Xiaomi Mi Mix

[ The Verge ] The Xiaomi Mi Mix is a 6.4-inch smartphone with a 91.3% screen-to-body ratio. The display takes up almost the entire front face and is literally — and this is not marketing mumbo jumbo — edge-to-edge for the top, left, and right edges. Right at the edges the display curves, much like the recently showcased Sharp Corner R concept smartphone that uses Sharp’s Free-Form Display technology.

French designer Philippe Starck was recruited as design lead for the Mi Mix. We recently saw Apple use ceramic in its Apple Watch Edition. Now we see ceramic used on a smartphone; the Mi Mix’s rear and side buttons are made of ceramic. Philippe Starck shares his fascinating design philosophy of the Mi Mix in this YouTube video.

I’ve always thought it ugly to see sensor holes on the front of iPhones and Android smartphones, especially the ones with white faces because those black holes are so pronounced and often lack symmetry. The Xiaomi Mi Mix won’t be completely devoid of black sensor holes — the bottom lip has a camera — but the 91.3% glass front looks more beautiful than any other smartphone I’ve seen. So where did all those ugly black hole sensors go?

The proximity sensor has been replaced by Norway-based Elliptic Lab‘s INNER BEAUTY, software that uses ultrasound to determine proximity. A piezoelectric speaker uses the metal frame to generate sound, allowing the deletion of the earpiece hole we traditionally see as a wide slit on the top lip of smartphones. We will have to see how well the proximity software and the piezoelectric speaker work, but kudos to Xiaomi and Starck for pushing the boundaries of minimal design with technology.

The Xiaomi Mi Mix is not just beautiful, it is also powerful:

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, the same that goes into the recently announced Google Pixel smartphone.
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Camera: 16 megapixel rear with phase-detect autofocus
  • Dual SIM
  • Audio: 192Hz 24-bit DAC with 3.5-mm headphone jack
  • Battery: 4400mAh

Despite the Xiaomi Mi Mix being a concept phone, it will launch on November 4th in China for ¥3,499 or about $500.