Xiaomi is a Chinese phone maker that you probably haven’t heard of, but is the company that arguably started the bezel exodus – the trend that Apple and Samsung among others have recently been joining. The race for truly bezel-less displays is getting ever closer, with Apple nearing the lead with the iPhone X. But before the X, Xiaomi led the way with the Mi Mix 2 in 2017, this phone delivered a powerful, attractive and affordable package that was unmatchable. This year we get the follow up to this device, in the form of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, which follows similar qualities from its predecessor with added internal power and with a dual camera to keep competitive with the iPhone X’s and others.
To begin with the Mi Mix 2S has not undergone a radical redesign from the Mi Mix 2, which is not a bad thing as it still looks brilliant and up to date. The casing is made up of 7000 series aluminium, with what Xiaomi claims to be 18k gold trim surrounding the camera. The 5.99-inch screen is surrounded by the ceramic body creating a surface with effectively no bezel in sight, quite a feat. The difference between this and other bezel free phones is the fact Xiaomi have accomplished this without featuring a notch, giving them an advantage over the P20’s and iPhone X’s on the market now.
Unfortunately Xiaomi’s poor positioning of the front facing camera means the bezel at the bottom of the screen is not gone, and with Huawei managing to fit a fingerprint scanner in a smaller bezel in the same place, we can’t understand why Xiaomi didn’t design this part better. Xiaomi have placed their fingerprint scanner on the rear of the device, and placed it well given the size of the device. Another poor quality on this device is the sound quality, as there is only one speaker that is found in the base, and can easily be covered and stop all sound effectively. This is an area in which nearly every other flagship takes over the Mi Mix 2S.
The screen is comprised of a 5.99-inch panel, with a trendy 18:9 aspect ratio with a FHD+ resolution. It certainly isn’t a bad display to look at, but compared to other flagship phones like the Galaxy S9+ and the iPhone X it just isn’t as vibrant colour-wise. This is not the phone to go for if you are looking for the best screen out there, and with a very persistent auto-brightness feature that makes the already not very bright screen darker it’s easy to get frustrated with it.
On the hardware and software front the Mi Mix 2S packs some serious tech and power. First up it has the Snapdragon 845, the first time such a platform has been used on a Chinese phone, which brings the Mi Mix 2S to the same level as the Galaxy S9+. The Xiaomi device also features (top spec version) 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which is serious stuff and ensures the phone can run smoothly no matter what task you hand it.
The software has a few issues as of now, one big issue being Google doesn’t trust the MIUI overlay of Android – so no contactless payment options can be set up on the device. There are plenty of minor niggles that will annoy people, like the app tray not appearing unless enabled, or images automatically being watermarked. The Chinese market will have no issues however, as the phone is primarily sold there, but with Xiaomi aiming to break into the western market, they need to cater for us better.
The battery life is just as good here too, on average lasting a good days use, easily capable of enduring the average users mix of social media, gaming and video viewing hours. Charging wise you can either go for fast charging with USB-C or Qi wireless charging, just like the iPhone X – but slower. A full recharge will take around 3 hours for the Mi Mix 2S.
This is an interesting phone, and with it being difficult for many westerners to purchase it at the moment can dissuade fans of the phone from buying it. However, this is a very powerful phone with a seriously good bezel-less design that also features a very good dual camera system. There are many areas of the phone that need attention before the Xiaomi truly break into the western market, but they look like they’re going to achieve it.