Xiaomi India finally has a flagship phone in the market: Mi Mix 2 with a price tag of Rs 35,999. With Mi Mix 2, Xiaomi is entering a new price segment in India, matching closely with the OnePlus 5, Honor 8 Pro, Moto Z2 Play etc. Xiaomi is sticking to its one flagship per year for India policy, and Mi Mix 2 is supposed to offer a taste of what the company can do in the premium range.
In the Indian market, Xiaomi is seen as an ideal value-for-money, budget player thanks to its Redmi phones, which are dominating the under Rs 15,000 segment. With Mi Mix 2, the company wants to showcase a different side: One that is premium. Unlike the Mi 6, Mi Mix 2 sports a different design, one with a nearly bezel-less display and a ceramic body. The premium segment might not be a major volume driver in India, but it does help establish a brand. For instance, Apple iPhones might not drive sales in the country, but they hold a high aspirational value for most users.
So can the Mi Mix 2 boost the company’s presence in this price band? Is it good enough for its price? Here’s our review.
Mi Mix 2 specifications: 5.99-inch LCD Display with 2160 x 1080 pixels resolution | Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor | 6GB RAM + 128GB (expandable) | 12MP rear camera + 5MP front camera | 3400 mAh battery | Android Nougat 7.1.1 with MIUI 8 |
Mi Mix 2 price in India: Rs 35,999
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Design, Display review
Mi Mix was a concept phone when it launched in 2016 thanks to the unique, bezel-less design and ceramic unibody. With Mi Mix 2, Xiaomi is taking this design mainstream, though a lot of other players are now offering a full screen display. Mi Mix had an 17:9 aspect ratio and big 6.44-inch display, but Mi Mix 2 gets an 18:9 aspect ratio and a smaller 5.99-inch display.
Another key departure from the original phone is that Mi Mix 2 doesn’t have a ceramic unibody. The Special Edition version does, but that’s not coming to India. Mi Mix 2 has all-glass front, a ceramic back and a 7000 series aluminium frame on the side. Xiaomi is also bundling a smartphone cover with the Mi Mix 2 in India, which is good to see.
The ceramic has a plasticky feel to it, but this doesn’t mean the phone looks cheap or tacky. From a design perspective, this is as premium as it can get from Xiaomi. The ceramic is glossy and the black colour version looks spectacular. However, the back cover is prone to collecting fingerprint smudges and you might find yourself constantly cleaning the phone if you are picky about such stuff.
Mi Mix 2 represents an evolution of the original design. The bottom chin on the front is smaller, Xiaomi has killed the headphone jack on this phone, the corners are more rounded and the display merges into the metal frame. The phone is bulky, but easy to use with one hand. The front camera remains at the bottom, and this phone has an actual speaker, instead of last year’s piezoelectric ceramic driver.
The display on the Mi Mix 2 is one of the highlights of this phone. In this aspect, Mi Mix 2 has an edge over phones like OnePlus 5 or Honor 8 Pro, which are in a similar price bracket. Mi Mix 2’s 5.99-inch LCD display with 2160 x 1080 pixels resolution is bright, vivid with excellent colour reproduction. For videos, the full vision display experience is something else, and Xiaomi has delivered so far with the displays on its phones. The Mi Mix 2 just makes this experience a whole lot better, even if this is not an AMOLED one. The only issue is that at times the 18:9 aspect ratio might make some apps, even videos feel stretched out.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Performance
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. Performance on this phone is at par with other devices like OnePlus 5, Honor 8 Pro, etc and it scores just under the Samsung Galaxy S8 in the Antutu Benchmark tests. The GeekBench scores are in line with other flagships with the phone scoring 1900 in single-core and 6000 plus in the multi-core tests, putting it above the older S7, S7 edge, etc in terms of performance.
Mi Mix 2 is a zippy smartphone and has not given any cause for complaint with daily usage. Multi-tasking on the phone, switching between 20 tabs or so Google Chrome, running games like Asphalt 8, etc did not cause any noticeable lag on this phone. At times it does get warm, but nothing unbearable. There are no major heating problems like I faced with Mi 5.
In this one and half week usage period, I would say Mi Mix 2 works like a premium phone and considering the price, this delivers on expectations.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Software
Mi Mix 2 has MIUI 8 on top with Android Nougat 7.1.1 running on it. Xiaomi has not announced or confirmed when the global Android Oreo or MIUI 9 build will be able on this smartphone. Again installing the developer ROM, when it is rolled out, can be a painful experience on Xiaomi smartphones and not all users might appreciate this process. Creating a premium phone also means regular updates on the software front and it will be interesting to see when MIUI 9 with Android Oreo is rolled out for this.
Xiaomi has some tweaks for the Mi Mix 2. Users can control which apps have access to the full vision display. There’s also a QuickBall option, which can be used to control the phone with one-hand, rather than relying on the bottom screen buttons. Users can hide those and enjoy the extra space on the Mi Mix 2’s display.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Camera
Mi Mix 2’s front camera is at the bottom. Xiaomi expects users to turn the phone upside down to take a selfie. This is not the most convenient way to take a selfie and people will not be happy doing this on a regular basis. The rear camera doesn’t offer anything fancy like dual sensors or a portrait mode.
But Mi Mix 2’s camera is a capable one, especially in good lighting conditions. Some of the shots captured with it have enough details and the colours don’t appear over-saturated. In my opinion, Mi Mix 2 is one of the best cameras I’ve experienced on Xiaomi phones so far. The camera is fast and there’s very little shutter lag.
However, pictures taken inside or in low-light do have noise, and once you zoom in the details are not as sharp. Is this the best camera you’d find on a smartphone in this price range? I would not say so for the Mi Mix 2. The low-light performance is what needs to improve drastically. Still the camera performs well, like a mid-range flagship.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Battery
The phone’s battery is 3400 mAh, which is smaller than the one on the original Mi Mix smartphone. However, Mi Mix 2’s battery has performed well, even though it did not score very high on the PCMark battery test. The phone got around 5 hours plus on the test, which is not the most impressive score on paper. But in my overall usage, even with extensive usage, the phone lasts around 12 hours plus. In one usage case, I got 8 hours screen on time with the Mi Mix 2.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Verdict
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is clearly pitched as a premium product, where the extra price is all for the design innovation around the display and ceramic body. The performance of the phone is excellent, and the battery life should be sufficient for most users. The camera is still somewhere in the middle in my opinion. This is by no means an exceptional camera, either on the front or the back, and that’s a crucial factor for a phone in this price range.
Design-wise, Mi Mix 2 is definitely unique. The almost bezel-less display and a ceramic body make this phone stand out compared to the competition. But for the average consumer, design might not be such a big deal. What will matter most is the performance and thankfully Mi Mix 2 has no major issues on this front. Still, the price means Mi Mix 2 might not have the sales volume of a Redmi Note 4.
There’s no doubt Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 delivers on the premium experience. Yes, the design is different and the display excellent. But that’s never enough. It’s definitely a phone worth considering, if you don’t really care for dual rear cameras. But nonetheless, Xiaomi will have a tough time convincing customers to pick this one from the several other mid-range flagships in the market.