As lust-worthy the Huawei P30 Pro or Galaxy S10 are, they are undeniably expensive and for some people wholly unnecessary and unaffordable. If you are someone that just wants needs a phone for its most basic functions, but would still like to take the occasional photo or use social media, then there is plenty of options in the budget range. I have reviewed some superb choices recently including the Huawei P Smart 2019 and Xiaomi Mi A1 which cost around £200, both are amazing phones for the money, that I would happily use as a daily phone. However, if that is still a bit too expensive for you, then one of the stand out products on the market is the Xiaomi Redmi 6A which will cost you around £80 for the likes of BangGood.

This ultra-budget phone is surprisingly well specced with a 5.45-inch screen running at 720 x 1440 pixels. Powering it is the Mediatek MT6761 Helio A22 chipset which uses a Quad-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU and PowerVR GE8320 GPU. The base model includes 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage that can be upgraded via microSD.

On the rear of the device is a single 13MP camera with a 5MP camera on the front of it. Keeping the costs down, this has no fingerprint sensor at all.

As you might expect it uses the dated microUSB for charging and you get a reasonably 3000mAh battery to keep you going throughout the day.

Overview

  • Processor: Mediatek Helio A22 MT6762M
  • Graphics: PowerVR GE8320, Core: 650 MHz, PowerVR GE8320
  • Memory : 2GB
  • Display: 5.45 inch 18:9, 1440 x 720 pixel 295 PPI, capacitive, IPS, glossy: yes
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Weight: 145 g

Design & Build

The 5.45-inch screen of this phone makes it petite by modern standards, though perhaps not as small as you would expect due to the large bezels on the top and bottom. It fits comfortably in one hand though and is easy to use with your thumb.

Xiaomi has used a tough plastic shell for it and it feels very well made and durable. It's a good looking device, considering that price, and along the bottom, you'll find the microUSB port for charging while the top edge features a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Display

The Redmi 6A comes with an HD+ resolution display that's 5.45-inches. Notably, there are no notches or other fancy gimmicks, this has a prominent forehead and chin, which is fine, and could well be preferable for some of the target demographic.

The 720p screen definitely is where things to start to show its affordable nature, but it is perfectly usable. At 295 PPI, the pixel density is just shy of the 300 PPI mark we generally look for in smartphones these days for an adequate viewing experience.  However, I found that it was acceptable for most use. You cant fit a great deal of content on the screen, so when browsing, if a site is not responsive you may have issues, but more often than not you just had a scroll a little more compared to larger higher resolution phones.

Camera

The Xiaomi Redmi 6A offers a 13-MP primary camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 5-MP front camera, also with an f/2.2 aperture.

Under suitable lighting conditions, you will be able to get decent photos that could pass off as photos from a much more expensive phone. The was a surprising amount of clarity and detail in the photos, and even my questionable photography skills managed to churn out some decent shots.

In less ideal conditions the phone does suffer, but it does well enough, even in low light. All affordable phones start to suffer when the conditions are not ideal.

Battery

While 3000mAh is starting to look a bit small in the premium end of phones, it is acceptable here, the low power chipset combined with small lower resolution screen means it doesn’t require that much battery. I was easily able to achieve a days’ worth of usage out of it.

Software

This comes shipped with MIUI 9 running Android 8.1, however MIUI 10 was available immediately and but this still uses Android 8.1 as its core

MIUI 10 has a lot of bug improvements over the previous version, and it updates most of the interface. Xiaomi claims that it improved performance considerably, and following the upgrade, things did feel faster, in particular, opening the unlock screen felt instant.

Coming from the EMUI interface of Huawei, this takes a little getting used to, and you are asked to create a Mi account. The settings are laid out quite differently, while it took a little patience to find what I wanted, it is still all there, and fine once you get used to it.

There are a lot of duplicate apps on the device, with a Xiaomi equivalent for every Google App, this includes the default browser. There is also a systems app updater which keeps the Xiaomi apps up to date rather than the Play Store.

Similar to EMUI you get some additional settings built in which will be useful for some. This includes an app lock, to password protect certain apps, as well as the ability to duplicate apps allowing you to have multiple logins.

Performance

With this being one of, if not the cheapest phone on the market running full-fat Android, expectations need to be realistic. This works well for what it is, there is not too much laggyness, web browsing and social media work fine. I did find myself getting increasingly annoyed at the lack of a fingerprint scanner, as typing in my pin becomes very time-consuming.

Downloading, decrypting and updating from MIUI 9 to 10 felt like it took ages, it is a big update so most phones would take a while, but this felt slower than normally.

I didn’t bother to try any serious gaming on this, as poor results are inevitable.

If you are a power user on the phone all day for all your tasks, this may become a chore to use, but for occasional use, photography and light browsing or social media this is more than acceptable.

Conclusion

When you factor in the price there is nothing bad you can say about this phone, it is about as cheap as you can get, only the Redmi Go is cheaper than this, and that uses a lightweight version of Android to work properly.

Cheap no longer means terrible when it comes to smartphones, while I wouldn’t want to use this as my daily phone, it is great as a backup phone. For others that are less tech-obsessed, or just don’t have the budget this works perfectly fine for everything you could want it to do.

It looks and feels good, the camera is good when it has a decent level of light, you can get a full day of use out of the battery, and performance is acceptable for light to moderate use.

Xiaomi Redmi 6A Review

Product Name: Xiaomi Redmi 6A

Price: 80

Currency: GBP

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