Long before the iPhone X came into the picture, the original Xiaomi Mi Mix wowed the world with its striking bezel-less design, ceramic body, and edge-to-edge display. The Mi Mix was not the first phone to embrace the bezel-less craze that has swept the smartphone industry - that honour belongs to the Sharp Aquos Crystal - but it was the first to marry such a concept with high-end internals and a premium body.
The Mi Mix 2 that followed brought better speakers and internals at the cost of slightly thicker screen borders. Unlike the original Mi Mix - which was a concept phone with limited availability - the Mix 2 saw a much wider release.
With Qualcomm's latest high-end processor, updated cameras, and a slightly tweaked design, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S is an iterative update that improves upon the Mi Mix 2 in small yet significant ways. Just like its sleek and snazzy predecessors, the Mi Mix 2S is a sight to behold - especially in the new white colour which has silver highlights around the camera and fingerprint sensor. The black version has gold highlights and is an absolute fingerprint magnet.
The Mi Mix 2S has a curved ceramic back paired with an aluminium frame for rigidity. Simply put, this phone looks gorgeous. Photos do not do it justice - the ceramic back not only looks classy but also feels extremely premium in hand. This time around, Xiaomi isn't planning to offer a full-ceramic special edition - which is not a big loss as the previous one never actually made it to India.
It is extremely difficult to tell the Mi Mix 2 and Mi Mix 2S apart when viewed face-on. The majority of the Mi Mix 2S's design tweaks are seen at the back - with an iPhone X-like vertically oriented dual-camera setup in the upper right corner. While it may not win any points for originality, the new camera arrangement helps the rear look much cleaner than before.
Xiaomi has added a wireless charging coil beneath the ceramic rear panel, which supports the widely-used Qi standard. In China, the top-end model of the Mi Mix 2S comes bundled with a Xiaomi-branded wireless charger which the company has priced at just CNY 99 (roughly Rs. 1,000). Xiaomi has not confirmed at the moment whether the wireless charger will be launched in India.
The 5.99-inch 'edge-to-edge' display up front has an 18:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1080x2160 (full-HD+). While many others in the industry are moving towards AMOLED displays, Xiaomi has stuck with an LCD panel - which has its own set of pros and cons. The blacks are not as deep as we would have liked, but the colours are vivid and punchy. A full analysis of the display will have to wait till we conduct our full review.
The Mi Mix 2S is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor found in other 2018 flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Sony Xperia XZ2. Other specifications include 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB, 128GB or 256GB of internal storage, depending on which variant you choose. There's also a 3,400mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support.
In our limited time with the Mi Mix 2S, it performed admirably - UI animations were butter smooth, and navigating around the software was quick and fluid. Compared to the Mi Mix 2, the camera app seemed more responsive - with little or no lag between taking pictures.
With just a few hours of hands-on time, it is too early to pass a judgement on the Mi Mix 2S's performance. However, the top-of-the line specifications and our initial impressions of its smooth performance point towards a positive experience.
At the back, the Mi Mix 2 has a primary 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor with an aperture of f/1.8, four-axis optical-image stabilisation, and a wide-angle lens. The secondary 12-megapixel camera has with a telephoto lens, an aperture of f/1.8, and 2x optical zoom. The 5-megapixel front camera is placed in the same awkward location as before - below the display. The Mi Mix 2S supports face recognition and boasts of advanced AI-backed beautification features.
While it is too early to make a definitive assessment of photo quality, it is quite clear that the Mi Mix 2S's cameras are a cut above the ones found on its predecessor. The Mi Mix 2 had pretty underwhelming cameras, so the improvement is more than welcome.
Xiaomi hasn't yet confirmed when or even if the Mi Mix 2S will launch in India, and what its price might be. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for updates, as well as our detailed review of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s, in which we will extensively test the phone's cameras, performance, software, and battery life, and deliver a final verdict.