Xiaomi was brave enough to go for something rather new, instead of pushing the limits of performance, screen resolution, camera skills, or battery endurance. Design is where Xiaomi desired to make a difference and an edge-to-edge screen is a game-changer in this department.
The best part of all is not that Xiaomi succeeded into making this screen a big thing, but also wrapping it into the most beautiful shell on the market. The ceramic is a very sturdy material and incredibly resistant to scratches compared to the regular metal and glass used elsewhere.
The Mix has a few shortcomings - the lack of proper screen protection (on some units) and the mediocre sensor used on the main camera, but they can always fade in the shadow of the jaw-dropping screen and design.
But many have tried different innovations throughout the years and most of those ended up thrown in the concept cemetery to fade into obscurity. Remember the Galaxy Round? The G Flex? Even Sharp wasn't able to make the edge-less design trendy with the Aquos Crystal series, either because of poor marketing or availability.
Xiaomi has figured out things better than Sharp and seems on the right track to pull it off, so let's do a quick summary of our Mix findings.
The flagship kind is strong this year and the Mi Mix, despite its edge-to-edge display, isn't without competition out there. With the holiday season upon us and the scarce Mix availability, many shoppers will be jumping on various competing offers.
The Huawei Mate 9 ticks more boxes than the Mix. Sure, it can't match the display and design, but nobody really can. The Mate 9 will make up with exceptional second-gen Leica camera, a better selfie shooter, stereo speakers, a microSD slot, Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, and much wider availability and support. There are also the Mate 9 Pro and Porsche Design flavors to offer curved 1440p AMOLED screens and better looking designs.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus, just like the Mate 9 trio, also revolves around photography but instead a monochrome shooter, it gives you a telephoto sensor and plays nice tricks with zoom and bokeh. The 7 Plus may use the same design for a third time, but no droid can match its A10 processor and graphics, which is telling enough. Finally, the iPhone is the only force-press-enabled device to actually utilize the tech in a smart enough way to make you want to use it.
Google's premium Pixel XL is another device in millions wishlists. It matches the Mix performance, has superior camera department, but trails behind in design. Just like with Apple, lots of fans began to value the genuine Android experience via the Pixel lineup, and its rich VR capabilities.
The LG V20 is getting hotter with each day and there is a reason - it has an overwhelmingly rich feature set in the expense of an all-metal, but rather mediocre design. There is higher-res screen, but also a secondary always-on strip on top of it; a dual-camera setup with regular and super wide sensors, military-grade shock resistance, high-quality audio department with B&O sound and headphones, professional-grade mics, and more. It's a pro-tool in every way - performance, camera, sound, so it's the one many will be choosing over Mix's looks.
The Note7 would have been here, but it's replaced by the Galaxy S7 edge in the wake of the battery fiasco. The S7 edge was heavily promoted by Samsung after the Note7 recall - the company outed new colors, promotions, even price cuts, and it actually worked - the S7 edge would probably grab the smartphone of the year award by being the best-selling device in 2016. It's curved design and screen inspired quite a few competing models out there, the water-proof body and camera quality are still something others are looking to live up to.
Finally, the Mi fans has the Mi 5, Mi 5s, and the Mi 5s Plus in case they can't or won't get the Mix for one reason or another. The Mi 5 bets on a glass design and an OIS camera, while the Mi 5s comes with a metal shell and the same Sony sensor for its main camera used on the Pixel XL. The Mi 5s Plus gives the Mi fans the best camera in the series - a dual-setup with a monochrome and a color sensor, just like on the Mate 9 and P9.
We listed quite a few competitors, but do you know what all those don't have? An edge-to-edge display and a beautiful ceramic body. When used right, these two are potentially enough to push the sales, and we expect the Mix to sell in handsome numbers given the chance. It seems everybody likes the Mi Mix, so it's up to Xiaomi to ride on the wave of its popularity or leave it to fall into the oblivion.
Special thanks to eudirect.shop for providing the review unit.