Three years ago Xiaomi ignited a war against bezels with their first Mi Mix phone. Ever since bezels have been melting away across the entire smartphone industry and so has the space for the selfie camera. Quite a few interesting implementations have been presented for how to deal with the lack of space but a slider selfie camera is probably the most fun to date.
But fun aside lets see how does the Mi Mix 3 compares to other flagships released in the recent months.
The first thing you notice about this phone is the screen. It’s not just because of the minimal bezel and the incredibly clean look. The screen itself is noticeably crispier than the last year’s model even though it has the same pixel density as before. Even at a glance you can clearly tell that the panel is a higher quality one.
The Mi Mix 3 has an AMOLED display and the lovely blacks that come with it. It can get up to 630 nits of max brightness, and the display is near the top of its class for sunlight legibility and color accuracy.
Media and Storage
Audio is also pretty solid. The single bottom firing speaker scored a good rating on our loudness tests but more importantly it has a rich sound with no distortion. As their is no headphone jack you will have to use a USB C dongle to connect your headphones. The phone also support high quality audio codecs for a better Bluetooth experience.
It comes with a 128GB of internal storage so youll be able to download all music and videos you want. This makes the phone a perfect storm in terms of media consumption all the while being quite a stunner in looks.
Look and Feel
The back has a camera setup reminiscent of the iPhone X and it has a beautiful reflective surface – that is until you touch it.
While the ceramic material is hard and extremely difficult to scratch, it becomes a slimy mess in seconds. Even worse the sides are a little slippery so we seriously recommend you use the case that comes with it for better usability. The extra grip that the case offers also means you can use the phone one-handed more easily. Even the slide mechanism is a little easier to snap open and close with the case on.
Speaking of the slide mechanism, there are little magnets that help it snap into place so its a little stiffer than the Honor Magic 2. It remains to be seen how the slider mechanism will fare overtime durability wise. Also there is zero water and dust protection, which leads us to the question that whether it’s possible for stuff to get in between the two halves of the phone and scratch the glass infront of the selfie camera.
The slider also allows for a bunch of little shortcuts if you activate them. The most classic one is answering the phone with a snap; but you can also use it to open the camera app.
As far as the biometrics go, there is no face unlock. This is a little disappointing because it feels like a natural way to unlock this type of device. The fingerprint sensor at the back however is very fast and accurate.
On the side of the phone there’s a dedicated Google Assistant button which you can’t reprogram for now but is pretty easy to ignore.
The Mi Mix 3 comes with a smaller battery than the Mi Mix 2 but surprisingly offers a huge jump in battery life. The new Mix 3 also supports a quick charge 3.0 and 4.0 so the supplied charger can get the battery from 0 to 54% in 30 minutes. Unlike most phones it also comes with its own wireless charger which can replenish the battery from 0 to 32% in half an hour.
The Mi Mix 3 is powered by Snapdragon 845 chipset in either 6, 8 or even 10 gigs of RAM. Although the 845 is a top of the line chipset at the moment but in around a month and a half, the Snapdragon 855 will be released and this will be slightly outdated.
There are rumors that Xiaomi is going to release an updated version to the Mix 3 with 5g support and Snapdragon 855 but we don’t know exactly when that would happen if it does happen at all.
For now all we can say that the Mi Mix 3 has got the performance and you wont feel any sort of slowdown with regular use especially since the UI is also well optimized.
Android Pie and MIUI
The Mi Mix 3 runs MIUI 10 on top of Android Pie 9.0. This is no vanilla Android so if you are a die-hard purist it might not be the best device for you. However, despite the extra little tools that Xiaomi includes it’s generally quite easy to get used to. The gestures are awesome and make the phone much more usable one-handed. The task switcher has also been updated and is easier to sort through.
Our biggest gripe with MIUI is the lack of an App Drawer but if you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of optimization, a third-party launcher like Nova Launcher can take care of that pretty easily.
On the back the Mi Mix 3 has 12MP main shooter with a 12MP telephoto camera. In daylight photos come out in nice detail but quite a bit of noise. The dynamic range is good and you can rely on Auto HDR for more difficult scenes. Colors are true to life unless you use the AI camera in which case the saturation is boosted a little too much and makes photos look like they have an Instagram filter.
In low light, photos are sharp enough with well preserved colors. Surprisingly there is plenty of noise but not so much that it gets in the way.
On the front you will also find a dual camera setup. However, this time you have a 24MP main snapper and 2MP depth sensing camera.
Overall the Mi Mix 3 is well built and the slider feels durable but this type of form factor is still untested and there is no IP68 rated water or dust protection. The loud speaker sounds decent but its not a stereo setup and is far from class leading when it comes to loudness.
However, the battery life is excellent, the screen is great. The camera is comparable to the likes of Galaxy S9 and the OnePlus 6T and at 1800 AED, it’s quite reasonably priced. Even though its missing a few features, the Mi Mix 3 is a solid flagship and pretty easy to recommend.