SHARE

Xiaomi’s biggest 2016 release would be the Mi Mix. The phone came on the same day as the Mi Note 2, and despite all the curves of the Mi Note 2, the Mi Mix managed to be the star of the show.

In typical Xiaomi fashion, the company did not give the Mix a full-blown launch. Instead, they chose to hide the Mix in the Mi Note 2’s shadow, and let the market respond instead of making the push themselves. Heck, they even called the Mix a ‘concept’ phone.

Come CES 2017, Xiaomi are seen showing off the Mi Mix… in white. Again, it’s a phone really tough to get hold of (unless you don’t mind digging a hole in your pocket).

Anyway, let’s get to the Mi Mix.

Xiaomi Mi Mix Review

Design and Build

This is the section you need to be in if you’re here to get yourself convinced into getting yourself a Mi Mix. The Mi Mix is unlike any other phone you’ve seen before (unless of course you’d seen the Sharp Aquos Crystal a few years back). It’s a huge phone, with a screen to body ratio that’s quite unnatural for modern phones. Contrary to belief, the Mi Mix does not have the slimmest bezels ever; what it does have is three sides of slim bezel instead of the usual two.

I have to admit, it’s quite refreshing, and most certainly a crowd magnet. Be ready for some awkward second glances (if you’re not used to those, that is) when you pull out the Mi Mix to take snaps at a concert.

The screen on the Mix is a 17:9 6.44-inch display. Since it isn’t a traditional aspect ratio we have here, the pixels on the screen are 1080 x 2040. While it does sound like a tricky number, Xiaomi have tuned MIUI enough to make best use of the available real estate without really making users adjust to it.

With great design, comes great responsibility — the usual selfie camera, proximity sensor, etc. arrangement goes for a toss. For starters, the selfie camera is placed below the screen, so if you’re a Snapchat user you’re going to have to turn the phone 180-degree to get a normal-looking selfie. I don’t use Snapchat (hey, I’m young though) but certain obligations have required me to turn on the front camera and it’s a bit of a hassle. You will find the pulpy part of your palm covering the camera invariably.

Coming back to the design, the Mix is truly something worth gawking at. For a week or so, until you get bored of it and the impracticality starts weighing out the pleasure you get out of its great looks. It’s also the slipperiest smartphone you’ll probably ever have the pleasure of using. I’ve had a couple of heart attacks already, since it’s a really expensive phone and you usually want to be using it in one piece.

Also it turns out that it’s not the best built phone of 2016. Or to put it in other words, it’s a certain ‘handle with care’ device. I managed to chip one edge of the phone somehow, and I swear I don’t even know how. Not something you want to be happening to your heavy investment.

Reminds me of a certain popular set of words usually seen at novelty stores in India 10-15 years back…

Hardware and Performance

I mostly have only good things to say about the Mi Mix’s hardware and performance. It’s a really fast phone, which despite its humongous screen, manages to deliver a battery life that makes it fairly usable.

For starters, the Mi Mix comes with a Snapdragon 821 SoC — one the most powerful smartphones processors out there. With that, it either gets 6GB or 4GB of RAM and lots of storage. The version we tested here was the 4GB RAM/128GB, which despite being the ‘base’ version performed like a champ for the most part.

MIUI being MIUI, does have some really useful features, but also screws up at times. The screw up for me started when I had to get Google Play and other Google services running on to (the unit from Trading Shenzhen did not have these out of the box). After a good 30 minutes of trying I finally got Google running on my phone (the contacts wouldn’t sync, which is what took time).

Thankfully though, that was the end of my troubles with MIUI on the Mi Mix. It’s been smooth sailing, pretty much, since then.

The phone is blazingly fast in firing up apps, takes next to no time saving photos… in other words, the Mi Mix does behave like you’d expect a Snapdragon 821 phone to. After having used the OnePlus 3 for a few months, I will admit that there are situations when you find apps being cached out of the memory, but then it’s not all that bad. No one’s ever gonna buy the Mix for sole performance…

Where I feel Xiaomi missed a trick though is the display. While it’s a fun panel and everything, a higher (QDH-grade) resolution would’ve sealed the ‘wow’ deal all for once. Another something Xiaomi could’ve tried with the Mix (since it really wasn’t a phone they were betting their future on) is slapping on an OLED panel, just to get the saturation levels up and to make the phone look more like a ninja when the screen wasn’t turned on.

That said, looking at it with a purely objective perspective, the display is nice. It’s a bit reflective sometimes, but then getting the brightness up does the trick. What I don’t like too much about it though are the edges — they’re curved. While curved edges go well with the cartoonish MIUI, they take away a bit of class from the Mi Mix.

The fingerprint sensor on the rear is pretty much spot on all the time. It’ll take you a few days to get used to having your fingerprint scanned on the sensor instead of the camera (it sucks when that happens), but when that does happen you’ll find the sensor working pretty fine. It’s fast, and unless you have really wet hands, it’s going to unlock your phone in no time.

I use the Mix with one SIM, on 4G for the most part. Despite that, the phone has been able to return on average a full day’s use. Given that it does feature a larger-than-average size screen, I feel this is quite impressive. As for screen on time, you can easily expect 5 hours (or more) of screen time. As I write this review, the Mi Mix stands at 38% battery with 3:40 hours of screen on time.

As for the sound output, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The included loudspeaker isn’t loud enough at times, but the sound quality it outputs is manageable. There’s no dearth of bass or abundance of treble, something that a lot of Chinese phones happen to suffer from.

The ‘earpiece’ (or the lack thereof) is interesting. When you’re on a call, it feels like the entire phone is acting as a speaker, which is quite remarkable to be honest. It’s also a fun experience. As for how practically usable it is, I’d say it’s as good as a regular earpiece. The sound will certainly not be the same, but the efficacy will.

Photo Gallery

Camera and Photos

Unlike previous Xiaomi phones (the Redmi Pro, Mi 5s Plus) the Mi Mix does not have a dual rear camera setup. It’s again a bit of a surprise because Xiaomi appeared to gone all guns blazing with this one.

That said, the camera does perform fairly decently on the Mix. You are invariably going to hate the front camera sensor’s positioning, but once you realise you’re holding a Mi Mix in your hands, it’ll probably and hopefully (for you) dissipate.

Have a look at some samples.

How about a selfie test?

Xiaomi Mi Mix Review

Conclusion

The Mi Mix is a fad. It’s a superb device to look at, to show around, and to use for a few days. Beyond that point, it starts getting a little impractical. You start realising how easy it is to break, start thinking what else you could’ve done with your $800-1000.

I feel the Mix isn’t a phone designed to be tested as a regular phone, but since that’s what we do, we did it anyway. People who want a Mix will get the Mix anyway, regardless of what we (or anyone else, for that matter) say about the phone.

You can purchase the Mix from the following stores.

 

  • Build Quality - 75%
    75
  • Display - 80%
    80
  • Audio - 75%
    75
  • Battery - 80%
    80
  • Camera - 80%
    80
  • Value - 75%
    75
77.5 %

Also Read:
SHARE
Previous articleMGCOOL welcome 2017 with two new 4K action cameras
Next articleOukitel U20 Plus Review
Yash is a blogger by profession, builder of things by passion and foodie by birth. You'll usually find him talking about technology, music, travel and the game of cricket on the streets of Pune when not busy writing or speeding his way through the country! You can learn more about Yash, add him to your Google+ circles or follow him on Twitter to stay connected!
  • Oscar

    Value and Build Quality at 75%?!! I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, must’ve been a mistake.

    • What do you think it should be then?

  • Chris Turner

    I think it would be less % value for money wise , as yash said it would be better with a oled panel, not QHD, sounds manageable. Alot of money for a quirk.

  • Sere83

    Nice review. I heard camera is very poor though under low light and selfie is really bad too. I think value score should be lower, it is insanely expensive just for the fact it has no top bezel.

    • I’d say there’s a bit more to the Mix than just the extra edge of slim bezel. And then of course the fact that there’s other phones that could do 3 side slim bezels but the Mix did it before them.

      • sere83

        Yeah but first doesnt mean its good value. I still find the price very hard to justify when you consider what that money could get you, iphone 7 plus, Pixel, S7 edge, LG V20 etc etc which are clearly all better devices overall despite 1 extra bezel.

        • For now, we will HAVE to say it’s decent value. Why? Because it’s the only phone in it’s category. If you want a phone that’s as big as the iPhone 7 Plus but with a 6.4 inch screen, it’ll be the Mix. Once this section starts getting populated, there’ll be other phones ready to pounce on this one and that’s when the value would go down. Fact is that you can’t ‘judge’ the Mix on a usual scale — the phone won’t exist for someone who’s looking for a ‘usual’ phone. If you know what I mean.

    • Stef

      Not having a top bezel is the critical difference that makes it fit in tighter places. Any bigger and it would need a purse of sorts to carry. A lot of people don’t like that. It’s the only 6.4 incher that can be taken with, that is mostly the function of cut bezels, the looks is a bonus and not there for some people.

  • Wolvie

    I rather not buy this smartphone because it is so FRAGILE and not easy to take care.

    • Stef

      Let me leave here a revolutionary thought … How about using it with the included case as intended?

      • dref

        The case will help, maybe instead of 30 cm drop it will go up to 50cm… the reality is that this phone frame is not durable, at some point in the next few weeks you will break it, there is very little doubt about it…

        • Stef

          I have never cracked a phone wearing a case, I don’t know anyone having done that. I don’t even know how that may be possible with normal drops. Maybe dropping it at an angle and get the screen cracked being the first thing to hit a corner somewhere, I can’t thing of any other way.

          Silicon cases absorb impact really well, you have to try really hard to crack a phone while in silicon case. I doubt this phone would be much less durable than other phones during normal drops…

          • dref

            Well because you never did doesn’t mean it can’t happen…i’ve used a silicon case with my mate 7 yet i managed to do some damage to it.
            The problem is how they built the phone, this is no regular stuff, they made is so thin and with material (ceramic) that breaks like glass instead of deforming when there is shock (unlike metal, aluminium) so even though a case will help lower the shock, it will take longer but in the end you will break it, again very little doubt about it, but hey if you want to try buy it and come back with your feedback as Yash did…

  • dref

    Perfect phone if you intend to leave it at home on top of your chimney or else…

    • Precisely, sadly.

      • dref

        Sadly indeed,
        Even the small shenzhen factory do durability test, so does Xiaomi so what happened? they said to themselves it resist very well to scratches / breaks in pieces when dropping from 30 cm… that’s not an issue… let’s sell it?? its a commercial and brand suicide cause the people who bought it and are now pissed because its not covered by the warranty and will never trust Xiaomi again on high end device. Its not like you have multiple tries, don’t sell prototypes just for generating hype around your product, if the product is good the hype will be generated by the buyers…

  • When they said it’s a “concept phone” they really meant it. The only difference here is you can actually buy this concept phone.

  • rakesh jain

    Doogee MIX have sports glass back body with 5.5-inch AMOLED display offering Full HD resolution and comes with on-screen navigation buttons. Doogee MIX packs a MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757T) octa-core processor. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and dual-lens camera setup on the rear with 16MP and 8MP sensors. For selfies, there is a 5MP front camera placed on the bottom bezel of the device. so my choice is Doogee MIX.