It was not the first all screen, but there is no doubt that the original My MIX marked the beginning of a trend by the reduction of frames that quickly spread through the mobile landscape. With the Mi MIX 2 the design was compacted down to 6 inches and the hardware was improved. Now, six months after the previous model, the Mi MIX series welcomes a new member: The Mi MIX 2S.
The Mi MIX 2S breaks the annual renewal cycle of this range and is presented as a continuous renewal of the Mi MIX 2 that focuses its improvements on updated hardware, software functions such as facial recognition, all of them seasoned with Artificial Intelligence, the buzzword fashionable, and a much-anticipated novelty in this range: the double camera. We have already been able to test the Mi MIX 2S in the presentation event in Shanghai and these are our first impressions.
Design without changes and without notch
As usual, the launch of Mi MIX 2S has been preceded by a good portion of rumors and one of them aimed that the terminal would change the position of the front camera to the upper right corner, integrating a ‘notch’ or notch in the screen, although much more discreet than that of other recent terminals. Finally the Mi MIX 2S mounts the camera in the same position as always, that is, in the lower frame of the terminal. I do not know how that notch would have been aesthetically, but I do know that it would have been much better in terms of comfort. Having the front camera in the bottom is the least intuitive in the world because it forces you to turn the phone over, that or take a picture of the double chin.
This was the most expected change at the design level and has not occurred, so visually we have the same look we found in the previous model. Of course, Xiaomi has compacted a few tenths of height and width, but the thickness has increased, so it also increases the weight. Although it reaches 191 grams, in hand the terminal feels quite balanced for the size it has, which we remember is quite compact for a 6-inch screen.
On the screen, Xiaomi keeps it unchanged. We have a 5.99-inch IPS panel with FullHD resolution. During the test the screen has left us very good feelings, both at the level of sharpness and reproduction of color and brightness, but will have to be tested in more scenarios to issue a final verdict.
The double camera arrives at the series Mi MIX accompanied by “Artificial Intelligence”
In the previous Mi MIX, the camera was one of the points with more options for improvement and with this generation Xiaomi has wanted to take an important turn. The Mi MIX 2S debuts an enhanced dual camera that combines a 12 megapixel Sony sensor with 1.4 um pixels and an aperture lens f / 1.8, with a Samsung sensor of the same resolution and aperture lens f / 2.4. This duality allows you to zoom two magnifications in addition to getting the famous portrait effect that blurs the background.
Xiaomi also adds a good list of functions based on Artificial Intelligence, which as we said is the buzzword of fashion in smartphones in 2018, although we could debate a lot about whether what it offers is really artificial intelligence, and the same could be said of other manufacturers.
These functions include scene recognition that detects the conditions of the image and recommends up to 200 scenes suitable for each shot. In addition, it affects the portrait or bokeh effect to improve the cutout of the figure and achieve more natural effects, as well as allowing us to apply quite crazy effects in that background, such as making the blur take the form of hearts or stars.
After the presentation we had the chance to test the device and the camera was the first thing I opened. The interface remains the same as in previous models, with the additions of AI that I have already commented. In the demos area there was quite good light and I was able to take some pictures to see the potential of the camera.
We have a great sharpness, the representation of the tones is faithful and the clipping of the very successful blur, of course the photographed object makes it easy. Of course, it should be noted that the camera understands the depth very well and does not limit itself to cutting the figure and applying the same blur to the entire frame , but there is a graduation between the first and second floors.
In this first contact, the results have been very good and the detail of the image speaks for itself. However, it is a single photo and taken in very favorable conditions, we will have to see how it unfolds in more complex scenes. Only a negative detail of the experience. When trying to take close-up pictures the image comes out of focus, maybe because they are not definitive units, but we will analyze it in depth when we prepare the review.
It is also pending to further test the front camera, which, by the way, has a portrait mode by software, although seeing that it is still the same sensor as in the previous model, we do not expect big improvements.
Gross power with software still unfinished
Another innovation of the Mi MIX 2S lies in the hardware. The terminal is positioned in the front line in terms of power, especially the model of 8 GB of RAM that I was able to test. How could it be otherwise, the chip chosen is the Snapdragon 845, the last Qualcomm that is already beginning to see in the high-end Android this 2018.
On the performance in demanding tasks we wait for the in-depth analysis to pronounce ourselves, not only because it is a first contact, but also because the test units do not come with the final software. This has caused that in the test we have had some unexpected closure and quite lag, especially when using the AI functions of the camera.
Speaking of the software, Xiaomi bet on its MIUI layer in a new version that adds as a novelty a gesture control interface like the iPhone X. We have the option of maintaining the virtual keypad, but we can also activate the full screen mode from Settings. Here Xiaomi replaces the Home button with the swipe up gesture to return to the home screen. If we also do this gesture while maintaining a moment, the interface of recent applications opens to be able to change between the apps that we have open.
Another novelty that also introduces this model is facial recognition, but in this case it does not replace the fingerprint reader, but it is still in the back. Precisely the facial unlocking was one of the highlights of the promotional videos, but in the presentation they have hardly mentioned it.
Later we have understood the reason: in Xiaomi they confirm us that the system is practically the same as the one that brings Android as standard, it remains to know what they mean by that “practically”. In the tests we have seen that it is very fast, but at the level of innovation it seems that it does not bring anything remarkable.
Upon arrival in more countries, we have been able to confirm that the Mi MIX 2S will go out to other global markets, what we do not have at the moment is the price or date of arrival. In general, the device is an interesting renewal on what the previous model proposed, especially at the camera and power level, although not so much in terms of software developments, it will be necessary to see if in the global version this point improves.