There’s almost nothing bad to say about the Mi Mix 3, but you still shouldn’t buy it
- Slider design is eye-catching
- Plenty of performance
- Camera takes great photos
- Ceramic body is high quality
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is a highly-capable phone that’s all screen with slim bezels around the massive 6.4-inch screen. No notch, no hole-punch, and at first glance, no front-facing selfie camera. What’s its secret? A slider mechanism that reveals the dual-lens front camera when you slide the screen down. It’s a wonderful piece of eye-catching technology that solves the all-screen problem facing most manufacturers today.
Except I’m going to tell you not to buy it, even though it’s excellent, with very few downsides. What’s the problem? The Mi Mix 3 is a stark reminder of how fast the mobile industry moves. It’s barely a few months old, but has already been overshadowed by a subsequent Xiaomi phone release, the announcement of an incoming 5G Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, while also facing serious competition from the rest of the market.
The Mi Mix 3 is the latest in the Xiaomi Mix family, which was the first to introduce the concept of an all-screen phone to the world. The original Mi Mix phone felt incredibly futuristic at the time, while the Mi Mix 3 feels … less so. It’s mainly because we have become more used to smartphones with bezel-less screens, and have already had fun with the slider mechanism on the Honor Magic 2. Don’t take this to mean the Mi Mix 3 is boring though. It’s definitely not.
Without a notch, the Mi Mix 3 has a massive 93.4-percent screen-to-body ratio, and the screen looks stunning. It’s a 6.4-inch AMOLED with a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution. It’s monstrously bright, has an almost faultless contrast level, and vivid colors that keep our eyes glued to the screen. It was easy to use the display tuning mode to get the look just right too. The night mode and reading modes have made it comfortable to use before bed, and video looks great from Netflix and YouTube.
It’s built really well though, doesn’t wobble around, and only introduces a very slight “springiness” when pressing the screen down to slide it open. It does add in an extra step to take selfies, or use face unlock. That said, we like the way it can be customized, either to take a selfie or to open an alternative app, plus there are various sounds to accompany the motion. We like Warrior, which sounds like unsheathing a sword. It’s fun, and there’s often not enough of that in modern phones.
The Mi Mix 3 may not have the same eye-widening, future-shock effect the original Mi Mix did, but it’s infinitely more usable and less fragile, all while boasting a wonderfully-built modern design.
Performance and software
Xiaomi has put a Snapdragon 845 with 6GB of RAM inside the Mi Mix 3, and we have not experienced any performance issues. It plays games well — the viewing experience when playing is also excellent — and the Android 9.0 Pie software with MIUI 10.2 over the top is smooth, fast, and mostly bug-free.
The Mi Mix 3 is a brilliant audio device, especially when you use the Mi Sound Enhancer.
There are some annoyances with the software, especially around notifications which don’t always show on the lock screen, endlessly repeat, or simply show the wrong amount on the icon. We like being able to interact with them through the notifications shade though.
If you’re worried about trying MIUI due to fears over it being very different to other Android experiences, don’t be. It’s one of the cleanest, simplest to adapt to user interfaces available. MIUI 10 is a distinct improvement over previous versions, with a decent gesture control system, minimalist icon designs, Google Assistant, and a slick design. It’s not confusing either, once you get used to the layout of the Settings menu, which differs from other Android devices. Google Assistant is really quick to respond to voice commands, and we’ve found it often wakes more quickly than other devices or even the Google Home.
Benchmark tests show how the Mi Mix 3 compares to other smartphones:
- AnTuTu 3DBench: 297,251
- Geekbench 4 CPU: 2,412 single-core; 8,922 multi-core
- 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme: 3,708 (Vulkan)
These are strong scores, often equaling or beating the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, and the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 9. You won’t have any complaints with the speed or performance of the Mi Mix 3, but it can’t match the Galaxy S10’s astonishing figures. Just remember that it’s using the Snapdragon 845, a chip that has been superseded by the Snapdragon 855, if owning the very best available right now matters to you.
There are four camera lenses on the Mi Mix 3 — a 24-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture main lens and a 2-megapixel depth lens on the front under the slider. On the back is a dual-lens 12-megapixel setup, with the main lens again having an f/1.8 aperture plus optical image stabilization, autofocus, HDR, various artificial intelligence modes, a 2x zoom, and a Night mode. The selfie camera takes portrait-style bokeh shots — both stills and video — and has an extensive artificial intelligence-driven beauty mode.
Night mode isn’t useful during the day, unlike Huawei’s version, but does enhance low-light shots in darkness. In street photos using Night mode, street lights are less blown out, there’s more detail than without it, and colors are better realized. However, some shots have a strange halo-effect where light areas meet darkness. It’s distracting, and makes the photos look less realistic.
Bokeh mode on the rear camera is decent, but can fail to recognize some objects. It’s better at recognizing human shapes though. For selfies, the Mi Mix 3’s portrait mode is better, and edge detection impresses. Side-on shots usually fail to understand the edge of my glasses shouldn’t be blurred out, but the Mi Mix 3 captures them more effectively. The beauty mode is as subtle or as aggressive as you like, and there are plenty of adjustments to be made if you want them. There’s also a bokeh mode for video using the front camera, but it’s only moderately successful, with the edge detection not being accurate enough to make the video look its best.
The camera app has a comprehensive editing suite with image adjustments, cropping, filters, and some more unusual tools like an eraser. There is a similar editor for video as well, with filters, a trim tool, and some artificially intelligent-driven effects too. This is worth noting, as many other camera apps ignore video editing tools. It’s all very easy to use, with sensibly-placed buttons to toggle the features, and a simple scrolling menu system to change modes. The Mi Mix 3’s camera is excellent, creatively fun, and simple to use.
Battery, charging, and audio
Don’t be disappointed by the Mi Mix 3’s 3,200mAh battery, even if on paper it’s smaller than many of its peers. It’s a strong performer, returning easily a day’s worth of heavy use. It won’t stretch into a full second day, but with moderate use it’d likely make 24 total hours. A YouTube video ran for 10 hours and 45 minutes on a full charge, at 1080p and maximum brightness. That’s around the same time as the Samsung Galaxy S10 in the same test.
We like the Mi Mix 3 a lot, but it’s worth waiting for the alternatives.
It’s charged using a USB Type-C cable with Quick Charge 4.0, or a 10-watt wireless charger, which is included in the box. The cable charge is fast, and using the included charger, the battery was full in an hour and 20 minutes.
There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack on the Mi Mix 3, so you either need Bluetooth headphones or a dongle. Listening to Spotify using a dongle and a pair of OnePlus Bullets revealed the Mi Mix 3 to be a brilliant audio device, especially when you use the Mi Sound Enhancer setting. This has different equalizer settings for various Mi headphones, but the General mode is suitable for all, and makes a genuine difference — from a wider soundstage to enhanced bass and stronger vocals.
The phone has plenty of volume too, though the external speaker is disappointing. Apart from easily being blocked just by holding the phone, it doesn’t have much finesse.
Price, warranty, and availability
This is a Xiaomi phone which means it’s not available to buy in the U.S., although you can purchase an import model if you’re really keen. It’s sold officially in the U.K. through Xiaomi’s online store and its retail partners sell it for 500 British pounds, which works out to around 660. The Mi Mix 3 has a two year warranty in the U.K., and is available to buy now.
The Mi Mix 3 is an excellent smartphone, with a striking design, a good camera, and plenty of power. Except you shouldn’t buy it. The reason isn’t to do with the phone, which has very few downsides, but everything to do with the other phones you can buy now or in the very near future.
Are there any alternatives?
Here’s where I explain why you shouldn’t buy the Mi Mix 3. Right away, if you’re set on a high-end Xiaomi phone, we recommend you by the new Mi 9 instead. It has a 500 euro price, which means it will likely cost a little less in the U.K. and therefore less than the Mi Mix 3, it has the new Snapdragon 855 processor, and a triple-lens camera too. It’s a better purchase than the Mi Mix 3 at the moment, when you consider longevity.
On that same subject, the other thing to remember is the 5G Mi Mix 3 will be released in May. It will come with a Snapdragon 855 processor and 10GB of RAM, and cost 600 euros or about 680. If you’re really taken with the design and slide-up camera on the Mi Mix 3, it is worth waiting for the updated version for real future-proofing. Xiaomi is to blame for making the desirable Mi Mix 3 less desirable in a very short space of time.
It has serious competition from other brands too. The Honor View 20 looks fantastic, has a brilliant camera, plenty of power, and costs around 500 pounds/660. The OnePlus 6T may be getting old (by OnePlus’ standards) but it’s still a strong purchase at 550, plus the OnePlus 7 will be here before we know it too. The Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) costs 550 pounds, and the new Nokia 9 PureView is 600 pounds, or 700. You could buy any of these and not look back.
How long will it last?
The ceramic body will resist scratches, but not harsh drops, and the all-screen front won’t enjoy any sharp impacts either. However, the slider mechanism should be good for 300,000 open and close cycles according to Xiaomi, and in JerryRigEverything’s durability test, it performed well with the minimum of flex. We certainly haven’t had any concerns. It feels rock solid, and never once feared it breaking during our time with the phone. You won’t want to get the Mi Mix 3 near water or too much dust though. It does not have an IP rating due to the slider mechanism.
This is a flagship phone, and the modern design will keep it looking fresh for some time, but the processor has since been updated by Qualcomm, and there will be a lot of more powerful phones out over the coming months. It’s not going to be considered out of date for several years though, so buy with confidence, if you can’t resist.
Should you buy one?
No. Ridiculously, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. The problem is the Mi 9 is technically more capable, and will therefore be a better long-term purchase. Additionally, the looming 5G version is only a few months away, and will relegate the standard Mi Mix 3 to the sidelines in terms of longevity once again. We like the Mi Mix 3 a lot, but it’s worth waiting for the alternatives at the moment.
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Poco, the smartphone company that started out life as a part of Xiaomi but has since mostly gone its own way, has announced the Poco X4 Pro 5G, a midrange phone with a truly monster camera. But before you start thinking this an all-new, never-seen-before smartphone from Poco, understand that it’s only new on the outside, because inside it appears to be identical to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. This is the first time Poco has joined in the fun with a new phone at Mobile World Congress, the industry trade show taking place in Spain this week.
The Poco X4 Pro certainly has an eye-catching look due to the huge camera module taking up almost a third of the back panel, and it comes in two very bright colors: Laser Blue and Poco Yellow. You can settle on a basic Laser Black version if you’re not much of an extrovert, though. Once you’re past the look of the phone, the specifications will be familiar to anyone who has looked at the Mi 11 Pro 5G.
There is not just one new Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 smartphone, but four of them, and all are being given an international release. The flagship Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is the top model, and it’s joined by the Redmi Note 11 Pro, Redmi Note 11S, and basic Redmi Note 11. As always, the range is a little confusing, so let’s start out by examining the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, and working our way down from there.
Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and Note 11 Pro The Note 11 Pro 5G is the biggest and most technically impressive model in the Redmi Note 11 lineup. You look at a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and take pictures with a triple-lens camera on the back. This is headed up by a 108-megapixel main camera, along with an 8MP wide-angle camera and a 2MP macro camera. The screen contains a 16MP selfie camera. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 695 processor provides the power with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM.
MIUI 13, the next version of Xiaomi’s custom Android skin, is expected to arrive internationally with the global announcement of the company’s latest flagship series — the Xiaomi 12. Ahead of this launch event, a new finding suggests MIUI 13 will embrace Android 12’s “monet” theming feature, which automatically changes the accent colors in the entire user interface based on the wallpaper applied to the home screen.
Google introduced a major visual reform with Android 12, including an entirely new quick settings panel, modernized widgets, and systemwide theming overhaul as part of the Material You design philosophy. Material You, according to Google, is meant to allow users to express themselves through their phones. Therefore, one of the key benefits that Android gets with this visual overhaul is the ability to change accent colors in the user interface based on the wallpaper applied by the user.
Upgrade your lifestyleDigital Trends helps readers keep tabs on the fast-paced world of tech with all the latest news, fun product reviews, insightful editorials, and one-of-a-kind sneak peeks.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 vs. Mi 9: Which should you buy?
We’ve seen sliders before, but the Mi Mix 3 is in a league of its own. The entire front of the 6.4-inch screen slides down to reveal the front cameras, which is just incredibly cool. And it’s reliable too — I used it for three months and it’s still going strong. The internal hardware is fantastic, the all-screen design is mesmerizing, and you can pick up a global model on Amazon for just 520.
Xiaomi Mi 9
You only need to take one look at the Mi 9 to see how far Xiaomi’s design has come in the last three years. But what truly differentiates the Mi 9 is the 48-megapixel camera at the back — the phone takes great photos in daylight and low-light scenarios. It’s packing the latest hardware available now, and is set to go on sale for about the same price as the Mi Mix 3.
Xiaomi Mi 9
Xiaomi phones have always offered excellent hardware for the asking price, and that hasn’t changed in 2019. The Mi Mix series in its third generation and the mainstream Mi line is in its ninth iteration. While both phones retail for under 600, they’re aimed at different audiences.
Mi Mix 3 and Mi 9 redefine value in the mid-range segment
Both the Mi Mix 3 and the Mi 9 are aimed at the mid-range segment, but they offer enough differentiated features that they individually stand out. The Mi Mix 3 offers a unique design with a sliding mechanism wherein the entire screen slides down to reveal the front cameras. Vivo went with retractable front cameras on its devices, and the Find X hid both the front and rear cameras behind the motorized slider.
Xiaomi’s take on sliders is the most ambitious yet, as the entire screen is mounted on rails that slide down every time you need to use the front cameras. The back is just as interesting: the Mi Mix 3 retains the ceramic chassis that debuted on the first-gen Mix, and overall the phone feels much more premium than its 520 retail price suggests.
As good as they both are when it comes to hardware, there are a few features missing. You’re not going to find a microSD slot on either device or a 3.5mm jack. There’s no water resistance either; so you’re better off not taking them near any water bodies. The Mi Mix 3 has a traditional fingerprint sensor at the back, but the Mi 9 has an optical fingerprint sensor. It’s not the worst in-display sensor I’ve used so far, but it is nowhere as fast or reliable as the one on the Mix 3.
That said, both phones have wireless charging. I was excited about 10W wireless charging on the Mi Mix 3, but then the Mi 9 came along and introduced 20W wireless charging. Xiaomi is currently leading the pack when it comes to wireless charging, and if a recent demo is any indication, we’ll soon see a 100W wired charger from the brand as well.
Another notable feature on the Mi 9 is the three rear cameras — a first on a Xiaomi phone. The primary 48-megapixel (MP) camera is joined by a wide-angle 16MP sensor and a 12MP zoom lens. The Mi Mix 3, meanwhile, has a dual 12MP 12MP camera configuration at the back, with the secondary lens offering 2x optical zoom.
The Mi 9 wins out when it comes to the camera, thanks to the 48MP camera. The Mi Mix 3 takes decent photos in its own right, but the image quality isn’t quite on par with the Mi 9. The only thing preventing the Mi 9 from being a truly great camera is the lack of image stabilization.
All the specs you need
Xiaomi built its entire business on delivering excellent value for money. Therefore, both the Mi Mix 3 and the Mi 9 deliver outstanding specs for the asking price.
|Android 9.0 PieMIUI 10||Android 9.0 PieMIUI 10|
|6.39-inch Super AMOLED2340x1080 (19.5:9)HDR10Gorilla Glass 6||6.39-inch Super AMOLED2340x1080 (19.5:9)HDR10Gorilla Glass 6|
|Snapdragon 8454 x 2.80GHz Kryo 385 Gold4 x 1.70GHz Kryo 385 SilverAdreno 63010nm||Snapdragon 8551 x 2.84GHz Kryo 4853 x 2.41GHz Kryo 4854 x 1.78GHz Kryo 485Adreno 6407nm|
|12MP, f/1.84-axis OISDual Pixel PDAF||48MP, f/1.8Dual Pixel PDAF|
|12MP, f/2.2Telephoto||16MP, f/2.2Wide-angle|
|24MP, f/2.0||20MP, f/2.0|
|Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0AptX HD, NFC, A-GPS||Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0AptX HD, NFC, A-GPS|
|USB-CSingle speaker||USB-CSingle speaker|
|USB-C at 18W10W wireless charging||USB-C at 27W20W wireless charging|
|None||Row 15. Cell 2|
|Fingerprint (optical)||In-display fingerprint (optical)|
|157.9 x 74.7 x 8.5mm218g||157.5 x 74.7 x 7.6mm173g|
|Sapphire Blue, Onyx Black, Jade Green, Forbidden City Blue||Piano Black, Lavender Violet, Ocean Blue|
MIUI 10 has plenty to offer. including unwanted ads
MIUI has come a long way in the last two years, with Xiaomi making considerable changes on the visual front. The notification pane, in particular, has received a lot of attention, and it now looks modern. Xiaomi has also fixed a lot of issues related to notifications, and at the same time, it added meaningful features to MIUI that make it one of the most customizable skins around.
With both the Mi Mix 3 and the Mi 9 retailing at the same price point, it comes down to what you’re looking for in a phone. The Mi Mix 3 is a unique device that immediately stands out in the sea of notched devices, and the ceramic chassis gives it added elegance.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site’s coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on at @chunkynerd.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 price, release date and features: All the leaks so far surrounding Xiaomi’s next flagship.
Xiaomi and its Mi Mix line may not receive the same hype that competitors Samsung and Apple do but this years Mi Mix 4 is definitely one to watch.
The original Mi Mix made its debut back in 2016 and caught everyone’s attention as one of the first phones on the market to ditch the bezel. The Mi Mix 2 took a rather nontraditional take on the front-facing camera by placing the selfie snapper on the bottom right of the handset to eliminate three of the phone’s four notches. By the time Xiaomi released the Mi Mix 3, the line featured flagship specs, barely-there bezels and one of the first notch-free designs on the market crammed into one package (thanks to a nifty sliding mechanism).
Whispers of leaks and rumours are beginning to surface and, keeping in mind the success of the Mi Mix in previous years, we’re beginning to get very excited about Xiaomi’s next major phone release. This is what we know so far.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 release date – When is the Huawei Mate 30 out?
Previous Mi Mix handsets have all arrived around the same time of year, as follows:
- Xiaomi Mi Mix – October 2016
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 – September 2017
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 – October 2018
The Mi Mix name doesn’t have the longest lineage, obviously, but all three phones made their debut around the same time each year and all three try to do something different, particularly with regards to design and engineering.
This year, Xiaomi is throwing it back to 2017 with another September release. The Mi Mix 4 and Mi 9 Pro phones are both expected to debut on September 24.
Xiaomi revealed the launch date on Chinese microblogging site Weibo on Sunday night. However, we probably shouldn’t get too excited. The Mi Mix 3 didn’t make it outside of China and into UK stores until January 2019, so we may still have to wait a while longer to actually get our hands on the smartphone.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 price – How much will the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 cost?
As for pricing, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 launched in the UK priced at a rather competitive £499; its predecessor, the Mi Mix 2, an even lower £440. As with the top-end of the market, the slow creep of increased pricing will almost certainly push the Mi Mix 4’s tag well past the £500-mark, but by how much remains to be seen.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 – Performance
Rumour has it that the Xiomi Mi Mix 4 will pack Snapdragon 855 CPUs. This is Qualcomm’s flagship mobile processor for 2019.
In truth, this isn’t a massive prediction to make. Both previous Mi Mix devices packed the latest Qualcomm chips, after all. But it does assure us that the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 will likely come up with the performance goods.
Especially if, as initial reports have claimed, the Mi Mix 4 marries that power with 10GB of RAM. That’s an awful lot of headroom if true.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 – Design and display
Last year’s Mi Mix 3 was quite the head-turner. It opted to do away with the notch, stashing the front camera behind a slider system instead.
Will the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 keep this bold design feature? This was one of the better-engineered sliders we’ve encountered, so it’s not out of the question.
But there are intriguing suggestions out there on the web that Xiaomi might go even bolder with the Mi Mix 4. Some of said that it could well pack a foldable screen design.
Xiaomi does seem to be working on its own foldable phone – as seemingly confirmed by tipster Evan Blass – but whether that will turn out to be the Mi Mix 4 or something else remains to be seen.
It’s worth mentioning that rival foldable efforts from Samsung and Huawei have both been given their own names rather than directly replacing a non-foldable predecessor.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 – Camera
Back in December 2018, Chinese tech site ITHome carried a report from Hong Kong-based GF Securities that the Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 would pack a triple camera system. Again, this isn’t a massively cutting-edge approach, with multiple vendors already packing such a set-up, including Samsung and Huawei.
Of course, we haven’t seen this approach too much in a £500 phone, so that’s something to look forward to.
Even more excitingly, the aforementioned report claims that the Mi Mix 4 will pack a periscope lens for improved optical zoom. We’ve already seen this technology at work in the Huawei P30 Pro and Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, both to awesome effect.
Again, though, that phone costs a good deal more than the Mi Mix 4’s expected £500 price tag. Exciting stuff, if true.
The most recent and likely of the camera-related rumours stem from Xiaomi’s partnership with Samsung. The two tech giants recently announced an unprecedented 108-megapixel ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor, which is said to sport a 1/1.33-inch sensor – the largest seen in a phone, and be capable of shooting up to 6K lossless video in 30fps.
Most telling of all, this super sensor is slated as appearing in Xiaomi’s “next” phone, which the Mi Mix 4 is likely to be.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 – Additional specs and features
According to early reports, the Mi Mix 4 will be powered by a 3700mAh battery. That would be a hefty 500mAh more capacious than last year’s Mi Mix 3.
Given that we found that phone’s screen-on time to be quite exceptional, we’re excited by the prospect of more. Could this be a genuine two-day phone?
Another feature we can expect to see in the Mi Mix 4 is 5G – or at the very least, there will be a 5G variant of the phone. After all, Xiaomi is releasing a 5G version of the Mi Mix 3.
Xiaomi Mi Mix review
There’s good-looking tech, and then there’s this. The Mi Mix is the Gal Gadot of smartphones.
It’s all thanks to that incredible, almost bezel-free screen, that sits right up against three of the phone’s edges. Seriously, this thing looks like it’s floating in front of you, not surrounded by mere mortal metal.
This is supposed to be what phones look like in five years, and here I am, with one in my hands right now. Only it’s not quite that simple.
Xiaomi calls the Mi Mix a ‘concept phone’, one that will only be available in China, and one that’s being made in small batches. That means actually getting hold of one is going to be harder than spotting Bigfoot, and a lot of the pre-installed apps and features won’t actually work here in the UK.
So is it worth all the hassle? Is this really the future of phones?
LIVING LIFE ON THE EDGE
At first glance, you might think the Mi Mix was just one big screen – the bezels really are that tiny. It’s got an incredible 91.3% screen-to-body ratio, higher than any other phone out there right now.
At 6.4in, it’s also colossal, but at 1080P doesn’t have the pixel density of rivals like Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge. Get up close and there’s a noticeable drop-off in sharpness, one you just don’t get on a phone with a QHD screen.
The resolution is actually slightly higher at 2040×1080, which gives the phone an awkward 17:9 aspect ratio. That’s not a problem when you’re in Google Chrome, Instagram or. but means YouTube videos suddenly gain letterboxes – undoing the point of having a near bezel-free screen.
Resolution aside, the screen still manages to impress thanks to its high brightness, superb contrast (for an IPS display) and colour saturation. Vibrancy has been given a bump to really make your pictures pop, and even at 1080P (or a little above it) things look sharp from arm’s-length.
Viewing angles aren’t the best, though. Turn the phone at much of an angle and things start to look a little washed out. Keep it face-on for the best possible picture.
There’s a high quality speaker to match. It’s surprisingly loud and had a decent range, with clarity in the low-end as well as clean highs. At least as far as smartphone speakers go, it’s really rather good. You won’t need a pair of headphones just to watch YouTube clips.
SLICKER THAN YOUR AVERAGE
The screen might be its standout feature, but the rest of the Mi Mix is just as eye-catching. Xiaomi has gone for ceramic instead of metal or glass, with a gorgeous mirror-like sheen that reflects light at almost every angle. It’s a world away from the metal iPhones, HTCs and OnePluses currently doing the rounds.
Ok, so it’s also a massive fingerprint magnet, but it sure looks pretty for those first few minutes after you’ve given it a polish. It’s also very slippery – you’ll definitely want to keep a tight grip on the phone, or at the very least invest in a case to keep it looking pristine.
Even with such teeny tiny bezels, this is still a huge phone – and not one for anyone with tiny hands. There’s a neat floating menu you can drag around the screen to make things easier to reach, but that won’t stop you dropping it.
There’s a little resemblance to Sony’s Xperia phones around the edges, with chunky power and volume keys on one side, USB C port on the bottom and headphone jack at the top. This might be a phone of the future, but clearly Xiaomi thinks that future still has room for 3.5mm.
It’s a shame Xiaomi hasn’t managed to match Sony’s waterproofing, though – the Mi Mix can’t take a dip without taking some damage.
The rear fingerprint sensor feels a bit too far down the phone for my oversized man-hands, but other people might not have any trouble hitting it every time.
Xiaomi has had to get creative to make space for that screen, shifting the familiar phone speaker, proximity sensor and front-facing webcam to other parts of the phone, or losing them altogether.
Instead, you get a sonar detector, which works out when you’ve got the phone up to your face and turns off the screen. The speaker is now a piece of ceramic, set underneath the screen, that vibrates to make sound.
It works surprisingly well, as long as there’s not a lot of background noise – calls were clear no matter which angle I held the phone against my ear.
The front-facing camera now sits at the bottom of the phone, which can make for some disturbing, chin-heavy selfies the first few times you go to snap a photo. You’ve also got to be careful to move your thumbs and palms out of the way, or you’ll end up with just half a picture.
With such an attention-grabbing display, there was never any chance the Mi Mix’s camera tech was going to make an equally amazing first impression – even though the spec sheet says it should.
After all, it’s got a 16MP rear sensor, with f/2.0 lens, phase-detect autofocus and electronic image stabilisation.
In practice, though, picture quality is only so-so. Image processing here tends to favour flat colours, and lacks detail once you zoom in past 100% – even in well-lit scenes. Noise reduction is really, really strong, and while you can rescue your shots slightly by turning Sharpness up to the highest setting in the menus, but there’s still not as much detail as you’ll find in other high-end phones like the iPhone 7 Plus or Google Pixel.
Videos aren’t processed to dramatically, so 4K clips tend to look sharper and more detailed than still images. With so much great competition out there at this price, it’s difficult to excuse a good camera when there are plenty of great ones to choose from.
When you switch to the front-facing camera, you might want to spin the phone upside down for a more flattering angle – the app is completely reversible. Quality is decent, but no better than any other mainstream phone. Unless you like looking like an anime character, you’ll want to turn off the overly aggressive Beauty mode, too.
The app has a few of the options you’d expect, like HDR, panorama, and a manual mode, but otherwise it’s pretty basic. There are plenty of filters and fun effects though, if those tickle your fancy.
It might be running Android 6.0.1 underneath, but you wouldn’t know it – the Mi Mix has Xiaomi’s MIUI customisations well and truly slathered all over the phone. And a localised Chinese version at that.
MIUI ditches the familiar app drawer in favour of iOS-like home screens, changes the stock app icons for brightly-coloured squares, and completely transforms the notifications, recents and settings screens.
There’s nothing wrong with this layout, it’s just very different from vanilla Android. Luckily the phone was set to English when it arrived, so we didn’t have to Google Translate every menu until we found the language settings.
Speaking of Google, the Play Store isn’t installed as standard. The company we used to import one into the UK actually added it for us, but if you get one without it you’ll need to add it manually. The perils of importing a phone from China, everyone.
Xiaomi has at least added a fair few extras to make up for this extra faff – ones that aren’t all that common on phones found in the West.
Dual App, for example. Got more than one account for a particular app, but don’t want to constantly sign in and out? Add it to the Dual App area and bang – you’ve got two versions of the same app, that can bet instantly toggled between.
There’s also Second Space, which is a bit like having a virtual second phone. Turn it on and you can have certain apps saved to one part of the phone, without having them show up on the other part. Handy for locking off Netflix when your kids want to play Angry Birds.
There are plenty of pre-installed apps, too, as there aren’t any default Google ones out of the box, but once you’ve got the Play Store up and running the Mi Mix is just like any other flagship phone. As long as you don’t reset it and end up defaulting back to Mandarin Chinese, anyway.
It’s a shame there’s no word on when we can expect Android 7.0 Nougat to arrive, too.
Underneath that stunning screen, the Mi Mix shares a lot of its hardware with the rest of 2016’s flagship phones. That means a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU and 4GB of RAM – enough to run Android perfectly smoothly, even with Xiaomi’s MIUI customisations plastered on top.
You can multi-task, run demanding games and do pretty much anything you like with this phone – it won’t stutter, lag, or otherwise break a sweat.
You don’t get expandable storage, but that’s really not an issue when the Mi Mix comes with 128GB built-in. That’s easily enough for all the apps, games and multimedia you could want with you at any one time.
There’s also room inside for a massive 4400mAh battery – exactly what you need to run a powerful phone with a huge screen.
The Mi Mix can easily last two days when you aren’t hammering apps, the camera or the display, and even if you are using it non-stop, it should still get through a whole day without needing a trip to the mains. That Full HD resolution really helps out here, as the CPU doesn’t have to work as hard as if it was running a QHD screen.
With a Qualcomm fast charging adapter, you can refuel the phone back to 70% in around half an hour, and be completely full in about two hours. It’s all done over USB-C, of course, so there’s no fiddling with your cable to get it in the right way round.
Xiaomi Mi MIX VERDICT
There’s a lot to like about the Mi Mix – but it isn’t faultless. Beyond that stunner of a screen, its resolution could stand to be be higher, and camera quality is only average.
It might lead the way when it comes to design, but there’s nothing futuristic about its performance or underlying hardware – and when you’re paying top dollar, that’s a real shame.
Still, there’s no doubt it will earn you envious looks on the train when you pull one out for a quick game of Candy Crush. It’s a bit like driving a McLaren supercar – there aren’t many of them out there, and whenever you get it out in public, people are going to take notice.
Does that alone make it worth going to all the trouble to buy one, though? I’m not entirely sure.
Maybe this is a phone from the future, then. If it is, I can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch up.