Xiaomi’s last big flagship launch of the year happened yesterday, and the company’s first phone with a sliding mechanism is finally here: the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. Much like every Mix device that was introduced prior to this one, there’s barely any bezel at the top of the display, but the highlight this time around is the phone’s new sliding cameras.
Unlike other phones with a slide-out camera system, the Mi Mix 3 takes a slightly different approach: the front and back portions of the phone are two separate pieces. The front part is just the display, while the back piece houses everything from the phone’s motherboard, chipset, and camera systems.
Not only is there no motor involved in the sliding mechanism, it incorporates what Xiaomi dubs a “magnetic slider design.” Once you’ve started pushing the display down, the “magnetic mechanism immediately kicks in and finishes the opening in a snap with just the right amount of force,” as Xiaomi puts it. On top of that, the company also mentioned that the slider can be activated over 300,000 times without issue, though this was done in lab tests.
So what makes up the Mi Mix 3’s camera system? On the back is a dual camera configuration made up of a primary 12MP f/1.8 shooter and a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens, which can shoot 960fps slow-motion videos and 4K video recording. What’s even more impressive is the Mi Mix 3’s DxOMark score – with a total score of 103, its camera performance is on par with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and HTC U12+.
At least, that’s what DxOMark’s rating and benchmark show. We’ll reserve judgment until we actually have the Mi Mix 3 in for review.
As for the front-facing cameras, the primary sensor is a 24MP shooter and a secondary 2MP sensor for capturing depth information. The selfie cameras are also paired with a front-facing flash and AI enhancements for more flattering selfie shots.
Beyond the camera system, other hardware of the Mi Mix 3 are what you’d expect from a flagship device. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, it has a large and vibrant 6.39-inch 1080p AMOLED display – with a 93.4% screen-to-body ratio – and a 3,200mAh battery with support for 10W Qi wireless charging; the wireless charger is bundled with the phone.
Rounding out the Mi Mix 3’s list of hardware is up to 256GB of fast UFS 2.1 storage, and get this: up to 10GB of RAM. We’d argue this is way too much RAM for regular consumers, but hey, 10GB of RAM sounds impressive on paper. Aside from that, there’s also a 5G variant of the Mi Mix 3, but that’s only slated to be released sometime in Q1 2019.
Much like its predecessor, the Mi Mix 3 retains the ceramic back, and the rear fingeprint sensor is still here too. Unfortunately, there’s no expandable storage, the 3.5mm headphone jack is nowhere to be found, and the phone doesn’t have any noteworthy IP rating either. In this day and age, not sporting water and dust resistance…somewhat makes the Mi Mix 3 less desirable.
But, at the very least, the Mi Mix 3 is priced competitively. The base model with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM retails at 3,299 Chinese yuan, while the 8GB models with 128GB and 256GB of storage go for 3,599 and 3,999 yuan respectively. The highest-end “Palace Museum Edition” with 256GB of storage and 10GB of RAM, on the other hand, carries a 4,999 yuan price tag.
Value for money has always been a hallmark of Xiaomi devices, and this – among its other features – makes the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 a compelling flagship. The magnetic slider design is a unique feature, and if its camera performance is as good as DxOMark claims it to be, the Mi Mix 3 is potentially Xiaomi’s most impressive device yet.