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Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S Review

Xiaomi was ahead of the competition when it comes to the elimination of bezels. In 2016, they released the Mi Mix, followed by the Mi Mix 2 in 2017. This year, though, they released an update to last year’s model, the Mi Mix 2S. So what’s different and can this still be worth considering as a flagship contender for 2018? Find out in our review.

Design and Construction

When it comes to design, the Mi Mix 2S isn’t that different to the Mi Mix 2. At least on the front. It still has very slim bezels at the sides and at the top where the earpiece is retained.

It still has that chin at the bottom, which is also relatively slim. It houses the 5MP front camera, which is oddly-placed at the lower right, and the LED notifications at the center.

The power/lock and volume buttons are placed on the right. They’re clicky but firm and well-made. The dual-nano SIM tray is on the left. At the top, we have the secondary microphone, while at the bottom are the main microphone, USB Type-C port, and the loudspeaker.

At the back are the protruding dual camera module consisting of two 12MP sensors, and the LED flash. Right at the center is the fingerprint scanner. Even with the large screen, it’s pretty manageable with one hand as we can easily reach the buttons and fingerprint scanner. We can also navigate the interface although it will require both hands if you want to reach the top part of the screen.

In terms of materials, the Mi Mix 2S is definitely premium. It has a metal frame with Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and a ceramic back that tapers towards the edges for that seamless feel. It’s cool to the touch, relatively thick at 8.1mm, and hefty at 191g so you’ll definitely feel it in your pockets.

Although of good quality, we have a few concerns about it. First, it’s a smudge magnet, which is a common issue in smartphones nowadays so we could be nitpicking. Second, the smooth and well-polished surface leaves us feeling that it could just slip and fall from our hands.

It could also easily slide off any inclined surface, so be mindful where you place it. To remedy that, Xiaomi included a plastic protective case in the package so we have one less thing to worry about.

Display and Multimedia

The display specs are the same as the Mi Mix 2 which is a 5.99-inch IPS screen with Full HD+ (1080 x 2160) resolution or equal to 403ppi, and an 18:9 aspect ratio. It has great viewing angles with accurate colors, while the resolution is more than enough for watching videos, viewing photos, or gaming.

However, we don’t like how the auto-brightness works and sets it too low than what we’d like, so we often end up just adjusting it ourselves. You can also tweak the display inside Settings. From there you can adjust the contrast, colors, Night mode brightness and color temperature. You can also activate the ‘Double tap screen to wake’ feature if you like.

When it comes to audio, the device can deliver above-average sound quality as it is loud with clear and crisp trebles. Like with most smartphones, the bass is weak, but it is good enough for casual listening. It also uses the earpiece as a secondary speaker for a stereo effect. The delivery is uneven, as the down-firing speaker is louder but that’s alright as it is more immersive compared to other smartphones with a single speaker.

Camera

The Mi Mix 2S sports dual 12MP cameras at the back and a 5MP camera at the front. It’s got plenty of features like HDR, Portrait, Panorama, Short video, Manual, and Beautify. There’s an added feature though which is AI Camera that can identify more than 200 scenes and automatically adjusts the camera settings. There’s also 2x zoom and OIS on board. The front camera, on the other hand, has Group selfie mode, and Age & Gender feature.

We’re satisfied with how it performs. The autofocus is fast and can lock onto different subjects quickly. Exposure and contrast are spot-on even when shooting in gloomy or dim conditions, while colors are accurate and punchy. The front camera, on the other hand, produces nice photos with sufficient details even with its low-resolution sensor, although we suggest shooting in well-lit conditions to get more details in the photo.

Now going back to that oddly-placed front camera, the Mix 2S suggests rotating the phone upside down shooting selfies. This is not an issue when taking shots in portrait mode, but in landscape, it puts our palm in an awkward position. When shooting using our right hand, our thumb is often visible when we’re pressing the shutter button. The trick is to shoot with your left hand to get it out of the way, but having to do it like that everytime is cumbersome and annoying.

When it comes to video recording, it can shoot up to 4K at 30fps in MP4 format. What we liked about it is that it still has video stabilization at this resolution. It has vivid colors and fairly fast Continuous Autofocus but details are not as sharp as the photographs. Check out the sample below.

OS, UI, and Apps

Running the software side is MIUI 9.5 Global which is based on Android 8.0 Oreo. MIUI is one of the nicest UIs we’ve encountered thanks to its simple layout with attractive icons and wallpapers.

Navigation is done via on-screen buttons by default, but you can opt to hide it and use full-screen gestures. There’s also the Quick ball and button, as well as gesture shortcuts for easy navigation and app launches.

It’s also loaded with features like Second space which creates a separate space on your phone for privacy, Dual Apps to make a duplicate of an installed app which is handy if you’re using multiple accounts, App Lock, and a security suite which includes a cleaner, speed booster, security scanner, and battery monitor.

When it comes to apps, the Mi Mix 2S comes pre-loaded with Google apps and a few from Xiaomi like the Mi Drop and MIUI Forum. Facebook is pre-installed as well but not a big deal. All in all, you’re getting 56.42GB of usable space out of the 64GB. Unfortunately, you can’t expand it as it doesn’t support microSD cards.

Performance and Benchmarks

Powering the Mi Mix 2S is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, Adreno 630 GPU, and 6GB of RAM. Given the configuration, it performed great as expected. Navigating between home screens and settings is smooth, the apps install and launch fast, and switching between those apps is easy thanks to the large RAM.

Gaming is not an issue as well and it can run demanding titles like Tekken and PUBG Mobile in HD- Ultra- Realistic settings without stuttering in busy scenes. Warming is noticeable at the top center. It’s enough to make your palm sweaty but not too much to cause any noticeable effects in performance.

Check out the benchmark scores below:

  • AnTuTu v7 – 219,131
  • Geekbench 4 – 2,121 (Single-Core), 5,484 (Multi-Core), 13,170 (RenderScript)
  • 3D Mark – 3,171 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1), 2,211 (SSE – Vulkan)
  • PC Mark – 8,036 (Work 2.0)
  • AndroBench – 747.09 MB/s (Read), 192. 65 MB/s (Write)

Connectivity and Battery Life

The Mi Mix 2S is equipped with the usual connectivity features like dual-SIM with 4G LTE, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC. Calls are loud and clear while mobile data is fast as long as the area has coverage from the telco. GPS also works well and had no problems with apps like Google Maps, Waze, and Grab.

Given the size and heft of the phone, we were expecting at least 4,000mAh, but Xiaomi settled at 3,400mAh which is still above average capacity. We’re getting around 10 hours of use when mostly connected to WiFi and heavy on social media apps. It drops to around 6 hours when we include gaming. Our standard video loop test yielded 13 hours and 27 minutes of playback which is not bad. Fast charging, on the other hand, takes about two and a half hours.

Conclusion

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, although, an updated version of the Mi Mix 2, is a device worthy to be called a flagship and can compete with other devices in its class. Let’s do a rundown – it has a large 5.99 FHD+ display with slim bezels, Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB RAM, and great-performing dual rear cameras.

You may argue that these specs can be found in other flagship devices, I agree, but here’s the clincher, the Mix 2S is only priced at Php27,990, which makes it one of the most affordable Snapdragon 845-powered smartphones in the market. So if you’re looking for a device with flagship level-specs for under Php30K, you will love the Mi Mix 2S.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S specifications
5.99-inch 18:9 IPS LCD display @ 2160 x 1080 pixels (403ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 2.8GHz octa-core processor
Adreno 630 GPU
6GB RAM
64GB/128GB internal storage, Non-expandable
12MP wide angle + 12 MP telephoto Sony IMX363 sensor, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, 1.4-micron pixel, dual cameras w/ LED flash
5MP f/2.0 front camera
4G LTE
Dual SIM (nano-SIM)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
USB Type-C
Fingerprint scanner
MIUI 9.5 (Android 8.0 Oreo)
3,400 mAh non-removable battery (with Quick Charge 3.0)
Wireless charging
150.9 x 74.9 x 8.1 mm
191 g
Black, White

What we liked:
* Nice display with slim bezels
* Premium build
* Good rear cameras
* Great performance
* Affordable price for its class

What we didn’t:
* Oddly-placed front camera
* Non-expandable storage


This article was written by Louie Diangson, Managing Editor of YugaTech. You can follow him at @John_Louie.

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2 Responses

  1. Freeje says:

    The new Xiaomi flagship is the Mi 8 and it has the same sensor as the Mix 2S. It has a DxO score of 105 for photo. Funny thing is that it’s cheaper than the 2S. Antutu score is also higher even though it has the same CPU. Might be due to the latest OS installed. Xiaomi said that it will update the firmware of the 2S so that camera performance will be similar.

  2. Freeje says:

    What happened? Previous comment disappeared. Anyway, the Mi 8 is a better choice. Especially if you miss the iPhone look (notch). Same sensor and updated firmware to help it get a DxO photo score of 105. Cheaper also.

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