More RAM and storage than most flagship phones
Xiaomi’s Mi MIX debuted over a year ago to mixed reviews, but the uniting factor was certainly the build. Oukitel is taking many cues from the Mi MIX’s design, with a similar boxy shape and the nearly non-existent bezels on 3 out of 4 sides. The biggest difference is in the materials and the price. For $200 or so, Oukitel is selling a phone that looks and feels nearly identical to Xiaomi’s far more expensive phone, all while offering features and processing power that’s ultra competitive at this price range. 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage is nothing to scoff at, and the metal and glass build of the phone will certainly make it seem like a far more expensive device. Is this the best phone for $200? Let’s take a look.
Originally retailing for $299, the Oukitel MIX 2 is now selling for $199/£148/€166 in two colors: Blue or Black. The Oukitel MIX 2 features tiny bezels on the front with a 5.99-inch 18:9 (2:1) 1080 x 2160 resolution IPS LCD panel. The sizable chin underneath sports a SuperPix SP8407 ¼-inch 13-megapixel camera sensor with 1.12-micron pixel size and f/2.2 lens. The back features a main Samsung S5K3P3 ISOCELL 16-megapixel sensor 1.0-micron size pixels and f/2.0 lens, alongside a secondary 0.3-megapixel sensor for depth effects. A 2.3GHz MTK6757V MediaTek Helio P25 SoC is inside with a Mali-T880 GPU, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
A rather large 4,080mAh non-removable battery powers the phone, and Android 7.0 Nougat runs the show. 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band wireless is supported, and Bluetooth 4.2 is available as well. Dual nano-SIM support is available along with microSD card support up to 256GB in the same tray. A single microUSB port, 3.5mm audio jack and mono external speaker grace the outside of the phone. The Oukitel MIX 2 measures in at 75.1mm wide by 157.8mm tall and 8.8mm thin, weighing in at a hefty 207 grams.
In The Box
As if $200 for these specs wasn't already enough of a value, Oukitel packs in a good bit of extra in the box too. Underneath the phone you'll find the usual SIM tray eject tool, a set of manuals and warranty pamphlets, as well as a USB type-A to microUSB cable and a wall charger. On the phone you'll find pre-applied screen protectors on the front and back, keeping the glass in pristine condition for a long time. There's also a clear TPU case already fitted to the phone, which protects the phone from minor falls and gives more grip than a glass and metal phone would.
Display and Hardware
While a 5.99-inch screen used to seem gargantuan, the shrinking of bezels has made such a large screen feel considerably smaller in most respects. Bumping the aspect ratio up to 2:1 also makes it taller and fits the whole frame of the phone, minus a chin at the bottom of the frame. As far as display quality is concerned, this is certainly more than acceptable for the price range, and in general the display looks pretty good as a whole. At 403 pixels-per-inch, this is a pixel dense display that looks crisp and colorful, with attractive colors and an ever so slightly cool white balance. Viewing angles are excellent, and black levels are decent, but the refresh rate of the pixels leaves a bit to be desired. There’s clear ghosting/trailing of pixels as the screen is scrolled, but it doesn’t negatively affect videos or games. It has an excellent digitizer though, something not every phone in this price range can claim, and responds to touch instantly and accurately every time.
Having essentially nonexistent side bezels and an extremely small top bezel, the larger chin at the bottom of the phone might be a bit alarming at first. In fact the top bezel is so small, Oukitel had to move the front-facing camera to the bottom bezel instead. This gives the front-facing camera a pretty awkward position when held in standard portrait mode, and the phone actually tells you to flip it over when taking selfies. The phone is slightly thicker than some others out there at 8.8mm, but it’s most offensive trait is likely the weight. While not exactly a brick, 207 grams is quite a bit heavier than the industry average of around 150-160 grams for phones of this size, and feels heavy no matter how you hold it. The polished, rounded edges of the phone are gorgeous though, and don’t feel slippery at all, except in very cold/dry weather. Both the front and back glass comes with screen protectors pre-installed, keeping the phone from getting overly scratched if a case isn’t used. The included thin clear TPU case will help protect against minor drops, but likely won’t save it if a nasty fall occurs.
Oukitel’s fingerprint scanner design and location is excellent, as it’s both a good shape in a good location on the back, as well as being recessed into the frame enough to make it easy to find. The dual-camera module on the back barely juts out of the frame about a millimeter or so, with the LED flash module located next to it. A single microUSB port sits at the bottom, flanked by two speaker grilles, but only one is actually a speaker. Up top you’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack, and on the right the volume rocker sits near the top edge of the phone, with the power button below it. These buttons are too far up for comfort, and are annoying to adjust while talking on the phone, but at least they’re both on the same side of the phone. This makes it easy to lay the phone on its edge for watching videos without pressing buttons, as only the SIM/microSD card tray is on the left.
Performance and Benchmarks
MediaTek’s Helio series has been excellent as far as performance is concerned, and the Oukitel MIX 2 feels truly fantastic in most ways concerning performance. 6GB of RAM helps immensely too, and you’ll find that multi-tasking on the MIX 2 is an excellent experience. Apps will stay open in the background and ready for usage without further loading, and even loading up apps for the first time is a quick experience. The size and aspect ratio of the screen plays to split-screen functionality very well, and you’ll find little performance issues while running multiple apps at the same time.
It’s a bit surprising to see a phone in this price category perform so well in basically everything, even with a high resolution screen. Even gaming fairs well, with intense 3D games performing well in general. In our testing everything we tried was playable, and even games that tend to run slow on other phones are able to run on the MIX 2 with little issue. There’s no stuttering or lagging that we noticed in everyday situations, and even things like fast typing are fully possible on the phone without problem or annoyance. Check out the benchmark results below if you prefer to judge on that.
Connectivity, Sound and Battery Life
Connectivity is only going to be a weak link if you live in the US, as the Oukitel MIX 2 supports a ton of different spectrum across the world, including 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks. As a dual-SIM phone, the MIX 2 gives users the ability to split calls, data and SMS between each SIM card, as well as some data saving functionality and the choice of metering connections to save mobile data. Signal strength was excellent as a whole for both WiFi and cell networks, which is good since there’s no support for WiFi calling out of the box. Bluetooth 4.2 is present but doesn’t offer anything outside of basic Bluetooth functionality. Sound quality is good, and the 3.5mm audio jack up top provides crisp, clean sound that will please most users without needing to be tweaked. Of course a single bottom-firing speaker isn't the best configuration, but it does well enough to provide basic quality sound with good volume.
Battery life is simply excellent, particularly standby time, which can be several days if need be with very light use. Most days I would end with around 3 hours of screen on time (my personal average for phones) and still have 60% or more left, even after a full 16 hours off the charger. Heavy users are going to absolutely love this phone, as it’ll provide hours upon hours of screen on time, and even folks who don’t use their phones for hours at a time will appreciate the fact that this low power SoC keeps the battery going for easily over a day or longer without needing a top-up.
Often times OEMs add heavy skins to Android in order to differentiate themselves. Oukitel goes more for the balanced approach of leaving most of the stock Android look, all while adding in a few key extras to the experience. It’s running the year or so old Android 7.0 Nougat, so it’s a tad bit behind on major Android releases, but as of this writing it was on the January 5, 2018 security patch, so Oukitel is keeping up with the most important piece of Android updates anyway. Primary additions include a number of gestures found in the settings menu, which definitely add value to the whole package.
Some of these gestures are gimmicky at best, like the “smart somatosensory” features that have you waving your hand over the screen to move through the gallery or answer the phone. Others are far more useful in everyday situations, like flipping the phone over to silence the ringer, or unlocking the phone and instantly launching an app or action by drawing a letter on the screen while the screen is off. There are even some pretty awesome fingerprint gestures that allow the use of the fingerprint scanner for more than just unlocking the phone or making mobile payments. Outside of these, you’ll find a quality, quick, stock looking and feeling version of Android here, and at the end of the day, that’s the kind that works the best in the long run.
Oukitel subscribes to the Apple side of the house in camera design, with swipes left and right to move between modes. While this is nice for easily finding all the available modes on a single screen, it’s not great for speed, as switching between modes takes at least a second each, but Oukitel has a reasonable solution. Those looking for a faster way to switch modes can simply click the words at the bottom, which changes to said mode right away instead of scrolling through multiple modes. In total you’ll find 7 modes: Video, Photo, FaceBeauty, Blur, Mono, Panorama, and PRO.
PRO mode is probably the most disappointing, but mostly because it’s pretty limited for a mode that’s named "pro". There are only adjustments for ISO, white balance and exposure; nothing else at all. HDR is a separate mode found in the elliptical menu on the top right, oddly separating this mode from the rest in the interface. Mono mode is a simple filter applied to the main sensor, and Blur mode utilizes the 0.3-megapixel secondary sensor on the back for minor depth-of-field type effects. These depth effects don’t look authentic in most ways, and do little to mimic the subtle depth fade that happens when using a camera with an adjustable focal length, however at times they can make a shot look very attractive and interesting. As a note this phone attempts the depth of field mimicry better than many at this price range that we've reviewed.
The biggest hangup with the camera portion of the phone is its speed. Unlike the rest of the phone, which often times is as speedy as you might expect any phone in 2018 to be, the camera can take a second or two to actually take the shot. Pressing the shutter button is almost never met with an instant picture taken, and many times I had to press the shutter button a few times just to take the shot. This is particularly problematic in any level of lower light or while indoors, as I found my hand moving too quickly after I thought the shot had been taken, only to look back and see the picture ended up blurry from the movement.
Without this issue, pictures would be rather decent, especially for the price, as the overall characteristics of most photos are high quality enough for this price point. Low light suffers the most, as can be expected from a less than flagship-tier phone, but nothing too bad. Dynamic range is generally the worst attribute, as the HDR mode is completely separate and doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on the end result anyway. Focus speed and accuracy could use some work, as some pictures were taken before being fully focused.
What’s much better than most phones of this class is the video recording performance, and much of that can be attributed to the ability to record in 4K. It’s pretty impressive to see a phone at this price range with such a feature, and everything looks great here too. Much like the picture mode, focus could use a bit of work, as the phone tended to refocus very often, and many times would focus on the wrong thing. Still it’s above average quality for this price range without a doubt.
The front-facing camera is quite good overall, but it’s in the same awkward location that Xiaomi’s original Mi MIX suffered from. With a large chin bezel that holds the camera, a camera at the bottom of the device makes for a bit of an awkward selfie angle. Oukitel’s camera software reminds you to flip the phone upside down when switching to the front-facing camera though, which of course fixes the issue entirely, but it’s still a bit funny to have to flip the phone upside down to take a proper shot. So long as this doesn’t bother you, you’ll most likely be happy with the quality overall.
Mostly tiny bezels
Incredible battery life
Excellent overall performance
Fantastic multi-tasking performance
microSD card support
Stock Android look and feel
Notable extra features
Up-to-date security patches
4K video recording
Pre-installed screen protectors and clear TPU case
4G LTE in most countries
Camera can be very slow
Front-facing camera is in an awkward place
Only 2G on most US-based networks
Oukitel has made an incredible phone for an even more incredible price with the MIX 2, and it’s pretty clear this one comes in the top of the top list in this price range. For $200 you’re getting more RAM and more space then basically any phone in this price range, and even more than most flagships at this point, regardless of price. It’s an undeniable value that’s met with very stock looking and feeling Android software; a very positive thing in the land of heavily modified skins and too many pre-installed apps and features. Outside of the pretty slow camera, the experience is incredibly fast, with excellent multi-tasking and gaming performance that’s sure to impress. While I only got 2G coverage on T-Mobile US, 4G LTE connectivity should be available in most countries, with dual-SIM support to boot. It’s an absolutely recommended buy for the price.