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Remember the Xiaomi Redmi 6A? The one that my colleague, Kenn Abuya, told you to go buy? Well, turns out it has an elder brother that is struggling to come out of the shadow of its younger successful sibling. From the look of things, the Redmi 6 and 6A have a lot in common, from having the same 5.45-inch display at 720p, the same polycarbonate plastic body, the exact same MIUI 9 software running on top of Android 8.1 Oreo and even the same battery capacity of 3000mAh.

So why was this review so hard? It should have been easy, it really should. We’re getting more RAM with the Redmi 6, at 3GB coupled with an internal storage of 32GB, this is on top of a Helio P22 octa-core processor. We even get a dual camera, with a 12MP and a 5MP lens, although the front-facing camera remains the same at 5MP and the added security and convenience of a fingerprint scanner.

What’s the problem really? Despite being slightly less spec’d, the Xiaomi Redmi 6A stood out from the crowd, at that price, you couldn’t really get anything better than it without compromising more. However, the script is not the same for the Redmi 6. At Kes.15,000, there’s so much being offered by the competition that the Redmi 6 will struggle to turn any heads.

Without looking at what others offer, how good is the device by itself?

Pretty good, I have to say. I especially loved the small size, it easily fits in any pocket, I do not have gigantic hands, so I appreciate not having to stretch out my fingers just to pull down the status bar. The polycarbonate body also feels solid, it’s plastic but has some assuring heft to it that takes away the cheap feel.

Xaiomi Redmi 6 Front

When it comes to using the phone, the software is polarizing. There are people who don’t like MIUI while the majority – and target market, don’t even know what MIUI is but they will appreciate all the customization options they get. From completely changing the look of the software through system-wide themes to unique tricks and tweaks that are only enjoyed by Xioami users, glorified geeks will be throwing rotten tomatoes at MIUI, but the general consumer will easily fall in love with the software on the Xiaomi Redmi 6.

Top this up with pleasantly good performance and battery life and there’s little to draw your attention away from the phone. With 3GB RAM and some software magic, the Redmi 6 performs tasks quite well. Apps load fast, they stay in memory for quite a while, which makes switching between apps a breeze and the most important thing is that the phone comfortably lasts throughout a day of social media, YouTube, snapping photos and even listening to music. Although, charging the device is a pain since there’s no fast charging and we are still stuck with the traditional USB port. Speaking of ports, we do get a headphone jack but no headphones in the box.

The Camera?

So far, everything has been good and this same story continues to the camera. Despite the introductory praise, the images produced by the device are “good” at best. Don’t get me wrong, you can comfortably share them on your Instagram and Facebook and in good lighting, you can capture a more than decent bokeh shot thanks to the secondary lens but when the conditions are not ideal – like at night, you’ll get shots looking like a Willem Kooning masterpiece.

Here are some good shots I managed to pull from the Xiaomi Redmi 6:

Should You buy?

With the phone getting a nod for all the things, why is it so hard to recommend? Well, the competition. At 15k, a smartphone is open to more criticism and more important, there’s a variety of options for the consumer. There’s the Tecno Camon CM that offers a better camera, the Nokia 3.1 that offers superior software, the Infinix Hot 6 Pro that is generally a better phone all-around and even the Huawei Y7 Prime that has killer looks.

Buying the Xiaomi Redmi 6 will not be a mistake, actually, it is an experience that you will enjoy and cherish but maybe the company should consider shedding off a few thousands to undercut the competition that seems to have an upper hand.

Update: The Phone is now down to Kes.12,499 on Jumia! This changes everything!

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