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Hands on: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

December 13th, 2017 | by Louis Teo
Hands on: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
Cellphones
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The Mi Mix 2 fits comfortably in my relatively small hands, during a quick preview at a media event this week. PHOTO: Louis Teo

The Mi Mix 2, China phone maker Xiaomi’s successor to its “edgeless phone” from last year, is out in Singapore for S$699 this week with many features you’d expect from Android flagships this year.

The Mi Mix 2 sports a 5.99-inch Full HD IPS LCD display, updated for 2017 with rounded corners and an 18:9 aspect ratio. Xiaomi says it has cut the display from 6.4 inches on the Mi Mix to improve usability, in response to customer feedback.

On the whole, the new phone is visibly smaller than the Mi Mix, going by a quick hands-on at a Singapore launch this week.

Xiaomi has shortened the chin by reworking component parts under the display, while the top bezel is just a bit larger because the phone maker has added a “guided earpiece speaker” to raise call quality.

Still, the Mi Mix 2 refines the bold all-screen look of its older sibling with an 80.8 per cent screen-to-body ratio. The display almost fills the entire face of the phone, save for a small chin at the bottom.

Build-wise, the Mi Mix 2 follows the 2017 glass-and-aluminium formula like other flagships but it stands out with a polished ceramic back, just like the Mi Mix.

The ceramic back gleams but is a huge fingerprint magnet. PHOTO: Louis Teo

Xiaomi says its ceramic is tougher and more scratch-resistant than glass, but the Mi Mix 2 is still a serious fingerprint magnet. The phone is also not water-resistant, so adventurous users should take care when outdoors.

At 7.7mm thick, the Mi Mix 2 feels like a solid slab. PHOTO: Louis Teo

In all, the Mi Mix 2 feels great in the hand. With its rounder edges, smaller size, and an 18:9 aspect ratio, the phone fits snugly in my small palms for one-handed use.

At 185g, the phone feels hefty to match its premium tag. I also like that Xiaomi uses a grippier matte aluminium frame to balance the Mi Mix 2’s slippery ceramic back.

On the imaging front, Xiaomi has spurned the trendy dual-camera system for a single 12-megapixel Sony IMX386 sensor at f/2.0, with a larger 1.25μm pixel size. Supported by phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and four-axis OIS, the camera should net you good shots in both bright and dim conditions.

Nestled quietly in the bottom right corner of the front of the phone is a 5-megapixel shooter, with 36 smart beauty profiles to up your selfie game.

Under the hood, the Mi Mix 2 is powered by flagship internals. It uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset with the Adreno 540 GPU to supply plenty of power for daily use.

PHOTO: Louis Teo

The Mi Mix 2 comes with a 3,400 mAh battery, down from 4,400 mAh in the Mi Mix. The drop is likely because the Snapdragon 835 is built on a 10-nanometre process, which sips less juice than the 14-nanometre Snapdragon 821 onboard the Mi Mix.

Like the Mi Mix, the new phone supports Quick Charge 3.0, so users should be able to get a quick recharge in the day as long as they have a compatible charging brick.

The bad news is Xiaomi is only offering the black 64GB/6GB RAM version of the Mi Mix 2 in Singapore. There is also no expandable storage, so you need to think about your memory needs before getting one.

The good news is the Mi Mix 2 comes with 43 cellular bands, more than any other flagship phone. Users should be able to visit far-flung locations without fretting about connectivity.

Finally, Xiaomi has removed the 3.5mm headphone jack like many flagships this year. The phone also does not come with earphones, though Xiaomi has packed a 3.5mm to USB-C adaptor to let users plug in their own earphones.

The lack of bundled audio is a bummer but at $699, the Mi Mix 2 is offering several flagship features for less money and could be a surprise choice this holiday season. Preorders began December 12 on the XiaoMi Official Store in Lazada. Challenger and authorised Mi stores will start selling the phone on December 15.

PHOTO
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