Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Review: Almost a true flagship

Detailed review of Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

Despite selling millions of phones in India, Xiaomi has yet to enter the flagship market. The company will never sell an Uber premium phone in any country, but its own flagships have failed to make a mark, at least in the case of Indian buyers. So, passing on the Mi 6 this year, choosing the Mi Mix 2 instead of selling it seems like the right idea.

The Mix series has a brief history, starting only last year. This is to prove that Xiaomi is not a company that only makes affordable phones. It is a mascot, for innovation and creativity. This is to prove that Xiaomi is capable of making Uber premium devices and bringing them to market in front of others. The Mix isn’t the first of its kind, but it’s a phone that meets every modern standard you can think of. It may not be the best-selling phone in the country, but either way. Xiaomi just wants you to know that it can make such phones, in the hope that you will one day be able to buy them.

Construction and design

Most of the defined components of the Mi Mix 2 are in its design. Xiaomi has refined its bezel-less design, creating a significantly smaller form factor this time around. The bezels are still trimmed, but this time you find a larger black border around the screen, compared to last year’s MI Mix (review). Despite being thinner than the Mix 2’s predecessor, and having a 6-inch screen, all of these together make for a much more compact smartphone.

After that, while there is a glass version of Mi Mix 2, Xiaomi is only selling ceramic variants in India. Thanks to the small form factor, the finish looks tighter and the body feels tighter. However, although it is almost impossible to scratch the ceramic, the material is more fragile. This means that on the one hand, your Mi Mix 2 will break as soon as you drop it for the first time, on the other hand, you don’t have to worry about wiping fingerprints with a soft cloth. You can do this with your shirt without worrying about scratches. For someone like me, who is careful not to drop their phone, this seems like a reasonable end.

The proximity sensor is on the back of the display, the front camera is down, almost invisible.

You can see a dense border around the screen at this time, although the bezels are still trimmed

The Mi Mix 2 has another significant change, with a round metal frame on the side. With its compact form, the rounded sides allow better grip, while the use of metal makes the body a bit more resistant to damage when excluded. The antenna lines are at the top and bottom of the frame, while the speaker grilles and USB Type-C port are at the bottom. You’ll also find a noise cancellation mic at the top, while the volume rocker and power buttons will be on the right. The SIM slot is on the left side of the phone.

The Mix 2’s latest notable design component, which makes it more premium than last year’s MI Mix, is the round golden accented camera module on the back. It is slightly raised, has a flash on the side and a similar looking, round fingerprint sensor underneath. Below all this is written “Mix designed Xiaomi”, a company announcement that it could make a phone like Mix / Mix 2.

The metal frame on the side makes the Mi Mix 2 feel premium

Mi Mix 2 i (left) is smaller than Mi Mix (right)

The smaller form factor (left) of the Mi Mix 2 packs the ceramic back more tightly

With that message, Xiaomi again put a proximity sensor on the back of the display. This time there is a slight groove at the top to match the earpiece.

As explained in the paragraph, the design of the Mix 2 does not seem special or new, but it is the brief marriage of all these materials that makes it a modern flagship. Based on the design, the Mix 2 will easily impress budget buyers who come up with a phone priced at 50k for the premium. It’s miles away from mid-range flagships like the OnePlus 5 and Honor 8 Pro. When you visit Mi Home, Mi Mix 2 is the phone that will catch your eye.

Display

The design gives the Mi Mix 2 a huge advantage over the display. I spent about 500 words describing the premium design, but it also left Xiaomi with a lower cost. As a result, a 1080p display is what you get, although the lack of a bezel makes it much more immersive in the Mix 2.

Although the Gorilla Glass 2 feels very premium, I would definitely prefer an AMOLED panel in the Mix 2 that pushes the pixels to a higher 500. Instead, you get a 403 ppi pixel density and an 18: 9 aspect ratio that still looks great, but you want a little more. I hope next year’s Mix 3 will have at least one AMOLED panel.

Performance

As Xiaomi’s flagship, the Mix 2 is Xiaomi’s fastest smartphone to date. It runs on Snapdragon 835 chipset at 2.45GHz. It has 6GB RAM and 128GB storage inside. As far as mid-range phones go, you can get the most storage by eliminating the need for micro-SD expansion.

Mix 2 sets a high benchmark score and is also seen in regular use. Apps open faster and Xiaomi has tuned the software to reduce app load time. The phone is lag free and smooth. It looks almost as fast as the OnePlus 5, although it’s easy to spot the differences when put together. Still, the Mi Mix 2 is agile and responsive.

The earpiece of Mix 2 is clean now. Needless to say, the mix has made calls harder, making the new earpiece feel easier to use. There was no problem with call quality, and no drop.

The Mix 2 also supports 43 LTE bands, which means you can literally use it anywhere in the world. You won’t see the effects until you have a globetrotter.

Software

For everything Mi Mix 2 is capable of, it’s unfortunate that Mix 2 won’t get Android updates fast. It runs on MiUI 8, layered on Android Nougat, and given Xiaomi’s history, I wouldn’t expect timely OS updates.

While the MiUI has some useful features, such as allowing you to swipe the screen when moving apps, it also has its downsides. For example, Mix 2 will only show notification numbers from an app when the screen is locked. This means you have to open the app every time a notification comes.

That said, whether or not you like the UI ultimately falls into personal preferences. MiUI is a well-designed custom interface.

The camera

The Mi Mix 2 has a better camera than ever before, but it’s easily surpassed by any of today’s flagships, mid-range or high-end. It has a 12MP camera with f / 2.0 aperture and 1.25 micron pixel size.

It takes reasonable photos in daylight, although you can see the subtle sounds when you enlarge them. The details are also low and they are reduced in low light or indoor shots. Shadow details are low and night photos are sub-par. The good thing is that the color and white balance is decent and the camera can shoot very fast.

Indoor natural light

100% crop in the photo above

Indoor lights

100% crop in the photo above

Outdoor daylight shots

100% crop in the photo above

A little light

100% crop in the photo above

Overall, although Xiaomi has improved the camera this time around, there’s still work to be done.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

Battery

The Mi Mix 2 is well-designed, fast and has a nice display. However, my favorite feature of this phone is its battery life. The phone runs on a relatively small 3400 mAh battery, but it lacks almost no battery if more lazy and regular use time than any flagship I’ve used so far. On weekends, with just a few calls and tone down usage, the phone easily surpasses 15 hours on a single charge. For most users, the phone will easily last at least 12 hours on each charge. The PC Mark Battery test provides a score of about 12 hours to reduce the battery from 80% to 20%, the highest among our test flagships.

The last row

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 looks premium, it looks like it’s fast. It doesn’t set new heights in terms of what flagships might be, but it certainly proves what Xiaomi is capable of. A good camera would make it the best mid-range flagship to buy, but Xiaomi has been making mistakes in this segment for some time. So, although the Mi Mix 2 is actually a great phone, Xiaomi has to look at the camera to make money.

How to compare it

Mi Mix 2 matches any phone in terms of speed, design or build quality. Where it fails though in terms of camera performance. The OnePlus 5 (Review) and Honor 8 Pro (Review) surpass this phone in that category, when they are equally fast and competitively priced. The Mix 2 will impress those who want an out and out flagship design, it’s not the perfect mid-range flagship out there and certainly not the best shopping.

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