The Good The Mi Mix 3 is absolutely gorgeous and its sliding mechanism makes for a satisfactory click. The camera captures great shots and the battery life is fantastic.
The Bad The phone can be a fingerprint magnet, it is not waterproof, and the front cameras do not protect the 3D face.
The Bottom Line Xiaomi’s flagship phone is a near-perfect phone, and the company makes it available in many other countries. The bad news is that the US is not one of them.
I have yet to find the perfect phone, but the Mi Mix 3 Xiaomi fits closer than anything I’ve used for years.
The Mi Mix 3 is a full-screen, bezel-less display. Its hidden front camera is revealed when you slide the display down, which moves on a unique magnetic slider and makes a happy click when it locks in place.
The use of the slider is unexpectedly satisfying, and I can’t stop playing it. The screen lights up and a buzz-like sound plays when you open it as a mini-award. And you don’t have to worry about using the slider to break the screen. Xiaomi says it is estimated at 300,000 cycles, and opening and closing is considered one cycle. Even with my new addiction, I slip less than 50 times a day.
The Mi Mix 3 is a fantastic device with the best equipment available. It has a Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm chip (though a Snapdragon 855 is coming soon), a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED full HD + display, dual 12MP rear cameras with 2x optical zoom and wireless charging. The box even has a wireless charging pad.
The cheapest Mi Mix 3, which comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, retails for around $ 490, £ 375, or $ 680, converted from 3,299 Chinese Yuan. A 10GB version of RAM and 256GB of internal storage costs 4999 Chinese Yuan, or about $ 845.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 dazzles with a ceramic rear
Although the cheapest version is a steal, the top model is still cheaper than the cheapest iPhone XS Max, at about $ 250. The only question is where to get it. You can buy Mi Mix 3 in most parts of Asia, as well as in Spain and Italy, but Xiaomi does not currently sell phones in the US.
Earlier I told you that Mi Mix 3 is almost perfect and I wasn’t kidding. Of course, it lacks some things, such as waterproofing – which is probably impossible with a sliding mechanism – and a safe unlocking of the 3D face, but I can live without these features. That’s why:
Mix 3 looks amazing
Brilliant signature ceramic back shimmer in light. Although the ceramic backing is known for its resistance to fingerprints, you will still see a lot. The darker color of the phone hides a bit of a trace. The phone is comfortable to hold, and although it’s a little heavier than the iPhone XS Max on paper, I didn’t notice a difference.
The 6.4-inch display is bright and the colors pop up even in the sunlight. Mix 3 also supports a nice charge, which is nice to have, and as mentioned earlier, you don’t have to buy a charging pad as it comes in the box.
The MIUI 10 software ties it all together
The Android experience is a bit like iOS, but it’s definitely Android. By default, Mix 3 uses on-screen buttons, but you can switch it to gesture-based controls like iOS – swipe up to exit the app, swipe sideways to swipe forward or back, and swipe and hold to display all currently open applications on your phone.
One of the new features that takes advantage of the slider mechanism is the creation of a customizable shortcut menu that allows you to quickly access applications such as a voice recorder, stopwatch or your notes. You can also set it to just take a picture with the front selfie camera.
On the side is a special Google Assistant button
But that means you can’t put your phone aside to take a steady shot – you accidentally hit a button.
Unlock your phone with the fingerprint sensor on the back
Or you can slide the screen down to use the front cameras. But it’s not as secure as the iPhone – or even the Mi 8 Explorer Edition, which has a 3D face unlock.
Taking great photos
The Mi 8 Xiaomi has great cameras, and the Mix 3 uses the same camera settings for equally good shots. I like the night mode of the phone, which takes several pictures and combines them together to get a vivid and detailed photo. Sound familiar? This is because it is a fashion feature among top phones today. The Mix 3 version works fine.
Even without night mode, the camera still takes good low-light shots. The camera also handles daylight perfectly, with many details and colors appearing on the Mix 3 screen, with many details and colors.
The front selfie camera has a built-in beauty mode. You can judge how effective this is in my example photo below. But you can turn it off, unlike similar features on other Chinese phones. It also has a secondary depth sensor for portrait mode shots.
Check out the rest of the photos below.
Battery and performance
Thanks to its 3200 mAh battery, Mix 3 blew through the day of use. In our CNET Video Labs test, the phone easily lasted 17 hours and 48 minutes. Mi Mix 3 provides similar performance to other phones running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, as you can see from our benchmarking charts below. I’ve tried games like Asphalt 8, Marvel Strike Force and even Maplestory Mobile, and found the experience to be fairly smooth. We’ll probably see better performance when the phones running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 are announced at the Mobile World Congress next month.
Comparison of equipment specifications
|Xiaomi Mi Mix 3||Huawei Mate 20 Pro||Google Pixel 3 XL||Samsung Galaxy Note 9|
|Display size, resolution||6.39-inch AMOLED, 2,340×1,080 pixels||6.39-inch AMOLED, 3,120×1,440 pixels||6.3-inch “flexible” OLED, 2,960×1,440 pixels||6.4-inch Super AMOLED, 2,960×1,440 pixels|
|Pixel density||403ppi||538ppi||522 ppi||516ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.22×2.94×0.33 in||6.21×2.85×0.34 in||6.2x3x.03 in||6.37×3.01×0.35 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||157.89×74.69×8.46 mm||157.8×72.3×8.6 mm||158×76.7×7.9 mm||161.9×76.4×8.8 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||7.69 oz; 218g||6.67 oz; 189g||6.5 oz; 184g||7.09 oz.; 201g|
|Mobile software||Android 9.0 Pie; MIUI 10||Android 9 Pie||Android 9 Pie||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Camera||Dual 12-megapixel rear||40-megapixel, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 20-megapixel, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide), 8 MP, f/2.4, 80mm (telephoto), OIS||12.2-megapixel||Dual 12-megapixel (wide and telephoto)|
|Front-facing camera||24-megapixel, 2-megapixel depth sensor||24 MP, f/2.0, 26mm||Dual 8-megapixel||8-megapixel|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.8GHz)||Kirin 980 (octa-core)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz octa-core)||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz), or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz)|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB||128GB||64GB, 128GB||128GB, 512GB|
|RAM||6GB, 8GB, 10GB||6GB||4GB||6GB, 8GB|
|Expandable storage||None||NanoSD (not microSD) up to 256GB||None||512GB|
|Fingerprint sensor||Back cover||In-display||Back cover||Back of phone|
|Special features||Wireless charging, slider||In-display fingerprint sensor, two-way wireless charging, water resistant, super-fast charging||IPX8, wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the box||Water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; S-Pen; Iris and facial scanning, Animoji|
|Price off-contract (USD)||Converts to $490 (6GB RAM, 128GB), Converts to $845 (10GB RAM, 256GB)||converts to $1,167||$899 (64GB); $999 (128GB)||$1,000 (128GB), $1,250 (512GB)|
|Price (GBP)||Converts to £375 (6GB RAM, 128GB), Converts to £655 (10GB RAM, 256GB)||£899||£869 (64GB); £969 (128GB)||£899 (128GB), £1,099 (512GB)|
|Price (AUD)||Converts to $680 (6GB RAM, 128GB), Converts to AU$1,180 (10GB RAM, 256GB)||AU$1,599||AU$1,349 (64GB); AU$1,499 (128GB)||AU$1,499 (128GB), AU$1,799 (512GB)|