Xiaomi some took heat for the original Mi Mix last year. It featured a 6.4-inch screen that many complained was just too big. We loved it. Its enormous screen was pushed to the very corners of the phone’s frame, and the entire design of the device was driven by the goal to eliminate the bezel entirely.
The Mi Mix was a pioneer of the borderless display that is quickly becoming commonplace. Xiaomi had a chance to make a big statement yet again with the Mi Mix 2, but instead decided to jump in line with companies like Samsung and LG by churning out a vanilla 2017 smartphone.
People complain that the original Mi Mix was hard to use one-handed and hard to fit into a pocket, but that’s the price you pay for a big screen. Xiaomi had it right the first time, it’s not like it was a secret how big the Mi Mix was. Why would you intentionally buy a gigantic phone and then complain you can’t use it with one hand?
In response, Xiaomi has reduced the size of the Mi Mix 2 by 11.9 percent when compared to the original, with a mere 5.99-inch screen. A display of this size in 2017 puts the Mi Mix 2 into the realm of a normal smartphone size.
They even changed the aspect ratio from 17:9 to 18:9, similar to what Samsung and LG are using on their phones this year. The Mi Mix 2 basically sits in between Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus in terms of overall size. Hardly a phablet by today’s standards.
The Mi Mix 2 is 20g lighter, and significantly less wide across from left to right. It lacks any sort of rated water resistance; it has a standard, single-lens camera instead of a dual-camera set-up; and it doesn’t have a headphone jack or wireless charging.
The 12-megapixel camera sports an optically stabilized f/2.0 lens, so it is capable of taking good photos, but it can’t compete with the best cameras from Google, Apple, or Samsung. Not a mobile photographers first choice by any stretch, but certainly good enough for most people.
The front-facing camera is still at the bottom of the phone instead of the top, so when it’s time to take a selfie, you’ll have to flip the phone around. No upgrade in resolution either, it remains at 5MP and records 1080p video.
The Mi Mix comes with MIUI 9, which is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, but doesn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen from Google. It’s more like an interpretation of iOS, made to fit the Android platform.
One thing that does stand out is the hardware. The Mi Mix 2 is powered by a cutting edge Snapdragon 835 SoC with a 10nm, 2.45GHz octa-core Kryo 280 processor, along with 6GB RAM.
Unfortunately, the Mi Mix 2 falls short when it comes to internal storage. The base model only has 64GB of space and there is no external memory slot, so you are stuck with what you get.
Anyone who is serious about their smartphone will be looking at the special edition, which packs 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. It also features an 18K gold coating around the camera and the fingerprint sensor rim.
The special edition also uses ceramic over the entire body of the device instead of the aluminum in the standard model. It’s a major step forward in smartphone construction that rivals the likes of the Essential PH-1.
The Mi Mix 2 won’t be for Sale in the US, but Xiaomi has added global bands to allow it to be used internationally. It will first be available in China and eventually make its way everywhere Xiaomi sells phones, with prices ranging from 3299 yuan (about $500) to 4699 yuan ($720).
The original Mi Mix made every other phone look outdated at the time of release. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the Mi Mix 2. It would have been better to leave the display size alone while adding more resolution and a dual camera setup.