Why Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 worth its money

Phones

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.

8.8 Overall

  • Design
    9
  • Features
    8
  • Performance
    8
  • Camera
    9
  • Battery
    10

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.

Compare

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3

Apple iPhone 11

Samsung Galaxy A50

Samsung Galaxy S10E

Motorola Moto G7

Design 9 8 8 9 8
Features 8 9 8 8 8
Performance 8 10 8 9 8
Camera 9 9 8 8 7
Battery 10 8 10 10 8
Overall 8.8 9.0 8.4 8.9 8.0
Price $519 Amazon $870 Walmart $294 Amazon $650 Amazon $200 Amazon

The front cameras uses a 24-megapixel and 2-megapixel setup.

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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.

Almost perfect

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 rear is made of ceramic and is supposedly fingerprint and scratch resistant (but you’ll still see prints, in case you’re wondering).

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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.

The phone can be used normally even if the screen has been slid down.

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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 rear dual shooters feature a 12-megapixel and 12-megapixel combo.

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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.

Outdoor shots looked great, with colors that popped.

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There’s plenty of detail even in the shadowed area right at the top of this outdoor test shot.

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The front selfie camera can take pretty good shots, but you can see the effect of the beauty mode — my face looks way too smooth to be real.

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Night mode takes multiple shots and combines it into one picture. The lights aren’t overexposed and you can see plenty of detail compared with the same shot with the feature turned off.

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Night mode really helps when taking low-light shots.

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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.

3DMark slingshot is unlimited

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 4,961 Huawei Mate 20 Pro 4,938 Google Pixel 3 XL 5,946 Samsung Galaxy Note 9 6,344

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance.

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 55,892 Huawei Mate 20 Pro 56,876 Google Pixel 3 XL 62,199 Samsung Galaxy Note 9 58,832

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v4.0 single-core

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 2,378 Huawei Mate 20 Pro 3,341 Google Pixel 3 XL 2,386 Samsung Galaxy Note 9 2,406

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

GeekBench v4.0 Multicore

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 8,363 Huawei Mate 20 Pro 10,026 Google Pixel 3 XL 8,388 Samsung Galaxy Note 9 8,827

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

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
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K
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
Battery 3,200-mAh 4,200-mAh 3,430-mAh 4,000-mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back cover In-display Back cover Back of phone
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No No No Yes
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)

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