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Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha First Look: Blurring The Line Between Concept And Mainstream Smartphones
There's something special about 'Concept Devices', be it cars, smartphones or products from any other category. The concept products are the showcase of the human mind's limitless imagination in the engineering field and the industrial efforts to transform thoughts into a real-world product.
Now we must know that these concepts do not always have to translate to mass-production devices but they are still very important. Concept devices give us a glimpse of future and let creators test new technologies to accelerate the development process.
Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha is all about that. The company recently organized a briefing session in India to showcase the handset that offers a crazy 180% screen-to-body-ratio. It is packed with all the latest technologies in the display, camera, and audio department and looks nothing short of a device straight from the future. Let's have a closer look.
Wrap-Around OLED Display With 180% Screen-To-Body Ratio
The Mix Mix Alpha offers a truly seamless design. The smartphone features a flexible OLED display that wraps around the phone's titanium body. Xiaomi calls it ‘4D Surround' display and it virtually transforms the entire mobile phone into a screen. The Mi Mix Alpha looks spectacular; however, the durability seems a big concern for a smartphone that flaunts an all-screen design.
Unlike the more practical iterations of full-screen display devices, like the first and second-generation Mi Mix phones and Vivo Nex handsets, the Mi Mix Alpha offers a crazy 180.6% screen-to-body ratio. The staggering screen-to-body ratio is achieved by packing the critical components, such as audio and security modules under the screen.
Earpiece, Proximity And Fingerprint Scanner
For the earpiece, Xiaomi has used an improved version of the piezoelectric speaker was first offered in the original Mi MIX. The speaker is now accompanied by an ultrasonic proximity sensor to improve the calling functionality. Additionally, the display also houses an in-screen fingerprint scanner to help you unlock the device. The company claims that the Mi Mix Alpha users won't face any performance issues while making/receiving calls and while unlocking the device via in-screen fingerprint scanner. However, as the Mi Mix Alpha might never be available for testing, the functionality of these hidden sensors remains a big question.
Rear Display- Unlimited Use Cases For A Seamless User-Experience
The flexible OLED screen can also help to remove the clutter on the front. The back of the device can display the most-used applications in the form of interactive widgets. Xiaomi mentions that the rear display might be able to perform real-time AI scenario detection in future. One example can be seeing your boarding pass for an upcoming flight or checking your approaching Uber ride's real-time location.
It is also worth mentioning that the Mi Mix Alpha also packs more sensors than the smartphones we use in our daily routine. Xiaomi has added humidity and air quality sensors that can display useful environmental information at the back panel. In short, the possibilities can be endless depending upon the use cases and efforts put by the hard-working developers.
Even The Side Frames Are Nothing But Display
As the flexible OLED wraps around the edges, the display even replaces the side frames of the Mi Mix Alpha. The edges display pressure-sensitive virtual side buttons such as volume rockers and power button. A linear-motor has been placed inside the edges to simulate the touch of real buttons. We couldn't evaluate the haptic feedback as the phone was not allowed to be touched. The performance of these virtual buttons remains a topic of debate. The status and notification icons are also placed on the edges to make them more intuitive and informative.
108MP Triple-Lens Camera Setup
On papers, the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha beats the competition by featuring the first-ever 108MP camera sensor. The massive camera uses Samsung HMX sensor to produce 12032 x 9024 ultra-high resolution images. The 108MP sensor is equipped with laser autofocus and has 1/1.33" image sensor size making it 300% bigger than the 48MP sensors. The OIS-enabled lens allows you to shoot in 108MP and also shoots 27MP pixel-binned pictures. Xiaomi mentioned that the 108MP camera records hardware-stabilized 4K videos and non-stabilized 8K videos.
The 108MP camera is accompanied with a 20MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP telephoto lens. Sadly, we cannot give you a detailed evaluation of the camera's autofocus speeds and picture/video quality. The company showed a sample shot that looked unbelievably crisp and full of details. We might get an idea of the image quality with the Mi Note 10 that also uses the same 108MP sensor so stay tuned.
Snapdragon 855+, 12GB RAM And 512GB UFS 3.0 storage
The Mi Mix Alpha is powered by the top-of-the-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chipset supported by mammoth 12GB of RAM and 512GB UFS 3.0 storage. It's a winning combination and more than enough to light up millions of pixels on the 7.92-inch touchscreen display that offers a resolution of 2088x2250 pixels. The smartphone runs on a 4,050mAH battery unit and supports 5G, thanks to the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. The smartphone seemed pretty fluid with the basic scrolling and UI navigation; however, the company still needs to better optimize the software for the wraparound screen design.
There are only a handful of Mi ecosystem apps that work on the dual-sided display. Now it depends on the developers whether they want to invest their time in optimizing apps for a device that I believe will never going to translate into a mainstream product for masses. The company itself mentions that the Mi Mix Alpha is not ready for mass production. In that case, the app support for this futuristic piece of technology remains a big question.
Final Take On Mi Mix Alpha
The Mi Mix Alpha is a clear representation of what the smartphones of the future will look like. The company has proved that it has the technology and vision to produce something so futuristic for which the mass market isn't even ready for. One thing is quite sure; no one can resist the Mi Mix Alpha. It is unquestionably flaunt-worthy but remains nothing more than a collectable's item. It's still a work in progress and is far from being a mainstream smartphone due to various issues with the wraparound display design such as durability, privacy, expensive price, software optimizations and a lot more.
Only a handful of technology enthusiasts will pay the premium price of Rs. 2 lacs for it. If you are not among them, the news of Poco F2 might interest you. The company has announced that Poco will run independently of Xiaomi with its team and go to market strategy. This means the Poco F1 has chances of finally getting a successor. However, it remains to be seen when the company will unveil the second generation Poco smartphone.
Will the second generation Poco smartphone use Xiaomi's technologies or will work independently to bring something new to the loyal Poco fans? We can only wait to find the answers so stay tuned.