The Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi has made a name for itself in many Asian countries over the past years with strong flagships and low-priced middle class mobile phones . Even among friends of import devices, the Android phones enjoy a good reputation.
Towards the end of the year 2016, the Group added a somewhat more unusual creation to its portfolio. The Xiaomi Mi Mix, the full name, not only comes with an unusual large screen diagonal of 6.4 inches, but above all with its design. The segment above the display, which normally accommodates the front camera, proximity sensor and earphones, has been saved and the edges along the screen have been scaled to a minimum.
The smartphone thus acts as a portable “window”, through and into which one looks. This makes the device a real eye-catcher, but also enforces the need to implement some things technically differently. The WebStandard has looked at the electronic design piece in a practical test. The device, available for about 700 euros per import, was made available by dealer Trading Shenzhen .
One preface: Invented, Xiaomi does not have this form of borderless design. The Aquos Crystal Smartphones from Sharp , which were last reissued in 2015, may well serve as inspiration. In China, however, the ambitions are a step higher.
The Mi Mix presents itself in a glazed ceramic case, which is high-quality processed. On the underside are the loudspeakers and USB-C connector, on the left side of the two SIM-Tray nano-sized SIM-Tray, on the right the power button and volume rocker. The former is still to be achieved with one-handed use, the second only with contortions.
The back is decorated with the main camera and a fingerprint scanner, which is easy to catch and fast and precise. At the top is a 3.5mm jack plug. The front camera sits under the screen because the mobile phone has no “upper lip”.
Display and ergonomics
The display with its rounded corners provides a resolution of 2.040 x 1.080 pixels, which is unusual for smartphones, which corresponds to the format of 1.90: 1 or approx. 17: 9 – correspondingly videos are flanked in 16: 9 in the full image of black stripes. With 362 PPI, the pixel density is more than sufficient. The display quality leaves little scope for complaints. Colors appear full, the contrasts well and the maximum brightness can be seen. In direct sunlight it is sometimes too strong, the automatic brightness control is sometimes sluggish.
Despite narrow edges, the Mi Mix is ergonomically a problem child. With 158.8 x 81.9 x 7.9 millimeters size at 209 grams of weight, it still outperforms common 5.5 inch handies significantly. In combination with the really slippery housing the mobile phone is similar to the OnePlus X – it compels you to be careful. Or the use of the enclosed back cover.
This makes the Phablet handy and avoids visible fingerprints, but bores into aesthetics. The Android 6-based MIUI 8 system (an update to Android 7 is planned) offers a one-hand mode, but with the width of the Mi mix but also does not gain much.
Under the hood, Xiaomi pounded. As a processor, the Snapdragon 821 is used, which was found in most Christmas flag ships. In terms of memory and internal memory, the 4/128 GB and 6/256 GB versions are available. The first model was tested.
The rest also corresponds to the state of the art. The mobile phone supports LTE, but without band 20, which is partly used by A1 and T-Mobile. There are 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. The back camera operates at 16 MP, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED flash, the front camera provides five megapixels of resolution. The battery holds 4,400 mAh and is fixed.
Performance technically there is no reason for complaint at the Mi mix. With around 160,000 points, it is in the all-round test with Antutu about as good as the OnePlus 3T, but recently caught cheating . The 3D graphics test with the 3DMark (Slingshot Extreme) measures around 2,200 meters with the Huawei Mate 9. In the Browsertest Vellamo (Chrome) a score of 5,500 is also a top score.
Performance and system
The values in the synthetic tests also translate well into everyday use. The phone reacts quickly to all inputs, apps are installed and started quickly. And even with more elaborate games, you can torment the phone without stopping it.
The MIUI system interface is however habitu need, because compared to “pure” Android strongly changed. Thus, an appdrawer is missing to adequately control the programchaos on the homescreens and the setup menus Xiaomi has sorted according to his own taste – not always overly intuitive.
After all, the theme can be customized with themes and there are special features like the “Quickball”, which allows a second access to the navigation buttons. The Google Play services are not normally available on the device, which is currently available only in China, but have been preinstalled by the merchant. Access to the Play Store and other Google services will work smoothly except for individual problems. While the Chrome browser recognizes Google’s account, Google can not use photos.
Designpracht without added value
Doubtless the Mi mix with its design. When using the camera, the aesthetics lead to a “wow” experience. Augmented reality games such as “Pokémon Go” also seem a bit more immersive. An effect, however, which should wear out in the long run.
Then only the outstanding aesthetics remain, because a practical surplus value is not recognizable. As already mentioned, the Mi Mix is still a chic, but also rather unhandy device because of its display diagonals and the aspect ratio.
Lousy conversation quality
Two further problems arise as a result of this design decision. Because there is no earphone, Xiaomi has implemented a sound transmission system through the screen. And its output can not keep pace with the traditional solution.
Talking partners sound tinny and unclear. In a room with little ambient noise the opposite is still sufficiently understandable. If you are talking on the street, conversations can be a challenge despite the high volume. Even your own voice comes only with noticeable distortions. Sound reproduction over the normal loudspeaker is at smartphone average level – it rattles at high volume and pronounced bass and treble.
From the series also falls the placement of the front camera on the “lower lip” of the mobile phone. But you get used to it very quickly. The camera app also reminds you to turn the device on while recording Selfies. Qualitatively, the front-end image sensor delivers photos of unspectacular quality. The color representation is acceptable, but the detail is not very high.
The main camera provides more details and slightly stronger colors and triggers fast. But here, too, it quickly becomes clear that Xiaomi did not focus the Mi mix on the camera – or due to the construction method might not even lay.
Under daylight you can take photos with the smartphone for social media matters, as soon as the evening starts or you go into the artificial light, you can quickly notice a slight fading and growing picture noise. The focus is on the focal length, which makes it possible to spot motifs even from a narrow distance with a beautiful, artificial depth of field.
A good impression leaves the battery. After two hours of use with photography, messaging and the energy-hungry “Pokémon Go”, the load has dropped from 100 to 87 percent. This impression, as well as a pass with a Akkubenchmark, allow the Mi mix to be easily and with good reserves through the day comes.
The Mi Mix is, in short, a design object with smartphone functions. It is quite obvious that Xiaomi has pursued the goal of securing attention by the extraordinary and respectable aesthetics. The well-engineered case with the narrow edges is noticeable, and at the very first it also makes you feel through a “window”.
However, too many drawbacks remain for a device of this price class a serious purchase recommendation. Without an additional back cover, the mobile phone constantly threatens the crash. Its sheer size makes it unwieldy to use. The camera provides only average food, the sound quality in phone calls is bad. The design lacks a practical added value.
Praisingly one should mention that the mobile phone delivers good performance, has a fast fingerprint scanner and the battery has a lot of endurance proves. The Mi Mix as a whole package, however, can no longer pull it out. ( Georg Pichler , February 12, 2017)