This was a phone I really really wanted to keep for a while, however after four months with it I keep wishing I bought something with an OLED screen instead.
The “all screen” design of this phone is amazing and with the oodles of RAM that it has it never runs out of steam. The battery’s decently solid, too. The ceramic back is darn near indestructible as well. It has some heft for a phone its size. This phone is also surprisingly hefty without actually feeling heavy. Mix 2 is a phone chocked full of interesting quirks in a world where everyone is trying to do the same thing.
This is also a phone that nails gesture navigation so well that I don’t think I could ever see myself using Android softkeys ever again. Xiaomi did what Apple could not and made gesture navigation feel natural and logical
Unfortunately, not everything is so great. The screen is full of colour, yet somehow at the same time it looks “dull”. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s somehow vibrant while not being vibrant. I think this comes with me being used to OLEDs in Galaxy phones and having them set as my bar. It’s a shame because the screen real estate is absolutely insane and the edge to edge display makes it that much cooler.
Something else that’s pretty bad about this phone is the rear...no...both cameras. It seems the hardware itself is pretty solid, however the software baked into MIUI isn’t that great. HDR happens at a snail’s pace and the colours are just so wrong...that’s even if you can manage to get a decent focus on the subject. This gripe doesn’t bother me too much as the Mix 2S fixes some of these issues, but the Mix 2 will be forever plagued with these mediocre shooters. It does okay in scenarios like this...
...however introduce some sun and the photos really start sucking. And don’t dare use digital zoom. And sure, you can get a better camera app by rooting the bugger, but to date there isn’t any app out there that works for this screen and the few rooted versions of the Google Camera are buggy.
But the worst part, the worst part about this phone is its thin coat of paint on the aluminum. It’s clear Xiaomi really wanted you to spring for the all ceramic version because they skimped out on the painting process for the aluminum. The fragility of the paint reminds me of the iPhone 5. You can do everything right and it’ll still flake off.
I also don’t like the phone’s lack of case choices. Don’t get me wrong, the choices for cases is large and vast with some big players involved. However, this phone has an insanely beautiful ceramic back that shouldn’t be hidden under an opaque case. Yet of all of that wide variety of cases, the only transparent/translucent ones are the crap cases you’d find in a dollar store. I can get all sorts of strong and protective clear cases for an iPhone. But this? Nope!
And finally, I thought I wouldn’t miss water resistance. However I’ve become a motorcyclist since getting this phone and now water resistance matters more than ever. The phone has good dust resistance, however I doubt it’ll survive the kinds of dips I love exposing phones to.
In the end, I’m not sure whether I want to sell this phone or strip it down to the bare aluminum then do the “brushed metal mod” I did to iPhones and iPods of similar fragility. Maybe I’ll do both and make a profit. ;)
Some things are for certain:
1) I’m never going back to softkey control unless I have to (ie: a Galaxy phone like the S7).
2) I hate bezels.
3) OLED (or extremely good IPS) is a must.
Would I still recommend this phone? Yes! However if you want a Mix 2, get the all ceramic 128GB version or get the more current Mix 2S with the dual cameras. The 64GB model (mine) really isn’t worth your time unless you can get a stellar deal on it or taking pics isn’t that important to you.
I got my Mix 2 last night and wow, so far I think I’ve made a splendid decision.
I bought the Global model. This is one of the few Chinese phones in the world that can be used anywhere in the world, including CDMA networks. Seriously, the radios in this phone are crazy.
One cool factoid about the Global model is that the box is written in English. That quote reads: “To truly explore is to exhaust countless possibilities. For an inch of progress, we’re willing to walk miles. - Lei Jun”
Oooh, I like it!
Xiaomi really put a lot of detail into this box. Normally, electronics packaging is pretty boring; even the box for a Galaxy phone is nothing to write home about. This one is definitely a keeper.
Since this is the Global model, it has a charge brick that would most commonly be used globally. Interestingly enough, if you get the Chinese version of the phone (same radios, but the packaging is in Chinese) you will get the US style brick. As with all brand new phones I buy, don’t plan on using the accessories that come with the phone, so that’s no big deal.
Wow...this phone is hefty. It’s only slightly lighter than an iPhone 8 Plus, however it feels heavier because it’s a smaller overall form factor. The ceramic back of the phone is finished in a mirror black with dull gold accents. It’s easily one of my favourite phone designs. I can’t even begin to describe how good the ceramic looks in the flesh.
The Mix 2 has a slightly smaller screen than the original Mix; the phone that arguably made tiny bezels a worldwide trend. In getting slightly smaller, Xiaomi also made the bezels ever slightly bigger. This was done so that the phone call speaker is a real speaker and not something that doesn’t really work like its predecessor.
The ceramic is backed by an aluminum midframe. The higher capacity version comes in an all ceramic unibody.
In the box, you also get a USB C headphone adapter (no 3.5 jack), a hard case and some documentation.
Adding a case does make the bezels larger, however the screen to body real estate is still amazing. Even further, there’s a setting to turn off the soft keys on the screen and use the phone exactly like an iPhone X.
The quality of this thing is blowing me away. Chinese phone makers are like South Korean carmakers, they’ve come so far, so fast! The viewing angles are flat out top notch. The aluminum under the case soft case I just fitted is a satin black and feels as good (if not better) than any flagship.
Looking online, it looks like this phone is really durable. Despite this, Xiaomi gives you a free pre-installed screen protector anyway. I wish companies Apple and Samsung would toss in a free case and screen protector in with their devices.
The Mix 2 can be had for about $400 from Amazon and eBay. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 835, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage in the lowest model, and two flagship-level cameras.
Unfortunately, the screen isn’t OLED and the phone isn’t water resistant, however with how awesome this phone is, I really cannot complain.
If you want to make sure you get the best Mix 2, a new version just came out called the 2S. That one has incremental improvements like dual rear cameras, a Snapdragon 845, and so on. Unfortunately, that one will set you back $700.
Expect a full review once I get it activated on a network!