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Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is about to conquer the world. The weaknesses of Mi Mix 1 were corrected and size as well as design now fit every user. Xiaomi is dominating the global market and was able to increase the number of worldwide sales in 60% compared to the second quarter in 2016 (source). Even in terms of the number of sold phones Xiaomi is now back in the top 5 together with Samsung, Apple, Huawei and OPPO. Here it is only the Chinese manufacturers that gain more and more power whereas Samsung and Apple are unchanged.
But now let’s have a look at Xiaomi Mi Mix 2: the device has a 6-inch display framed by a 5.5-inch smartphone’s case. The most powerful smartphone processor at the moment, Snapdragon 835, in combination with 6GB and 8GB in the special edition respectively, supplies the phone with more than enough power. Also, the phone offers high-end features as stereo speakers, optical image stabilization for the camera as well as Bluetooth 5.0. Additionally, you get a worldwide LTE reception! Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 has accompanied me for 2 weeks of daily use.
Design and build quality
Xiaomi is the unchallenged pioneer in terms of premium materials for smartphones. Xiaomi Mi Mix, for example, came up with a ceramic frame and rear that was fixed together without any glue. The normal version of Mi Mix 2 now took it slow and offers a combination of aluminum frame and ceramic rear. We already know that combination from the ceramic version of Mi6. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 special edition now has a ceramic uni-body: Chapeau Xiaomi! Also, they kept the camera’s gold refinement. Mi Mix 2 is not as slippery anymore as its predecessor, but it is far from having a good grip. The included protective cover however supports the needed grip. It is made out of high-quality plastic with a slightly rough surface, which has an extremely nice feel. The packing is also standard now. Xiaomi Mi Mix 1 came with a premium packing and a beautiful leather casing. The included casing for Mi Mix 2 is not too big, fits perfectly and has an excellent grip.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 has a 152 x 76 x 8mm size and is therefore even smaller than most of the 5.5-inch devices despite of its 6 inches (OnePlus 5: 154 x 74,1 x 7,3). This is due to the design. The display spreads over the whole front (18:9 ratio) and the bezels are only 4.5mm (top) and 11mm (bottom). On the display’s left and right side there is a 3mm bezel, which is why Mi Mix 2 is not a bezel-less smartphone as a Nubia Z17 or a Samsung Galaxy S8.
With its weight of 185g the phone gives you a high-quality impression. As soon as you switch on the display you certainly will be impressed, however, not as much as with the concept phone Mi Mix before.
The frame perfectly melts into the ceramic rear. You can’t even feel the edge at all. The keys are also perfectly attached into the casing and have nice feedback. You operate your Mi Mix 2 with on-screen-buttons. There is a notification LED (only in white) below the display as well as the front camera. In order to take a selfie, you have to turn your phone upside down. This time Xiaomi did not count on the material’s acoustic transmission and decided to build in a real earpiece that also functions as second speaker (stereo sound). Next to the USB type-C jack there are speaker and microphone. On the top of the phone there is a noise cancelling microphone; Xiaomi decided to go without audio jack. However, by now there is a huge selection of USB type-C headphones, Bluetooth headphones and also so-called Bluetooth receivers from which you can choose. The fingerprint scanner is quick, precise and easy to reach below the camera.
All in all Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is an extraordinarily well-built 6-inch smartphone in a compact 5.5-inch body. One-handed use is not always possible, therefore MIUI offers the common one-handed-mode (swipe to the left or right from the home button). Mi Mix 2 is a real eye-catcher. Still, if you are looking for a bezel-less smartphone you will have to keep searching.
The 5.99-inch display has a 2160*1080 pixel resolution with a 18:9 format. This results in 403 pixels per inch which makes it impossible to see any single pixels. Xiaomi has set the contrast very high with 1500:1 and a brightness sensor that is placed behind the display can regulate the smartphones brightness. This works perfectly fine in daily use so that you can see the content well even in bright sunlight. This is supported by the automatic contrast regulation. In terms of color temperature you can choose between “warm”, “cold” and “standard”. Choosing standard, colors are depicted vividly, but not as artificial as it is the case with AMOLED displays. You can set the reading mode that reduces the blue light proportion on a certain time, so it will be activated automatically. Due to the 18:9 format the display gets smaller when you play 16:9 videos (the parts on the top and the bottom turn black). While using normal apps or only the system, the display’s full size will be used.
The touch screen can register 10 points of contact simultaneously and works perfectly. Everything you do is registered immediately and the precision is extraordinary. You can also activate Smart-Wake in the options menu to unlock the display. You can easily slide over the display’s surface, but it easily catches greasy marks and fingerprints after one day of use. They used specially hardened glass, even though Xiaomi does not name it as Corning Gorilla glass.
Performance and System
Of course, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 houses the fastest smartphone processor right now. The Snapdragon 835 processor is supported by 6GB of RAM and an Adreno 540 GPU in the standard version. The special edition even offers 8GB of RAM. The internal storage offers an extremely fast UFS 2.1 storage with 64, 128 and 256GB respectively. Unfortunately, the storage is not expandable with an micro SD. All apps are installed immediately after the download and open without any noticeable delay. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is one of the fastest smartphones on earth. No matter which 3D game you choose the device will run it without the slightest lag or struggle. Still heat development is limited. After 60 minutes of playing Asphalt 8 the hottest spot was only 37°C. Those who are looking for a power smartphone without any compromises and with a great future will hit the bull’s eye with this phone![ch_benchmark benchmarks=”antutu, geekbench_multi, geekbench_single, 3d_mark”]
Mi Mix 2 runs its own user interface that is very much adapted. They go without an app drawer (an overview of all apps) and all apps are depicted on the home screens. You can organize those apps in folders afterwards. The most recent MIUI version (9) is still in the beta-phase. Therefore, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 still runs MIUI 8.5 on an Android 7.1.1 basis. The system runs perfectly fluently and there are no bugs that are worth to be mentioned.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 with global ROM
Meanwhile there is a so-called global ROM for almost all Xiaomi devices after 1-2 months that has the Google Playstore pre-installed. This ROM is mostly pre-installed by the shops but still you should read the product information closely before the purchase. At the moment Mi Mix 2 is still delivered with the China stable. On the China ROM you have to install Google Playstore afterwards. At first we used our test device with the China ROM for three days and switched to Xiaomi.EU ROM afterwards. It is Multilanguage, all Google services (incl. Playstore) are installed and the ROM has additional adaptations for Europe. To use the Xiaomi.EU ROM you have to do an UNLOCK and then follow this instruction.
The 12 megapixels Sony IMX286 sensor is also housed by Mi Max 2, Xiaomi Mi6 and Xiaomi Mi Note 3. Mi Mix 2 supports a 4-axis optical stabilization that is especially nice for night shots and videos. Mi Mix 2 has no dual camera even though Xiaomi is the king of Bokeh shots. Portrait shots with a perfectly sharp background are therefore only possible with Mi6, Mi Note 3 and Mi A1. Of course, there is a constant autofocus for videos, however it does not work perfectly. As an alternative you can activate tap-to-focus. You can record in 4K at 30FPS, but unfortunately there is no 1080p with 60FPS. Optical image stabilization works eagerly to eliminate wiggles in 4K shots, but still can’t reach the level of the EIS stabilization of Oneplus 5. Colors are vivid, dynamic reach is high and details are outstanding with 4K. Compared to Mi Mix you can see a clear development, especially the focus works much better and stabilization, too, is great. The recorded voices in the videos are impaired a lot by the noise cancelling microphone.
When taking pictures you can play around with the pro-mode, all our test images were taken in the auto mode since almost everyone will be using that. All in all I think it is very unfortunate that they removed the auto HDR mode from all Xiaomi smartphones so you always have to activate HDR separately. Therefore, I messed up a lot of great pictures since I often forgot to turn on this mode. In case you remembered to activate it, HDR does a great job and the images are awesome. In good lighting conditions Xiaomi has already reached a top level and Mi Mix did so, too. The pictures are sharp and full of details. Colour representation is pleasantly vivid and neither autofocus nor trigger time are perceptible. The 12MP sensor has a f/2.0 aperture and the sole problem are shots in bad light. Still the images do never turn out horrible, but other flagships simply do a better job in low light.
As a front camera Xiaomi chose a Omnivision OV5675 sensor with “only” 5MP. Here we notice once again that you can simply ignore manufacturers’ specifications about megapixels, since Mi Mix 2’s front camera does an excellent job. Selfies are detailed, sharp and with pleasant colors. Xiaomi is making its way towards the top of the camera ranking, however it is still behind Oneplus, Samsung and Apple in terms of stabilization and low light images. Mi 6 is way above Mi Mix 2 considering so-called Bokeh shots (background sharpness in portrait images). Sadly, Xiaomi decided to go without dual camera with Mi Mix 2 and therefore cannot score in this field.
Connectivity and communication
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is a smartphone suited for worldwide use and of course it supports dual SIM (2x nano SIM). It supports the following frequencies:
- 2G:GSM 2 / 3 / 5 / 8
- 2G:CDMA BC0,BC1,BC6,BC10
- 3G:CDMA EVDO,BC0,BC1,BC6,BC10
- 3G:WCDMA (UMTS) 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 / 9 / 19
- 3G:TD-SCDMA 34 / 39
- 4G:TD-LTE 34 / 38 / 39 / 40 / 41
- 4G:FDD-LTE 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 12 / 13 / 17
18 / 19 / 20 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30
The SAR value (radiation value) of Mi Mix 2 is 0.390W/kg (head) and 1.770W/kg (body). The reception was good in our test. Calling quality now is much better due to the physical earpiece compared to its predecessor and can compete with any other flagship. Your voice is transmitted clearly and loud and you can also talk hands-free. A noise-cancelling microphone is placed at the phone’s top. The dual band Wi-Fi supports the recent ac standard and transmits far and constantly in the 2.4 and 5GHz network. The latest Bluetooth 5.0 is supported as well and works perfectly fine.
The earpiece is used to create a stereo sound in combination with the speaker at the phone’s bottom. This works very well and sound quality is great up to 80% volume. Turning up the volume even more makes the sound deteriorate. Still sound quality and volume are very good in general. The stereo sound stands out compared to Oneplus 5 and Samsung S8.
Unfortunately, the phone lacks an infrared sensor and an audio jack. Due to the missing audiojack you have to go without FM radio. Apart from that there are NFC and OTG support. Every common sensor is housed by Mi Mix 2. Apart from acceleration, proximity and brightness sensor there are a compass, gyroscope, pressure and echo sensor (for smart covers).
GPS reception is sufficient for every-day tasks. Especially the compass works impressively well in Google Maps. You can easily determine your position and find out in which direction you have to go. During car navigation there was no interference. During a 300km trip navigation worked perfectly.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2’s battery size was shrunk to 3400mAh compared to its predecessor. However, the display is 0.5 inches smaller and the processor is more energy efficient. This can also be seen in daily use and Mi Mix 2 can convince with its battery life. With an awesome 10 hours of runtime in the battery test the device will make it through the day even with a power user.[ch_benchmark benchmarks=”akkulaufzeit”]
In daily use I used 2 SIM cards in my Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 and had Bluetooth and GPS activated permanently. With a display-on time of 3-4 hours the device made it through every day. Even with navigation and benchmarks I still had about 30% battery left at 10pm. A total of 5-6 hours of active use within 2 days is totally manageable for the Mi Mix 2’s battery. Of course Mi Mix 2 supports quick-charge, but you have to go without wireless charging (Qi-charge). This way the phone makes it from 20% to 100% within only 60 minutes. Those who occasionally charge their phone during the day can get 20% battery within 12 minutes.
* Incl. VAT and, if applicable, delivery costs – subject to interim changes.