The first Mi Mix really went after bezels with torches and pitchforks.
Soon after, smartphone manufacturers rained hell down upon bezels with OnePlus recently joining the party with its 5T.
It’s choices galore if you’re in the mood for a bezel-less upgrade, but amidst all the chaos, Xiaomi still manages to set itself apart with its new Mi Mix 2. It’s mesmerising to look at all the way around and now comes in a friendlier size too.
Project ‘Bezels Begone’ is now running full steam, so let’s see if the brand that started it all manages to make it to top with its sequel.
Where’re you from, you sexy thing
Just like its predecessor, the Mi Mix 2 feels like one never-ending screen - thanks in part to the large chin that just dissolves in your hand shifting your focus to its gorgeous top and side bezels or lack thereof.
At 5.99in, it’s a lot easier to use without the risk of pancaking your face with an accidental drop in bed. Some might consider its Full HD+ resolution a chink in its armour, but at 403ppi we can’t really complain. In fact, the boost to its battery life as a result is something we’ll happily embrace.
The screen still impresses with its brightness and contrast, but with most flagships opting for OLEDs these days, our retinas are spoilt by those inky blacks we’re now getting used to.
Flip it around, and that’s where its magical ceramic back resides. Great to touch and even nicer to look at, the Mi Mix 2 still retains the crown for those stunning exteriors. It’s a gloriously shiny surface that oozes style and fingerprints too unfortunately.
Worried your sweaty mitts will taint its flawless beauty? You can always protect it with the bundled case. Which is another work of art itself. Snapped onto the device, it’s hard to tell the Mix 2 is wearing a case at all. It feels really nice to hold too.
The Mix 2 packs a high quality bottom firing speaker. It’s surprising loud with decent range and clarity.
How ya like me now
The screen and ceramics may be the stars of the show, but it’s the subtle changes made to the Mix’s exteriors that make it better than before. The rounded edges now fit nicely in a tight grip with chunky power and volume keys on one side. A USB Type C port resides at the bottom but along with bezels, Xiaomi’s also ditched the headphone jack with the Mix 2. Love it or hate, it’s where the future’s headed.
There’s a mighty impressive catalogue of wireless buds on the market so we wouldn’t whine about the loss of the AUX any more.
It’s a shame Xiaomi’s also skipped waterproofing the phone - it still can’t take a dip without taking damage. For its design and asking price, we’d be damned if it couldn’t protect itself in every possible way.
The rear fingerprint sensor sits in a neat little spot we’ve become really accustomed to around the back. The front camera quite awkwardly, sits at the bottom, which changes the way you take selfies entirely. Unless you’re going for the load-screen-characters-from-Road-Rash look, you’ll want to change orientation for something less chin-heavy.
You also have to take extra care to avoid clicking your palm / thumb in the process.
Pic me up
It’s got a 12MP f/2.0 rear snapper with 4-axis OIS. Those digits translate to nicely stable up-to-4K shots but not much else. Pictures come through OK but not without colours and details taking a hit.
Playing around with the manual mode yields better results though. Low-light scenes are another challenge for the Mix 2’s lens so your best bet is ample lighting.
Switch to the front-facing cam, and you’ll immediately want to flip the whole screen upside down for a more flattering frame. Decent quality that you’d expect from your average front cam, but to avoid looking like a Fair & Lovely ad, you’ll want to tone down the Beauty mode.
Oh hi MIUI!
With an MIUI 9 update just around the corner, we can’t wait to experience all the new changes. But for now, MIUI sticks to its guns with the familiarity of earlier versions. Customisations are slathered all over Nougat running underneath with both hits, as well as misses.
The Quick Ball for instances, give you quick access to key functions without bothering with the soft keys at the bottom. Second Space is an interesting way of making you feel like you’re using two entirely different phones via the same physical device. Activate it, and you’re instantly transported to a fresh new screen that you can tweak to your style. The dedicated Switch app allows you to toggle back and forth between the two Spaces you create.
Overall, notifications do lack that stock polish and occasionally, even mainstream apps like Instagram crashed multiple times, holding back the phone from delivering a stutter-free experience.
App drawers make way for iOS-like home screens instead which works just fine in daily use. Xiaomi’s also been generous enough to add a Play Store icon to its phone, without forcefully subjecting you to its Mi Store and other bundled apps.
Dual apps saves you the trouble of constantly signing out of multiple accounts in the same app. Instead, simply add it to the Dual App area for two versions of the same app that can be instantly toggled between.
Life in the fast lane
Underneath that stunning screen, the Mix 2 is brimming with flagship tech that makes it pulsate with power. A Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of RAM - even with the MIUI customisation, it sprints through tasks with ease.
Multitask all you want, the Mix 2 never once breaks into a sweat. High-demand games don’t slow it down either. With 128GB of on-board storage, it’s unlikely you’ll miss the lack of expandable storage.
The 3400mAh battery provides plenty of juice to keep it powering through a day and a half of average use. Quickcharge 3.0 skills bring it back to life really quick too. It’s all done over USB-C of course.
There’s a lot we love about the Mi MIx 2. From its minimal bezels to a ceramic body that’s really a sight to behold. Its flagship engine and speedy charging skills make it feel every bit the flagship that it is.
But it’s got a few ways to go before top score greatness. That camera is nothing to write home about and with MIUI running the show, it really needs some fine grain polish to compete with the best. Simply aping the competition just won’t cut it.
Its exteriors can cause serious envy, but in use, it’s falls just shy of its pricier peers.