Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Review: Final Thoughts, Key Test Findings, Alternatives, VerdictBy cheatmaster 01:14 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments
Wrapping it up
It definitely took more than a few years, but Xiaomi has arguably managed to traverse the tough road from a start-up underdog to a respectable player in the mobile phone industry - capable of offering exquisite high-discontinue products along with traditionally fine value devices to an increasingly international scene. Lofty generalizations aside, even if you don't appreciate the Chinese manufacturer for what it is and how far it has come, it is really hard to deny the appeal of devices like the Mi Mix 2.
But there's a lot more to like about the second generation Mix beyond its stunning bezel-less design as well. Unlike the original Mix, Xiaomi really does have a well-rounded product it can actually offer and expect sales out of this time around. Sure, this might have involved taking away some of the glamour and lustre, but the overall see and feel is still mostly intact. Plus, the discontinue product is not only cheaper, but also more universally appealing this time around.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 key test findings
- The Mi Mix 2 manages to preserve most of the stunning design language of the original, all the while implementing some more practical build, component and material choices. The trendy recent 18:9 aspect brings an extra dimension to Xiaomi's already stunning bezel-less concept.
- The fingerprint reader works reliably and is fast. Its center-stage position on the back is also quite functional.
- Despite its stunning design, the Mix 2 display is not spectacular in any other way. It runs a bit dim and requires switching to a high contrast mode to acquire to the max level it's capable of. There is no overdrive mode on colorful sunlight either. Sunlight legibility is adequate, though, and color accuracy is really good. Viewing angles are not great.
- The Mi Mix 2 does not handle its reduced 3,400 mAh well enough. Overall endurance is serviceable and the modem draws an expected amount of power. MIUI could be better optimized to handle on-classy screen tasks on the recent 18:9 panel.
- We definitely miss the 3.5mm audio jack. At least there is a dongle in the box. The X16 LTE modem is about as quick as they come. Local connectivity is well coveted. An IR blaster would have been a nice touch.
- The Snapdragon 835 chip inside the Mi Mix 2 scores very comparable, even if slightly lower results to competitors with the same silicon. In real-life terms, the handset is just as snappy and fluent as other 2017 flagships.
- MIUI is still at the polar opposite end, compared to vanilla Android. It has its distinct visual style and numerous features baked in. Android Oreo is still not available. There is only a single Global Read-Only Memory (ROM) available and with most units shipping with a Chinese one, you need to familiarize yourself with the situation and your firmware flashing options.
- The Mi Mix 2 performs really well in the audio department. Output with an external AMP is loud and crystal clear. Plugging in headphones into the internal one introduces just a bit of crosstalk and distortion, but nothing too bad.
- The Mi Mix 2 seems to borrow most of its capturing camera hardware form the Mi6, although it does utilize a darker lens and there is no telephoto camera. Stills have plenty of detail in daylight, on par with the Mi6. However, focus can be hit-or-miss at times. HDR works well, even if its not exactly subtle. Panoramic images have are remarkable with plenty of resolution and no signs of stitching.
- Low-light photos are on the noisy side and not exactly impressive.
- The 5MP selfie cam appears almost unchanged from the original Mi Mix. It does acquire a slightly brighter f/2.0 lens, but is still largely unimpressive both in detail and resolution.
- 4K quality is good, but not remarkable by any means. The odd focusing problems persist, with the phone randomly shifting focus and never shifting it back using the default continuous autofocus option. Spot metering remedies this issue, but its not an elegant solution. Hopefully a software update addresses the problem. 1080p videos are actually quite pleasant, but colors tdiscontinue to acquire over-saturated.
A trendy recent 18:9 display, a more functional traditional earpiece setup, notably improved main capturing camera and a flagship-grade Snapdragon 835 chipset all add up to a truly compelling offer. Not to mention one you can actually buy correct now, without mounting a full on treasure hunt and then having to shell out a fortune yourself in the end. In fact, in many markets Xiaomi has already managed to reach, like most of Asia and India, the Mi Mix 2 might just be the cheapest and arguably best-value Snapdragon 835, bezel-less device to consider.
That is not to say, the Mi Mix 2 is faultless, far from it. The display, while stunning in shape and design, could utilize a bit more brightness and a bit better sunlight legibility to compete in the gigantic leagues. Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) technology would be greatly appreciated as well, not to mention beneficial to overall battery efficiency.
Speaking of battery, while not horrible, the Mi Mix 2 only adequately manages its 3,400 mAh, with much room for improvement. Hopefully, Android Oreo will come soon to bring improvements in this respect. You might want to see elsewhere for a truly excellent capturing camera experience as well.
On to some notable alternatives to consider, in case the Mi Mix 2 rubs you the incorrect way somehow. There is also the distinct and quite likely possibility that you simply live in a country outside Xiaomi's area of operation, which means tougher availability, logistics, import taxes and questionable support. We definitely acquire that and is the reason why we need to level the playing field price-wise when looking at competitors.
The Mi Mix 2 might start at $500 in China and around $550 in India, but a realistic price in most other markets would be around EUR 550. Even at that price point, however, few phones can offer a similar specs sheet and cool looks. Naturally, there is the original Xiaomi Mi Mix, which has come down in price quite a bit since its launch. We already mentioned it in comparisons all throughout this review, so you should pretty much know what you are getting into. The highlights include a bigger panel and battery, worse capturing camera setup and older/slower Snapdragon 821 chipset.
Xiaomi Mi Mix • Xiaomi Mi Note 2 • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
There is also the Mi Note 2 to potentially consider. Unlike its 2017 successor, which drifts a bit into upper-midrange territory, the Mi Note 2 is a flagship offer through and through, complete with a phaphet-sized 5.7-inch AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) panel, curved on both sides and the same, still capable Snapdragon 821 chip.
And if cost-saving is a high priority, the upcoming Redmi Note 5 might just be worth the wait. Since it is yet to leave the rumor mill, we can't exactly recommdiscontinue it. But initial leaks do paint an impressive 18:9 ultra-wide picture and a solid specs sheet to back it up.
On to some more Western-friendly options, while still sticking to the "trendy exterior" requirement, we find the Samsung Galaxy S8 as a prime candidate. Samsung's current flagship has come down in price nicely. Plus, it is so popular that promotions are always popping up left and right. It is typically within budacquire and has a class-leading 5.8-inch, curved Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) panel to offer, along with excellent overall performance and a truly remarkable camera.
The LG G6 is also well within budacquire and equipped with a trendy 5.7-inch, 18:9, IPS Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) display. Its dual 13MP capturing camera setup and Snapdragon 821 chipset, while not class-leading are still solid enough options.
Samsung Galaxy S8 • LG G6 • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
Another potentially eye-catching option is the Meizu Pro 7 Plus, specifically for its secondary 2-icnh AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) panel on the back.
If you are not necessarily after a flashy design statement, there are a few notable smartphones to consider. The OnePlus 5 is one, while stocks last, of course. While not as fine value as its predecessors, it is still a accurate flagship, with a 5.5-inch AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) panel, a decent dual capturing camera setup and a Snapdragon 835.
Another slightly older, but still competitive and nicely depreciated in value device is the Huawei Mate 9. With it you do have to settle for a flat, 5.9-inch Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) panel though. On the other hand, the Leica-branded dual-camera setup is a real treat.
OnePlus 5 • Huawei Mate 9 • ZTE nubia Z17
Last and probably least, if you are feeling a bit adventurous, there is potentially a lot of value to be had from a Nubia Z17. You will likely be sacrificing Google Play Services though.
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 is not exactly an easy phone to recommend. Or, at least not universally applicable as such. For us reviewers, constantly entrenched in the thick of the smartphone realm, with dozens of handsets coming and going, it constitutes a breath of fresh air. A nice shift and fascinating recent trdiscontinue in design and hold on the tired "slab" form factor.
For many of you out there, a unique see might just be enough to motivate a purchase, which we can understand perfectly. After all, on a broader scale, most mid-range Android smartphones these days are objectively fine enough to cover the average user's needs. Flagships just offer up their own specific bldiscontinue of icing on top of that.
However, if looks are not a number one priority in your book, you need to hold into account some of the relative shortcomings of the Mix 2 as well, compared to its rivals. Since, you will have to live with the okay-ish capturing camera and battery life, when you could be demanding more for your money.
So, with all assumed and done, we can safely say the Mi Mix 2 is an almost universal charmer, but it's not as universally versatile as you'd expect from a flagship device. But it just might be your flagship device of choice if it ticks just the correct boxes on your checklist.
Special thanks to HonorBuy for providing the review unit.
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