Xiaomi's latest phone is wrapped in display and costs almost $3000
The Xiaomi Mi Mix line has pushed the boundaries of smartphone design ever since it was first introduced three years ago. The original model embraced an impressively high screen-to-body ratio while last year’s device took things to the next level with an all-screen design made possible by a slider format.
This year, Xiaomi has taken a different direction with the lineup. Rather than introducing the iterative Mi Mix 4 that everyone was expecting, the company has just announced a new “concept phone” which is literally wrapped in display.
Crazy screen-to-body ratio and no physical buttons
Called the Mi Mix Alpha, Xiaomi’s latest premium device features what it calls a “4D surrounding curved display.” This AMOLED panel delivers a bezel-less experience and an astonishing 180.6% screen-to-body ratio. It also displays status bar icons along the sides and makes use of virtual buttons to help maximize the usable screen real estate.
As you may have noticed, 19.4% of the surface area isn’t screen. This can be attributed in part to the 2.15mm bezels that sit above and below the display but primarily to the large strip that sits on the back of the phone and houses the impressive camera layout. Speaking of which, the Mi Mix Alpha employs a 108-megapixel primary camera which uses pixel binning technology to achieve higher quality 27-megapixel images. The sensor itself is unusually large for a smartphone and should therefore produce better low-light photos.
This camera is accompanied by 20-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter with support for a 117º field of view and a 12-megapixel telephoto snapper which offers 2x optical zoom. The setup as a whole is capable of producing photos at 8x hybrid zoom and macro shots at distances as small as 1.5cm.
As you may have noticed, the Mi Mix Alpha doesn’t include a separate set of selfie cameras. That’s because the large area of display on the rear means the shooters mentioned above can also be used to take photos of yourself.
Some of the best internal hardware you can find
Rather unsurprisingly, Xiaomi’s new smartphone is equipped with some of the best internal hardware on the market. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s latest and greatest – the Snapdragon 855 Plus – and also includes 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage as standard. It’s worth pointing out Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Alpha uses the UFS 3.0 storage standard like the OnePlus 7 Pro. This means the process of accessing files and opening apps should feel snappier.
The device ships with Android 10 pre-installed alongside the newly announced MIUI 11 custom overlay. This is paired with a 4,050mAh battery that supports 40W fast charging as standard. It’ll remain to be seen what battery life results the phone produces but the overall capacity suggests Xiaomi doesn’t expect users to have the entire display turned on at all times. Completing the list of features is, of course, 5G connectivity. The device now joins the Xiaomi Mi 9 Pro 5G and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G as the company’s third 5G smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X are cheaper
Like the original Xiaomi Mi Mix, the Mi Mix Alpha is being marketed as a concept phone. That’s because Xiaomi has zero plans to mass-produce it. Instead, it’ll enter small-scale production at some point later this year before a release in December.
Presumably, Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Alpha won’t be released internationally and will instead be limited to the Chinese market. There, it’ll retail at a whopping 19,999 yuan which is just over $2,800. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Fold retails at $1,980 and the Huawei Mate X costs about $2,600.