Xiaomi’s Mi Mix first impressions: Right out of Minority report

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For the longest time smartphone manufacturers, have been following the dream of almost no borders around the screen. And there have been brands which have shown that it is possible to build that kind of a device. But these phones have always been compromised in one way or the other. Xiaomi has proven otherwise at today’s event where it launched the Mi Mix which has been designed by famed French designer Philippe Starck. This may not look like something that is outlandish, but it for sure is something that is close to being something that one has seen in movies like Minority Report. I played around with the phone for a while to be witness to the type of trickery Xiaomi has managed.

The star attraction is the full HD LCD screen which forms the 6.4-inch panel that fits in a body that’s as big as the iPhone 7 Plus. Yes, that means Xiaomi has managed to outfit a screen that’s almost an inch bigger than the one on the fabled iPhone in a phone that’s almost as large. This is extreme designing. But Xiaomi takes things to another level as this phone is fully made from ceramic, a material which is stronger than metal and glass. Xiaomi started on its love affair with ceramic with the Mi 5 earlier in the year, but this is the first phone which manages to harness the beauty and the strength of the material.

Xiaomi also manages to find space for a 5-megapixel camera on the front and a new type of receiver-less microphone (piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology) and a bunch of sensors. It represents a new approach towards making smartphones.

And in person, it looks like the prettiest phone I’ve seen in the recent times including the iPhone 7 Plus in jet black. This doesn’t scratch and scuff like the gentile iPhone; ceramic makes sure it looks gorgeous. However, it also remains a smudge magnet. A crazy smudge magnet. The elegance of the design is also transcendent because it has straight lines which are geometrically perfect. It looks like a super cool futuristic gadget.

There’s also a version of the phone which has a 18 karot gold rings around the fingerprint scanner and 16-megapixel camera on the back. We didn’t have time to test out the camera and when we eventually manage to review the phone we will test this in detail. So far, I can tell you is that this has phase detect auto focus, but there’s no optical image stabilization.

Internally, this is a powerhouse. It has more or less the same specifications as the Mi Note 2. You get the super Snapdragon 821 processor which I know to be a champ as witnessed in my Google Pixel review. It starts with 4GB RAM and is also offered in 6GB RAM. It starts with 64GB of storage and goes all the way up to 256GB storage.

Another wondrous thing about the gadget is that it manages to cram a massive 4,400mAh battery which also supports quick charging. On paper this should make sure insane battery life as the phone has a full HD screen instead of a quad HD screen. On the software front, there’s Android Marshmallow which has been customized with Mi UI 8 which is one of the nicest user interfaces on the Android side of the fence.

Xiaomi also talks up a new type of GPS called SAP which will work inside tunnels too and this phone also supports 37 LTE bands just like the iPhone 7, which is kind of awesome. As of now, this will go on sale in China on November 4 starting at 3,499 RMB which is very expensive for a Xiaomi phone, but then again no one has made a phone with these materials.

Hugo Barra has reiterated that this phone isn’t coming to India as it has been deemed too expensive for a market like India and also Xiaomi doesn’t expect to make many of these phones leave alone sell them in the millions.

Disclosure: Xiaomi paid for the writer’s travel and stay in Beijing