“The Mi MiX is a special smartphone in more ways than one. Our first impressions”

Infinity can be defined as the quality of having no limits or end. While this word certainly applies to technological innovation, there are a few things that attempt to give you just a perception… infinity pools for instance. The so called bezel-less smartphones aim for the same effect, and the term ’infinity display’ (or something similar) is finding its way into the spec sheets of an increasing number of phones these days. Cool quotient aside, many of these devices are also trying to bring about a change in conventional screen aspect ratios and moving towards widescreen displays. And while we usually tend to use handsets like the LG G6 (review) and the Samsung Galaxy S8 duo (review) as examples, last year’s Xiaomi Mi Mix is possibly a better contender. The Mi Mix wasn’t the first “bezel-less” smartphone, but it did sort of stoke the fire. Xiaomi now has a successor in the form of the Mi Mix 2, and boy, it sure looks sexy as hell.

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Related read: 5 ways the Xiaomi Mi Mix gives us a peek at the future of smartphones

Inside the box, you’ll find the phone wrapped in plastic on the left side, and a USB Type-C cable and a two-pin wall charger in separate compartments on the right.
 
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After you lift the phone up and also the plastic tray it lies on, you’ll find a small cardboard box containing a Type-C to 3.5mm audio adapter, a SIM eject tool, some documentation, and a thin black case made of rubberised plastic.

Related read: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 vs Mi Mix: what’s new

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The Mix 2 sports a 5.99-inch with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,080 pixels, in comparison to the original Mix that had a larger 6.4-inch display. The screen aspect ratio this time is 18:9. But thanks to the slim bezels, the phone hardly feels bigger than a 5.5-inch smartphone. Just like the original Mi Mix, the successor rocks flagship-grade specs, and comes powered by the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 processor. There’s 6GB of RAM in there too, and the phone comes in three different storage variants of 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.

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A special ceramic edition of the Mi Mix 2 (pictured above) will also be made available in November, and will feature a unibody ceramic design, along with a whopping 8 gigs of RAM and 128GB storage. Unfortunately, the Mi Mix 2 misses out on the latest fad of offering dual cameras. A single 12MP shooter (hiding a Sony IMX386 sensor with 4-axis OIS) at the rear handles photography, while a 5MP sensor has been provided at the front for selfies. Note that due to the design, the front camera has been placed on the small chin at the bottom… there’s just no space to accommodate it above the screen you see. Pursuant to that, it won’t be surprising to know that there’s no space for a dedicated home button and navigation keys (most other Xiaomi phones have them), so those have been implemented as part of software. The MIUI platform on the Mix 2 even lets you hide the navigation bar, so you can make use of the full screen real estate. The navigation bar can be pulled back up by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen.

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There’s a small slit above the screen which acts as the earpiece, though it’s easy to miss if you don’t look carefully. The phone utilises a special ultrasonic proximity sensor that’s hidden on the top surface somewhere. The left spine is home to a SIM tray, while the right is where the volume rocker and power key are placed. The top is barren expect for the secondary microphone, while the USB Type-C port and speaker are placed at the bottom. Note that the Mix 2 lacks a 3.5mm audio socket, but the aforementioned bundled adapter will let you use regular wired headphones with the phone if you so desire.

At the rear, the single camera lens stands out, mainly due to the 18k gold trim that surrounds it. A dual-toned flash is placed next to it, with a circular singular fingerprint scanner below it. Shift your gaze slightly lower, and you’ll see the words “Mix Designed by Xiaomi” emblazoned in thin gold lettering. So no matter if you look at it from the front or the rear, the only word we can think of to describe the phone is “sexy”.

A 3,400mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support powers the show. While most usual connectivity options like USB Type-C, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS etc are there, one of the most noteworthy highlights of the Mix 2 is that it supports 43 cellular network bands, which means it should work in most countries regardless of where you roam.

In terms of software, our review unit runs a beta build of MIUI 9, with Android Nougat 7.1.1 as base. The UI would be familiar to anyone who’s used a Xiaomi phone before, though there are new features in there as well. The camera app is the standard MIUI affair, with the usual modes like manual, Beautify and Handheld Twilight. Initial test shots look good, and thanks to those loaded innards, there no sign of any lag or stutter whatsoever. That said, a full review is in the pipeline as you read this, after which we’ll know for sure if the Mi Mix 2 is a beauty with brains or not.

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Xiaomi has been going great guns in India, mainly due to its VFM smartphones and the recent foray into offline sales that has improved availability of its devices. Most of its smartphone offerings have been evolutionary upgrades though, and it’s been a while since we saw a powerful contender from the brand’s stable in the subcontinent. While the original Mi Mix never made it to our shores, the addition of a special device like the Mi Mix 2 to the brand’s portfolio in India could do wonders to the way it’s perceived by both users and the industry. And we know for a fact that the Mi Mix 2 is coming to India… though details on the variants which will be launched, their pricing, and the exact time frame are still unknown. If the Chinese pricing of the Mi Mix 2 is any indication though, it’s time for the competition to start getting worried… very worried.

Disclosure: this writer was in China on Xiaomi India’s invitation

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