Bezel-less smartphones are all the rage today. To earn the tag of being called a flagship device in 2017, any smartphone has to have a bezel-less display. We have seen that with the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8, the LG G6 and V30 and the much anticipated iPhone X. But, do you know which was the first smartphone which kicked the whole bezel-less display syndrome in motion? If you think the answer is Samsung, you would be wrong. Xiaomi, a China-based smartphone manufacturer was the first company to bring the bezel-less display onto a smartphone with its flagship Mi Mix which was launched last year. Mi Mix was truly the first smartphone to convert the dreams of bezel-less displays on smartphones into reality. However, Mi Mix was more about making a statement than being the one for the masses. This year, Xiaomi wants to correct that approach by bringing its successor; the Mi Mix 2. So the question is, did Xiaomi learned from its experiences with Mi Mix, or is the Mi Mix 2 still just about challenging the status quo? That’s what we are going to find out today, in our Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 review:
|151.8 x 75.5 x 7.7 mm (5.98 x 2.97 x 0.30 in)
|185 g (6.53 oz)
|IPS LCD 5.99 inches (1080 x 2160 pixels ~403 ppi pixel density)
|Snapdragon 835 (Octa-core ~ 4x2.45 GHz and 4x1.9)
|6/8 GB RAM
|12 MP with IMX386 sensor, phase detection autofocus, OIS (4-axis), and dual-LED flash
|Non-removable Li-Ion 3400 mAh battery (supports Quick Charge 3.0)
|MIUI 8 based on top of Android Nougat
|Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass, barometer
|Dual-SIM, dual band 802.11 WiFi ( a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0
|30~35 K INR
What’s In The Box
The Mix 2 comes in a suave black box with Mix engraved in gold accents, just like the device. Here is the box’s content.
- Mi Mix 2 (of course)
- Charging adapter (Supports Quick Charging 3.0)
- Type-C cable
- Type-C to 3.5 mm jack connector.
- A nice case with great in-hand feel.
- SIM ejector tool
Design and Hardware
Apart from the Display, the design in the original Mi Mix was the talking point of the device, and the Mi Mix 2 is no different. In short, the Mi Mix 2 is stunning. No manufacturer is using ceramic as Xiaomi is doing with its Mix series. The phone is beautiful and feels really good in the hand. However, the ceramic back is also a fingerprint magnet and a bit on the slippery side, but thankfully, the metal frame makes sure the device provides a lot more grip. Still, it is better if you use the device with the included case as it would add grip and keep your device free from smudges. If you plan to use it without the case, you better keep a cleaning cloth handy.
When compared to its predecessor the Mi Mix, Mix 2 is fairly comfortable in hand. A lot of that has to do with the fact that now the Mix 2 is smaller as it only houses 5.99-inches of the display as compared to the 6.4 inches of the Mix. This change makes the phone very handy. Looks like Xiaomi learned from its mistakes in the Mix’s design, and made the necessary changes in the Mix 2. There are other changes which mark a departure from the design of Mi Mix too. The rear camera is a bit protruded, the lower chin is smaller, and now even the base version of the Mix 2 comes with a ceramic back which I like. The top border is a bit thicker, but Mix 2 has a good reason for that.
You see, the original Mi Mix didn’t have an earpiece, rather it was utilizing a piezoelectric actuator which vibrated the front glass to convey sounds to your ears. However, when I extensively used the Mi Mix, the piezoelectric earpiece was a huge problem for me. It was just not good enough as the calls sounded a little choppy. Thankfully, the Mi Mix 2 is sporting a traditional earpiece which was the reason behind making the top border a little thicker. However, you won’t even notice that until you put both devices side by side. I am in favour of this decision choice by Xiaomi. I also love the fingerprint sensor at the back, which is well placed and by far one of the fastest fingerprint sensors I ever tested.
What’s not good is the removal of the headphone jack. I understand that 2017 is seeing a trend of deaths of headphone jacks but I really wish it was here. The included adapter helps but is not for me. Also, there’s no water resistance, a feature which is now expected of every flagship smartphone. However, apart from these two missing features, I think Xiaomi has knocked the design out of the park with Mi Mix 2. The phone is beautiful with its all display front and feels really premium in hands. The ceramic back does attract fingerprints but is better in hands than both glass and aluminium. To sum it up, it will be very easy for you to fall in love with the design of this device.
Now, let’s talk about that display which takes up more than 80% of the front. The Mi Mix 2 has a 5.99-inch Full HD Plus IPS LCD display. That’s a bit smaller than its predecessor which makes this device fairly easy to use. However, it still is a two-handed device. Of all the implementation of the bezel-less displays that we have seen in the previous year, Mi Mix 2 still remains my favourite. I am not a fan of the notch present on the top of either the essential or the iPhone X. Mi Mix has nothing of such sorts and looks incredible, to say the least.
The color reproduction is great and despite having an IPS Display, the blacks are really good. If you’d like more punchy colors, you can change the contrast in the settings. While the Mix 2 display is one of the best LCD displays out there, I would have preferred to see an AMOLED display on the device. Because at the price Mix 2 has landed, there’s the OnePlus 5 has a Full HD AMOLED display and I will take AMOLED over LCD any day. If not AMOLED, at least Xiaomi should have put QHD display. Seeing how both the Honor 8 Pro and the Nokia 8 offer a QHD display, it would have been possible for Xiaomi to do that too. However, if you don’t care about the resolution, I think you will find the Full HD+ LCD display on the Mix 2 good enough. The edge to edge to display is just a beauty to look at. The display still remains the biggest selling point for the Mix 2.
If you have ever used a Mi device, you will feel right at home here as the device comes with the familiar MIUI on board. The Chinese version of the device (which we have) shipped with the MIUI 8 based on Android Nougat but the Indian version is supposed to launch with MIUI 9, hence we installed the MIUI 9 ROM on our device for testing purposes. Now, I won’t go into the details of the MIUI 9, if you want to know about all the changes that it brings to the table, just click here to learn everything about it. Mostly, the experience is same as before with most of the changes coming under the hood.
However, there are certain changes which I really love. Firstly, there’s the Smart Assistant which comes baked with MIUI 9. I use it for only one purpose, that is, searching for apps on my device. Since, MIUI 9 doesn’t have any app drawer, finding an app has always been harder, especially if you install as many apps as I do. The assistant helps me do that. Finally, the ability to reply to messages directly from notification is also here. The home screen has also been worked upon, and you will like the included changes. However, the good thing (or bad) is that the underlying structure of the MIUI remains the same. Basically, if you loved it before, you will keep on loving it, however, if you hated it, there’s nothing new here which will make you consider this otherwise.
I believer that MIUI ROM is one of the best Android ROMs in the market, as it adds a ton of customisability and brings an open boot-loader which you can unlock anytime without voiding your warranty. However, some people are not a fan of its looks, and I won’t blame you if you hate it too. Basically, the performance is not hampered by the MIUI, it just a question of personal preferences. The only resource that MIUI utilises more than the normal Android is the RAM, and since Mix 2 ships with either 6 or 8 GB of RAM, that takes care of any concern that users might have.
Apart from the display and the build quality, performance is the biggest strength of this device. The Snapdragon 835 chipset coupled with either 6 or 8 GB RAM, makes this device scream. In my usage, the device has been fast, even when I have tons of apps installed. Switching between apps was quick and the gaming performance has been smooth too. Well, Xiaomi has definitely not compromised on the performance of the Mix 2. Plus, it helps that MIUI 9 is a well optimised OS and brings a ton of useful features.
Xiaomi has promised that the device will be launched with MIUI 9 in India on October 10th, hence we wanted to test the phone with it onboard. And quite frankly, the phone handled everything we threw at it. Although, I am not much of a benchmark guy, however, if you do care about such stuff, you will find the test results in the images below. Although, the scores should not come as a surprise seeing it packs the same Qualcomm 835 chipset as every other 2017 Android flagship smartphone.
Telephony and Audio Performance
As I mentioned earlier, a welcome change with Mi Mix 2 is the addition of the standard earpiece instead of the piezoelectric one used last year. That makes a world of difference. I was not at all happy with the Mi Mix’s call quality last year, but this year, everything sounds like it should. The calls were clear, and both sides could hear each other without any problem. Calls made on speaker phone also didn’t disappoint much.
However, the speakers should not be used for media consumption as they are tiny and distort at higher levels. That brings us to the elephant in the room or lack thereof; the headphone jack. There’s no headphone jack on this phone hence you will have to either use the included USB-C to 3.5 mm jack adapter, or go completely wireless. Since the phone doesn’t come with a USB-C headphones, the switch feels a little harder. I am not much of an audiophile, so I can’t complain too much about the sound quality, but, I do hate the removal of the headphone jack.
The battery life on Mi Mis is pretty good. It sports a good-sized 3400 mAh battery which might be 1000 mAh lower than what we got on the original Mix, but surprisingly, I didn’t find any problem in day to day usage. Maybe it’s the smaller display or the Snapdragon 835 chipset, or just the optimisations that come with MIUI 9. Whatever it is, the battery life on the Mix 2 is great. I easily got through my day with medium to heavy usage on the Mix 2, which is impressive. Plus, it charges quickly. The phone supports Quick Charge 3.0 and races from 0 to 90% in under an hour and a half. The battery on this phone is not a cause for concern, and you shouldn’t worry about finding a charger in the middle of the day.
Moving on to the camera, the Mi Mix 2 features a 12 MP sensor on the rear, with f/2.0 aperture, 4-axis optical image stabilisation, and dual LED flash, which is somewhat disappointing, as the trend is moving towards dual cameras and wider apertures. All the phones in the Mix 2’s price range come with dual cameras, be it the OnePlus 5, the Honor 8 Pro or the Nokia 8, so it’s surprising that Xiaomi didn’t just use Mi 6’s dual camera setup in the Mix 2. That would have made the phone perfect.
However, if you can get over that drawback you will find that the Mix 2’s 12 MP camera unit takes some great shots, especially in the day time. The photos are sharp, have great detail, and the colors come out good too. The dynamic range could be a little better, but there’s not much to complain here. However, everything falters when it comes to the low-light photography. The pictures are just not that good. There’s a lot of noise in the photos taken in low-light. The OIS does help a little bit, but still, the low-light performance can only be deemed as below average. When it comes to video, the phone supports both 4K and slow-mo video recording, and the video quality is pretty decent too. The videos are stable and feature decent colors and details. However, it does lacks the support for 60 FPS recording at 1080p and above resolution. I also noticed a bit of a shutter lag at times, which I hope will be fixed with future software updates.
Talking about the 5 MP front camera, it’s still as awkwardly placed as the previous year Mi Mix’s. Remember how we loved the notch-less display on the Mi Mix 2. Well, that comes with a price. Since the top has no space, the front camera goes to the bottom-right corner of the device. That makes for some very awkward selfies. Even the Mi Mix 2 knows that, and hence, it advises you to hold the phone upside down for the perfect picture. Even, if you are ready to put up with this inconveniences, none of the third-party apps (like WhatsApp, Instagram) will support it. Needless to say, you are in for some awkward video calls with this one. The narrow lens used in the front-facing camera also doesn’t help much. You will have to stretch a lot if you want to fit more than two people in the frame. The average front camera surely does no good to the Mix 2’s cause.
To conclude, the primary camera produces some really good results, if you are in good lighting conditions. In low-light, the camera fails miserably. I appreciate the inclusion of 4K and slow-mo recording. The OIS really helps in producing some really stable footage. But, the front-camera is really bad and is better left unused. Needless to say, like last year, the cameras are still the weakest point of this smartphone.
Both Mi Mix and Mix 2 are one of few devices in the world that support most of the major wireless bands around the world. So, doesn’t matter which country you live in, I am sure that it will support 4G-LTE there. When its comes to reception itself, the device maintains a constant connection even in areas with a patchy network. Other than that, the phone features dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac support, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB OTG support and GPS with GLONASS and Beidou. However, there’s no IR blaster or FM Radio support. Overall, the Mi Mix’s connectivity suit features almost everything that you’d expect from a modern-day smartphone
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Review: A More Practical Mix
Let’s sum things up, shall we? It’s been a while since Xiaomi introduced a flagship device in India, one and half years to be exact, but well, they are finally breaking that trend and launching the Mix 2 in India. The Mix 2 is priced at INR 35,999 and
at this price range, it’s taking on some great competition, including the OnePlus 5, the Honor 8 Pro, and the Nokia 8. So, is it worth buying? Well, the biggest thing going in favour of the Mi Mix 2 is the bezel-less design. No other phone in the price range can match the design of the Mix 2. If you want a ‘truly’ bezel-less device in this price range, go for the Mix 2. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the Mix 2 is a great phone overall.
Having said that, the lack of a dual camera might be a deal breaker for some. Also can be a dealbreaker is the MIUI interface itself. The MIUI ROM is one of the best executed Android ROM in the market, that being said, many people might not prefer its cartoonish look and such a big departure from the Android itself. The cameras on the device also don’t help its cause, as they are average, to say the least. However, we might be looking at this wrong way. It is not targeted at people who want a great camera on a phone, It is for someone who wants the bezel-less display and is ready to make some sacrifices to achieve that. Mix 2 gets most of the things right. With its gorgeous display, excellent build quality, and superb performance, it is going to catch the eyes of India consumers. The only question remains is if you are one of them or not.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Review: Can It Beat Its Own Faults?
Overall, I am quite impressed with what Xiaomi has pulled off here. Most of my complaints including the earpiece, the size, and the build quality have been addressed with the Mi Mix 2. However, the cameras still remain the point of pain and stop me from recommending this device to everyone. At last, you will have to answer this question for yourself. Do you prefer the bezel-less display, or will you go for some other phone which packs a better camera? Whatever you choose, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Buy on Flipkart (INR 35,999)