Xiaomi may have earned its cult status by making and selling “cheap and cheerful” phones, but at the other end of the spectrum, it also has the ability to do some really awesome things. Sometimes crazy things. Like the Mi MIX Alpha.
“In craziness lies genius,” a wise man once said (OK, it was Steve Jobs). I think it’s pretty apt to describe what Xiaomi has done with its latest concept phone.
Forget notches. Forget fancy schmancy sliding mechanisms. Forget those fussy little pop-up, elevating camera thinggamagiks. Forget foldable phones.
Too fussy. Too clunky. Too many moving parts.
The Mi MIX Alpha keeps it simple. It’s just all-screen. A mind-blowing single display panel that wraps around the entire body. With an 180.6 percent screen-to-body ratio. Yes, you read that right. How does that even make sense?
What’s a foldable phone again? Pfft.
This is Xiaomi’s take on the future of smartphones; just as how the first Mi MIX concept pushed the boundaries of what was possible with a mobile device.
So, let’s dive into what makes the Mi MIX Alpha special—the screen.
Fundamentally, it’s still a typical candy bar form factor but has an insane wraparound display. The OLED display curves and folds around the side and flows all the way to the back.
The only thing that breaks the monotony is a narrow vertical strip that houses the triple-camera array. The camera array is protected by a single piece of sapphire glass that’s embedded in ceramic.
The top and bottom parts use aerospace-grade titanium alloy that is three times stronger than steel but lighter.
I’m guessing the next iteration will have some sort of in-display/under-glass camera system.
In any case, the display is 7.92-inch with a resolution of 2088×2250 pixels. Let’s dwell on that for a minute.
The curved sides of the display are touch-sensitive, reminiscent of the Galaxy Note Edge, with widgets and notification icons.
Xiaomi says the Mi MIX Alpha has “mis-touch detection” which uses multiple sensors and AI algorithms to dynamically allocate touch commands and to deactivate inactive areas.
It remains to be seen how well this works, but golly it looks fantastic.
Under the hood, everything is top-notch, as you’d expect from a concept device. We’re talking the blistering fast Snapdragon 855+ processor with 12GB RAM and 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage. Keeping things juiced is a 4,050mAh nano silicon cathode battery that supports 40W fast wired charging via USB-C.
The dual-SIM device is 5G-ready.
What’s also interesting is the camera system. Forget the 48MP sensors that you see in some of today’s devices. Things are breaking the 100MP barrier.
Co-engineered with Samsung, the Mi MIX Alpha’s primary camera is a 108MP f/1.69 1/1.33-inch sensor with OIS. It features a 1.6-micron pixel 4-in-1 Super Pixel, in other words, pixel-bins to 27MP images with theoretically four times the light.
There’s a 20MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle (117-degree FOV) camera and a 12MP f/2.0 telephoto shooter with 2x optical zoom.
Disappointingly, there’s no 3D ToF camera of some sort, but hey, you can’t have everything.
You’ll notice that there’s no front-facing camera; that’s because you no longer need one. Just flip the phone over and use the rear cameras. At least there’s no selfie camera at the bottom (goodbye, chinfies!).
The Mi MIX Alpha features an in-display fingerprint sensor and runs special MIUI Alpha edition. There’s info on whether it is running Android 10 or 9.
Nonetheless, if this is all enticing to you, Mi MIX Alpha is set to be the most expensive smartphone yet with an official retail price of RMB19,999 (~MYR11,762). Yes, pricier than the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X.
Even if you can afford it, it may be challenging to get one. Being a “concept phone” Xiaomi plans to do a small production run at the end of December.
So, what do you think? Is all-screen all that?