Within the Xiaomi catalog, the Mi MIX range holds a rather special place: that of a true laboratory of innovation. Back to this little-known range which houses some of the most original smartphones.
With the slogan “Innovation for everyone”, Xiaomi is positioning itself as one of the most innovative smartphone manufacturers on the market. Since 2016, it has also released some of the most avant-garde mobiles of recent years within its Mi MIX range. A range that Xiaomi uses to test its craziest concepts, some of which are truly ahead of their time.
Because you probably don’t know it, but Xiaomi is for example one of the first manufacturers to have bet on borderless screens. A design that has since spread widely, to the point of becoming the norm among the competition. A true precursor in many respects, Xiaomi deserves a closer look at its most innovative smartphones in the Mi MIX range. Back to this Xiaomi innovation laboratory.
Xiaomi Mi Mix: the precursor of smartphones borderless
It was in 2016 that Xiaomi inaugurated the Mi MIX range with the phone of the same name. And the least we can say is that the manufacturer did not go with a dead hand on the innovation side. The most obvious, which we notice at first glance, is the screen. The Mi MIX sports a 6.7-inch panel with a 17:9 ratio, with rounded edges, and which occupies almost the entire front panel thanks to three very thin borders. A first for the time, made possible by various innovations and strong technical biases.
In order to free up the upper part of the chassis, which usually houses the front camera and the speaker, Xiaomi had to make many adjustments. The camera has for example been relocated to the lower part of the smartphone. An original placement that required taking the fold to take selfies. For the sound part, Xiaomi has simply removed the speaker that we usually find on the upper part of the screen. Instead, a part inside the smartphone vibrated so that you could hear your interlocutor.
Beyond this technical prowess, the Mi MIX also stands out for its sleek design, the fruit of the work of Philip Starck. Recognized by numerous awards, it has also been presented in several museums around the world for the excellence of its design. Its chassis in particular, made of ceramic, is a small feat for a mass-produced smartphone as this material is complicated to work with. The Mix MIX was then declined in two even more successful versions: the Mi MIX 2 and Mi MIX 2S.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3: an innovative solution to remove the punch
With the Mi MIX 3, Xiaomi decided to push the sliders a step further by offering one of the first smartphones whose screen had thin bezels on all four sides. And for that, we had to find where to hide the front camera.
In order to remedy this problem, Xiaomi went back to the drawing board. And rather than opting for a notch or a punch, already very widely adopted by the competition, the manufacturer has given birth to an extremely ingenious and above all, very original solution: resuscitating the sliding telephone.
The Mi MIX 3 indeed offers a magnetic back that shifts slightly to reveal the front photo sensor, at the same time switching the smartphone to shooting mode. An original and elegant solution, reminiscent of old sliding cell phones. Here it has allowed the Mi MIX 3 to offer a homogeneous panel, without a hitch of any kind, which occupies almost 93% of the facade. A nice performance that did not leave us indifferent at the time.
Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha: goodbye borders, hello 360° screen
Unveiled in September 2019, the Mi MIX Alpha is positioned as the culmination of the process initiated by Xiaomi with the first Mi MIX of the name. That of offering smartphones with screens occupying the most surface area possible. After having reduced the borders on 3 then 4 sides, Xiaomi has almost completely freed itself from borders thanks to a screen that wraps around the device. A Super AMOLED panel interrupted only by a vertical bar on the rear facade, housing the photo unit and its various antennas.
Rid of all its physical buttons (with the exception of an on/off button installed on the upper edge), this smartphone innovates in more ways than one by offering touch buttons (volume, navigation), as well as a bar status on the edge of the device. This 360 degree screen also solves the problem of the front camera by making it disappear completely. It is very simple to take a selfie with the rear sensor, the image naturally displaying on the back of the device.
Supposed to be released at the end of 2019, the Mi MIX Alpha never saw the light of day due to excessive production difficulties. In 2020, Lei Jun, the CEO of Xiaomi, however, assured that the Mi MIX Alpha had accomplished its objective as a research project, allowing Xiaomi to advance on many points, both in terms of design and technology.
A range that never ceases to amaze us
Six years after its launch, the Mi MIX range remains the spearhead of innovation at Xiaomi. And the manufacturer does not intend to stop there. Last August, it unveiled with great fanfare the Mi MIX 4, a smartphone that builds on the advances of its predecessors to offer an even more united design than usual: chassis unibody ceramic, borderless display taking up most of the front, all powered by an impressive spec sheet.
What is special about this new model? A panel specially designed to become transparent in certain places, so as to allow the photo sensor buried under the screen to do its job. We bet that this elegant solution will be emulated in the future, and that Xiaomi still has some nice surprises in store for us in the years to come.