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Mi MIX Review: A Stylish, Innovative and Bezel-Less Flagship

All eyes of the world are on the Mi Max 2 right now, but let us not forget about the heroes of the past. Mi MIX was a highly anticipated smartphone, mainly because of its bezel-missing display and luxurious ceramic housing. We have put the smartphone to the test to find out if this masterpiece has any flaws. 

Packaging

The packaging is pretty interesting. Before you actually see the smartphone nesting gloriously in a separate indentation you have to go through a three-stage unfolding, which was quite daunting. On the brighter side of things, such a design kept the smartphone in place and well-protected during transport. There are also magnetic fasteners — something you will not see in every higher-end smartphone out there.

The packaging also includes a power adapter, USB Type-A / USB Type-C cable, a SIM-card tool and a user manual.

Design

Mi MIX is the result of the imagination of a world-famous industrial designer Philippe Starck. His bio states that he was also involved in designing kitchen appliances for Gorenje and Steve Jobs’s yacht. Mr. Starck owns a number of professional awards, which means that the question why Xiaomi hired him is unnecessary.

Mi MIX has a sleek and slightly rounded ceramic body with a stainless steel frame on the sides. Ceramics, according to the Mohs scale of hardness, is harder than sapphire. It is also scratch-proof, which we completely confirm. We do not really expect it to be that strong to get through many of years of use without any scratch, but the smartphone can take a good care of itself to stay brand new for many months to come for sure.

Hold Mi MIX side by side to any other Xiaomi smartphone and the main visible difference between them is the display. Although Mi MIX's display size of 6.44 inches seems like nothing extraordinary after we saw Mi Max, what makes it stand out is zero bezels around three of its sides. Looks fantastic! The screen covers 91.3% of the front surface and that is, by the way, the world’s record.

So the smartphone has no bezels on sides and above the display, which made Xiaomi think of other places where to embed the front-facing camera and the speakers. The kind of arrangement the company came up with is quite unusual. The selfie-camera was moved under the display and the speakers were made piezoelectric. “Home”, “Menu” and “Back” are virtual.

The back of the smartphone features a 16MP camera module, dual LED flash and fingerprint sensor that works like every other biometric fingerprint sensor you may  have used.

The handset measures 158.8×81.9×7.9 mm and weight 210 grams.

Technical characteristics

It turns out we were already familiar with Mi MIX specs. The smartphone is a slightly improved Mi Note 2 with the same Snapdragon 821 processor and the same Adreno 530 graphics chip. There is a difference when it comes to memory. Mi MIX has 128GB and 256GB of RAM while Mi Note 2 uses 128GB in its premium version. In its higher-spec version, Mi MIX also boards 6GB of RAM, which is still not that common these days, so you can be sure that the smartphone is future-proof. 

On the first overview already the display of the Mi MIX is very sharp. It is a 6.44-inch IPS panel that sports 2040×1080 resolution and 362ppi pixel density. The text and images are clear, colors are vibrant. The screen is covered with an oleophobic coating, which allows to keep it print-free and nice looking.

As far as the camera goes, Mi MIX is equipped with a 16MP OmniVision OV16880 sensor that can record 4K at 30fps, has f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash. The front camera is a 5MP wide-angle lens. 

The specs sheet is pretty amazing, just like its performance. Here we have a few pictures of how Mi MIX shoots in various lighting conditions. 

Mi MIX also contains a 4400mAh battery. Thanks to QC 3.0 fast charging capabilities the battery tops us very quickly.

If you would be looking for a microSD slot in the Mi MIX, you would not find any. There is, of course, a Nano-SIM tray, but because of the gigantic in-built ROM, we should probably agree with Xiaomi that expandable storage is not as necessary.

What it was like to use it

Mi MIX scored 150950 in AnTuTu and it reflects how the smartphone works in real life.

Mi MIX beat our expectations. We expected Mi MIX to be a multimedia powerhouse that would tear through strenuous games and long-hour videos without a hinge. Done. We also wanted it to still be able to go a full-day distance after that. Check. It coped with Real Racing 3, BADLAND 2 and Injustice! These are very intensive games that require through-the-roof spec, by the way. 

Playing Real Racing 3 for a whole hour wore the battery 14% down. The screen was at its maximum brightness, so that speaks for itself. We did not notice any serious heating. Playing a heavy game for too long makes every smartphone heat up, but the temperature of Mi MIX was within reason.

The sound quality of Mi MIX was, probably, one of the most questionable features because of the speaker design. Surprisingly, we found that the sound was loud and clear enough. The maximum volume level was slightly lower than, say, in Mi 5, but we could hear people we talked to on the other end of the line well and the microphone was excellent.

Although we think a 5-inch display is the most comfortable for your hands, Mi MIX’s edgeless display looks absolutely stunning to forget about the fact that your fingers will never grow that long to make it comfortable to hold in one hand. 

The fingerprint scanner was accurate. However, when the phone was lying on a desk it was quite inconvenient to reach for the scanner to unlock the device. Those were the times when we thought of switching to a traditional pattern. 

Bottom line

Mi MIX is, by all means, an innovative and powerful smartphone. We tried to think of a task or a game that will make it slow down, but we could not. A 256GB of flesh-memory, a camera that delivered great photos in low light and fast charging capabilities were in handy. Well, it might be not the perfect choice for one hand fit, but the thought of taking an advantage of an HD picture is winning over.

 

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