Mi Mix 2S: What we like and what we don't like

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Xiaomi took around to six months to update its Mi Mix 2 smartphone with up to the date hardware. The new Mi Mix 2S looks more like an iterative update, but it brings along some notable upgrades both internally and externally. 

When I reviewed the Mi Mix 2, I remember calling it the best looking phone having incredible processing power. When I see the Mix 2S, my opinion about it's lineage holds true. But we can’t ignore the fact that there are some elements that raise arguments around them. I hoped that Xiaomi will go back, fix them and surprise us with the ‘perfect’ Mix phone we all want to see. 

While the new upgrades compliment the stunning design and bring a host of features, there are still some areas where things didn’t go the way we wanted them to. Since we still have a 'mixed' feeling about the new Mix, we highlighted the best and worst of the Mi Mix 2S to have a clear picture.

Let’s begin with the good

Wireless Charging

Most commonly seen on Samsung high-end phones, the wireless charging feature is slowly making its place in smartphones. Apple, this year, moved to a new glass and metal design to incorporate wireless charging. And when Apple does something, it is likely that other OEMs follow the trend.

Although, wireless charging is not considered to be a ‘must have’ feature on a phone, it still has its relevance for some users. So we are counting this as a valuable add on over the existing Mix smartphone.

Super hardware

The Mi Mix 2S, as promised, has the flagship SoC Snapdragon 845 running inside it. The new chipset promises you an edge over older chipsets and there’s nothing faster among Google-based phones – yet. 

The Snapdragon 845 has an eight-core Kryo 385 CPU with a clock speed of up to 2.8GHz. Its graphics chip, the Adreno 630 visual processing subsystem, is 30% faster at graphics rendering, but also 30% more power-efficient in this generation, according to Qualcomm.

Also the Snapdragon X20 cellular modem allows a peak download speed of 1.2Gbps and peak upload speed of 150Mbps. Aside from all of this, it also brings huge upgrade to the cameras as well. 

Improved camera

This time, the company has opted for a dual camera setup rather than a single lens. It has two 12MP cameras on the back, where the pixel size has increased from 1.25nm to 1.4nm, which is much larger than the what was available on the Mi Mix 2. It has the Sony IMX 363 sensor, which is paired with the dual-pixel autofocus feature. The optical zoom feature, in addition, will be useful for live situations and long range shots.

Xiaomi teased the DxOMark rating for the phone which is a industry wide benchmark to assess their smartphone cameras. Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 2S scored 101, exceeding the 100 mark with both pictures and videos combined, which is fairly impressive. 

A new AI-based bokeh mode has been added to the camera app. Additionally, there’s a dynamic mode where users can save their photos as a GIF and the app allows users to change the shape of the background blur.

ARCore support

The Mi Mix 2S is the first phone in China to support Google’s ARCore platform. This adds Augmented Reality capabilities similar to the Pixel phones. There are tons of apps and games that enable AR functionality on the phone to have fun with.

What could’ve been better?

Camera bump

Something that’s hard digest about the design of the Mix 2S is the newly introduced camera bump. It has a vertically stacked dual lens module at the left top corner, which has become a norm after Apple introduced it in the iPhone X.

It’s sad to see a phone like the Mi Mix, which inspired other OEMs with its design, imitating design elements itself. Moreover, the actual beauty of the Mix 2 is its design, but the svelte feel of the phone seems lost with the camera bump. The slab like feel of the evenly balanced body seems to have changes after this camera arrangement. 

No solution to front camera placement

In my personal opinion, one of the most annoying elements of the Mi Mix 2 was its front camera placement and its picture quality. You need to turn the phone upside down to click a selfies, and make video calls. While some apps do support inversion, many of them did not support rotation of camera. That means, any user who uses the front camera frequently can get annoyed in no time.

No IP68/67 certification

While the Mix 2S has adopted features like wireless charging and dual-camera, it still misses out on a more useful IP68/67 certification. This certification assures that the phone is water and dust-resistant up to a certain level. 

Although it’s totally based on personal preference, we feel waterproofing is a way more useful feature than wireless charging. Even the flagship phones of 2017 had waterproofing as a basic feature on them.