Just to make sure nobody missed it - the Mi Mix 2s body is almost identical to Mi Mix 2 - only coming a millimeter shorter and narrower. That almost surreal bezel-free look, with the selfie camera in the top right corner, all the leaks were taunting, didn't become reality. Or rather, not yet. Xiaomi's ongoing vision for the Mi Mix line is to eventually achieve a true all-screen experience. One where the hardware seamlessly disappears and gives way to the UX. Looking back at the ambitious profile of the original Mi Mix, we have no reason to doubt Xiaomi's determination in this regard.
If the next big design and hardware step forward serves that end, we will likely see it adopted on a Mix device. Perhaps another hard to find one, like the original Mi Mix, meant to serve as a tech showcase, rather than a mass market product. But, that's all in the realm of speculation.
The Mi Mix 2s, on the other hand, is entirely real - designed sensibly enough to be mass produced and sold at a reasonable price, while still stunning enough to end up as a design exhibit at Centre Pompidou in France.
It's a truly difficult balance to achieve. From the front, the Mi Mix 2s is a real eye-catcher, thanks to the familiar 5.99-inch, 1080p, 18:9 display, complete with rounded corners. It is still an LCD panel - a pretty vibrant and bright one, upon initial inspection, but no jump to OLED quite yet. Still, this is the kind of sensible decision making that keeps costs down.
The same goes for the regular earpiece, tucked in the tiny top notch, above the display. Long gone is the elaborate and costly, under-display speaker on the original Mi Mix. Sure, it might not be as bezel-free as the original, but the top and side bezels are still thin enough to be easily overshadowed by the spacious panel.
Underneath it, the bottom chin is still in place - virtually as thick as on the Mi Mix 2. On the one hand, the space is kind of a necessity, in order to house the display controller, as well as the selfie camera. The latter is still a bit awkward to use and typically requires flipping the entire phone to get a good angle. But, it's still functional.
While on the subject of hardware placement, the overall control scheme of the Mix 2s is unchanged from the Mix 2 and pretty standard. That means a nice, "clicky" volume rocker and a power button to match on the right side. Practically empty top and left sides and a single speaker, Type-C USB port and main microphone on the bottom.
Yes, unfortunately, mono sound once again, as well as no 3.5mm audio jack. The latter doesn't really come as a surprise, given the Mi Mix 2 already ditched the analogue port. But it does still sting a little that despite the absence, the handset still lacks any formal IP ingress rating and thus an excuse to ditch the port.
The build on the Mix 2s might not be water-tight, but it is really premium. The device feels really sturdy in the hand and understandably so, since it features a metal frame, sandwiched between a Gorilla Glass on the front and a ceramic back. Ceramic is not only tough, but quite scratch-resistant as well. On the flip side, however, it is on the heavier side and is a real fingerprint magnet.
The only major design change in the Mi Mix 2s is in the camera module around back. The single 12MP snapper on the regular Mi Mix 2 has been swapped for a dual 12MP setup and that was moved to the top left corner. The primary module uses a IMX363 sensor and the large sensor inside seems to take quite a bit more space, since the camera hump is a lot more noticeable this time around.
As a result, the Mi Mix 2s wobbles quite a bit when placed on its back. Still, nothing that a good case can't solve. But that would also mean covering up the premium ceramic. It comes down to personal choice, really, but if it's a good enough arrangement for the iPhone X, it is good enough for Xiaomi to "borrow" as well.
Wrapping the hardware tour up, we have the round fingerprint reader, mounted in the familiar central spot on the back side of the phone. It features a glass-like surface, quite similar to its surroundings, making for a nice and uniform feel. Performance-wise, it is just as reliable and snappy as the one on the regular Mi Mix 2. In fact, it is most likely the same.