Xiaomi Makes Official Debut in Kenya with Budget-Friendly Redmi 6A

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Xiaomi, the Chinese phone manufacturer that is insanely popular in the Asian market has finally made an entrance into the Kenyan market. I say début because earlier Xiaomi presence in the country was not official per se: rather, today’s event, which was attended by a couple of media personalities across the blogosphere and print media after the Emperor Plaza’s launch of the Redmi 6A was graced by Xiaomi executives that officially announced their official presence in the country. The OEM, which also manufactures several other tech equipment (power banks, wearables, laptops and TVs, to mention a few), is devising plans to make their trade a household name in the country. We will add more details of this plan in a couple of days (or as the adage goes, story for another day).

Anyway, today’s star is the budget Xiaomi Redmi 6A, a Jumia exclusive that is already retailing for a Kes 9300. This price is obviously competitive, and it is understandable why Xiaomi is pushing the handheld as hotly as other manufacturers have done for the sub-10K segment. Admittedly, this is the most sought-after price range, and while it hardly translates to appreciable profit margins, it is sure pushes a brand name to higher heights, and that is a good thing.

The Redmi 6A is a small device at 5.45 inches. The resolution is capped at 720p on an 18:9 panel, a move that even makes it more compact. It snuggly fits in the hand and can be used with a single hand with ease. This will excite a lot of people who love using their second hand for other things, so there is that too.

The screen looks good to my eyes, meaning it may appeal to you too. Buttons are fitted on the right side, whereas the left stretch has two slots: one for a nano-SIM, and the second for another nano SIM and micro SD card. The headphone socket is at the top. The bottom end is equipped with a USB A port and and a mic. The speaker, sadly, is at the back. Hello 2012!

In essence, there is nothing out of the ordinary here other than the internals: the Redmi 6A has 2 gigs of RAM in a bracket that is notoriously filled to the brim with 1 GB phones that quite honestly should be a thing of the past. Two storage options exist: 32 GB and 16 GB. The one at our disposal is the latter, but the modesty of the media-hoarding room should be supplemented by an external memory chip. Another good thing is the engine that powers the device: a quadcore 2.0 GHz MediaTek Helio A22 that is powerful enough to outperform similarly priced phones that have humbler SoCs.

In terms of optics, there is a 13 MP camera at the back and a 5 MP selfie shooter. We will discuss image quality in the full review, so sit tight and think about the numbers we have given you.

MIUI 9 under Android 8.1.0 Oreo serves the Redmi 6A on the software department. That is not the newest Android version around, but we will not fret about it because even the world’s biggest manufacturers are at least two or three months behind from updating their high-profile lineups to Android 9.0 Pie.

My initial impressions of the Redmi 6A are quite good: I love that I can use it with one hand comfortably; I love that MIUI is snappy on a low-end phone (something competitor should emulate); I love that Xiaomi equips all their lineups with software goodies without partiality (also, competitors have been known to reserve some software tricks for their high-end devices) and lastly, I love that this thing costs Kes 9300.

However, this is still Xiaomi, so in-the-box earbuds are missing here – which is okay because I wouldn’t want them to ship mediocre ones just for kicks. A case is also missing (why??) – but we can let that slide because the device has not shown any characteristics of being a slug on my one hand.

The full review will dig into performance, system stability, battery life (a sealed 3000mAh cell is in place) and camera quality.

See you in a couple of days.

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