Review Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 6/64GB smartphone for $379.99
The Xiaomi Mi Mix caused a sensation at the turn of 2016/2017 with the implementation of an almost borderless display. A trend that accompanies the year 2017 and was also taken up by Samsung, for example, in the new Galaxy Note 8. The most anticipated China smartphone this year was the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, which has also caused a sensation outside the China gadget community. We are accordingly excited to finally test the high-end smartphone!
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 (6/64 GB)
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 (6/128 GB)
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 (6/265 GB)
- Special Edition: 8GB/128GB
|Display Size||5,99 in|
|Display Resolution||2160 x 1080 p|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 @ 2.45/1.9GHz|
|Graphic Chip||Adreno 540|
|Graphic Chip Clocking||653 MHz|
|Internal Memory||64-256 GB|
|Internal Memory Type||UFS 2.1|
|Camera Type & Aperture||Sony IMX386 sensor with PDAF & f/2.0 aperture|
|Front Camera||5 MP|
|Connectivity||LTE Band 1,3,5,7,8,20, WLAN AC, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Features||Fingerprint sensor, USB type C, no headphone jack, Quick Charge 3.0|
|Operating System||MIUI 9, Android 7.1.1 Nougat|
|Dimensions||151.8 x 75.5 x 7.7 mm|
Let’s start at the beginning. Meanwhile, as a gadget editor, some smartphones have already been unpacked. Xiaomi always follows the motto “less is more” in its packaging. So when the messenger finally delivered us the long-awaited package and we were allowed to open the black box. This is decorated with a simple “MIX” lettering (without “2”), which is dyed in bronze gold. Not a Xiaomi-typical white box. A first indication of the special value of the mobile phone?
Design & workmanship: noble, noble
After reading a greeting from Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun in the same design in Chinese (we got the Chinese version, not the “Global Version”), you can expect the Mi Mix 2, which stands out directly through the large display. On the side next to it is the charger with CN plug and the USB-C charging cable. Getting the smartphone out of its packaging isn’t that easy, but it’s worth the effort as soon as you hold it in your hands.
First impression: WOW! The display with a screen diagonal of 6 inches takes up 81% of the entire front. Slightly less than its predecessor, but this compromise had to be made in the course of development. The dimensions of the Mix 2 are 15.18 x 7.55 x 0.77 cm and are therefore very similar to the OnePlus 5, which “only” has a 5.5″ display. At 153g, the OP5 is also significantly lighter, while the Xiaomi phone weighs an impressive 189g.
THE rimless smartphone?
The first mix has started the trend of borderless smartphones and the successor of course does not want to be inferior in anything. Even the Mi Mix 2 is not really “borderless” in the actual sense of the word. Nevertheless, the Chinese manufacturer managed to make the actual top, left and right edges very thin. Due to the slightly protruding metal housing frame, however, these do not appear as thin. In contrast to Apple, Xiaomi leaves its top model the lower edge of the screen, which is 9 mm long but pleasantly narrow. This chin, the lower edge, is 12% thinner than its predecessor. The positioning of the front camera is unfortunately very unusual, more about this later.
Physical buttons are therefore also omitted on the bottom side and can be found as soft buttons “on” the display. The only physical keys are the power button and the volume rocker on the right side of the case frame. The keys are also made of metal and have a good pressure point. On the other hand, there is the dual-nano SIM card slot, which disappears flat in the housing and does not wobble. While there is a small recess for the auricle at the top of the case, the USB type C connector is located on the bottom. As you already know it from the Mi 6, you unfortunately have to do without a 3.5 mm jack connection.
Ceramic back – curse and blessing
What’s interesting is that Xiaomi almost manages to top it off with the design of the back. Although it looks like glass, it is made entirely of a ceramic material and mirrors accordingly. The main camera is centrally located on the back and is surrounded by a gold-plated ring – very noble! With a small distance follows below the fingerprint sensor. In a line with this, the golden but plain writing “MIX DESIGN BY XIAOMI” follows from the middle of the back, which does not detract from the high quality of the smartphone. The biggest disadvantage of the back is the high susceptibility to fingerprints and of course the risk of breakage.
The design and workmanship hardly allow for any criticism. I can’t complain about the quality and precision of the workmanship, because nothing sits loose and nothing looks somehow cheap – that’s how it should be. Only the backside is a negative point for me, because it looks high quality, but after a short use it is full of fingerprints. Clearly, the appearance is always a question of taste, but for me the device is probably the blueprint for smartphone design in 2017, which can be seen not least in the countless copies á la Vernee Mix 2 or Ulefone Mix.
The main focus of the Mix 2 is of course the display. At first glance it is immediately noticeable that the four corners are rounded, which creates a modern look. Xiaomi relies here on a 5.99 inch “Full Screen” screen, which has an aspect ratio of 18:9 (or 2:1) and a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. This results in a pixel density of 402 ppi. Although there is nothing wrong with the resolution, one still wishes that Xiaomi would have even set to 2960 x 1440p, as for example Samsung with the S8.
Nevertheless, the brightness is pleasant and at an average value is absolutely sufficient to recognize everything well. However, at full brightness it does not radiate as strongly as one might expect. By default, the contrast is automatically optimized depending on the amount of light available. The operating system also manages this fine adjustment very well. If necessary, you can also set an eye-friendly mode in the MIUI settings, for example, or switch off this automatic contrast optimization. Colours are faithfully reproduced and not over-saturated, but rather reduced, further emphasising the modern look.
The touch screen panel reacts sensitively and therefore very quickly. Even a slight swipe gesture in the menu moves the apps. You are used to this from devices of the big manufacturers, but it is not always the standard with cheaper Chinese smartphones. Xiaomi does without a display foil as a standard feature, which is a pity, but also manageable. This may help to antireflect the screen, but it is not a must. For my feeling, the device does not reflect very strongly, but if you concentrate on it, of course. But I didn’t notice this negatively during use.
Hardware: Top Notch
The previous assumptions have come true: a Snapdragon 835 processor inside. This CPU is currently Qualcomm’s strongest and works with two clusters. Four Kyro 280 cores clock at up to 2.45 GHz and four more at 1.9 GHz. It’s not the first Xiaomi smartphone with this processor, but it still joins the other flagships, as Google Pixel 2, HTC U11 and Nubia Z17 also use it. With 6 GB Dual Channel LPDDR4X RAM, the RAM is very generous and fast. The Special Edition even uses 8 GB of RAM. The internal memory is optionally 64, 128 or 256 GB, but cannot be expanded via microSD card. This is unusual for Chinese manufacturers and reminds a bit of Apple’s pricing policy – just sayin’.
What is there to say about the performance? The thing runs simply and without any problems! Whether I switch from a 3D game to the camera app and then back to a benchmark, it works without much delay. And that’s just unbelievable fun, especially in everyday use. The booting process is also pleasantly fast. Compared to the Mi 6, which is basically equipped with the same specs, it seems to me even a bit faster overall.
All in all, the performance of the Mi Mix 2 leaves nothing to be desired and can compete with current top models from other manufacturers, which certainly cost almost twice as much. I could praise you even longer, but just believe me when I tell you that Mix 2 purrs like a kitten. This is also demonstrated by the results of the benchmarks we have carried out.
In the Antutu benchmark the Mi Mix 2 reaches a value of about 170 000 and ranks among the ten strongest smartphones at the moment, just like the Mi 6. If you look at the latest mid-range smartphone from your own ranks, the Xiaomi Mi A1, the Snapdragon 625 achieves a value of 4280 in multi-core geekbench.
Does it have to be a dual camera?
Xiaomi uses the main camera of the Xiaomi Mi 6, but does not implement a second lens. The Sony IMX386 sensor is used for this purpose. In addition, the camera works with 4-axis image stabilization. The lens consists of five lenses and offers an average aperture of ƒ/2.0. The autofocus used here is the phase comparison autofocus.
MIUI users are already familiar with the camera app. This offers different modes such as video, panorama or a manual mode and thus actually covers all needs. Due to the missing dual lens camera, however, you don’t get a bokeh mode that actually works well with the Mi 6 or Mi A1. With Xiaomi phones I am even happy about this mode, which simulates a depth of field in the image and thus produces very respectable results. For other manufacturers, this is far from as mature. So I’m a little surprised that the flagship in particular isn’t equipped with this feature.
Still, I’m really happy with the photo that the Mix 2 takes. Photos are not supersaturated and do not appear artificial, Xiaomi seems to keep the images very neutral, which makes them look modern as well. All in all, however, the colours are displayed correctly and the images are still beautifully sharp and rich in contrast, even in slightly poorer lighting conditions. Thanks to the resolution of 12 megapixels, the results not only look good on the display, but are also convincing on a larger computer screen.
Since it’s best to judge for yourself, we sent Maike to London to take some test photos (No, we didn’t, but it sounds cool 😉 ).
The results are also satisfactory in somewhat sparsely lit interiors such as cafés or restaurants. Even a grain size due to an increased ISO value can hardly be determined here at first glance.
The biggest compromise that the development team at Xiaomi had to make in the course of the special design concerns the positioning of the front camera. Once a position at the front top has established itself in the Evolution smartphone, the Chinese manufacturer is forced to break with tradition and place the front camera on the underside. It has a resolution of 5 megapixels and can record videos in Full HD. In addition, the obligatory beauty mode (seriously, who uses this?), an age and sex recognition that works relatively precisely and a timer are available.
If you switch from the main camera to the front camera for the first time, you first look very funny. Because of the low position of the camera you can see yourself in a very unfavourable angle with your typical selfie position. Therefore, the app tells you to rotate the device 180°. You won’t get this hint if you use it several times. Personally, I find spinning the Mix 2 annoying, fortunately I rarely use the front camera. Once you have found your peace with it, you can take on very solid selfies.
In direct comparison to an iPhone 7, for example, the image is brighter and the focus is set quickly. Colors are reproduced accurately, but there is a lack of sharpness. Apple’s front camera can make up a point here. However, the photos are also very rich in contrast, almost a bit too much – a matter of taste.
Some manufacturers use the principle “the more, the better”, as Blackview does with the P10000 Pro, whereas the Mi Mix 2 seems to be sparsely equipped with the 3,400 mAh battery. That’s not true, of course. Due to the in-house operating system, Xiaomi usually manages a really good coordination regarding software and hardware. Although the battery needs to power a 6 inch display and the Snapdragon 835 also requires its portion of energy, the Mix 2 achieves a good battery life. With LTE turned on, Bluetooth, social media thinning and occasional gambling, I got about 1.5 days. Of course, such a general statement is always difficult, as the individual usage times can vary greatly.
As a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU is installed inside the Mix 2, Quick Charge 3.0 support is provided, which completely charges the phone within approx. 1:30 h. However, the top model may also achieve the good battery life by the fact that the display is not as bright as expected and “only” resolves with 1080P. So it is quite possible that Xiaomi had to make a compromise here so that both aspects balance each other out. In our battery life benchmark the smartphone reaches a good ten hours of battery life.
The operating system: MIUI 9
As you may have already noticed on the pictures, Xiaomis MIUI 9 is used. We recently received the update to version 9 after flashing the global version of the operating system. This is already a lot less “bloated” than the Chinese version. Apart from the app of the MIUI Forum and the security and booster app, you won’t find any bloatware here anymore.
The animations of Xiaomi’s customized app icons are very nice to look at and reminiscent of iOS. MIUI 9.1.1 (security patch of 10/17) is still based on Android 7.1.1. but also an Android 8 update will probably still be available – when can unfortunately not be said yet.
Overall, the design of the user interface is of course a matter of taste. The coloring and clear reference to iOS are not exactly mine now, but there are themes for that. Of course you can also simply install another launcher and you have a pixel interface on a Xiaomi mobile. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 MIUI operating system, for example.
Small additions like the Quick Ball, Double-tap-to-wake or the possibility to wipe down anywhere on the home screen to see the notifications are well thought out and all individually adjustable. I have definitely grown fond of Mix 2 MIUI (with themes) in my time. Especially the speed and the fluid animations you don’t want to miss anymore.
Yes, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 comes with LTE – also in the Chinese version. While the launch of the Mi 6 probably didn’t have the European market in mind yet, the increasing international attention for Xiaomi apparently ensured that the Mix 2 was marketed globally. That’s why there’s even support for a total of 43 LTE bands worldwide, which should cover you (almost) everywhere. Of course you can also use two SIM cards at the same time, but unfortunately you cannot use one slot for a microSD card.
When it comes to WLAN and Bluetooth, the Mix 2 is also at the ravages of time. Whether the available WLAN network has 2.4 or 5 GHz (AC-WLAN) is displayed under MIUI, because both are supported. Just like Bluetooth 5.0, which you rarely get to see, at least in Chinese smartphones. This is also essential when connecting peripheral devices to the Xiaomi device. As with the Mi 6, there is no 3.5 mm AUX input. You need either Xiaomi’s USB-C in-ear headphones or Bluetooth headphones to enjoy your music. Of course you can also use the included adapter. In addition, the telephone with NFC, i.e. Near Field Communication, offers the current transmission standard that can be used for payments or connections with external hardware – very nice!
Despite the glass back of the device, Xiaomi does not implement Qi charging capability. Very sad, the manufacturer has left some potential here, because the Mix 2 would have been the latest Chinese smartphone that can be charged wirelessly. Therefore it offers a modern USB Type-C port, which is used for charging.
Extras & Accessories
When it comes to extras, its flagship covers all basic needs. The notification LED is located at the bottom of the screen, like the front camera, but it is central. When the charging cable is plugged in, the LED indicates this, just as when you receive a notification. Both can be turned off in the settings if required.
My little personal highlight of the Mi Mix 2 is the fingerprint sensor. Sure, a 3D face recognition like the new OnePlus 5T doesn’t have it, but the sensor on the back easily makes up for that. This one works so well and fast that it really surprised me! The Mix 2 doesn’t have to shy away from the comparison to Apple’s TouchID. Considering how often you unlock your phone within a day, this speed is very advantageous.
The scope of delivery is reasonably large. Since we did not get to the Global version, we were supplied with the Chinese plug. In addition, there is a USB type C cable, the SIM needle, a very noble user manual (unfortunately in Chinese) and a USB C to AUX adapter. In addition, a hard plastic case is available here, which has migrated directly to our smartphone. This makes a high-quality impression, prevents countless fingerprints and provides a good grip. Very cool also that the writing “MIX DESIGNED BY XIAOMI” was also taken up.
Conclusion: the best China smartphone?
After the new Xiaomi RoboRock Sweep One no gadget was expected as much as the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, believe me, when I say that every postman’s ring has raised my expectations. Can it meet these expectations? It is undeniably the best smartphone I have ever tested and generally held in my hands. And especially because it’s fun to use. The workmanship is perfect, the large display in this (well almost) borderless design looks very noble. With a newly installed Global ROM, MIUI is a very round operating system that is also well adapted to the hardware components. The two cameras also ensure good photos that are suitable for more than just a snapshot.
However, Xiaomi has also left room for improvements. The front camera positioned at the bottom seems like a compromise that had to be made. Due to the technical specifications, the Mix 2 has to compete with the big flagships of other manufacturers. There are two differences that Xiaomi has to improve to keep up: First, wireless charging via Qi and second, water resistance (at least IP67). Of course, these are not essential features, but they would round off the overall package even further. Besides: Technically this is the Mi 6. The innovation is therefore limited to the design, which has been excellently successful.
Since the price of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is now slowly but surely moving below the $400 mark, I can make a clear recommendation to buy the device overall, because it really does something visually and in performance. If you can overlook the small weaknesses of the missing extras, you simply have here an ingenious smartphone, which does not have to hide from flagships of Samsung, Huawei or HTC known here.
The successor: the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
For several months, rumours of a possible direct successor have persisted. Meanwhile Xiaomi has officially introduced the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S to the market! This is the new flagship from Xiaomi, which is particularly evident in the technical specifications and features. The new Snapdragon 845 processor is installed, plus 8 GB RAM and 256 GB internal memory. On the back is a dual camera that works with AI (artificial intelligence) to achieve better photos. The phone also supports wireless induction charging.
In design, on the other hand, not much is happening. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S is very similar to the Mi Mix 2 and has the same display.To the gadget