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Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 review: A starter set to bezel-less flagship smartphones

By Liu Hongzuo - 24 Dec 2017
Launch SRP: S$699

Benchmark Performance, Imaging, Battery, Conclusion

Benchmark Performance

Within the Mi MIX 2 is a current-generation, flagship-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. This is the same 10nm processor found in other flagship units by other rivals – namely, the Xperia XZ Premium, HTC U11, OnePlus 5, etc. Xiaomi’s other 2017 flagship also uses the same processor. As such, we’ll rate the Mi MIX 2 against the flagship phones of its time.

  Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 Xiaomi Mi 6 HTC U11 OnePlus 5 (8GB RAM/128GB) Samsung Galaxy Note8 Sony Xperia XZ Premium
  Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 Xiaomi Mi 6 HTC U11 OnePlus 5 (8GB RAM/128GB) Samsung Galaxy Note8 Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Launch SRP
  • From S$699
  • From S$599
  • From S$998
  • From S$799
  • From S$1398
  • From S$1098
Operating system
  • Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) with MIUI 8
  • Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) with MIUI 8
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with HTC Sense
  • Android 7.0.1 (Nougat) with Oxygen OS 4.5
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Dream UX
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-core (4 x 2.45GHz Kryo & 4 x 1.9GHz Kryo)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • Samsung Exynos 8895 octa-core (4x2.3 GHz & 4x1.7 GHz), 10nm process
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 64-bit
Built-in Memory
  • 6GB RAM
  • 6GB RAM
  • 6GB
  • 8GB RAM
  • 6GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
Display
  • 5.99-inch / 2,160 x 1,080 pixels (402 ppi) / IPS
  • 5.15-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (427 ppi) / IPS
  • 5.5-inch Main / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (~550 ppi) / Super LCD 5
  • 5.5-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi) / AMOLED
  • 6.3-inch / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (522 ppi) / Super AMOLED Infinity Display
  • Always-On Display
  • 5.5-inch / 4K HDR (3,840 x 2,160 pixels resolution) / TRILUMINOS for Mobile / X-Reality / Dynamic Contrast Enhancer
Camera
  • Rear: 12-megapixel, f/2.0, PDAF, two-tone flash, 4-axis OIS, 1.25µm pixel size
  • Front: 5-megapixel
  • Primary Rear: 12-megapixel, 27mm (35mm equivalent), f/1.8, two-tone flash, 4-axis OIS, 1.25 µm pixel size
  • Secondary Rear: 12-megapixel, f/2.6, phase detection autofocus, Portrait Mode, 1.00 µm pixel size
  • Front: 8-megapixel
  • Rear: 12-megapixel, f/1.7, phase detection autofocus, OIS, dual-LED flash
  • Front: 16-megapixel, f/2.0
  • Primary Rear: 16-megapixel, f/1.7, contrast detection autofocus, EIS, LED flash, 1.12 µm pixel size
  • Secondary Rear: 20-megapixel, f/2.6, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, 1.00 µm pixel size
  • Front: 16-megapixel, f/2.0, 1.0 µm pixel size
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel telephoto f/2.4 and 12-megapixel wide-angle f/1.7, OIS, 2x optical zoom
  • Front: 8-megapixel, f/1.7
  • Rear: 19-megapixel 1/2.3-inch f/2.0, Memory-stacked Exmor RS, Triple Image Sensing (Image sensor, Laser AF sensor, RGBC-IR sensor), SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stabilization), 25mm G Lens
  • Front: 13MP 1/3.06-inch f/2.0 Exmor RS, Quick Launch and Capture, SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode (5-axis stabilization)
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band), Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display, USB Type-C 2.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band), Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display, USB Type-C 2.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band), Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, DLNA, USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band), Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, DLNA, USB Type-C, USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 + 5GHz), 4G+ LTE Cat 16 (up to 1Gbps), Bluetooth 5.0, VHT80, MIMO (2x2), GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Screen Mirroring
  • USB Type-C Gen 3.1
  • A-GNSS (GPS + GLONASS)
  • WiFi Miracast
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • DNLA
  • Google Cast
Storage Type
  • 256GB internal storage
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 128GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 256GB
  • 128GB internal storage
  • 64GB internal storage (UFS 2.0)
  • 256GB (MicroSD)
  • 64GB internal storage (expandable via microSD up to 256GB)
Battery
  • 3,400mAh
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
  • 3,350mAh
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
  • 3,000mAh
  • Quick Charge 3.0
  • 3,300mAh
  • Dash Charge
  • 3,300mAh
  • Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
  • Wireless charging
  • 3,230mAh, non-removable
  • Qnovo Adaptive Charging
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
Dimensions
  • 150.5 x 74.6 x 7.7 mm
  • 145.17 x 70.49 x 7.45 mm
  • 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm
  • 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
  • 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm
  • 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm
Weight
  • 187g
  • 168g
  • 169g
  • 153g
  • 195g
  • 191g

Sunspider Javascript

SunSpider JavaScript measures the browsing performance of a device when processing JavaScript. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience.

 

3DMark Sling Shot

3DMark Sling Shot is an advanced 3D graphics benchmark that tests the full range of OpenGL ES 3.1 and ES 3.0 API features including multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. The test also includes dramatic volumetric lighting and post-processing effects. We're running this benchmark in Unlimited mode, which ignores screen resolutions.

Phones with Snapdragon 835 SoC are coming in high in this benchmark, and the Mi MIX 2 at least equals, or outperforms the Mi 6, which is already doing better than other Snapdragon 835 devices on the market. However, the difference is quite negligible (4.3% higher score than Mi 6), and it’s a beta ROM we have, so take this with a pinch of salt for now.

 

Quadrant

Quadrant benchmarks a device’s CPU, I/O, and GPU performance. Since Snapdragon 835 devices’ full performance spectrum isn’t always reflected on this benchmark, we’ll have to take the Mi MIX 2 benchmark with a grain of salt, much like the results for the Xperia XZ Premium and others.

 

Imaging

The Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 uses a Sony IMX386 sensor for its single rear camera. It’s a 1/2.9-inch sensor that offers 12-megapixels resolution and 1.25μm pixel size. It’s paired with a five-element lens rated at f/2.0 aperture. The camera is supported by LED dual-tone flash, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), 4-axis optical image stabilization.

Video recording support on the Mi MIX 2 includes 4K at 30FPS, 1080p at 30FPS, 720p at 30FPS, and slow motion at 120 FPS in 720p resolution.

The front camera – a 5-megapixel shooter – resides at the bottom bezel of the phone.

Click for full-resolution.

In our test image, the Mi MIX 2 has a decent handling over its color accuracy, vibrancy, and sharpness. What could be better was its detail retention, since the shooter couldn’t take down bits and bobs like the vodka’s embossed logo, or the gaps in between the polar bear’s toy bricks. We find the imaging performance similar to what the Mi 6 offered – passable, but it could be a stickler for smartphone camera-minded folks.

100% crop of above image.

 

Battery Life

Our standard battery test for mobile phones has the following parameters:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

The Mi MIX 2 has a 3,400mAh battery, which is a relatively generous capacity for a standard ‘plus-sized’ phone. Its 8 hours 10 minutes battery life, however, can be attributed to the demands of our testing (with non-stop screen-on time) and the beta global ROM may not be fully optimized for efficiency. A larger screen at nearly 6-inches wide could also be an aggravating factor, along with its dual speaker configuration.

 

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that this is Xiaomi’s most premium smartphone thus far, with improved global availability and accessibility. It passes as a flagship device if you distill the smartphone to its core – top-end processor, alluring build quality, and reasonably decent camera performance. Battery uptime could’ve been better, but it’s not the worst among flagship smartphones.

The lack of the 3.5mm headphone jack, no HDR support, no microSD slot, and waterproofing plays against its flagship rhetoric seen at their announcement keynote – all these things are found on competing flagship devices mentioned in the Features section of the review. The rival phones like the Galaxy Note8 can be costlier, but you get far more functions that are handy in day-to-day usage. This design decision from Xiaomi might’ve worked for the Mi 6 since that phone had a great sticker price, but the same value-for-money discourse cannot be said for the supposedly-premium, allegedly cutting-edge Mi MIX 2. Despite lacking that polish, the Mi MIX 2 technically isn’t asking for the exorbitant amounts like the other phones, so we'll let it slide – this time.

The Mi MIX 2 is also the priciest Xiaomi handset ever, especially since their conventional flagship devices retail in the S$550 – S$700 range. Unlike the Mi 6 which was a flagship on a budget, the Mi MIX 2 is breaking into flagship pricing territory, and that begets higher expectations for the latter device.

As of now, it’s quite lacking in some premium features despite its bezel-less aesthetic, but the right pricing strategy (for Singapore) may work in the Mi MIX 2’s favor.  We will only comment further after we receive an official retail price for the Mi MIX 2 since we’re now comparing with other 2017 flagships of its tier based on its Chinese-market RRP (CNY3,299 for 64GB, approximately ~S$681.23).

If the S$829 import sets (64GB) seen on Shopee is to be believed (screenshot), then the Mi MIX 2 is in fierce competition against the HTC U11 when you consider their respective feature-sets juxtaposed against their sale value – bezel-less or otherwise.

The Mi 6 was already doing the bare minimum for budget flagships, and the same missing features on a pricier Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 places a huge emphasis on its bezel-less display, which in itself, isn't as feature-filled as its competition. However, it is still the most affordable bezel-less experience without the insane price tags as of late, paired with great performance returns. If you still want to experience using a bezel-less or edge-to-edge flagship smartphone before diving into the deep, pricey end with all the bells and whistles, the Mi MIX 2 is an excellent place to begin for S$699.

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8.0
  • Design 8.5
  • Features 7.5
  • User-Friendliness 7.5
  • Performance 8
  • Value 8
The Good
Lowest priced bezel-less flagship Android phone
High quality build (ceramic!)
Nice, big screen
Good performance overall
The Bad
No microSD card slot
No 3.5mm audio jack
Average battery life
Average imaging performance
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