Xiaomi throws down against Apple and Samsung on new devices

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Xiaomi presented this week the Mi Note 2, the company’s advanced flagship phablet. The new phablet will try to pick up users from Samsung, as well as users who have been left without a new device. At the same time, however, the company also unveiled a new and especially fascinating device that stole the show: the Mi Mix. Beyond its impressive design, which includes a bezel-less screen, the device comes with advanced specs.

A Phillipe Starck-designed device

Photo Credit: Xiaomi
Photo Credit: Xiaomi

Worthy of special note is the Mi Mix’s enormous 6.4-inch screen. Despite this screen, however, the device’s dimensions are identical to those of the iPhone 7 plus with its 5.5-inch screen. How is this possible? The secret lies in an especially high (91.3%) screen-to-body ratio. The screen itself has 1080 x 2040 resolution with a 17:9 ratio, so that even when software buttons appear – the device has no capacitive buttons – you will still enjoy a cinema-like 16:9 display ratio.

The first question that arises concerns the location of the device’s frontal camera. From the upper part of the screen, where we are used to seeing it, the camera has moved to the bottom part of the device. What about components that cannot be moved, such as the loudspeaker for calls and the proximity sensor, which bring up the display during calls? Xiaomi has shown considerable creativity here by using piezoelectric material – material that can create an electric current in response to mechanical pressure in order to transmit sound waves to the user’s ear. Instead of ordinary proximity waves, the company uses ultrasound proximity waves hidden under the screen. The device can sense when we put the device next to our ear for speaking purposes. While we have not yet reviewed the device, there can be no doubt that on paper, at least, the solutions involved are both smart and creative.

Photo Credit: Xiaomi
Photo Credit: Xiaomi

The man responsible for the design of the device, which took two years to develop, was super-designer Phillipe Starck. The device is composed entirely of what the company describes as a new ceramic material. According to Xiaomi, this new material is designed to provide both better durability and a premium feeling. According to the pictures, at least, the company has met this mark. Also contributing to the feeling of luxury is an 18-carat gold band around the camera lens and a fingerprint sensor.

Photo Credit: Xiaomi
Photo Credit: Xiaomi

The Mi Mix’s virtues, however, are not confined to its appearance, In addition to its design, the new device also comes with rather impressive specs. Like Google’s new Pixel, the Mi Mix is equipped with the Snapdragon 821, Qualcomm’s new flagship processor. The device comes in two configurations: the first with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB of built-in storage space, and the second with no less than 6 GB RAM and 256 GB of built-in storage space. Like DSLR cameras, the rear camera includes a 16-megapixel PDAF sensor, and the frontal camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Like most Chinese devices, the Mi Mix comes with a two-SIM option, and also includes a battery with a 4,400 mAh capacity and Quick Charge 3.0 standard-compliant high-speed charging.

Photo Credit: Xiaomi
Photo Credit: Xiaomi

The device is slated to become available next month at a price of $515 for the ordinary version and $590 for the more advanced version.

Two weeks ago, Sharp presented its Corner R, a device with a “frameless screen,” but that was still only a concept model, while Xiaomi’s device is designated for mass production, and will be available for purchase shortly.

Xiaomi’s answer to those disappointed with the Note 7

Photo Credit: Xiaomi
Photo Credit: Xiaomi

Together with the Mi Mix, Xiaomi also announced the Mi Note 2, its new phablet, which includes quite a few of the late Note 7’s features. Like Samsung’s flagship phablet, the Mi Note 2 also comes with a 5.7-inch screen rounded on both sides, including the rear part, and 1080 x 1920 resolution, not QHD. While it does not have the body-to-screen ratio of its younger brother, the Mi Note 2’s ratio is still a fine 77.2%.

Beneath the hood is Qualcomm’s newest processor, the Snapdragon 821, with a speed of 2.35 GHz. Like the Mi Mix, it also comes in 4 GB RAM and 6 GB RAM versions, with matching storage spaces of 128 GB and 256 GB, and is UFS 2.0 standard-compliant. For users who do not need so much storage space, Xiaomi also offers a 64 GB version.

Photo Credit: Xiaomi
Photo Credit: Xiaomi

The new device’s photography system includes a rear camera with a Sony 22.56-megapixel Exmor IMX318 sensor, a lens with an f/2.0 aperture, and an 8-mexapixel frontal camera with adjustable focus, mainly for taking selfies. The Mi Note 2 also contains a 4070 mAh battery and a Quick Charge 3.0 standard-compliant high-speed charger. The advanced model of the new device, which comes with Google Play Services and all Google’s apps, will cost consumers outside China $520.

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