Xiaomi's Crazy 100MP Camera Phone Looks Like the Flagship of the Future

(Image credit: Ice Universe)

If the rumors are true, this is the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha, the next flagship from the fourth biggest phone manufacturer in the world that most Americans don’t know about. Its design, with a screen that may wrap all around its body, has no edges and no notches. And according to this photo sample, its 100-megapixel camera is insane, too.

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

According to Gizmochina, the Alpha’s camera can shoot photos at 12,032 x 9,024 pixels. That’s a whopping 40 megabytes per photo, which is probably why you can get this beast with 1 terabyte of internal storage. The Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha will allegedly be powered by a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor and will have 12GB of RAM.

The camera sensor is made by Samsung, which previously partnered with Xiaomi to include the former’s new 64-megapixel Isocell Bright GW1 into the later’s Redmi Note 8 Pro. The new sensor is the Isocell Bright HMX, which features up to 108 megapixels. Like its 64MP sibling, it also supports pixel clustering to greatly boost light sensitiveness.

Of course, we will have to try the Alpha ourselves and see how it performs under not-studio-ideal conditions, but the above sample is nevertheless impressive.

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

But beyond the camera, the design is even more shocking. Rather than going with a "waterfall display," the phone appears to feature a 1440p display that bends all the way to the phone’s back. It will only have two thin symmetrical lines on the top and bottom to house speakers and mics. 

This all has been confirmed by Xiaomi in a teaser poster released last week and the banner image above, posted on the company's site. With zero edges, there will be zero buttons on the sides. Reliable rumormonger Ice Universe also posted the renders you see at the top of this page.

But things may be a lot wilder than this. Like the Mi Mix 3, there will be no selfie camera notch, waterdrop, or hole on the front. But unlike the Mi Mix 3, this will not be a slider either. And Xiaomi has also confirmed it will not have a pop-up camera either but something else. That leaves us with two options.

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

The first is that it has one of those magic invisible selfie cameras that can hide under the display. We know that Xiaomi has been working on this for a while and they recently showed a working prototype. Indeed, an allegedly leaked photo of an internal presentation seem to indicate that this will be the case and that at least a Face ID-like hidden camera will be present inside the display, which will also feature a hidden fingerprint reader.

The other option would not be as technologically advanced, but exciting when it comes to design. According to these renders being posted online, the display could wrap around the entire body of the phone, allowing you to take selfies with the back cameras like the Nubia X. Ice Universe speculated in a tweet that this may be case: “Mix [Alpha] my be fifth stage!” 

That "fifth stage" refers to his prediction that phones are going from flat (like the iPhone) to curved (like the Samsung Galaxy S10) to waterfall (like the Vivo Nex 3) to super-curved screen to surround screen. The Alpha would be either super-curved or surround, according to him.

(Image credit: Weibo)

Why a surround screen? Other than for avoiding selfie cameras and looking cool, the hell I know. Personally, I would rather have an invisible camera than a wraparound display, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find this impressive. Apple’s design team has apparently been toying with this idea for a while now.

And of course, both options could be true. It may have a hidden selfie camera on the front and the display can wrap all around its body.

If you find all these specs and design a bit shocking, I hear you. Most people don’t know that Xiaomi is actually the world’s fourth biggest phone maker after Samsung, Apple, and Huawei. Its phones seem to be surpassing the technological prowess of its competitors at a fraction of the price. 

In my experience, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 — which is my daily phone — is at the same level of its contemporary flagships in processing power, camera abilities — and, in my opinion, it has a better, much cleaner design. But the surprising thing is that, while the competition was at almost $1,000 for roughly the same features, I got mine for about $400 when it came out.

I don’t know how much this crazy Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha is going to cost. It sure can’t be as low as $400 with such display and that 100MP sensor, but it’s probably not going to cost the insane prices of the iPhones and Galaxies of this world.

The phone is being announced tomorrow in China. We will report on how it actually looks (and how much it costs) as soon as it hits.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.