The original Mi Mix released in 2016 was clearly an end result of creativity and a proof to what Xioami, as a smartphone manufacturer is capable of. It was mentioned as a concept phone by Xioami themselves and was sold only in China, that too in limited quantities. Despite the fact that the original Mix was a concept phone and it came with its own quirks, a lot of publications and reviewers across the world had good things to say about it, at least from a design perspective. Back in its time, bezel-less designs were far from existence and the Mi Mix did manage to be a head-turner.
Fast forward to 2017, where bezel-less is the whole new trend and the tall 18:9 display can be seen even on budget offerings, enters the Mi Mix 2 - successor to the original Mi Mix, but this time not as a concept phone. According to Xiaomi, Mi Mix 2 is more structured towards mainstream customers and is meant to be used as a daily driver. They had to make some compromises to fit a daily driver material in the complex bezel-less chassis nonetheless.
In India, Xiaomi has introduced only a single variant - the one with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage which retails for Rs.36,999. Let's take price as our benchmark here. Yes, the Mi Mix 2 is priced right on par with the mighty OnePlus 5 which has been dominating the segment for quite some time.
And, did you hear rumors regarding the upcoming Oneplus 5T?
Mi Mix 2 competes not only with OnePlus 5 but with a slew of very powerful devices like the Nokia 8, Honor 8 Pro and LG G6. Technically you can't go wrong with any of these devices, but how does the Mi Mix 2 fair amongst them. Let's find out.
The design is the most highlighting factor of Mi Mix 2. In fact, it is designed under the jurisdiction of a world-renowned designer - Philippe Starck. It is a gorgeous looking device, there is no doubt in that. Xiaomi has reduced the screen size from 6.4 inches on the original Mix to 5.99 inches on the Mix 2, which vastly improved the in-hand feel of the smartphone. The top and side bezels of Mix 2 are more prominent than its predecessor. That's because Xiaomi had to replace the piezoelectric acoustic earpiece with a regular one, which makes the top bezel a little more noticeable. It's not that of a big deal though.
The Aluminum alloy frame adds to the rigidity of the chassis at the same time provides a nice grip. The shiny ceramic back panel and the 18k gold ring around the camera module scream premium. The Ceramic back has subtle curves on all sides which blends nicely with the frame, but it picks up fingerprints and smudges pretty quickly.
Overall, in a design point of view, Mi Mix 2 is far superior compared to its competitors.
As said earlier Mi Mix 2 comes with a 5.99-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, sporting a resolution of 1080x2160, which might be a bummer for some of you as you will be missing out on the crispiness of a Quad HD as well as the deep inky blacks of an AMOLED display. With that said, Mi Mix 2's display is not bad by any means. The 18:9 aspect ratio is gaining popularity and as more developers optimize their apps, you will eventually get rid of the black bars at the top and bottom.
Mi Mix 2 has all bells and whistles when it comes to performance. The Snapdragon 835 SoC can fly through apps and games and the 6GB of RAM makes multi-tasking a breeze on this device. It is equipped with a 3400mAh battery which is lesser compared to its predecessor, but the smaller screen and power efficient Snapdragon 835 makes up for it. It also supports QuickCharge 3.0 via USB Type-C. Xiaomi claims that Mi Mix 2 is one of the fastest fingerprint scanners in any smartphone
Mi Mix 2 has 128GB UFS 2.1 internal storage which is not expandable. I feel 128GB is plenty enough for even a heavy user.
From a performance standpoint, it can easily compete with any high-end flagship smartphone released in 2017.
Let's address the elephant in the room, Mi Mix 2 doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack. While all of its competitors (I mentioned above) come with a headphone jack, Mi Mix 2 is definitely lacking behind. Xiaomi does provide a Type-C to headphone jack adapter in the box though. Speaker quality is also nothing spectacular, especially when compared to devices with dual stereo speakers or those with a dedicated DAC.
If you are a media junkie you are not going to appreciate Xiaomi's take on the headphone jack as well as speaker quality.
Camera performance on Mi Mix 2 is a mixed bag. It sports a 12MP Sony IMX386 sensor with f/2.0 aperture, 1.25-micron pixel size, and 4-axis OIS. The rear camera can shoot quite good images which are comparable, if not better than that of its competitors, but nowhere close to a high-end flagship like iPhone 8 or Galaxy Note 8. Plus the lack of a dual camera setup, which by the way, all of its competitors have, is evident here. That means you are lacking all the benefits of dual cameras like the portrait mode effect and much more.
In a nutshell, a mobile photography enthusiast cannot unleash his full potential with the Mi Mix 2's camera. It is good for occasional photos and video recording.
Video recording up to 4K at 30fps is supported. While the videos are of decent quality and the OIS does help with stabilization, it is not up to the mark of even the OnePlus 5's EIS algorithm.
The selfie camera on Mi Mix 2 is just average at its best. It is placed at an odd location - on the right corner of the bottom chin, but it is a lot less noticeable compared to the original Mi Mix's front camera. The front camera is one of the compromises Xiaomi had to make in order to create a beautiful looking device.
Though Xiaomi's camera app prompts users to hold the device upside down to get better selfies, this trick doesn't seem to work with most social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Quality of the front camera is also nothing worth speaking about. It's just a 5MP camera and doesn't expect mind-boggling pictures out of it.
Mi Mix 2 runs MIUI 8.5 (at the time of writing this article) on top of Android Nougat. While the MIUI 9 update is right around the corner, we can't say when it'll be treated with the latest flavor of Android i.e. Android 8.0 Oreo. MIUI 9 itself brings a lot of visual as well as performance improvements with it.
The software is always a personal preference. These days, I notice many people enjoy using MIUI rather than stock Android or any other OEM skins. MIUI provides a ton of features including theme support, parallel apps, second space, etc. which most of you find useful.
If you are okay with MIUI, Mi Mix 2 won't disappoint you. But if you are more of a stock Android person you can take a look at either the Nokia 8 which runs pure Android, or the OnePlus 5 which runs OxygenOS - a close to the stock Android skin.
Mi Mix 2 comes with almost all connectivity options that we expect from a flagship - 4G/VoLTE, 3G, 2G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS and NFC. It supports 43 bands over 6 network modes which means it can be used with almost any carrier in the world. It also packs in all the necessary sensors.
By the way, Mi Mix 2 lacks an IR Blaster which lets you use the phone as a remote control for home appliances. If that is something that you can't live without, take a look at the Honor 8 Pro, which is also a decent buy at this price range.
Mi Mix 2 lacks high-end flagship features like wireless charging and IP68 water and dust resistance. That is totally forgivable, given the fact that none of its competitors at this price range have these features. That doesn't include the LG G6 which is now selling at a discounted price of around Rs.36,000 in India. It comes with IP68 water resistance and it's also a decent performer, barring the presence of last year's Snapdragon 821 underneath.
So, here comes the final question.
Should you spend your hard earned money on Mi Mix 2?
Yes, if you are in search of a gorgeous looking smartphone made out of premium materials, top-notch performance and immense customizability offered by MIUI, plus if you can get over the absence of a dual camera setup, average front camera, decently sounding speakers (not bad) and of course, the absence of headphone jack, Mi Mix 2 is definitely the device for you.
That being said, don't get the Mi Mix 2 if you are by any means a rough user. If you are not sure with that, I'd highly recommend getting a case for the Mi Mix 2.
Xiaomi did get a lot of things right with the Mi Mix 2. Even with its drawbacks, it still secures a place in its segment and offers a good competition nonetheless.
What do you think about the Mi Mix 2? Would you prefer it over the OnePlus 5 or Nokia 8? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.