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Xiaomi Mi Mix review: A gorgeous concept phone come to life
The Xiaomi Mi Mix is, I think, what most phones will look like a few years from now. And believe me, it’s awesome. The 6.4-inch screen covers almost the entire face of the phone, and the buttons you’d usually find on the front are now onscreen.
The premium ceramic back gives the phone a luxurious high-end feel with a very good grip, quite unlike glass. But while the material is pretty hard and scratch resistant, you definitely don’t want to drop it.
There are some weird omissions and weaknesses. There’s only one speaker in the traditional sense, which plays music and video. For calls, the phone uses a “cantilever ceramic piezoelectric actuator”, which just means that the phone’s body vibrates to deliver sound. The camera isn’t great, either.
The Mi Mix is only on sale in China, and even there in limited quantities. While you can get it from third-party online resellers, good luck getting it fixed if you break it, as the parts used in the phone are rare as hens’ teeth. Plus its 4G LTE bands are limited, so it may not work properly outside China.
It’s also the most expensive Xiaomi phone so far. Our review model costs 3,499 yuan, which converts to around $510, AU$680 or £420. In China, that’s about half the price of phones like the Google Pixel. There’s also a premium model with 18-carat gold embossing, 6GB 0f RAM (up from 4GB) and 256GB of onboard storage (up from the base model’s 128GB) for 3,999 yuan, which is roughly $590, AU$770 or £480.
If you’re thinking of getting one, bear in mind that Chinese phones don’t come with Google services installed (like Google Maps and even Google Play), and you’ll have work to do to get those integrated properly. Big screen phones like the Google Pixel XL or the iPhone 7 Plus are much more easily procured — you’ll just have to accept a smaller screen than the Mi Mix’s mammoth 6.4-inch display.
Read more: cnet.com