Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S review: The flagship and a unsteadiness – Pocket-lint – Pocket

All stream flagships value their salt are timorous shade bezel, looking to make a many display-forward pattern possible. But it wasn’t one of a “big three” that started this trend. It was Xiaomi. Yep, a Chinese code name we competence not have listened many about in a UK (for a elementary reason that a association doesn’t strictly discharge here, yet), is during a forefront of smartphone design.

In a Mi Mix 2 from 2017, Xiaomi took trim bezel pattern to a nth degree, delivering a powerful, appealing and affordable phone like no other. Its 2018 follow-up, a Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, follows a matching footprint, though amps adult a inner energy and goes all iPhone X in a twin camera approach, too.

Having picked adult a handset from a Mi Mix 2S launch eventuality in Shanghai, we’ve had a phone over in ol’ Blighty for a month. Now with a many new program on house – a unequivocally same as consumers will find in purchased handsets – usually how good does Xiaomi’s latest flagship handle, and what compromises are there to consider?

  • Ceramic unibody design
  • 7000 array aluminium frame
  • Ultra-trim bezel
  • Rear fingerprint scanner

Front-on and a Mi Mix 2S eventually looks a same as a non-S predecessor. That’s to contend it looks great, accessible in possibly black or white finishes. We cite a black, with a pointed bullion trim around a camera (said to be genuine 18k gold, because, well, since not?) and “Mi Mix Designed By Xiaomi” printed on a behind (which, yes, is sum overkill, though during slightest a rise isn’t huge).


A 5.99-inch LCD shade is wrapped in a ceramic physique with an aluminium support to a indicate that there’s hardly any surrounding bezel on possibly side, or to a top. There’s no nick to be seen anywhere either, leveraging Xiaomi’s pull in fluctuating as many shade to be used as probable and not going down a iPhone X route. or aping a (rather brilliant) Huawei P20 Pro.

The Mi Mix 2S claims to have an even incomparable screen-to-body ratio than a predecessor, though we’ve placed a twin handsets corresponding to take a demeanour and, to a eyes, there’s no distinct difference. That’s how slight a differences between generations manifest; it’s also value observant usually how fast others have held up: a Huawei P20 Pro competence have a nick adult top, though a bezel is differently more-or-less matching to a Mi Mix 2S.

The usually bezel on a Mi Mix 2S that’s incomparable – y’know, like a distance you’d pattern on a normal phone – is to a bottom edge, in sequence to make space for a (badly positioned) front-facing camera. Maybe it should take a root out of Vivo’s book and make a phone with a pop-up camera mechanism to keep this looking a bit neater. And to anxiety Huawei again: a P20 Pro has a smaller bottom bezel that includes a fingerprint scanner, usually to uncover off what can be squeezed into there.


On a back of a Xiaomi is where you’ll find a fingerprint scanner, that looks neat and neat in a round form, and is good placed given a distance of a phone. There was a gossip that a Mi Mix 2S would underline a imagination sensor-behind-glass scanner on a front of a phone to absolved a front of roughly all bezel, though as we’ve seen in a Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS, that record usually unequivocally isn’t adult to blemish yet. As is stands, a rear-positioned scanner creates ideally good clarity and works unequivocally rapidly.

The one other emanate with tiny bezel is orator placement. The Mi Mix 2S has a unique orator to a base, that is easy to cover by accident, though that also sounds prosaic and tinny. It’s got zero on many of a stream flagship devices, that have been investing in softened sound peculiarity in new years.

  • 5.99-inch 18:9 aspect ratio LCD screen
  • 2160 x 1080 resolution

The initial genuine bone of contention, however, is with a screen. The specs review so good on paper, with a 5.99-inch scale, 18:9 elongated aspect ratio, and FHD+ shade resolution.

So what’s a problem? It’s not a unequivocally punchy panel, a bit like Google Pixel XL 2 suffers. It’s not bad, though it’s simply not that vibrant, so colours don’t pop. The observation angles are fine, a fortitude is ideally good, too, though carrying been marred by abounding blacks and wide-gamut colours from, say, a Apple iPhone X, a Xiaomi doesn’t opposition a best-of-best screens out there.

This is serve compounded by an overzealous auto-brightness adjustment. The shade isn’t a unequivocally brightest going as it is, though with a program hell-bent on dipping a outlay to reduce levels than required roughly all of a time, well, it’s another stumbling block. We commented that a progressing Mi Mix 2 had auto-brightness issues, so it’s a contrition they’re not bound here – nonetheless we can of march spin off a Automatic Brightness environment to opposite any issues.

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage
  • 3400mAh battery capacity, USB-C fast-charging
  • Qi wireless charging (mat sole separately)
  • MIUI 9.0 program over Android
  • ‘Xiao AI’ voice partner (China only)

On a opening front, however, a Mi Mix 2S unequivocally comes out swinging. With Snapdragon 845 regulating things – it’s a initial time this height has seemed in a Chinese phone – Xiaomi is level pegged with a Samsung S9 on this front. Throw in 8GB RAM and 256GB storage for a top-end indication and it all-round impresses.


We’ve been hurtling by hours of South Park: Phone Destroyer, where animations are sharp and loading times are discerning as you’d pattern from a top-end flagship phone. No problem on a gaming or high-powered apps front, then.

With a 3,400mAh battery ability (the same as a progressing Mi Mix 2), a 2S has successfully been durability by a operative day for us too. It’s not a biggest innings from a phone, though with churned use, including higher-powered apps, we’ve been attack a 15 hour symbol per charge. Shows that a auto-brightness composition has a worth, we suppose.

Should we need to top-up, recharging can occur in twin ways: possibly fast-charging around USB-C; or not-as-fast-charging regulating a Qi customary wireless charging mat. Yep, Xiaomi has left wire-free – and with a 7.5W compatibility, a full recharge takes around 3 hours. Note that no charging pad is enclosed (just like there isn’t with a iPhone X), and a initial pad we perceived didn’t work, though that a second representation works ideally well. And as Xiaomi sells these for 99RMB (around £11) it’s unequivocally not a bank-breaking additional (how a cost will differ outward of China, well, we can usually guestimate that it’ll be distant more).


The bigger emanate a Mi Mix 2S faces is a software. Dubbed MIUI (that’s Mi User Interface), there will be copiousness of fans in a Chinese marketplace – not slightest since there’s a unequivocally good Xiao AI voice partner in a country, that unsurprisingly doesn’t do Cockney usually nonetheless – though a re-jigging of Google Android and special facilities aren’t something we expect western markets desiring. It’s a same understanding that Huawei suffered for years with a EMUI (Emotion UI) that has taken generations of composition to find itself in a some-more enlightened position.

Sometimes it’s tiny things: a camera delinquent to carrying watermarks (you’ll need to menu puncture to switch these off); or that all apps being battery managed by default (again, menu puncture to customise that apps are unrestricted); or that there’s no app tray/drawer. Other times it’s a distant incomparable things: MIUI isn’t devoted by Google, so notwithstanding a phone carrying NFC for contactless payments, it’s not probable to setup Google Pay, AMEX Pay or whatever contactless remuneration use you’d like to. Which, frankly, is since bottom Android is usually that many better.

  • Dual back cameras: 12-megapixel, 1.4um pixel distance (Sony IMX363 sensor)
  • One ‘wide-angle’ and one ‘telephoto’ lens (for ridicule visual wizz and abyss measuring)
  • AI camera mode with automobile stage approval (for 200+ scenes), Portrait mode, Text mode and more
  • Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)

Flip a phone over and a biggest change can be seen on a rear. In some-more than a tiny curtsy to Apple, a Mi Mix 2S facilities twin cameras, organised in a straight one-above-the-other format.

The reason for twin cameras is twin fold: a brew of a wide-angle and customary (Xiaomi, like Apple, tries to impute to it as a “telephoto”, that is an over-reach) means it’s probable to wizz while tying a altogether loss; a twin lenses can also use their equivalent positions from one another to map and code depth, that can afterwards be used to request software-produced soothing backgrounds, usually like you’d typically find in a pro mural (hence a name “Portrait mode”).

Most importantly in a Mi Mix 2S a cameras, during 12-megapixels a piece, have incomparable pixels compared to many rivals (1.4um, not 1.25um like a comparison Mi Mix 2). That’s in assist of quality, quite in low-light, and a manufacturer has enclosed hardware turn multi-frame sound rebate and 24 million focusing points on a sensors themselves, to raise autofocus.

By and vast it’s a success, too, nonetheless Xiaomi unequivocally needs to gloss things usually that reason some-more to make it a truly good camera. The loading time isn’t as benefaction as on other flagships, for example, while scrolling between modes – Short Video, Video, Photo, Portrait, Square, Panorama, Manual – should free-wheel by a slider to be additional discerning (and once when in Manual mode a Panorama interface was showing).

Autofocus, again, is successful – though not a fastest accessible on a market. A reason on a shade will name concentration and metering with ease, though it needs a faster-yet complement to opposition a best of a best and be truly flagship.


As for a results: a Mi Mix 2S will broadcast how implausible it is around DxO Mark, which, isn’t a measure complement to take too severely for camera phones in a view. The genuine thing to demeanour during is how appreciative a shots are: there’s plenty colour, plenty sharpness (without overdoing things) and even night shots aren’t riddled with picture noise. In a same breath, there are artefacts in picture that forestall them from being a cleanest formula you’ll ever see, while even illumination shots have some participation of pellet within them.

Interestingly, a program refurbish also expelled an AI (artificial intelligence) mode on a camera, so it will adjust accordingly to what you’re shooting. Sadly, however, this mode doesn’t unequivocally contend many about what it’s doing. The other vital builder to pull this angle is Huawei, though a AI complement tells we that mode it’s comparison formed on what it thinks it’s looking at, can be over-ridden, and is generally some-more intelligent. We like a thought of a Mi Mix 2S carrying such a mode, though wish it to be some-more during a front when activated.


Overall, a Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S is a phone that’s as sparkling as it is mystifying. The trim-bezel pattern and substantial energy on house are good to spy for a price, nonetheless a so-so shade and infrequently cryptic program are usually twin of a handful of hurdles to overcome.

At benefaction it’s tough to get reason of a Mix 2S in many western markets, that is what creates this phone as engaging as it is off-putting. But usually we wait, since Xiaomi is coming, and entrance strong.

The Mi Mix 2S is a transparent instance of usually how many can be achieved for half a cost of opposition flagships, in a good design, full of engaging ideas, though with some compromises to swallow as a result.


Ok, so it’s a lot some-more cash, and there’s a notch. But a P20 Pro has a best camera in any smartphone (to date), has reduction cryptic software, a incomparable battery, trim bezel to opposition a Xiaomi, and it’s easy to buy in a UK. Probably a phone of a year 2018 already.


Another Chinese builder in a matching space, OnePlus has done vital inroads in a UK for a affordability and high-end specifications. With so many generations underneath a belt, a OnePlus is an easier-to-purchase choice that’s proven a value many times over. Although reason glow on shopping one, as the OnePlus 6 will be here in May 2018.


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