Xiaomi Mix Fold 2: Samsung’s monopoly on foldable phones coming to an end?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Xiaomi Mix Fold 2: Samsung’s monopoly on foldable phones coming to an end?
When Xiaomi launched the Mi Mix Fold last year, my feelings about it were quite mixed. No much drama there - it was Xiaomi's first foldable phone, and like every first-gen device, it truly looked like one. It wasn't as bad as Samsung's very first attempt, but it was even thicker, heavier, and its software was even less polished primetime-ready...

Speaking of the Galaxy Z Fold, it's no secret that it took Samsung quite a few attempts to reach the current form of the Fold. As you'll read in our Galaxy Z Fold 4 review, this is by far the most refined foldable phone Samsung's ever made, but even despite that, it still has some apparent shortcomings like a very obvious crease, a hinge that doesn't allow it to fold completely, and a noticeably thicker body when compared to a slab phone. 

Well, completely by coincidence (not!) Xiaomi has decided to rejoin the foldable party by announcing (just a day after the Galaxy Z Fold 4) what, in my opinion, could be one of the most important phones we've seen since the original iPhone. I know, I know… that's a stretch, but hear me out.

Let's talk about the week-old Xiaomi Mix 2 Fold simply because it's a device that deserves to be talked about. But also because it happens to change my view on inner-folding phones - something that no Samsung, Huawei, Honor, or Vivo foldable has managed to do! 

Despite selling out in 5 minutes in China, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 won't be sold globally, helping Samsung to maintain its monopoly on the foldable phone market

First things first, as it stands, it doesn't look like the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 will be sold outside of China. That's great news for Samsung, allowing the South Korean giant to maintain its monopolistic grip on foldable phones around the world, as Xiaomi won't be putting any pressure on TM Roh & Co outside of China, where the Mix Fold 2 sold out in 5 minutes after going on sale.

On the flip side, the absence of the Mix Fold 2 from the global scene is terrible news for us, the consumers and tech enthusiasts, who are hoping for better and more affordable foldable phones to become mainstream quicker. We need the competition to wake up. ASAP.

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It's very obvious that Samsung is in a comfort zone, where nobody is bothering it to push foldable phone innovation. That doesn't mean the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a bad foldable phone at all. It simply means it's certainly not as good as it could've been if Samsung had the likes of Huawei and Xiaomi breathing down its neck.

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2: Is this what the Galaxy Z Fold 4 should’ve looked like?

Despite the fact that the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 won't be sold outside of China, I can't sit here and ignore the sheer engineering brilliance this device brings to the table compared to the foldable phone competition out there.

  • The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 is the lightest inner-folding phone on the market at only 262g (26% lighter than its predecessor and lighter than an iPhone 13 Pro Max with a case on it)
  • The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 is (by far) the thinnest inner-folding phone on the market at only 5.4mm when unfolded and only 11.2mm when folded (not much thicker than a gaming Android phone; 40% thinner than its predecessor, and thinner than any iPad)
  • The Xiaomi Mix Fold has a crease in the middle of its inner display but this one's not nearly as pronounced as on the Galaxy Z Fold 4
  • The Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 can be folded completely, which should do a great job at preventing accidental damage to the precious inner screen

All of this makes the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 the most practical-looking foldable phone we've ever seen, and that's the main priority when it comes to foldables, isn't it? They are supposed to feel like "normal" phones. That beings said, there's no denying that some sacrifices had to be made on the way to achieving this super impressive form-factor.

Compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, the Mix Fold 2 isn't water-resistant because its hinge had to be significantly simplified in order to become so significantly thinner and more compact. The Mix Fold 2 also doesn't support wireless charging, as this would've increased the overall thickness of the device. These are very nice features to have on a $1,800 phone, and I understand that some might find it hard to overlook their absence.

Then again, Xiaomi fights back with a triple Leica camera, tuned according to the beastly Xiaomi 12S Ultra; bigger outer and inner displays; super powerful multitasking capabilities that allow the Mix Fold 2 to run a game, a game map, and a YouTube video at the same time; super-fast charging; and a bigger battery than the Z Fold 4, albeit just by 100mah. A very impressive feat considering how much sleeker and more slender the Mix Fold 2 is next to Samsung's newest Fold.

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 changes the game and my mind on inner-folding phones: The most important phone since the original iPhone?

I'll end this by giving Xiaomi credit for something that no company has managed to do before, and shockingly this isn't the Mix Fold 2 as a whole...

Before the launch of the Mix Fold 2, I used to be convinced that inner-folding phones weren't the future, and I believed that only outer-folding smartphones could be made to look and feel as close to a "normal" phone as possible. I even wrote a story titled "Huawei Mate Xs 2: Does Huawei's Galaxy Fold killer prove Samsung is doing foldables wrong?"

Now, don't get me wrong, the Huawei Mate XS2 still looks like the best version of a foldable phone to my eye, as it's even thinner and lighter than the Mix Fold 2. But the key thing here is that the difference between the two is very far from the difference between the Mate XS2 and the Z Fold 4.

The Huawei Mate XS2 is only 0.1mm thinner than the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 when folded and just 9g lighter. Are you on board? Xiaomi singlehandedly flipped the script on inner-folding phones, and it seems like all of this happened overnight (despite the fact that the company's been working on the Mix Fold 2 for years).

That's why I now think that inner-folding phones are certainly here to stay until something better and more practical like a rollable phone comes along, and that's why I recognize the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 as one of the most important phones that we've seen after the original iPhone, which itself changed smartphones forever. I know that's a bold statement, but can you name another phone that brings a new futuristic form-factor and manages to look so impressive? I can't.

Global Xiaomi 13 Ultra and Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 might take Samsung and Apple by surprise in 2023

Again, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 is only available in China (although importing it seems to be a rather simple task, as the phone comes with full support for Google Services), but the great news for those itching to get their hands on the sleekest foldable around is that they might be blessed in 2023! So, not too long from now.

Rumour has it that Xiaomi is nearly ready to finally bring its top-tier flagship phones to the global market as soon as next year! We're talking about the successor of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra - the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, and the upcoming Xiaomi Mix Fold 3. Now, that's some competition that the likes of Samsung and Apple will need to watch out for…

Would you buy a Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 if it was available in your country? I know the answer for myself... For the record, a price closer to $1,500 would be nice, Xiaomi. Please, look into it for the Mix Fold 3.

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