Xiaomi unveils second bezel-less Mi Mix smartphone and new Mi Note phablet

It’s the day before iPhone launch and Xiaomi is back at it again with the unveiling of the follow-up to last year’s highly-acclaimed and near-bezel-less Mi Mix smartphone.

The Mi Mix 2 keeps the previous design aesthetic — developed by a team led by designer Philippe Starck — but with a slightly smaller six-inch display and improved 18:9 screen resolution. The bezel is minimal once again, and the Chinese phone maker claims to have trimmed the lower border down by a significant 12 percent.

It’s a pretty striking look — once again — and it fits with the biggest trend in devices this year, minimizing the bezel in exchange for maximum front screen size. It’s a train that Samsung, LG and (reportedly) Apple have all bordered to help stand out from the rest. Xiaomi went a little further last year when it removed the front speaker to optimize the screen, and it’s the same story this year. Again, it has opted for a piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology setup to minimize the speaker, but this time it actually occupies some space on the device rather than being buried last year, which had caused some audio issues.

There are some notable internal upgrades, including a higher quality camera that uses a Sony IMX386 sensor — bringing it up to par with the Mi 6 — and Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB RAM powering the phone.

The options start at 3299 RMB ($506) for 64 GB of storage, with 3599 RMB ($550) for 128 GB and 3999 RMB ($613) for 256 GB. A special edition model that includes an impressive ceramic unibody and pairs 8GB RAM with 128 GB of storage is on offer for a more pricey 4699 RMB, or around $720.

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As it did last year, Xiaomi also used the Mix Mix launch to out its newest Mi Note smartphone.

The Mi Note 3 appeared today a little smaller than before — 5.5-inches — with a Snapdragon 660 processor, 3,500 mAh battery and 6GB RAM. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera and 12-megapixel dual-lens arrangement for the rear-side camera, including 2X optic zoom, portrait mode and four-axis optical image stabilizer (OIS).

The new Mi Note comes in at 2499 RMB ($383) for 64 GB, 2899 RMB ($445) for 128 GB and 2999 RMB ($460) for 128 GB.

These new devices follow the launch last week of Xiaomi’s first stock Android device — the very fine-looking Mi A1 — which falls under Google’s Android One program. These new arrivals today both operate on its MI UI Android software fork, however.

This year has been a period of recovery for Xiaomi, which saw its once-explosive sales growth slacken over the past two years as it came to terms with aggressive rivals in China and the difficult challenge of growing its presence outside of its homeland.

CEO Lei Jun, who declined to disclose annual sales figures for the first time earlier this year, hailed his company’s recovery this summer. Sales in China jumped 60 percent from Q1 2017 to Q2 2017 leading Lei to claim Xiaomi had reached “a major inflection point” in its growth.

“After two years of internal recalibration, Xiaomi is once again embarking on a rapid growth trajectory,” he said in a letter to employees.

With three attractive news devices launched this month alone, Xiaomi will be hoping to build on its promising year as 2017 closes out and 2018 comes along.

Published at Mon, 11 Sep 2017 09:01:45 +0000