Xiaomi has launched its new flagship Mi MIX 3 phone during a Beijing event held in the Forbidden City, arguably the most exclusive place in China, and pre-orders have already started.
The new Mi MIX 3 pushes the Mi MIX Series to new frontiers with a three-pronged approach: a unique full-display design, excellent photo capabilities, and irreproachable system hardware and performance – at a killer price.
Pitched as a business flagship phone, the Mi MIX 3 is built with a Ceramic body which is extremely resistant to scratch and less prone to cracks as glass. Ceramic is not often used because the manufacturing process is quite long and difficult to put in place and sustain. However, since Mi MIX has always used Ceramic, Xiaomi has a really good experience with it now.
True full-screen display
The most obvious feature of the Mi MIX 3 is the true full-screen design. As you can see, the AMOLED display (2340×1080, 600 NITs) occupies nearly all of the surface (93.4% screen to body ratio, says Xiaomi). This look is what the entire phone industry has been seeking for nearly a decade.
Such a ratio is made possible by a slider design in which the selfie camera is hidden and only shows when the user slides the screen down, with a distinct “click” which is pretty satisfying. If you are old enough to have used a (dumb) slider phone, you know exactly what I’m talking about, except this is now with a cutting-edge, ultra-thin, design."THIS LOOK IS WHAT THE ENTIRE PHONE INDUSTRY HAS BEEN SEEKING FOR NEARLY A DECADE"
And that’s the thing: typically slider chassis are thicker, making it difficult to compete with other leading high-end smartphone. However, Xiaomi has managed to create a slider phone that feels completely normal in hand with a thickness of 8.5mm which is identical to the Galaxy S9 Plus, which is arguably one of the best looking handsets.
The display slides down by less than 1 cm, just enough to give a comfortable space to the dual-camera and LED flash. The extra space provides the opportunity for a superior selfie hardware and experience. In addition to the mechanical “click” sound and sensation, it is possible to associate a sound file with the sliding action. Xiaomi has demonstrated a metallic blade sound that was popular during the launch.
On stage, Lei Jung, Chairman, and CEO of Xiaomi showed how virtually every technical scenario to reach this full-screen vision has been explored and some of them tested, including the pop-out camera.
High-performance camera systems
The second emphasis of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 is the camera systems. We will analyze and test them completely as the handset goes through the Ubergizmo Lab, but let’s look at the hardware and preliminary tests because the hardware does matter – a lot.
Dual Rear Cameras
The main rear camera sensor is a 12 Megapixel, Sony IMX363, which has a diagonal of 7.06mm, making it one of the largest that Sony has to offer. The 1.4μm sensing pixel size helps with noise reduction on a hardware level. The camera module has an optical image stabilization (OIS) system which also helps reduce noise and increase sharpness, depending on the situation. The lens has a f/1.8 aperture.
Xiaomi is very familiar with this sensor, and that explains why the camera software of the Mi MIX 3 seems very mature, from what we can tell with the first experiments we’ve been running ( in an uncontrolled environment). The auto-focus is extremely fast because it is based on the Dual Pixel AF hardware, the most potent form of AF-sensing for digital cameras."THE MOST POTENT FORM OF AF-SENSING FOR DIGITAL CAMERAS"
The secondary camera is an optical sensor which helps with bokeh calculations, scene detection, and AI estimations. It is a f/2.4 camera which will help behind the scenes.
As such, the Mi MIX 3 strength lies mainly in what we would call “classic mobile photography” at Ubergizmo, which means photos without optical zoom, or without an ultra-wide lens, both which extends photo capabilities. Mi MIX 3 does very well in daylight, but so would every phone within that category.
That’s why Xiaomi has put real effort into low-light photography, with seemingly very good photo outcomes. Additionally, there is a Night Mode which is an very long exposure more, that competes with Huawei’s 4-second exposure Night Mode. Xiaomi has shown very impressive pictures to support its claim for supremacy in Night Mode, but stay tuned for our Ubergizmo Lab verdict. In our casual tests, we captured great photos using this feature.
24 Megapixel Selfie Camera
The Selfie camera is based on a 24 Megapixel sensor, which is supplemented by an additional 2 Megapixel camera which help with background blur. The 24 Megapixel sensor is a Sony IMX576. It is one of the best sensor used for Selfie cameras right now.
For this camera, Xiaomi was promoting a camera pixel-binning mode in which the pixel pitch would reach 1.8μm by merging groups of 4 pixels (the sensor specs says 0.9μm pixels). It’s great for low-light shots, but incidentally, it would reduce the resolution down to 6 Megapixel – which is still great for social media. Most sensors support it, but only a handful of OEMs, including Xiaomi, Huawei, and LG promote binning. LG started doing so at MWC for the LG V30S; you can see their proof of concept.
Powerful Hardware Platform
As a flagship phone, the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 had to be powered by an excellent hardware platform, and that’s why Snapdragon 845 was the obvious choice. We will run the benchmarks later, but we expect performance to land within something reasonable within the high-end spectrum, there’s no magic about this, especially since there isn’t a specific claim of extra-performant cooling system.
The real twist with the Mi MIX 3 is that it will come with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of storage. The extra RAM can then be used for various purposes, including caching some of the storage system files and apps for faster app-launch performance. There’s the beautiful special edition that will pack 10GB of RAM.
The 3200 mAh battery (compatible with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0) does not have an extreme capacity for a 6.39” phone, but it remains very decent and should score well in our battery tests, especially if the charging is pretty fast. The phone has integrated wireless charging and ships with a wireless charging pad (+ fast charge power supply), which is a very nice touch, especially when you compare it to Apple which doesn’t ship with a wired fast-charger.
The Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 hits hard on the core features that make a high-end smartphone resonate with users, and does so at a very attractive price. Over the last ~48 hours, our initial hands-on experience Mi MIX 3 shows that it is effectively high-end smartphone that sells at Premium prices, if not high-midrange prices, which is and incredible testament to Xiaomi’s business model, which does not require turning a profit on the hardware, but selling compelling subscription-based services that add value.
The Ceramic design, and the push for being among the first true full-screen handset makes this phone different, with a strong tactile feel to it, especially when sliding it out.
Don’t miss our upcoming complete review that will go deep into the technical analysis and comparisons with the best handsets available. We will look not only at the technology, but also evaluate the value-proposition, which is Xiaomi’s main strength. Finally, with the retail unit, we will compare the photo outcome with the best mobile cameras to see where Xiaomi stands. Subscribe to our Facebook page, YouTube channel and Instagram to be notified.
Note: at the moment, the global roll-out schedule has not yet been worked out, so we’ll know more in the coming days.
|Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 Prices
|3299 CNY / ~$475
|3599 CNY / ~$518
|3999 CNY / ~$575
|10GB+256GB Spec. Edition
|4999 CNY / ~$720