The release of a new Xiaomi Mi Mix phone is always an exciting time because it shows off Xiaomi phones at their most progressive.
The first Mi Mix was at the forefront of the now-common full-screen smartphone design language, and the Mi Mix 2 expanded on this with a smaller bottom bezel and ceramic body. By the time the third generation appeared, the Mi Mix 3 was a near bezel-less sliding phone with dual front and rear cameras, and wireless charging.
The latest sequel, the Mi Mix 4, is tipped to be unveiled next month and rumors already suggest it could be a game-changer. Here’s what I hope it delivers.
Series’ highest screen-to-body ratio
Though we haven’t reached all-screen form factors yet, if there’s one OEM you can rely on to push the bezel boundaries further than others, it’s Xiaomi with its Mi Mix series.
Thanks partly to its sliding design, the Mi Mix 3 delivered the range’s most optimized display yet, featuring what Xiaomi says is a roughly 93 percent screen-to-body ratio (though others claim a more conservative 85 percent).
We’ve seen many manufacturers try to push the display envelope lately — the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, shipping tomorrow, reportedly has an upwards of 90 percent screen-to-body ratio. If the Galaxy Note 10 Plus can crack the 90 percent barrier, the more experimental Mix series should be able to crank it up even further.
If Xiaomi goes the sliding route once again, perhaps it can achieve this without the Note 10’s off-putting front-facing camera hole.
You could argue the Mi Mix 4 doesn’t need much slimmer bezels because they were already slim enough on the Mix 3, and making them slimmer won’t change much. But the Mi Mix series established itself as something of a pioneer in this area, so I hope it delivers once again.
A better camera
Despite its numerous strengths, the Mi Mix series has often been weak when it comes to the camera experience — whether that’s down to its placement (it was awkwardly stuck at the bottom bezel of the Mix 1 and 2) or technical capabilities.
The Mi Mix 3 was a step in the right direction; dual front and rear cameras helped it be a standout in the camera department — it was one of the best phones for photos we saw last year (you can see some samples in the gallery below).
Thankfully, it looks like this may only improve further on the Mi Mix 4. Xiaomi has confirmed it is working on a phone with a 108MP camera — 108 million pixels! — and that phone might just be the Mix 4.
High megapixel numbers don’t guarantee quality, but if it’s well integrated, the Mix 4 camera could be a show stopper in low light shooting and in its zoom potential.
On another phone, I’d probably prefer guaranteed camera quality rather than something newer and more experimental. But, again, the Mi Mix range is all about pushing technology forward — I’m all for a 108MP Mi Mix camera just to see what Xiaomi can do with it.
A big battery with big charging
If the rumors are true, and the Mix 4 will have a powerful chipset, camera, and a large display, so it’s going to need to bring something serious to power it all. But Xiaomi may have this covered too.
The speculation suggests the Mix 4 will have a 4,500mAh battery — complete with 30W fast charging. This would be the biggest and fastest charging battery of the series, though not quite up to 40W Huawei SuperCharge 2.0 potential.
Still, a fast-charging 4,500mAh battery would serve the Mix 4 well, so long as it doesn’t necessitate an unreasonably large form factor. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a 4,300 battery and the Huawei P30 Pro has a 4,200mAh battery and those phones are about 6.2-6.4 inches tall and about 3 inches wide; the Mi Mix 4 could come in at around the same.
Unlike its hardware, Xiaomi usually doesn’t deliver anything progressive in its Mi Mix software. The Mix phones typically feature the latest versions of Android with Xiaomi’s own software skin, MIUI.
MIUI doesn’t go down great in Western markets where people tend to prefer something closer to stock Android. Though the system is cleaner and sharper than ever with MIUI 10 on the Mi Mix 3, it feels like Xiaomi is missing an opportunity here.
Consumers already expect something a bit different from a Mi Mix phone, so what if Xiaomi made some small customizations to MIUI for Mix to try out some new ideas? Maybe something that takes advantage of the phone’s unique hardware attributes like its (potential) sliding mechanism, 108MP camera, or large display area.
I’m not suggesting gimmicks that interfere with the general device usage, but some non-intrusive, optional features we’ve never seen before could help make the Mi Mix 4 the best Xiaomi phone yet.
Water resistance and a headphone port
The Xiaomi Mi Mix phones, unlike many other Android flagships, aren’t IP rated for dust and water resistance. IP certification is a fairly typical feature in 2019, and though it doesn’t affect functionality, it gives consumers that extra peace of mind when buying an expensive handset. It would be great to see it implemented on the Mix 4.
It would also be great to see the headphone port return. Xiaomi ditched the 3.5mm port after the first Mi Mix, but it’s now tipped to feature on the fourth generation device. As long as Xiaomi doesn’t drop any critical features, I can only see its inclusion as a positive move.
What else can we expect?
We’ve seen a few other bits of Mi Mix 4 speculation alongside the rumors mentioned above. For starters, the phone is being tipped to come with a curved 2K resolution display, Snapdragon 855+ chipset, up to 12GB RAM, and up to 1TB storage — all of which seems reasonable. The Mi Mix 3 had the latest Snapdragon chipset, a 2K screen, and up to 10GB RAM.
The Mi Mix 4 may also pack a triple rear camera. One of those cameras is believed to be the aforementioned 108MP sensor, while the others would be a 16MP ultra-wide lens and a 12MP periscope lens. The phone will probably come with 5G too.
It seems likely the Mi Mix 4 will launch in China before seeing a limited release elsewhere as with its predecessors; the Mi Mix 3 was officially released in the UK so we may see the Mi Mix 4 there again.
With all that said, none of the above rumors have been confirmed and may not be before the device’s official launch.
What would you like to see on the Mi Mix 4?
These are just some of the features on my Mi Mix 4 wishlist, but what about yours? Which direction would you like to see Xiaomi take its next Mix phone? Let me know in the comments.
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