The Xiaomi Mi MIX was certainly one of the most interesting products of 2016: in fact, one could argue it was the device that kickstarted the bezel-less design trend we've seen gain immense popularity over the course of the past year, with everyone from Samsung to LG jumping on the trend.
But even though Xiaomi positioned the Mi MIX more as a proof-of-concept than an actual mainstream product — quantities were limited, and the phone was only sold in a handful of countries — it was a pretty effective PR move, pushing people's perception of Xiaomi away from the "just another Chinese manufacturer" mindset.
So today's reveal of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 is not at all a surprising move. But as mentioned, the bezel-less look is no longer the unique and exciting feature it was last year — so without the advantage of a shocking design, how does the Mi MIX 2 stack up against its competition?
Design-wise, the MIX 2 takes several deviations from the course set by its predecessor. First and foremost, there's the size: the MIX 2 is noticeably smaller in size, with its display sporting a relatively tame 6-inch diagonal, down from 6.4 inches. But this is further amplified by another major change: while the original had a peculiar 17:9 aspect ratio, the MIX 2 has moved to an even slimmer 18:9, the same as the LG G6, for example.
As a result, the front now features an even slimmer bottom bezel, which once again contains the front camera. A notable change is the earpiece above the screen, which was not present in the original which used an experimental piezoelectric speaker instead.
All of this is once again accented with a stylish ceramic back, though Xiaomi claims it has made the material denser and stronger to reduce the chances of it breaking. The rear also features another small but notable change, in the form of a camera bump.
And as for the camera, there are no real surprises to be found: the sensor used is the same 12 MP one you'll find inside the Mi 6, except here it's in a single-camera configuration.
On the hardware side of things, the Mi MIX 2 doesn't disappoint, either: it sports the current top-of-the-line SoC from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 835, and combines it with a generous 6 GB of RAM. There are three storage options: 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB. Battery capacity isn't skimpy, either, at 3,400 mAh, though it is a notable downgrade from the original's 4,400 mAh.
Xiaomi also announced a Special Edition of the Mi MIX 2, featuring a slightly modified design: instead of just the back, the entire shell is made out of a single piece of ceramic. This is accompanied by a slight specs bump to 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.
But here's where things start to get even more interesting: the Mi MIX 2 will support an expanded set of 43 wireless bands, including WCDMA ones. Or to put it in simple terms, the device will be significantly more compatible with US networks.
Availability by country hasn't yet been announced, though we imagine it will once again be limited to China and some of its neighbors. But even if the device does have a wider release than its predecessor, Xiaomi doesn't operate directly in the United States, so those who would like to buy it will have to settle for dealing with resellers.
Price-wise, the MIX 2 doesn't disappoint, either: it costs the equivalent of $506, $552, and $613 for the 64, 128, and 256 GB editions, respectively. The Special Edition, on the other hand, is a significantly pricier $720, though this is still cheaper than most other flagships on the market. However, it's worth noting that this is the price in China, which doesn't take taxes and import costs into account, so the end price will probably be higher worldwide.