Xiaomi introduced the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 a couple of days ago in China, and this is the company’s second-gen ‘bezel-less’ flagship. The Mi MIX (first-gen) was announced about a year ago in China, and was, at that time, the only smartphone that sported such ‘bezel-less’ design. Needless to say, its design definitely helped the device to get plenty of exposure, so that even people outside of China heard about it. Xiaomi, unfortunately, did not exactly make the Mi MIX globally available, that handset was limited to China, at least officially, but that won’t be the case with the second-gen model. The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 comes with 43 4G LTE bands, more than any other smartphone out there, which makes it a perfect candidate for wide launch. Xiaomi’s exec already confirmed that the phone will be coming to India, and it seems like Xiaomi plans to push it to way more markets in the future, though we still don’t know the details. Having said that, the first-gen model had its advantages, but also its downsides, quite a bit of them, actually, as that was just a ‘concept phone’, as Xiaomi referred to it. Well, the Mi MIX 2 certainly got more things right than its predecessor, but it’s still not perfect, of course, and we’re here to discuss that, read on.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 has quite a few advantages, and the main one is its design, that much is certain. The first thing you’ll notice on this phone are its bezels, which are really thin, thinner than they were in the first-gen model. The Mi MIX 2 does come with a ‘chin’ below the display, like its predecessor, but that chin is thinner this time around, and it doesn’t really take away anything from the general design of this smartphone. The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2’s bezels are really thin on the sides, and above the display, while the company actually managed to fit an earpiece above the display, which is something we’ll talk about in a minute. Speaking of the design, it’s also worth noting that this phone comes in two variants. The regular model with 6GB RAM + 64GB / 128GB / 256GB storage is made out of metal and ceramic, while the special edition variant with 8GB RAM + 128GB storage comes with a ceramic unibody build. In any case, both of these phones feel really premium, and other than somewhat different materials and some difference in specs, these two phones are quite similar. Ceramic is more durable than glass, and it’s harder to scratch, though it’s also heavier, but the point is, it definitely offer that premium look and feel as well.
Now, we’ve mentioned the phone’s earpiece in the last paragraph, and this is actually a rather significant ‘positive’ in this case, as the original Mi MIX did not sport a regular earpiece. The original model came with an innovative piezoelectric bone conducting technology, which does seem cool and everything, but the fact is, the Mi MIX’s earpiece was too weak, as we’ve mentioned in our review, and that is no longer the case with the Mi MIX 2. This handset’s earpiece is really good, actually, and it definitely deserves to be mentioned. Having said that, the phone’s specifications are yet another positive characteristic of this handset, as the Mi MIX 2 comes with top of the line specifications, including the Snapdragon 835 64-bit octa-core processor, which is one of the most powerful mobile chips out there at the moment. 6GB and 8GB RAM variants of the phone are available, which is plenty of RAM, of course, and the Mi MIX 2 also sports a gorgeous 5.99-inch 2160 x 1080 display, and yet the phone is not that wide considering it has such thin bezels and its display comes with an 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s also worth noting that Xiaomi packed in LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.1 storage in the Mi MIX 2, and it doesn’t get any better, so the company really didn’t skimp on such details either. As we’ve mentioned in the introduction, this phone ships with 43 4G LTE bands, which is also a huge plus for the Mi MIX 2.
Despite the fact that the Mi MIX 2 comes with such high-end specs, it’s quite affordable, and that’s a good thing. Now, generally speaking, the Mi MIX 2 is not cheap, at all, but a starting price of 3,299 Yuan ($505) in China is not bad considering its design and specs. The most expensive variant costs 4,699 Yuan ($718), while the two remaining models can be purchased for 3,599 Yuan ($551) and 3,999 Yuan ($613). Now, on top of everything we’ve mentioned, it might be worth talking about the camera in this category as well, even though the IMX386 sensor that is included on the back of this phone is not exactly Sony’s best sensor, it’s a considerable improvement compared to the offering on last year's device. The Mi MIX’s camera was not that great, especially for a flagship phone, and this IMX386 sensor was included in the Mi 6 (main sensor), which is able to produce some nice photos, so we’re expecting the same from the Mi MIX 2 as well.
So, what are the downsides of the Mi MIX 2? Well, this handset is not waterproof, which is a shame. The Xiaomi Mi 6 is splash resistant, while the Mi MIX 2 does not come with any sort of water resistance it seems. That might not be that surprising considering that Xiaomi had to pack in a lot of stuff into such a compact body, but on the other hand so did Samsung when it comes to the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus and Galaxy Note 8, and the same can be said for LG and its G6 and V30 handsets, which sport an even higher screen-to-body ratio than the Mi MIX 2, so its thin bezels definitely should not be an excuse.
In addition to that, the Mi MIX 2 also comes with a rather inappropriately-placed front-facing camera, though that comes down to the phone’s design. The camera is located in the lower right corner of the phone’s front, and the phone will even tell you to rotate the phone while taking pictures so that you have a more conventional perspective. Some people would probably say that this is not a huge issue, and it isn’t, but it’s something that is worth noting, even though Xiaomi had to do this considering the design of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2. Now, we’ll also note here that the Mi MIX 2 is a bit heavier than most other phones out there, which could be a negative for some people, but do keep in mind that this phone is made out of ceramic and metal (in addition to the ceramic unibody version), so… you’re getting really quality materials for that added heft.
In addition to what we’ve mentioned above, the Mi MIX 2 also comes with MIUI 9, Xiaomi’s proprietary software, which you either love or hate. If you like stock Android, OxygenOS or anything of the sort, MIUI is probably not for you. MIUI 9 comes without an app drawer, and it still feels like it is heavily inspired by iOS. MIUI 9 still lacks a number of Nougat features, even though this phone ships with Android Nougat, but you’re at least getting features like the split screen mode, which was not available on MIUI until recently. A uniform Quick Reply feature also seems to be missing, but some reports claimed that it will be included in MIUI 9, so it is possible that Xiaomi might push it to its phones soon. We could talk about MIUI 9 all day long, but the truth to the matter is, it’s a solid skin, it’s much, much better than it was before, but it’s not for everyone, that’s for sure.
Now, this category is always rather difficult to populate with words if we’re talking about a rather compelling phone which delivers on almost all accounts, as we’ve already mentioned most of its downsides in the previous category. We did, however, leave one thing for ‘The Ugly’ portion of this article, and some of you might have even guessed what it is… it’s the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Mi MIX 2. Now, some consumers probably don’t care about this at all, but a large number of consumers probably do, as they use wired earphones / headphones in order to listen to music and podcasts on their phones, not to mention that some of them enjoy watching movies as well. Xiaomi includes a dongle in the retail box of the Mi MIX 2, but a dongle is a little bit inconvenient, and chances are it won’t blend perfectly with your earphones / headphones in terms of the design / looks. A ton of smartphone manufacturers out there make great-looking phones and are not excluding 3.5mm headphone jacks, so there’s no reason why Xiaomi should. Now, this phone’s availability might also be an issue, as it will not exactly be available globally, Xiaomi will push it to a number of markets, but consumers in the US (for example) probably won’t be able to get it, at least not officially.
So, all in all the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 certainly is a compelling smartphone. If you’re in the market for a bezel-less phone and are not fond of the Galaxy S8, the LG G6, or some other, more better known bezel-less offering, the Mi MIX 2 can be a great alternative. Even if you can afford the aforementioned devices, but are looking something different, the Mi MIX 2 is definitely here, and it looks like Xiaomi managed to fix most of the shortcomings that were present in the first-gen model.