With its impressive specs, great design, and flat out amazingly low price, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 (opens in new tab) could be the phone to beat for 2019.
Running on a Snapdragon 845 processor at 2.8GHz with up to 10GB of memory — a world’s first — the new Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is a formidable machine. And with its full screen on front and ceramic back, it’s beautiful in its minimalism.
Aside from being the first phone in the world to offer 10GB of RAM, the Mi Mix 3 sports an even bigger “world’s first”: 5G support in addition to its full support for all LTE bands globally. You can’t use its 5G powers yet, though, as there are no 5G networks anywhere in the planet. But it will be ready to use once the carriers start deploying and activating their new towers.
The Mi Mix 3 has a big 6.39-inch HDR AMOLED display with 2,340 x 1,080 resolution. Thanks to the lack of notches, the screen has a 93.4 percent screen-to-body ratio on a 158.9 x 74.9 millimeter total front surface.
The phone is a bit thick compared to the Cupertino competition, though: 8.46 millimeters vs the 7.7 mm of the iPhone XS Max. It’s 10 grams heavier too: 218 vs 208 grams — although that could be explained by the significantly bigger battery of the Xiaomi. The Mix 3 sports a 3200-mAh pack vs the XS Max’s 2942-mAh one, which in theory should translate to a longer battery life.
But compared to the 8.6mm-thick Mate 20 Pro, the Mi Mix 3 is actually thinner (again, the latter packs a smaller battery than the 4200mAh of the former, which helps to explain the thickness difference).
The coolest thing about this phone, however, is how Xiaomi killed the notch, using display that uses a magnetic sliding mechanism to reveal its front facing cameras. Rated by the company at 300,000 slides-and-clicks, it doesn’t use the motorized sliding mechanism of the Oppo Find X, but a purely manual mechanism that uses neodymium magnets to keep things in place.
In a presentation, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun claimed that the slide-and-click action is extremely satisfying, referencing the old mechanical slide displays of the old Nokias without naming them. He actually says that it is so satisfying that it is relaxing, like a fidget spinner.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 Specs
|Display||6.4-inch, 2340 x 1080 AMOLED screen|
|Size||6.2 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches, 7.7 ounces|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|Camera||Dual 12-MP cameras (rear), 24MP/2MP camera (front)|
|Price (U.S.)||$472 (6GB RAM, 128GB storage); $520 (8GB RAM, 128GB storage); $575 (8GB RAM, 256GB storage); $720 (10GB RAM, 256GB Storage)|
Regardless of those claims on durability and satisfying feel, Xiaomi’s innovative display is not a completely ideal solution. Introducing moving parts, no matter how simple these are, creates new breaking points, which is why rival Samsung is going for a breakthrough notch-killing screen technology that has no movable pieces at all.
The frontal camera has a 24-megapixel sensor, aided with a 2MP sensor for depth perception, which enables the phone to create dynamic depth of field effects even while filming video. The Mix 3 uses the latest Sony 24MP mobile sensor, the IMX576.
On the back there’s two 12MP cameras, one of them also by Sony, with f/1.7 aperture and dual-core focus, coupled with a secondary Samsung sensor. Using AI to combine two shots in one, they actually rate almost as high in the mobile photography benchmark DxOMark the Huawei P20 Pro: we will have to test this ourselves, but the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 a 103 score vs 109 of the Huawei.
The phone also comes with 10W high speed wireless charging, which comes included in the box along a wired 18W quick charge adapter.
The phone starts in China at $472 for the version with 6GB or RAM and 128GB of storage, which is really low compared to the $1,000 mark of comparable flagships. Upping the RAM to 8GB gets you a $520 price tag, while the $575 model adds an extra 128GB of storage. Only the top of the line, called the Palace Museum Edition, gets anywhere near the price of the top Huawei, Samsung, Google and Apple devices: $720 for 10GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
At those stupidly low prices and with all these features and design, the Mix 3 will be very hard to resist. If the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 delivers on its promises, it will be the phone to beat in 2019 for sure.