The Mi Mix, the borderless smartphone of the future

The Mi Mix has a 91.3 per cent screen-to-body ratio.
The Mi Mix has a 91.3 per cent screen-to-body ratio.PHOTO: XIAOMI

While the Mi Note 2 falls short on originality and verve, the ground- breaking, edgeless Mi Mix has it all in spades.

At the launch event, Xiaomi introduced the Mix as a "concept phone", and then proceeded to stun everyone by announcing a launch date and price - this Friday, starting from 3,499 yuan (S$718).

According to Xiaomi, the smartphone of the future is borderless, without a boundary between the screen and the world.

What this translates to in practice is a 91.3 per cent screen-to- body ratio on the Mix.

In order to achieve this, Xiaomi has lopped the forehead of the phone, where the proximity sensor, front camera and earpiece speaker usually reside, and reconstructed the functions using a bit of technical wizardry.

The camera has been relocated to the bottom right of the phone, and the sensor and earpiece have been replaced by an ultrasonic, behind-the-glass proximity sensor and what Xiaomi calls "piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology". In layman terms, this means that the user will hear sound waves conducted through the body of the phone, instead of through air.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: From 3,499 yuan (S$718)

    PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (up to 2.35GHz)

    DISPLAY: 6.4-inch, custom 17:9 1,080 x 2,040 screen

    CAMERA: 16-megapixel rear camera; 5-megapixel front camera

    OPERATING SYSTEM: MIUI 8.0 (based on Android 6.0)

    MEMORY: Up to 6GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage

    BATTERY: 4,400mAh

But all those details are just technical. What is truly epic about the 6.4-inch Mi Mix is how it makes you feel.

At the risk of sounding overly effusive, what Xiaomi has done with the Mix is carve out a slice of the future, and put it into your hands.

Using the phone and watching the notifications drawer extend from the very edge of the device, you feel as if you are standing on the cusp of the next few years in smartphone technology.

This is certainly helped by the Mix's coolly gleaming, all-ceramic body, fashioned by design legend Philippe Starck. At the back of the phone, ever-so-slightly recessed, lie the camera and fingerprint sensor, and below that in gold lettering: "Mix designed by Mi".

It is also helped by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, as well as a hefty 4,400mAh battery and up to 6GB of RAM.

What seals the deal is the Mix's custom 17:9 display with rounded edges that extend right to the edge of the phone on three sides.

Granted, there are some slightly odd things about the Mix, like how you need to rotate the phone in order to take a flattering selfie.

Take it without turning the phone upside down, and you will have an oversized chin and a pear-shaped face.

The glossy black back of the Mix is also a massive fingerprint magnet, which does ruin the beautiful ceramic finish.

But these are small quirks that do not detract from the Mix's proposition - a bezel-less phone packed with groundbreaking technology that looks to create the future.

While the phone will not be officially sold in Singapore, it may be available here via third-party retailers, like previous Xiaomi phones.

Lisabel Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'The Mi Mix, the borderless smartphone of the future'. Print Edition | Subscribe