What a time it is for foldable phones. Not only do we have a more robust selection that spans multiple smartphone makers, but we’re starting to see bolder designs that increase the utility of these devices.
You can now add the Xiamoi Mix Fold 3 to that list, which is yet another engineering marvel because of its impressive durability rating of withstanding up to 500,000 folding cycles. That’s a 2.5x improvement over the 200,000 folding cycles claimed by both the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Google Pixel Fold.
Durability has always been one of the concerns for foldable phones, especially given how there are far more moving parts involved with their designs when compared to conventional smartphones. Xiaomi’s claim about the Mix Fold 3 holding up at around 500,000 folding cycles is an ambitious one, but it’s also noteworthy given that the Mix Fold 3 costs 8,999 yuan ($1,240/£980/AU$1,920). That pricing undoubtedly undercuts the competition, but the new Xiaomi phone is only going to be available in China.
While its durability claim is an impressive one, there’s actually another part about the Mix Fold 3 that’s even better.
The only quad-camera system in a foldable
Unlike the mainstream flagship phones you can buy, there are some compromises when opting for a foldable phone. The cameras in particular tend to be pared down, but that’s not the case here with the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 because the new phone packs a quadruple camera system that's co-engineered with Leica. That’s a rarity of its own when you look at some of the best phones out there, so it’s like a unicorn sighting in the foldables space.
The Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 looks to be a substantial upgrade over its predecessor, giving it also a leg up over the triple camera arrangement of the Google Pixel Fold — which features a telephoto camera with a 5x optical zoom range. The Mix Fold 3, however, ups the ante with not one, but two 10MP telephoto lenses cameras with 2.5x and 5x zooms. They’re accompanied by the 50MPIMX800 main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide lens with a 125-degree field-of-view.
This adds a tremendous amount of utility for capturing faraway subjects, especially when we saw a big difference in that area with our Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs. Pixel Fold face-off. There’s no denying that the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is shaping out to be a top contender for the best camera phones around.
Incredibly thin and lightweight
With #XiaomiMIXFold3, have your #VisionExpanded. 🟠📷🔴 pic.twitter.com/vEanaHRmPvAugust 14, 2023
Remarkably, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 flaunts a ridiculous 0.43-inch (10.86mm) thinness when it’s closed, which makes the 0.52-inch (13.4mm) chassis of the Z Fold 5 look chunky by comparison. This level of engineering was achieved by using a new rod structure with the phone's hinge design. Not only do the 14 micro-hinges help in making the Mix Fold 3 extremely thin and lightweight, but it also adds to its durability.
In some magical way, Xiaomi is able to cram a 4,800 mAh battery into the Mix Fold 3’s design, which could possibly be enough to dethrone the current foldables battery king in the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. Just like Samsung's phone, the Mix Fold 3 relies on the battery efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. We’ve seen the boost in battery life to many flagship devices packing Qualcomm’s chipset, like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, so it’s safe to assume that the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 isn’t a slouch in this category either.
However, Xiaomi didn’t disclose an official IP rating for its foldable. Its svelte construction and increased durability could’ve been at the expense of this. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, by comparison, features an IPX8 rating that protects it from submersion under water for a period of time.
All great, but unlikely to make a dent
The Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 is another testament to how far foldable phones have come. While it has the cool features to draw people in, this Xiaomi phone is unlikely to produce the kind of sales that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold are able to achieve stateside because it’s a China-only release. You could import the Mix Fold 3, but you run the risk of missing 5G support on different bandwidths that your wireless carrier offers.
Still, you’ve got to hand it to Xiaomi for designing an ambitious foldable phone — it’s built for productivity and content creation. Looking ahead, we'll see more competition in this space from upcoming foldables such as the OnePlus Open. Apple's on tap to announce its iPhone 15 lineup next month, but it could also be yet another opportunity for the company to perhaps tease a foldable iPhone.