As statements of intent in phone design go, it’s hard to think of a stronger one than the original Mi Mix. Calling it a “concept phone” and drawing on the talents of legendary designer Philippe Starck, Xiaomi built a minimalist slab dominated by a huge screen with tiny bezels that foreshadowed the biggest trend in 2017’s smartphones.Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most practical phone to actually use. But now, just under a year later, Xiaomi is ready to reveal a sequel — and on first glance the Mi Mix 2 looks like a phone that you’d be far more likely to want to live with.At 5.99 inches, the screen is quite a bit smaller than the colossal 6.44-inch panel used in the original. It’s likely to feel a little smaller than those numbers would imply, too, because it uses an 18:9 aspect ratio compared to 17:9, meaning the display will be even narrower across. The “chin” below the screen has been shrunk by 12 percent, and the corners are also more obviously rounded.
The phone in general is more obviously rounded, actually, in a break from the sharp lines used previously. The aluminum frame surrounds a ceramic back panel, and Xiaomi is also releasing a special edition Mi Mix 2 that it claims will be the first ever phone to use a full unibody ceramic design.
Xiaomi has also tweaked some of the original Mi Mix’s quirks. The Mi Mix 2 now uses an actual speaker rather than a piezoelectric ceramic driver on the rear; sound is now piped through a tiny slit on the top edge, which should be an improvement but is still likely to represent a compromise of sorts.Another compromise is the front-facing camera, which has been more seamlessly integrated into the bottom panel but will still require you to hold the phone upside-down for selfies. The rear-facing camera, meanwhile, uses the same 12-megapixel sensor with 4-axis OIS as the Mi 6, but pairs it with a single f/2.0 lens — no dual-camera action here.