same high-capacity 5,020mAh battery that drove the 9S to the top of our phone battery charts, and a very similar quad-lens rear camera, we consider whether the small saving is enough to sway you in favour of the younger sibling.
Note that as of 28 August 2023, Redmi Note 9 is now additionally available on contract or SIM-free in the UK through Three (skip to where to buy Redmi Note 9).Design & Build – Subtle Savings
Redmi Note 9 is a fine-looking phone, especially in our review sample’s Midnight Grey colour scheme. It is also available in Forest Green and Polar White.
It should not surprise you to learn it has a very familiar design, both among modern Android phones in general and the Redmi Note 9 range specifically, but look closer and you’ll find there is a number of important differences between this and the more expensive models in the line.
Most immediately apparent is that this model lacks the high-gloss mirror shine of its siblings. It’s not a bad thing: the subtlety this creates is appealing, and the phone is much less prone to fingerprints. Redmi Note 9 is still glossy, just not aggressively so.
The reason for this lack of gloss is simple: Xiaomi has swapped out the 9S’ glass rear and metal frame for a plastic body in the Note 9. This sounds like a bigger deal than it is, and the newest Xiaomi phone does a pretty good job of retaining the line’s high-quality design.
It feels well-made and durable, not waterproof but P2i splashproof (as you would expect with most budget phones), with no creaky bits or harsh lines, and we’d wager that it’s less likely to shatter when dropped. Arguably, though, it also looks less premium.
It’s difficult to tell until you place the two back to back, but the Redmi Note 9 is 4mm shorter than the 9S. This, together with its plastic build, means it’s also about 10g lighter. The difference in screen size is minor, with the Note 9 measuring 6.53in against the 9S’ 6.67in, and the bezels are just a fraction wider.
The dimensions themselves make zero difference to how it feels in the hand, though the smoother, more rounded edges of Note 9 make it more comfortable to hold and operate. I found it much easier to stretch my thumb right across the display to the top corner, whereas achieving this with the Redmi Note 9S requires some form of finger aerobics.
Both phones use a punch-hole style selfie camera, maximising the available screen space, but here it is moved over from the 9S’ central position to the top left. It feels strange simply because this positioning is new to Xiaomi, not especially bothering us in either location.
We were more put out by the ommission of a charging LED nestled within the here shorter earpiece just above – it may be just a tiny dot on the 9S, but a dot it is.
Something else that has moved is the fingerprint sensor, not built into the side-mounted power button as it is on Redmi Note 9S and Note 9 Pro, instead appearing just below the camera assembly on the rear. In our tests it worked perfectly well, and typically fell naturally under our index finger as we cradled the phone – but on occasion that it did not, the sensor is a little too flush to the surface of the phone to quickly and accurately locate it.
The camera itself is the final important difference. In specification it is very similar to that found on the Redmi Note 9S, with a 48MP wide + 8MP ultra-wide + 2MP macro + 2MP depth setup (the 9S has a 5MP macro lens but otherwise shares these specs, while Note 9 Pro headlines with a 64MP lens).
In design, though, it is not the same, with the positioning of the lenses themselves swapped around, the entire assembly not jutting out quite so from the phone’s body, and the single LED flash appearing to the right rather than below the camera.
All three phones in the series feature increasingly rare extras such as an IR blaster, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a 2 + 1 SIM tray that won’t force you to choose between dual-SIM functionality (dual-4G) and storage expansion (up to 512GB).
Each also has an IPS display, which are not as vibrant, punchy and rich in contrast as the AMOLED screens found in Xiaomi’s more expensive models, but they are good-quality screens that offer realistic colours and strong viewing angles. It’s rare to find AMOLED in the budget phone market, but thankfully we are now a long way from the TN panels of the past.Performance – No Competition
One of the big differences in Redmi Note 9 over 9S and 9 Pro is that it swaps out the Snapdragon 720G chip from Qualcomm in favour of a Helio G85 processor from MediaTek. This is a 2GHz octa-core chip, integrated with the ARM Mali-G52 graphics processor, as opposed to the 720G’s Adreno 618.
It is paired with 3GB or 4GB of RAM (and 64GB or 128GB of storage), whereas the more expensive models in the Redmi Note 9 line benefit from 4GB or 6GB of memory.
This processor selection will have helped Xiaomi to cut down on costs, but in my opinion it was a poor decision.
In Geekbench 5 performance tests we found the Redmi Note 9 very much on par with the Moto G8 Power, an only slightly more expensive phone that also goes big on the battery, albeit somewhat more successfully. Other smartphones that scored similar results in this test include the Honor 9X and Nokia 6.2.
In an age in which battery life is everything, the 5,020mAh spec of Redmi Note 9’s battery would lead you to believe runtime is going to excel. Redmi Note 9S, which has the same 5,020mAh cell, delivered a class-leading battery life of 15 hours 3 minutes under the Geekbench 4 battery test; Redmi Note 9 managed just 8 hours 15 minutes under the same conditions.
This is not a poor battery score for a budget phone, but it is a poor battery score for a phone that too many consumers will rush out and buy based entirely on that excellent on-paper battery spec, without reading reviews such as this to find out what it’s really good for.
It is true to say that synthetic benchmarks are not always representative of real life, and we would expect that most users would nevertheless manage to get a full day’s usage without needing to reach for the charger. Some users will even get two days, since how long the battery lasts depends on for what you use it.
When it comes to charging it’s not a surprise that there is no support for wireless charging, though the Redmi Note 9 does support 18W wired charging, with a 22W adapter supplied in the box. We found from empty it could get to around 35% in 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, the Note 9 refused to run GFXBench, our graphics benchmark, though we would expect more of the same – a device that can handle casual games and online video, but nothing too intensive.Cameras & Photography – Lacking Focus
With Redmi Note 9 it feels a bit like Xiaomi has jumped on the quad-lens camera bandwagon, without due care or attention. Neither its macro nor depth sensors are really pulling much weight here. But a quad-camera certainly sounds great on paper, especially when headlining with a 48MP lens.
Although it might appear to be a similar camera to what you find on Redmi Note 9S, it’s probably closer to that of the previous-generation Redmi Note 8T, albeit in a square rather than portrait assembly. It’s also combining 48MP wide (f/1.79, 0.8um), 8MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 1.12um), 2MP macro (f/2.4, 1.75um) and 2MP depth (f/2.4, 1.75um) sensors for general photography, along with a 13MP camera for selfies. It has a 2x digital zoom, but no optical offering.
Xiaomi is using its usual trick of pixel-binning, whereby information is captured at 48MP but then reduced to higher-quality 12MP images by nudging four individual pixels into a single ‘super’ pixel, in the process increasing its size from 0.8um to 1.6um. It also uses AI to intelligently select a scene mode and associated presets, meaning you simply point and shoot (there is a manual mode if you prefer).
Generally speaking, given good lighting, the Redmi Note 9 does a quite acceptable job – and let’s be honest, that’s probably all you’re looking for at this price point.
But it is far from infallible, and the lack of detail in shots is notable – particularly when captured over a longer distance. Even in portrait mode we found the camera could struggle to focus on the intended subject.
And though these images were not shot on the brightest or sunniest of days (such as is the issue with UK weather), they may well be realistic but are verging on dull.Software – MIUI 11
Our review sample is running the global version of MIUI 11, a custom version of Android. As we found on Redmi Note 9S, it is missing some of the features you’ll find in the best Xiaomi phones, such as the Always-on Display.
In this version Xiaomi has unlocked the system-wide Dark Mode, and you’ll also benefit from superb features that are exclusive to Xiaomi, such as Dual Apps and Second Space. These are incredibly useful if you’re making use of the dual-SIM functionality, or want to wall off some content to a protected area.
This is also the first time we’ve actually seen the option to add an app drawer to MIUI, which is turned off by default. (This has been reported to be present in all Xiaomi phones running MIUI 11’s global ROM, but in our experience this is untrue.) Switch on this feature and the Redmi Note 9 acts a lot more like a regular Android phone.
Full Google services are installed out of the box, so you have none of the concerns here that you might have when buying a Huawei phone. Our review sample also has NFC for making mobile payments, though this is reportedly not available in all territories.
You will notice some additional Xiaomi apps, which you are under no obligation to use. There is also a handful of apps (games, Netflix etc) that annoyingly are preinstalled, but can be easily uninstalled.Where to buy Redmi Note 9 in the UK
In the UK Redmi Note 9 went on sale on 19 June 2023 via Amazon, having already launched at the official UK Mi Store.
Direct from Xiaomi you’ll pay £179 for the 3GB/64GB model SIM-free, or £199 (currently reduced to £159) for 4GB/64GB. Should you buy this model on Three PAYG it will cost you £149.99 with a £10 top-up. ( Find more great Xiaomi deals here.)
Three also lists various contract options for Redmi Note 9. For unlimited data and minutes it costs £28 per month with an upfront charge of £19, but the first six months are half-price. This same deal is available with 4GB of data, at £20 per month wth six months half-price.
Alternatively, for 30GB of data you’ll pay £27 per month, and for 12GB £23 per month, both with the £19 upfront fee.
If you’re happy to purchase from outside the UK, Geekbuying is listing the 3GB/64GB model for £141.53 and the 4GB/128GB model for £149.39. Both are global versions, however they ship from Hong Kong and might not be quite so cheap with import duty factored in. If requested, this is charged at 20% of the value printed on the shipping paperwork.Redmi Note 9 – Worth it?
If you’re on a tight budget, Redmi Note 9 is a fantastic smartphone below £200. It ticks a great many boxes and, though it isn’t flawless, you’ll be hard-pushed to find better value.
Though it’s plastic it is well designed, and it comes with impressive-sounding features such as a quad-lens camera that performed mostly well in our tests, save for lacking some finer detail.
There’s enough power for casual users, though we had hoped for better performance from the huge-capacity 5,020mAh battery.
However, if your budget will stretch only a little higher we would highly recommend that you look to the Redmi Note 9S instead. This phone has a premium design and enhanced performance, particularly in terms of battery life.
Via the UK Mi Store the 4GB/64GB model is also priced at £199, while the 6GB/128GB version is £229. Both are currently available with a £20 discount. You will also find Redmi Note 9S discounted at Amazon.Related stories for further reading Specs Xiaomi Redmi Note 9: Specs
6.53in Full-HD+ (1080×2340) IPS Dot Drop display, 1,500:1 contrast ratio, 450 nits brightness, TUV Rheinland low blue light certification, Gorilla Glass 5
2.0GHz MediaTek Helio G85 (octa-core, 12nm)
ARM Mali-G52 GPU
3GB/4GB LPDDR4X RAM
64GB UFS 2.1 storage
MicroSD support up to 512GB
5,020mAh non-removable battery
18W wired charging (22.5W charger in box)
Quad-lens camera: 48Mp wide (6P lens, f/1.79, 0.8um, 4-in-1 Super Pixel) + 8Mp ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 2Mp macro + 2Mp depth sensor
13Mp selfie camera (f/2.25, 1.12um)
Dual 4G Dual-Standby, 2+1 SIM slot
3.5mm headphone jack
Rear fingerprint sensor
Colours: Midnight Grey, Forest Green, Polar White
MIUI 11 (Android 10)
At the start of August, Lenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing at a roundtable conference asserted that India is an important market for the company. He vowed that the company will soon bounce back and reclaim its past glory in India in the next couple of years. And well, just within a month, Lenovo has stepped foot back into India’s smartphone market with three new offerings.
So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Lenovo’s three new smartphones:
Lenovo Z6 Pro
First among the lot is the company’s flagship Lenovo Z6 Pro, which was unveiled in China back in April earlier this year. It comes packed with a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with a waterdrop notch that houses a 32MP selfie camera and you will find a 6th-Gen in-display fingerprint sensor on board as well. Lenovo boasts that both the front and back are being protected by dual Corning Gorilla Glass.
In the camera department, Lenovo Z6 Pro is outfitted with a quad-camera module with a 48MP (f/1.8) primary camera. This is coupled along with a 16MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide lens, an 8MP (f/2.4) telephoto lens with 4x optical zoom, and a 2MP super-video camera (which is basically a 3D TOF sensor). It uses OIS+EIS to offer super stable videos, along with a Video Log feature that sounds similar to Nokia’s Bothie. You can any of the three lenses to record 4K videos.
As for the pricing, Lenovo Z6 Pro is priced at Rs 33,999 for the 8GB+128GB variant that will be available in limited quantities exclusively on Flipkart. It will be available in a single color variant, i.e black but it has a reddish hue to it.
Lenovo K10 Note
Lenovo K10 Note, on the other hand, is a rebranded Lenovo Z6 Youth Edition which was launched in China back in May earlier this year. It features a 6.3-inch Full-HD+ LCD panel with a waterdrop notch (which Lenovo calls mini notch), which houses a 16MP selfie camera. This display has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 93% screen-to-body ratio, and it packs support for HDR10 as well, which is great.
Lenovo K10 Note is powered by the Snapdragon 710 chipset, paired with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. You also get Coldfront liquid cooling technology for optimal heat dissipation during graphic-intensive tasks. It runs Lenovo’s ZUI 11 custom skin, which is based on Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box. It has a 4,050mAh battery and a physical fingerprint sensor on the rear.
On the camera front, Lenovo K10 Note comes equipped with a triple camera setup. This means you will get a 16MP (f/1.8) primary sensor, an 8MP (f/2.4) telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, and a third 5MP (f/2.2) wide-angle lens. This setup makes it capable of 8x hybrid zoom, thanks to AI tricks onboard.
Lenovo K10 Note will also come in a single color variant, i.e Knight Black, which is priced starting at Rs. 13,999 for the 4GB+64GB variant. You will need to shell out Rs. 15,999 for the 6GB+128GB variant, with sales kicking off from September 16 on Flipkart. This device could turn out to be a real contender against Realme 5 and Redmi Note 7S.
Lenovo A6 Note
Under the hood, the A6 Note is powered by the MediaTek Helio P22 chipset, coupled with3GB RAM and 32GB storage. It comes equipped with a 4,000mAh battery with 10W charging support. The device runs Android 9 Pie-based ZUI 11 as well, offering you Face Unlock and a physical fingerprint sensor onboard.
This smartphone will be available in two color variants – Black and Blue, with the prices starting at Rs 7,999 for the 3GB+32GB variant. It will go on sale from September 11 on Flipkart.
The Mi Note Pro can be considered the bigger brother of its namesake, but that is true mostly in terms of the specifications, with things remaining largely identical when it comes to the physical appearance and build quality. The Mi Note Pro features the same metal and glass construction, with a 2.5D glass up front and its gentle curves along the edges, as well as the 3D glass on the back, that brings with it a more pronounced curve along the left and right sides. All of this is held together by a metal frame with chamfered edges. The most noticeable difference in terms of design has to do with the metal frame, which has been treated with a gold finish, compared to the silver finish of the Mi Note. The ring around the camera and the Mi logo are also coming with the matching gold color. The design isn’t overly flashy, and overall, the Mi Note Pro is a beautiful, elegant looking device, that also feels great in the hand.
That said, like most phones with a glass panel on the back, the device does tend to feel slippery, and is very prone to smudges. The chamfered edges along the metal frame do help with grip though. One handed usability is also surprisingly good, despite what the display size of 5.7-inches might suggest. Of course, there’s no denying that this is a large smartphone by any standard, and some hand gymnastics will be required to reach every corner of the display, but the thin bezels along the sides of the display and the thin profile of the device allow for a better handling experience than you may think.
Taking a look around the device, the power button and volume rocker are located on the right side within easy reach. The buttons are also made of metal, and are easy to press with a good tactile feedback, adding to the high-end nature of the device. The headphone jack is up top, the microUSB port and single speaker unit is placed at the bottom, and the SIM card slot is found on the left side. Up front are the capacitive keys below the display, with a multi-colored LED notification light next to the front-facing camera, earpiece, and other typical sensors, at the top.
As mentioned, the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro comes with a 5.7-inch display, which is a good size for media-consumption and playing games. The resolution has been bumped to Quad HD as well, with a pixel density of 515 ppi, making for a screen that is extremely sharp. The display also offers rich and vibrant colors, high contrast, and some very deep blacks beyond what you’d generally expect from an IPS LCD display, along with really good viewing angles. While the default, out of the box settings are already good, Xiaomi has included some color calibration settings to tweak the display more to your liking, but in all likelihood, you won’t find the need to make many changes.
There is a reading mode available that helps reduce the strain on your eyes if you are planning to look at the screen for long periods of time. The screen also does a great job at reducing glare, making the display very easy to see in broad daylight. This can be attributed to what Xiaomi calls a “Sunlight Display,” which actually makes adjustments at the hardware level to each individual pixel, for better real time contrast and outdoor visibility, as opposed to the otherwise standard practice of just ramping up the brightness of the display.Performance and hardware
Under the hood, the Xiaomi Mi Note Pro is packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, clocked at 2 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 430 GPU and 4 GB of RAM. The Snapdragon 810 has received a bit of flak since its launch when it comes to overheating, but regardless, is still one of the most powerful chipsets currently available. The Mi Note Pro is also one of a handful of devices to boast 4 GB of RAM, which is of the LPDDR4 variety, said to be almost twice as fast and more power efficient when compared to the older DDR3.
High-end flagships are getting so fast nowadays that it is really hard to notice much of a difference from one to another in terms of performance, and the Mi Note Pro can also more than hold its own against the best of the competition. In day to day usage, the device was extremely fluid and responsive, despite this particular review unit still running software in its beta iteration. Everything from navigating around the various elements of the UI, opening, closing, and switching between applications, and playing games is a pleasant experience. Of course, multi-tasking is an absolute breeze as well, as you would expect with the 4 GB DDR4 RAM that the device is packing.
It has to be mentioned though that when playing games, or while watching a lot of videos, the Mi Note Pro did start to get a little warm, and you can definitely feel the heat dissipating through the metal frame. It doesn’t get to the point where the device becomes uncomfortable to hold or downright unusable, and is not necessarily a huge concern, but rather something to be aware of.
The Mi Note Pro comes with 64 GB of on-board storage, which is the only configuration available, and should be more than enough for most users. That said, expandable storage via microSD card is not an option, if you were hoping for it to be available. The device also comes with a standard suite of connectivity options, including 4G LTE support, but is unfortunately not compatible with the LTE networks in the US. While internet access was restricted to HSPA+ on the T-Mobile network, that still proved to be fast enough.
Speaker quality from the bottom mounted speaker is also quite good, as it gets plenty loud for a single driver without sounding distorted. As with any other bottom firing speaker though, it can be very easy to muffle when holding the device in landscape orientation, and the sideways firing audio does create a lopsided listening experience.
Another aspect that stays identical between this device and the Mi Note is the capacity of the battery, with both devices coming with 3,000 mAh units. The bump in screen resolution from 1080p to Quad HD, as well as the general bump in specifications, without an increase in the battery capacity to compensate means that the battery life of the Mi Note Pro leaves a lot to be desired. A full day of use is possible with light to moderate use, which includes staying away from activities like gaming or watching a lot of videos, but for the most part, you may find yourself reaching for the charger around halfway through your day. On the bright side, the Mi Note Pro does comes with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support, which promises a charge up to 70% in just an hour.Camera
The Mi Note Pro also comes with the same 13 MP rear camera with OIS as the standard Mi Note, and Xiaomi is quite proud of the fact they were able to keep the camera unit flush with the body, despite the phone being just 7 mm thick.
The camera application is quite simplistic, with a simple swipe down or to the left revealing a slew of filters that you can play around with. A swipe in the opposite direction is where you’ll find the list of standard shooting modes, that include a manual mode and panorama, along with a few others like Beautify and Refocus, that lets you refocus your shot after the fact. You can tap on the viewfinder to change the point of focus, just like with any other smartphone, but being able to adjust the exposure at the same time through the on-screen exposure dial is definitely one of the most intuitive aspects of Xiaomi’s camera UI. The camera software also allows you to make adjustments to the exposure settings, contrast, saturation, and sharpness, for more granular control over the image quality.
Speaking of image quality, it’s just as good as it was on the Mi Note, which isn’t really surprising, given that it is the same sensor and camera software. The shutter speed is nice and quick, allowing you to easily take a shot, and the images in general are vibrant, rich in color, with a good amount of contrast and dynamic range in both indoor and outdoor situations. The camera is also capable of taking some rather impressive macro shots, with a very clear subject of focus in the foreground, and a nice and clean bokeh effect in the background. Auto HDR is also available on this camera to help take out the guess work on when to use HDR, and the HDR processing itself does a great job of bringing out some extra details in the shadows, while adding a nice boost in saturation, without appearing unnatural.
Where this camera struggles the most is in low light and night time photography. The increase in digital noise is to be expected, but there’s just a lot of noise reduction going on in the post processing, that results in softer details, and highlights that tend to get blown out. The camera also tends to hunt for focus more often than I’d like, and many of the images will have some noticeable artifacting. Overall though, this is really not a bad camera to have in your pocket. 4K video recording is also possible with the Mi Note Pro, and the OIS does the great job of keeping the footage stable when you’re walking or moving around. The continuous autofocus is very quick when moving between close and far away subjects, and manual control over focusing is also available by just tapping on the viewfinder.
With the front camera Xiaomi chose to not go with a higher megapixel count, and instead took HTC’s approach by going with a lower resolution 4 megapixel sensor with a larger pixel size of 2 microns. This allows for more light to enter the camera and better quality images, so if selfies are your thing, than the front camera is not going to disappoint.Software
On the software front, the Mi Note Pro runs the MIUI OS based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any material design elements in this user interface. The UI is actually quite similar to what you’d see from most Chinese OEMs, with colorful square icons, and the noticeable lack of an app drawer, which can take some getting used to and leaves users dependent on folders to stay organized.
There is actually not much in the way of pre-installed bloatware though, and while MIUI is a distinct departure from Google’s vision of Android, it does add more to the experience than it takes away. It will understandably be a very different experience for first time users, but Xiaomi’s take on Android isn’t overbearing in any way. More than that, the UI brings with it a handful of useful features, such as HiFi audio, that allows for better quality audio when listening via headphones, and a one-handed mode that lets you shrink the screen from anywhere between 3.5-inches to 4.5-inches, just by swiping outwards on the home button in either direction.
MIUI also offers one of the most robust theme engines available on any Android skin. There are hundreds of different themes to choose from, so you’re bound to find at least a few that suit your tastes. These themes alter pretty much every part of the OS, from the System UI, lockscreen, icons, wallpapers, and even the default applications like the Dialer and the messaging app.
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