Best Mid-segment Phone? Redmi Note 6 Pro vs Samsung M20

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If you are in the market for a good smartphone and do not want to spend too much, say about Rs 14,000 -15,000 it is a fair chance that you will have to choose between two devices: the Redmi Note 6 Pro from Xiaomi, or its latest rival, the Galaxy M20 of the new M series from Samsung.

Both are very good phones in their own right (you can read more about the Redmi Note 6 Pro here) and deliver a lot for not too many bucks. But, read on to find out which one is better: 

The M20 looks newer
None of the two devices is a looker, but if we had to pick one on the basis of design and looks, then it has to be the M20, as it looks more contemporary as opposed to the Xiaomi Note 6 Pro which many might call a little dated.

The Note 6 Pro comes with a metal build and rectangular notch as compared to the M20 that brings the more recent dotted version of a notch, the drop notch. While the M20 does not seem as solid as the Note 6 Pro, because it brings a polycarbonate back to the table, the M20 simply wins because it offers a very glass-like feel, which is the substance to go for at the time of writing. 

A very tight hardware battle
In terms of hardware, both phones are closely matched. The Note 6 Pro has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 going against the Samsung Exynos 7409 chipset. Both SoCs land comfortably in the mid range segment. The Snapdragon 636 is considered a notch above the 7409 when it comes to day to day business whereas the 7409 has the edge in camera functionality. Both the smartphones also bring full HD+ displays and almost the same sized displays to the table (the Samsung M20 boasts a 6.3 inch display whereas the Note 6 Pro brings a 6.26 inch display to the party).

In the camera department, the Note 6 Pro has a slight upper hand, thanks to the dual cameras on both back and front. It has a combination of 12 megapixel (f/1.9 aperture) and 5 megapixel rear camera (for depth sensing), and a 20 + 2 megapixel combination on the front, the latter used for depth sensing. The Samsung M20 has a dual camera set up on the rear with a 13 megapixel main sensor with f/1.9 aperture accompanied by a 5 megapixel wide angle sensor. On the front it carries an 8 megapixel sensor for selfies.

The M20 owns the battery battle with a massive 5,000 mAh battery as compared to the Note 6 Pro’s 4,000 mAh battery. The Samsung M20 also gets extra points for carrying a dedicated micro SD card slot that can expand storage on your smartphone up to 512 GB while the Note 6 Pro comes with hybrid SIM card slot allowing expandable memory upto 256 GB. The M20 also brings a more modern USB Type C to the spec party while the Note 6 Pro sticks to the more traditional micro USB port. While the two devices share most connectivity options such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 4G, the Note 6 Pro gets a slight edge here, thanks to the infrared port. 

It has been an extremely close battle with comparable chipsets, similar displays, equal RAM and ROM (we used 4 GB/ 64 GB versions of both devices). The Note 6 Pro has a clear edge in cameras and has an infra red port but the M20 scores on bigger battery, dedicated (and greater capacity) micro SD card slot, and a USB Type C port. We think this is a tie, to be honest.

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Note 6 Pro wins on cameras
When it comes to cameras, the Note 6 Pro has a 12+ 5 megapixel combination while the M20 comes with a 13+ 5 megapixel pairing. The secondary sensor on the Note 6 Pro senses depth while the one on the M20 is a wide angle lens.

While the secondary sensor helps the Note 6 Pro in taking better portrait images and deliver better bokeh results as compared to the M20, the M20 took some really good landscape images with the second camera’s help. In terms of detail the Note 6 Pro seemed a little better as compared to the M20. That said, the M20 reproduced brighter colours, even in low light.

In the UI department, we felt the Note 6 Pro’s camera app was easier to use as compared to that of the M20. Plus, the front facing dual cameras on the Note 6 Pro comfortably deliver better results as compared to the single selfie camera on the M20. We think the selfie and detail edge get this round for the Note 6 Pro again.

M20 for gaming, Note 6 Pro for routine work
When it comes to all round performance, it is a battle between the processors — the Snapdragon 636 and the Exynos 7409. The Snapdragon 636 was marginally better when it came to daily multitasking and performance, but the Exynos 7409 levelled the score in the high-end gaming zone.

The drop notch on the Galaxy M20 adds to the viewing experience. Plus the sound on headphones on the M20 was significantly better as compared to the Note 6 Pro. It really is again a tie here — game addicts will love the M20, but more regular users will prefer the Note 6 Pro.

The battery difference is bigger on paper
While the Note 6 Pro packs a 4,000 mAh battery, the M20 comes with an even bigger, 5,000 mAh one. But while there may be a difference of 1,000 mAh between the two batteries, the M20 only marginally outdoes the Note 6 Pro.

Both phones can easily see off more than a day of normal usage and you can even enter a day 3, if used carefully. Both come with a support for fast charging but you would have to separately purchase a quick charger in the case of the Note 6 Pro, which is a small negative point. Still, all said and done, the Galaxy M20 wins because it just lasts longer. 

Old Oreo software, but MIUI is more tasty
While Pie may be in demand right now, both our smartphone contenders will serve you Oreo dipped in their own flavours. The Note 6 Pro and Galaxy M20 come with Android Oreo 8.1, topped with their own UIs, MIUI 10 and Experience 9.5, respectively.

The M20’s UI might seem a little tame as compared to Note 6 Pro’s UI, which is very feature rich, but if we are getting a layer on top of our Android, we would like it to add as much to the experience as possible. Which is where MIUI10 scores extra points. Xiaomi’s track record when it comes to updating their own software is also better than Samsung’s. 

The M20 has the price tag!
The Galaxy M20 starts at Rs. 10,990 for the 3 GB/32 GB version, with the 4 GB/ 64 GB variant priced at Rs.12,990. Both are lower than the Note 6 Pro’s 4 GB/ 64 GB version priced at Rs. 13,999 and its 6 GB/ 64 GB variant priced at Rs.15,999. The Galaxy M20 is slightly more affordable as of now, so if the bucks are tight, that seems the right option. 

So which one to go for?
It has been a very close fight, with none of the two devices backing down in any of the departments. The wins for each have been marginal, so it all boils down to your requirement. The Note 6 Pro offers better general performance, better software, and relatively better cameras whereas the Galaxy M20 offers a more contemporary design (although some would say the Redmi Note 6 Pro is more solidly built), a better gaming performance and marginally better battery. Go ahead, make your choice. We think they are both super phones. 

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