If you can get past the fact the Mi Mix 3 5G will accidentally slide open and start doing stuff when you take it out of your pocket every so often, it’s a great phone and among the most affordable 5G options around. Whether you need a 5G option is another conversation entirely.
5G is fast when you can get it
The all-screen front looks great
The sliding mechanism can be fiddly
5G coverage is sparse
4G alternatives cost less
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Xiaomi has been on a bit of a roll since launching the original Mi Mix 3 sliding phone in 2018. It has launched the flagship Xiaomi Mi 9, and the Mi 9 SE, with both delivering very good value for money.
Like Huawei, OnePlus and Oppo, the company has decided to reprise one of its pre-5G phones to make its debut in the 5G space, but rather than its latest flagship, it has picked the slightly older, much more niche, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3.
The Mi Mix 3 5G includes a battery boost compared to the original, though that has come at the cost of wireless charging. The rest of the specs read almost identically, and just like a flagship, with an all-screen display, dual front and rear cameras, a Snapdragon 855 chipset and an ample 3,800mAh capacity battery.
With the Mi Mix 3 5G being exclusive to Vodafone in the UK, and available outright in Australia, we’ve tested out its network at home and away in a bid to figure out – to 5G, or not to 5G?
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G price and availability
- Available now in the UK and Australia, not in the US
- On Vodafone in the UK, coming soon on O2
- Available outright for AU$1,399 in Australia
You’ll have a hard time finding the Mi Mix 3 5G off-contract in the UK, but in Australia it can be picked up for AU$1,399. In the UK, the phone is available through Vodafone, and that’s where you’ll have to buy it from rather than Xiaomi’s Mi store, which is where you can find the rest of its line-up.
Starting at £56 per month with a £29 upfront cost, unfortunately, the base Vodafone package offered with the Mi Mix 3 5G doesn’t include 5G data speeds, so don’t go for it.
Instead, stump up an extra £7 per month for the Unlimited Max package. When you consider the 4G options you could pick up for that kind of money - the excellent Huawei P30 Pro is available for significantly less on the same package - it becomes clear, 5G is a pricey added extra.
O2 has now confirmed it'll also be bringing the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G into its range, but it won't be available until October 2019. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G isn’t currently available at all in the US.
Design and screen
- Fiddly but sturdy slider
- Full HD OLED display
- Glass front, ceramic back
Like the original, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G is a hefty bit of kit; clocking in at 225g, it’s almost as heavy as the significantly larger Huawei Mate 20 X. Despite its weight, the phone fits comfortably in the hand and pocket, given the fact it’s heavy, not huge. The weight also adds a premium feel to the mix.
The phone’s 6.39-inch screen slides down while the back slides up to reveal the dual front cameras at the top of the unit. This feature means the Mi Mix 3 5G has an all-screen front, and a 93.4% screen-to-body ratio, making it look sufficiently futuristic, in-line with the noticeable 5G insignia on its back.
The phone sports a polished 7000-series aluminum frame and a curved ceramic back, as well as a Gorilla Glass 5 front. The 5G edition is only available in one color in the UK, Onyx Black, and while it looks great, boy does it love fingerprints.
There’s a Google Assistant button on the left side of the Mi Mix 3 5G, while the standard power and volume buttons are on the right. At the base there's a mono-speaker and a USB-C port, and as with most of its 5G playmates, there’s no headphone jack.
There’s also no under-display fingerprint scanner on the Mi Mix 3, nor is there a triple camera, with a dual-snapper and an old-school scanner around the back.
Practically speaking, we didn’t mind the phone’s heft, but the sliding mechanism wasn’t for us. Despite feeling very secure, we kept activating our front camera almost every time we took the phone out of our pocket, as it would slide open.
Additionally, sliding it one-handed left us fumbling and fearful of dropping the Mi Mix 3 5G. If you can get past that, then you’ll probably get on very well with this phone, but maybe try it in a shop before you pick one up.
As for the display, it’s a Full HD+ panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2340, a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 403 pixels-per-inch. That’s sharper than an iPhone XR, but not quite as sharp as an iPhone XS.
All this adds up to respectable levels of detail, and there’s a great deal of depth to it as well. Colors aren’t as zingy as those on Samsung Galaxy S10 5G or OnePlus 7 Pro 5G screens, even when you dive into the settings and boost the saturation. That said, if you’re a fan of more muted, natural tones, your eyes will like what they see here.
More importantly, viewing angles are wide, and brightness is strong, which means it's easy to see what you’re doing outdoors on this phone. The addition of HDR support means that whether you’re 1080p streaming or watching your own videos, it looks great, and the Mi Mix 3 5G’s display is responsive too.
Basil Kronfli is the Head of content at Make Honey and freelance technology journalist. He is an experienced writer and producer and is skilled in video production, and runs the technology YouTube channel TechEdit.