Guess what?! Our CEO managed to get his hands on the brand new Xiaomi Mi Mix! Of course we had to tell you all about it. We have to warn you- this phone is pretty awesome but unfortunately US Mobile won’t be selling it, and as far as we know it can’t be used on all American networks. However, it is GSM compatible, so we popped a SIM in and found that the frequency bands supported US LTE. But even if we can’t sell it, we sure can review it!
Super busy? Here’s the quick review:
Want to know more? Here’s the full review:
When we first saw the specifications on this phone we let out an audible “WOW.” We can’t remember the last time that we’ve ever said that for a phone since maybe the introduction of the iPhone 3G. Holding it in your hand makes you feel like we’ve finally entered into the future. A phone of this caliber is might not something you’d expect from Xiaomi, but rather more from Apple or Google.
What makes the Mi Mix so special is that it features a 91.3% screen to body ratio with a 6.4inch edgeless display, making it the leader in the new push for all screen phones. Competitors such as Samsung have taken note. Less than 1 week after Xiaomi’s October press release for the Mi Mix, a Samsung engineer hinted that the Samsung Galaxy S8 could have a 90% screen to body ratio, and is expected to launch February 2017.
Technology That Packs an 18-Carat Punch
The Xiaomi Mi Mix comes in two models. One has 128GB of memory and 4GB of RAM, while the other comes with a whopping 256GB of memory and 6GB of RAM. It’s remarkable to see that we’ve come to a point where the Mi Mix has the same amount of storage as the Apple Macbook Air!
The Mi Mix has a beautiful 6.4 inch edgeless display, a 16MP camera that can shoot 4K video, a hefty 4,400 mAh battery which can power the phone for over 12 hours, and a powerful Snapdragon 821 processor (by comparison the iPhone 7 has a 12MP camera and starts at 32GB) and the entire phone is encased in a black ceramic.
In order to keep the bezel as small as possible Xiaomi nixed the proximity sensor, and the speaker. Instead they decided to use a ultrasound sensor behind the display to detect motion, and replace the proximity sensor. To replace the speaker, they created what’s called a “piezoelectric ceramic actuator” that combines with the ceramic body, and metal frame to deliver voice calls to your ears.
The Mi Mix also comes with a palm rejection software to prevent your palms from interfering. It’s also travel friendly as it is a dual nano-SIM phone.
As if all of that wasn’t enough the 256GB Mi Mix (dubbed the “Exclusive Edition”) features as 18-carat gold fingerprint reader, and camera rim on the back, and both models come with an authentic leather case.
We were impressed by the strong build quality for a phone like this, and loved the way it felt in our hands. While there is a massive screen, the Mi Mix felt like it could be used with ease.
Miui App Store and Virtual SIM Card
Like all phone sold in China, the Xiaomi Mi Mix does not come with any Google applications pre-installed. Instead they have their of the Miui App store where you can purchase applications. We found that not much had changed in the Miui app store since the Mi5, but it was still simple to use. What was surprisingly native though was Microsoft’s suite of applications. Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and Cortana are all pre-installed with the phone and run seamlessly with various features of the phone.
Another cool feature of the phone was a “Virtual SIM Card” the ability to operate the phone without a traditional SIM card in the tray. Since this isn’t a technology available in the US we weren’t able to connect to any networks. However, we when we popped two US Mobile SIM cards into the phone we were able to choose which SIM we wanted to prioritize. While SIM 1 was able to get 4G LTE, we only saw 3G available on SIM 2. This led us to think that LTE will only work for the SIM placed in the SIM1 slot.
Mi Mix Battery Life
One of the things that differentiates Chinese phones from Samsung and Apple phones, is their ability to cram larger batteries into their phones. The Mi Mix is no exception because the 4,400 mAH battery it has means that you can leave home at 9am use it all day and still have 50% at midnight! By comparison using an iPhone 7 Plus doing the same exact tasks would lead to a 15% battery by midnight.
A Magic Mirror To Tell You How Old You Look
Despite it’s awkward position in the bottom right of the phone and only being 5 megapixels, the front facing camera packs quite a punch. Our team had fun taking selfies, and playing around with features like an age detector that automatically shows the age of the person in the picture, a “magic mirror” which gives you a personal rating, and group shot mode which gives selfies a wide angle effect. Take the results of these features because Kevin, US Mobile’s Content Manager, is definitely not 30, and Ahmed, founder of US Mobile, is definitely a 10. While these may not be deal breakers for buying this phone over another, they sure were fun features, and got everyone in the office interested in the phone.
As far as the rear camera goes, we’ll let the below photos taken with the Mi Mix (above) and iPhone 7 (below) of the same thing, speak for themselves.
While this is definitely a phone of the future, there are some relatively small, but still noteworthy trade-offs. One of the biggest challenges with this phone is that since it’s all glass front and ceramic back, any slip from your hand will most likely end with a cracked screen. Not to mention without the leather case, the phone’s ceramic backing makes for a fingerprint magnet.
While the “piezoelectric ceramic actuator” is pretty cool, we found call volume sub par to phones with traditional speakers. Also, despite it’s futuristic technology, the phone is still not water resistant like the iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7.
Price & Availability
For everything that is mind-blowing about this phone, it only comes in at 3,499 yuan or approximately $510 for the 128GB model and approximately 3,999 yuan or $590 for the 256GB model.
If the Mi Mix were available in the United States is would clearly be Android’s best competitor to the iPhone 7 Plus. However, the Xiaomi phone is currently only available in China, and made in small quantities as this is still considered a “concept” phone. Our hope, of course, is that the Mi Mix will eventually launch in the US!